Austria could soon be home to the ‘seven-star’ Tree Suites hotel, a trio of elevated cabins high above the snowy ground, accessed via glass lifts. Samuel Ballard reports

Following in the footsteps of the famous Snohetta-designed Treehotel in Sweden, Peter Pichler Architecture, an Italian studio, has published images of a forthcoming “seven-star” development in Austria that could be perfect for skiers who are looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Alpine retreats have followed the same – hugely successful – pattern of chocolate box, gabled roofs since ski holidays started but the sector is finally starting to innovate.

The Tree Suites, which will be close to the Austrian town of Kitzbuhel, will sit above the forest floor, giving guests a unique view of the snow-covered trees through expansive glass windows stretching from floor to roof. Tree Suites hotel, AustriaThe three treetop cabins will be accessed via a glass elevator that takes those lucky enough to be staying straight to their beautifully laid-out quarters, which vary in size between 60 sqm and 80 sqm. Larger rooms will come with their own sauna and living area.

Each cabin sits on top of a wooden tower, strengthened by a wooden exoskeleton that wraps around the entire building. The structure is formed of two layers, a “diagrid” structure and a second of thinner timber pieces, through which the lift shaft can just be seen – as if looking through a forest.Tree Suites hotel, AustriaHowever, the development doesn’t totally leave tradition behind. Each cabin has been designed with a gabled roof, in keeping with traditional styles of architecture in the region.

“The connection between men and nature is a fundamental criterion in this project,” says the Italian architecture studio. “It should activate and amplify human senses with the use of simple and local materials, while slowing down and living a moment within the top of the trees. A spatial experience within nature.”

The Tree Suites proposition is an example of the burgeoning Wilderness Hideouts trend that Globetrender highlighted in its Future of Luxury Travel Forecast, and is no doubt going to be the kind of self-contained, hyper-luxury retreat that wealthy travellers will want to escape to when Covid-19 travel bans are lifted.

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