I’m a sucker for a tree house. Especially one that comes with it’s own cargo net playground, a veranda overlooking the river and a ladder to climb up to bed. Yes, it’s fair to say I was sold on Garden Village Bled before we’d even left home. Yet as always I was curious to see if it lived up to expectations.
Garden Village Bled
Tucked away in an idyllic leafy valley just outside the town of Bled, Garden Village is a wonderful cluster of romantic hidey holes, ranging from tree houses over the river to luxury tents with hot tubs. Garden Village Bled calls itself a ‘Green Resort’ with a focus on eco-living and enjoying the environment in a natural and sustainable way, something you find all over Slovenia. It’s a very ‘green’ country.
I was pretty much already out of the car by the time Hubbie expertly parked outside the entrance. We couldn’t see inside the Garden Village complex from the road and I was eager to take a look at where we’d be sleeping! Patience has never been my forte. There was no-one at reception for several minutes, but when the staff eventually arrived check-in was pretty quick.
Alas, before we could go and ogle the tree house, we were offered a welcome drink in the aptly named Greenhouse Restaurant. Immediately all woodland fairy tree house fantasies were pushed aside. It wasn’t your usual sort of restaurant. This one came with streams, living herbs, and the table tops were made of grass! It was a realm where any elvish princess would be happy to dine! But more of that later.
Sleeping at Garden Village Bled
There are 3 sleeping options at Garden Village Bled. Tree houses, pier tents or glamping tents. Each comes with it’s own unique and quirky feature, you just need to decide which is right for you!
For us however, it was a no brainer. A tree house is going to win every time.
Use this map to help choose your accommodation!
The Tree Houses
Best for: those who like a bit of adventure with their nature
The tree houses are all built at jaunty angles up in the forest canopy, overlooking the river and the pier tents down below. Some are higher than others, but they all seemed to enjoy a fair amount of privacy. We were in tree house number 4, half way between the car park and the restaurant, and next to the massage pavilion, which also overlooked the water.
I loved the little chalk boards outside each tree house, with a hand written note welcoming us to Garden Village Bled in our own language. On checking the other tree houses, we discovered our neighbours were from the Netherlands and Spain as well as Slovenia. A small but thoughtful touch.
Outside there is a wrap around balcony with a small table and a rocking chair, perfect for sitting out in nature and enjoying the sounds of the river. Or drying your swim stuff after a quick dip!
The style was Scandinavian, with lots of lovely bare wood from floor ceiling, and simple yet stylish interiors. The tree houses are designed to sleep a family of 4, but the downstairs space is so compact that I think they are more suited to couples. We didn’t use the tiny but functional kitchen area, although it would be useful for stays of several days as eating in the restaurant isn’t cheap.
For sleeping there’s a cute little bed alcove just off the living area. Or for the more adventurous it’s a climb up the removable ladder to the mezzanine.
One thing we found a bit strange, and indeed came across this everywhere we stayed in Slovenia, was that double beds were always made up of 2 singles, even though there often wasn’t space to separate them, thus they’d never be used as a twin. Even more puzzling was the duvet situation. Not once did we have a double duvet. Is it just me that finds this rather odd?
The best feature however was the adventure cargo net stretched across the mezzanine entrance. Of course the first thing we did was to test it out (it held both of us without even groaning!) and take the obligatory photos. It was much harder to haul ourselves off it than it was clambering on!
Which tree house?
We thought number 4 was probably the best of the bunch. Number 6 has an equally good view of the river but is right next to the car park, and there was some wood debris in the stream underneath which didn’t look quite so pretty. Number 5 is also a good location, just higher up in the trees. Numbers 1-3 are next to the restaurant (and one of these is the honeymoon tree house which has internal tree branches instead of a cargo net), so I can imagine they’d be less peaceful, especially on a weekend evening.
The Pier Tents
Best for: those who prefer to be immersed in nature and don’t mind sharing a bathroom
These are the cheapest option, and have a prime location right next to the river. Most come with ladders giving direct and private access to the water, which we thought was pretty cool. They are however rather overlooked by the tree houses above, and therefore in our opinion lacked privacy. The pier tents have shared toilets and showers too, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However falling asleep to the sounds of the river and the calls of the forest is something rather special.
Just be aware that you’re in a wood by water, which is prime territory for mosquitoes, so perhaps take some bug spray just in case they come out to play!
Which Pier Tent?
Of them all, I’d say numbers 1 and 2 would be best, right on the little waterfall (noisy or relaxing, you decide).
The Glamping Tents
Best for: those who like a little glamour with their nature
I initially dismissed the most expensive sleeping option because these tents are set further back from the river and forest and didn’t really seem like anything special. Plus I hate the term ‘glamping’. What a snob. Yet actually they’re rather nice, each built in it’s own private and beautifully cultivated garden, with a luxurious wooden hot tub outside under the stars. We’ll definitely be trying one out on our next visit.
