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biophilic design: vacation rentals to reconnect with nature

in biophilic design

Holidays are often a time to leave the hustle of the city and head towards a location where nature rules, such as the mountains or the seaside.

Let’s then explore some vacation rentals that – thanks to their biophilic design features – craft a recharging and immersive experience for their guests.


Forests and woods are naturally secluded locations, perfect to take a break from the world. A treehouse enhances the intent, acting as a human nest, a refuge, up in the canopy.

willow treehouse

Located right in front of a body of water, Willow Treehouse is the perfect vantage point to admire the landscape. A big window in the living area frames a beautiful prospect view of the surroundings and the sofa is strategically placed to substitute TV entertainment with the observation of nature.

The home is entirely wooden and windows cut the structure open in several points, bringing both a material and a visual hint of the landscape indoors.

Treehouse in front of a body of water.
Credit: Willow Treehouse on Airbnb
Living room with a huge window overlooking the landscape.
Credit: Willow Treehouse on Airbnb
Simple wooden kitchen framed by wooden windows looking outdoors.
Credit: Willow Treehouse on Airbnb

furnas cabin

Building on a wild site with a biophilic approach means leaving nature its space and working around it as much as possible. Furnas Cabin provides a good example of it: an outdoor terrace that’s perforated to work around existing trees.

The wooden interior is essential, yet it provides all that’s necessary for a comfortable stay. Outdoors is the highlight of the entire treehouse: an open-air bathtub to lay down and get lost in the bluest sky, with the sounds and smells of the forest as a background.

Perforated terrace to leave space for trees.
Credit: Furnas Cabin on Airbnb
Simple sleeping/living area.
Credit: Furnas Cabin on Airbnb
External bathtub at night.
Credit: Furnas Cabin on Airbnb
Treehouse at night.
Credit: Furnas Cabin on Airbnb


Rocky walls are stunning natural features: magnificent giants carrying signs of the geological history of a place. Building next to them is a daring choice as every home will look small and somehow unstable next to a massive rocky mountain. Here’s a great example of apparent risk which simultaneously stimulates a sense of admiration for the strength of nature.

sage canyon cliff house

When building next to a rocky wall, why not welcome it indoors? The natural rocky wall enriches the interior of Sage Canyon Cliff House with a deep natural texture. White and straight man-made walls contrast with the organic rock, highlighting its beauty even more. And seeing the same rocky wall continue beyond the windows provides a strong sense of connection with the surroundings.

Embracing the shapes of nature, a nook becomes a private reading corner in this house, and the shower fits into a natural recess.

Outside view of a house built next to a rocky wall.
Credit: Sage Canyon Cliff House on Airbnb
Living room with back wall incorporating the natural rocky wall.
Credit: Sage Canyon Cliff House on Airbnb
Reading nook inside a natural nook in the wall.
Credit: Sage Canyon Cliff House on Airbnb
Shower next to the natural rocky wall.
Credit: Sage Canyon Cliff House on Airbnb

cave house

Cave House brings the incorporation of a rocky wall to a whole new level. Entirely rocky ceilings create a cave-like experience, and the design works around natural nooks and lower ceiling heights. To enhance the cave feeling, windows are left rather small, yet big enough to flood the space with natural light.

A mainly brown palette blends with the natural focal feature while plain white accents punctuate the space.

Exterior of the wall built next to a rocky wall.
Credit: Cave House on Airbnb
Living/sleeping area built inside the natural cave.
Credit: Cave House on Airbnb
Kitchen with rocky ceiling contrasting with the white walls and floors.
Credit: Cave House on Airbnb


Ocean views are among the most breathtaking in nature, and an accommodation right in front of the infinite blue is the ideal space to enjoy this natural prospect view. Being right next to the ocean also means taking advantage of the proximity to water in terms of sounds, scents and movements.


iHouse 3 is a wooden box that’s closed on the back and fully open to the ocean on the front. The interior features mostly wavy organic lines, as a way to recall the landscape.

But the best of this space is certainly what’s outdoors. The front glazing can be opened almost fully, creating a literal indoor-outdoor experience with sand just a few steps away. An external shower also invites guests to step outdoors and enjoy a private spa moment surrounded by natural breezes and marine scents and sounds.

Tiny house on the beach.
Credit: iHouse3 on Airbnb
View of the glazing front open.
Credit: iHouse3 on Airbnb
View of the back of the tiny home with external shower.
Credit: iHouse3 on Airbnb


iCamp brings the same concept to a different accommodation: a tent-home located right in front of a private beach. The interior layout is oriented towards the landscape, with the bed and the outdoor seating looking at the ocean – a reminder of the one and only star of this location!

The seamless transition with the wild outdoors creates a visual and non-visual connection with the surroundings, inviting guests to explore them.

Outdoor view of the location with 3 small tent-houses.
Credit: iCamp on Airbnb
Bed oriented towards the view.
Credit: iCamp on Airbnb
Back view of the bed and patio, both oriented towards the ocean.
Credit: iCamp on Airbnb
Outdoor terrace surrounded by with trees and looking towards the ocean.
Credit: iCamp on Airbnb

These vacation rentals are all located in gorgeous places. But their best quality is that they blend gently with their surroundings. From building around natural features to framing naturally dazzling views, all these spaces put the great outdoors at the heart of the design. An invitation to disconnect and get lost in the richness of nature.

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