What began as an elaborate family project for Brian Jensen and his wife Amanda Jensen has grown into something much, much more.
The Jensens – owners of the SkyCenter restaurant and shop at the top of the scenic chairlift at SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg – built an elaborate tree house with bunk beds, a trap door, a swing and a zip line for their four children.
They joked that when the kids grew up, they could rent it out.
Fast forward a few years – and a vacation trip to another treehouse resort – and suddenly that joke wasn’t so funny.
It became serious business.
Is the Sanctuary Treehouse Resort open?
The Jensens are on the cusp of opening the Sanctuary Treehouse Resort. As of now, it is the largest treehouse resort in the world. Also, it is the first of its kind near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Built on 40 acres in Sevierville nestled behind a pair of 18-hole golf courses, the developers of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort aim to combine the novelty of a treehouse experience with the relaxation of a luxury getaway in the Smokies.
The new resort will feature three types of treehouse rentals. They all feature breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and/or as the two golf courses. Each treehouse will come with a variety of unique amenities.
“We are creating an interactive experience within the treehouse itself that provides a long list of entertainment that you would expect in a real treehouse such as slides, escape hatches, swings, crank down bunk beds, draw bridges and much more,” Amanda Jensen said.
The treehouses themselves are luxuriously rustic with metal/tin rooves, barkwood/log siding and mahogany front doors with an iron speakeasy window. The cabins also feature brass porthole windows throughout.
The kitchenette comes stocked with a Keurig, retro appliances and a small stock of kitchen items. In addition, the small refrigerators are stocked with beverages and a snack bar for purchase.
What are the types of rooms available in the Treehouse Resort?
There are three different floor plans of treehouse-style accommodations at the sanctuary. The first is the Tree Fort, which can sleep up to six guests. It features amenities like spiral slides, spacious porches, rope climbs, a whiskey barrel bathroom sink and more.
The Tree Fort Double is perfect for larger groups and has all the amenities of a regular Tree Fort as it is a pair of regular Tree Forts connected via a movable drawbridge.
The final option is the Luxe which is perfect for couples on their honeymoon, anniversary or just looking for a romantic getaway. The Luxe features outdoor upscale amenities and also some special touches of luxury inside including a copper clawfoot bathtub, a king-size gel cooling bed with rope supports, a custom tile shower with a bamboo jet shower and an LED indoor fireplace.
I don’t want to oversell you here, but the Luxe also comes with a bidet automatic heated toilet system. You might never leave the bathroom.
There is also an outdoor tub on the bottom level patio with privacy curtains and swinging suspended outdoor daybeds on the bottom level porch.
Each type of room also comes with spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee and is designed to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for its guest.
What other amenities can we expect?
Let’s move our focus away from the luxury and look at the fun.
We’re talking secret ladders, egg swings on the porch, a telescope off the balcony (an underrated amenity in my opinion), rope climbs outdoor hot tub and a net swing all with the beauty of treehouse-style accommodations.
But wait, the lower porches look like a great place to hang out. Won’t it be a pain running up and down the stairs every time you want a beverage?
My friends, you underestimate the Swiss Family Robinson nature of real treehouse living.
In addition to bucket pullers, there is a can/bottle chute from the kitchen to the lower porch. Look, I’m going to be honest with you. Had we had a place like that when I was a kid on vacation, I would have spent the entire time sending G.I. Joes down that chute.
Snake Eyes would have been whupping some Cobra butt from dusk till dawn.
Where is the Sanctuary Treehouse Resort?
The new resort is not far from Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville and right behind the Sevierville Golf Club in Tennessee.
And that is good news because you don’t have to fight all the traffic to get deeper into Sevier County.
What about parking?
There is parking onsite, but the resort itself is not accessible to cars.
It is golf cart access only. You have to park in the parking lot and either walk in or use a golf cart.
How much does it cost to stay in the Treehouse Resort?
At the time of this writing, prices start at $399 per night with a minimum of a 2-night stay.
If you are looking to stay in Gatlinburg, The Treehouse Grove at Norton Creek Resort has rooms starting at $349 per night and up.
When will the resort open?
The current goal is this fall but it won’t be completely done. Over time, the plan is to add more unique outdoor amenities like walking trails and a scavenger hunt as well as a place for live music, a community in-ground hot tub, an enchanted forest and more.
“We are cultivating a unique resort like no other – for guests to stay, play and retreat for a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Brian Jensen.
“We hope to provide our guests with lasting memories, breathtaking views and customizable options to leave them with a desire to come back and stay with us year after year.”
All told, the current plan is to have 130 treehouses spread over the 40 acres.
Will any of the Treehouse rentals be handicap accessible?
Yes. There will be Treehouses built with guests with mobility challenges in mind.
Will the facility be pet friendly?
No. The Jensens say they want to respect the peaceful environment and the abundant wildlife in the area.
Service animals, of course, will be accepted.
Is there anything to do nearby?
Do you mean other than the golf courses and the waterpark?
So, you’re not that far from downtown Sevierville.
Go shopping and dining and all the other stuff you come to the Smokies for, but I really think this is going to be a destination in and of itself.
For the price – and with all the things to do – I’m not sure you’re going to want to book a lot of other experiences during your trip. This is a hotel and adventure all in one stop.
To learn more or to reserve a spot, visit them online.
Would you stay in the Treehouse Sanctuary Resort? Let us know in the comments!