As you approach by boat from Yelapa, the first thing you’ll spy are the bright orange umbrellas popping out of the Mexican jungle. Hike up to the hotel, and it starts to reveal itself, a collection of impossibly cool homes hidden from view. Then you see them, a trio of treehouses floating among the treetops like open-air nests. This is Verana, the handmade hotel, and the treehouses are the V Houses, three inverted A-frames poised improbably on 16ft V-shaped steel stilts.
Twenty years ago, when it was carved out of the lush jungle by BoutiqueHomes founders Heinz Legler and Veronique Lievre, Verana was intended to be a single house. Over time, it evolved into a stylish compound of 10 houses, a spa, and a restaurant-bar.
Ten years ago, the V Houses were added as an experiment, to provide temporary accommodation for the hotel’s staff. Heinz had experience designing cabins for the often-snowbound High Sierras, and chose the A-frame with its empathically sloped roof. This time he decided to invert it, based on a garden treehouse design he had spotted, and it fit the space at Verana perfectly.
The location was on a hillside, so this design meant the houses would barely touch the landscape and needed no foundations. The houses only make contact with the land below them at the narrow concrete base, making their environmental impact minimal by preserving the landscape they are built in. It also means they can be built in almost any location, ideally locations with great views like this – overlooking the jungle, Yelapa bay and the open ocean.
Inevitably, building the V Houses took some imagination. The steel frames were constructed off-site and brought to Verana by boat. “It was the height of summer,” remembers Veronique, “so by the time they arrived, the metal was hot, which made carrying them up the hill and working with them quite an ordeal!”
The on-site construction took four weeks, remarkably without the use of any electricity. Each treehouse housed one bedroom, and the staff shared a kitchen and bathroom.
The V Houses defied gravity as well as everyone’s expectations. When they helped build them, the locals were skeptical, thinking they would last a few months, but 10 years later they’re still standing. In fact, over time, everyone fell in love with the V Houses, and it became apparent that they’d make great guest accommodation.
With some small designs changes, they became part of the Verana experience. Today, the V Houses can be rented as a whole unit, with one master bedroom and two guest bedrooms, a private treetop compound for up to six guests. One of the original bedrooms was adapted to make a deck, boasting those incredible views…
To book the V Houses, click here.