Thursday, June 1, 2023

Luxury tree house

Tree Vistas open in the Ionia County woods

Tree Vistas, a cabin one mile down a gravel road through the Ionia woods, is Michigan’s first luxury tree house resort. “It’s a 508-square-foot palace inside there with a 400-square-foot deck going around it,” said co-owner Brian Coates. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

If it wasn’t for the power box and the TV satellite dish, you would never suspect anything was there, but let your eyes adjust a bit and you’ll notice the cabin on the hill behind the trees.

Brian Coates said they put a spiral staircase in the middle of the cabin to attain the “wow factor” at Tree Vistas in Ionia.— DN Photo | Tim McAllister

Welcome to Tree Vistas.

“We are really excited that Ionia is the home of Michigan’s first luxury tree house resort,” said Kat Reed, executive director of the Ionia Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are excited to see what’s to come.”

To access the site, you must travel one mile down a gravel road — and drive slowly because there are a couple treacherous spots — until you reach 4200 Smokey Row.

Outside, the cabin is surrounded by a well-maintained walking trail that leads to the Grand River and the Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail.

“Anybody who wants to walk, bike or whatever — the trail is right there,” Reed said.

Other outdoor amenities include a tree swing, hammock, grills and a fire pit.

You can watch wildlife scurry up and down the tree in this living room of Tree Vistas in Ionia with no fear of bites and scratches because the “squirrel highway” is encased in glass. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

“If they like the waterfront, they can head down to the Grand River, which we’re very fortunate to have on the southern border,” said Tree Vistas co-owner Brian Coates. “Down there, we also have a campfire, grilling and fishing area, and folks can bring their kayaks. It’s private and it’s free. There is snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter, and we’ve got a nice sledding hill right next to the cabin.”

Tree Vistas was the brainchild of Coates and Greg Filipek of Northville. The duo dreamed of starting a business together for a long time, but any plans they made were stalled by the pandemic. Filipek’s father originally owned the six-acre property, and when he passed away, Greg’s plan was to build a family cabin on the site.

“Then one day (two years ago), he said, ‘Hey Brian, let’s go to lunch, I’ve got an idea.’” Coates said. “So that’s kind of how it started — on a napkin like so many small businesses do. We said, ‘Let’s do a tree house,’ which has evolved into a tree house resort.”

The cabin is designed for one family, group or person at a time, and there is total privacy out there in the middle of the woods.

Tree Vistas co-owner Brian Coates cuts the ribbon officially opening the luxury tree house resort on Aug. 11 as co-owner Greg Filipek and his son Mack look on. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

“There is something here for everybody to enjoy, to get away from business and life and do whatever they want to do,” Coates said. “Some folks like to stay inside and just look out the windows to enjoy the beauty and hear the sounds in nature. Others want to get out and do all those activities. Either way, hopefully when they leave Tree Vistas, they will feel refreshed, renewed and be able to enjoy their life and impact their communities when they get back home.”

The cabin itself is 508 square feet with a 400-square-foot deck. The master bedroom is heated or air conditioned depending on the season, gourmet coffee and tea are provided, there is a washer/dryer, bunk beds and a writing desk.

“As my business partner Greg says, ‘We want the wow factor,’ so we put a spiral staircase right through the middle of the house,” Coates said. “We also have a tree that goes right through the four seasons patio. It’s encased in glass, so the wildlife will be able to run up and down the ‘squirrel highway’ while you’re sitting there having your morning coffee at the bistro table. Another very unique feature is an all glass shower that allows folks to enjoy the wilderness while they’re showering, but you can shut that off and take a private shower. There are so many other different, cool, modern, flashy things in the tree house, it’s not your standard tree house, from an architectural standpoint.”

To book or for more information, visit, call (248) 270 8836 send a message to or find them on social media.

“We want to create a really unique, naturalistic getaway for people to come to in Michigan, and add to their bucket list of ‘Pure Michigan’ things,” Coates said. “There really is something here for everybody here, if they’re looking for it.”

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