Which Glamping Tent?
Numbers 1, 3 and 5 are less overlooked and no-one can see you in the hot tub! Numbers 2, 4 and 6 have their hot tubs facing the path. However all tent pitches enjoy the privacy of trees and bushes, so really it isn’t a great issue at all.
For those who don’t fancy a paddle in the icy waters of the river, there is a natural spring pool by the restaurant, and a cosy camp fire cabin nearby to warm up afterwards! They also offer spa and massage services, if you don’t feel relaxed enough already!
Eating at Garden Village Bled
The Greenhouse Restaurant
This was hands down the best place we ate during our trip to Slovenia. It promised much, and managed to deliver on taste and finesse. It was mainly the grass table tops that did it for me though. How cool?
We loved that much of the fresh produce is grown on site, in gardens as well as right here inside the restaurant. There were plant pots everywhere full of fragrant herbs, including some I’d never even heard of. Did you know that pineapple sage is a thing?
Having an open kitchen and being able to watch the chefs at work is popular all over the world, and it was no different here. It always amazes me how they can create such masterpieces in so little time, but it didn’t take long for our starters to arrive. And that was after the complimentary fresh salad leaves and bread to nibble on whilst we waited.
Whilst Hubbie opted for the Trout Trilogy and unexpectedly ended up trying his first caviar (the jury is still out on that one!), I went for the Barley Risotto with Zucchini and Young Cheese. Best risotto I’ve had in years, and cooked just right! The fresh herbs and flowers from the gardens sprinkled on top were a lovely touch.
There was an extensive wine list, but to be honest, after we’d tasted their fresh home made juices it didn’t even get a look in! When it comes to drinks I’m almost impossible to please (yeah I know, it isn’t just drinks). I can’t stand tea or coffee, don’t like fizzy and rarely drink alcohol. Which generally just leaves water. Yet they infuse their water here with natural syrups made from plants in their forest, and we were instantly sold on their rose and pine juices. So unique and tasty. I’m going to have to start brewing it back home, if only they would give me their secret recipe.
Hubbie made short work of a lamb shank for his main, and I tried the Trout with Swiss Chard and Parsley Puree. Not normally a big fan of fish, this had me hooked until the last bite had disappeared. So fresh and delicious, and good looking too!
We didn’t have room for dessert, but managed to squeeze in a few more rounds of juice!
Breakfast next morning was a little disappointing given the feast we’d had at dinner, but there was a decent choice at the continental buffet table, and eggs could be ordered just how you like. To be honest it was early, as we were heading off on a road trip around the Triglav National Park, so I didn’t really pay it too much attention.
What we loved
I have to say that whilst the opportunity to stay in a tree house was the reason we came, the quirky yet delicious restaurant is probably the real reason we’ll return. We loved their eco-friendly ethos, and the fact the produce was all grown on site. The freshness and quality could really be tasted in every bite. I’d also travel a long way just for one of their juices. All the way from the UK in fact! Divine.
What wasn’t so great
There was a sign inside our tree house asking for the air conditioning to be switched off when we were out for the day. It was sweltering hot whilst we were there, and it would have been a godsend to have a bit of the old a/c to cool our dripping brows. Yet we couldn’t locate the unit anywhere, and initially mistook it for the odd looking heater.
Upon enquiring at reception we discovered there is in fact no air conditioning in the tree houses, and that instead we had the wonder of nature as our environmentally friendly cooling system. Well nature ain’t always that great. It was a still day with very little air movement so it was stifling up on the tree house mezzanine. We tried sleeping up there at first with the windows open, but it soon became unbearable and at about 2 am we clambered down the ladder to give the downstairs bed a go. It was a little cooler, but not much as it was somewhat boxed in, and we both woke up the next morning feeling utterly exhausted.
Would we stay at Garden Village Bled again? Despite the stuffiness and lack of sleep, it’s a resounding yes! There’s a glamping tent and hot tub with our names on for next time, and I’m already dreaming about trying out new dishes and juices in the restaurant. I honestly don’t think we’ve ever eaten anywhere quite so quirky. It isn’t a cheap place to stay, but as with all unique properties like this, you’re paying for an experience rather than just a bed for the night.
And who could possibly say no to a night in a tree house?
Check out our video of Garden Village Bled…
- There is a separate car park for overnight guests at Garden Village Bled. At check-in you will be given the gate code and can then drive into the complex. Parking is quite tight and there wouldn’t be enough space if each guest party had a car, but there is also space on the street.
- They do get booked up quite far in advance, so plan ahead.
- Book a table at the restaurant at weekends. We had no problem on a July week day, in fact were almost the only ones dining that evening!