When we first got there I was disappointed to see that the buildings were in view of each other. But once we got up in the treehouse I changed my mind. The front is carefully rotated away and the view is a froth of rhododendrons and towering oak trees. The house itself is hung in a chestnut with tidy branches strutting through the bedroom.
First you trail up the staircase and then around three sides of the wraparound porch. The front is marked by two swing chairs in front of glass French doors. There is also a leopard rug with its head growling out of the cross of two boughs.
Inside, the room is dominated by a large bed wedged between the thick branches. The leopard print throw and fur side rugs make it all very Tarzan love nest. All the standard hotel stuff is there: token armchair, kettle with coffee and biscuits, closet, TV, quirky alarm clock. In the summer you might want the fan rotating lazing above you.
The bathroom is lovely with a brass sink cut into slab of polished wood, power shower, and a huge skylight. (Bring your own toiletries, this is only equipped with a block of high quality soap.)
It’s been a long time since I spent much time in the woods, something from my childhood that I didn’t realise I missed. And we spent hours on the treehouse porch, swinging in the chairs and reading, while the champagne cooled. Squirrels raced along the trees, pheasants darted along the forest floor, and the family cat came to visit.
Breakfast is a luxurious affair. It’s held in a conservatory, full of plants and squirrels playing on the glass roof overhead. The food, in two courses, included meat from the local farms and eggs with rich yellow yolks.
We spent our mornings prowling the neighbouring towns. We bought books, looked at antiques, and I explained our collection of espresso cups. I wanted to move into the Augustus Brandt showroom and drink milkshakes all day at the lovely Coco Café. Then we’d go back to the treehouse for a nap amongst the leaves.
On the second afternoon a storm was brewing and the wind blowing. Alison, our nice hostess, came up an offered us another room for the night. We wanted to stay up in the treehouse but it’s almost impossible to sleep amidst the creaks of the branches at 65 miles an hour. Trees are noisy!
So we found ourselves in the dainty garden room. It’s past the breakfast conservatory, through the hedge, and down a moss coated path into a small building teeming with light. (One of my husband’s favourite hotel rooms in the UK.) Everything is white, or almost white, with the biggest bed I’ve ever seen and pairs of glass doors. Very romantic. We woke up early, with weak green light bathing us from the skylight overhead, gathered our things and padded back to the treehouse for a swing on the porch.
Castle Cottage B&B, Coates Castle, Fittleworth, West Sussex, RH20 1EU