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food / travel

Monkey Luxury - Germany Offers High-End Tree-House Hotels

The eccentric offerings at Baumhaushotel Solling in Uslar, Germany, sleep six people each and come with a toilet and balcony. Others have flat-screen TVs and slate bathtubs. They also happen to be 10 meters off the ground. Check out these tree house hotel

A hotel in a tree
A hotel in a tree
Knut Diers

They have names like "Sternengucker" (Star Watcher), "Freiraum" (Freedom) and "Baumtraum" (Tree Dream). Altogether, there are seven of these insulated, heated tree houses along the forest's edge in Germany's Weser Uplands. Some of them are linked by stairways, and each can accommodate two to six guests – plus dogs. Pets, like their owners, are welcome year round.

Lying in bed in Sternengucker you really can watch the stars – there's even a telescope on hand if you want to do some serious observing. Freiraum offers guests a double bed that, with the help of a crank, can be moved outside to the balcony.

Welcome to Baumhaushotel Sollingin Uslar. The whole area surrounding the little settlement is a paradise for nature lovers and canoeists. The hotel itself offers guests a sun terrace and BBQ options on the grounds, along with communal showering facilities. All this costs 150 euros per person, per night, breakfast included. There's a 25-euro surcharge on weekends, with 16 euros for every further person over the age of 13. Children over seven pay 8 euros.

Baumhaushotel Solling, Germany's first tree house hotel, opened in 2005 in Kulturinsel Einsiedel just north of Görlitz in the state of Saxony. It features eight eccentrically and extremely artistically designed tree houses perched eight to 10 meters up in forest trees. Each house can accommodate six guests, and has a small living area, a sleeping nook, and toilet. Most also have a balcony.

The comfort-minded will wish to avoid the cold outdoor "shock shower" in the morning (instead of toweling off afterwards, guests are encouraged to let the breeze dry them) and book one of the three tree houses with indoor bath and shower. In its defense, the shock option does offer superb valley views and the sight of the rising sun.

A highlight here is the lush, healthy breakfast buffet included in the 227 euro family price, which covers two adults and two kids.

In Rosenberg, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, the Wipfelglück tree house hotel group runs seven houses on stilts that for ecological reasons don't have running water. Water for the sinks is provided by jerry can, and there are dry toilets -- although complete sanitary facilities at a nearby camping ground may be used by tree house guests.

The group presently has another tree house hotel nestled in oak trees in Mönchberg east of Frankfurt. That facility boasts a Kneipp bath. The Wipfelglück group plans to build up to 10 tree house hotels in Germany. It charges from 79 euros per person (including breakfast), with children between 3 and 16 paying only 39 euros.

Sleeping with wolves

Just launched in April is the luxurious TreeInn in Dörverden-Barme between Bremen and Hannover. This is basically a sleek design house elevated five meters above ground with picture windows and a huge roof terrace offering a view of a reserve that is also home to wolves.

The house can accommodate three people, and among its amenities are a flat screen TV, minibar, wireless Internet, flush toilets, and a whirlpool. Guests can order meals to be delivered to the house. Breakfast is included in the summer rate of 350 euros per night. The winter rate is 250 euros.

In Bad Zwischenahn, in Ammerland in Lower Saxony, Germany, about 40 minutes from the North Sea, Hidden Treehouse Resorts runs four tree house suites built from larch wood and other organic materials on stilts in an oak and beech forest.

Each "allergy friendly" suite of 39 square meters can accommodate four guests. The floor heating, designer bathtub made of slate, Egyptian cotton bed linens, wireless Internet and more almost make you lose sight of the fact that you are perched four meters off the ground and that you can see deer and pheasants when you look out the windows.

Since the suites are heated, they are open year-round. Two people pay 180 euros per night; third and fourth guests over 18 pay 55 euros extra per night, 35 euros if under 17.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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