ATLANTA, Ga. - Travel website Airbnb says people across the country are experiencing "wishlist wanderlust" — in other words, daydreaming about traveling after so many months of being cooped up indoors. And here in Georgia, the company’s top destination is a secluded treehouse located right in the middle of metro Atlanta.
"Somebody called me and said, 'Hey, congratulations, you've been named the number one Airbnb in the world.' I didn't even know that was a thing," says Peter Bahouth, owner of Atlanta’s intown treehouse.
Bahouth built the treehouse two decades ago, using recycled materials to craft a three-room, open-air suite.
"My mother had these 85-year-old windows from a shrine in Syracuse that had butterflies pressed between them. They were perfect," says Bahouth, giving Good Day Atlanta a tour of his unique hideaway.
Bahouth created the space for himself and enjoyed it for about 15 years. But then, by chance, he read an article about the online vacation rental marketplace Airbnb.
"They were talking about how people liked unusual places, like teepees, treehouses, and yurts. And I said, 'Well, I have a treehouse suite. I wonder...' I didn't think anyone would ever come here. I really didn't."
He was wrong. Five years later, the secluded treehouse books up a year in advance and hosts travelers from around the world. It's Aibnb’s most wishlisted property in Georgia and remains one of the top in the world. For the team at Airbnb, the treehouse is a perfect example of why so many people are turning to the company during the pandemic.
"Treehouses are actually one of the most popular listing types for stays, especially this year. While guests are staying close to home, they're still looking for a unique experience," says Airbnb’s Liz DeBold Fusco. "Added on to that, for our guests who are staying in Atlanta's listings, they can really also take comfort in not only having a local experience but getting to support a local family. Our hosts in Atlanta have earned more than $30 million in total during the COVID-19 pandemic."
But for Peter Bahouth, the joy in sharing his treehouse isn’t material. It’s knowing that his creation — nestled among 200-year-old trees — offers a kind of peace that’s priceless.
"It has changed people. I see the look on their face. They just need a break."
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