An extract on #treetops
The hotel is known as the location where Princess Elizabeth acceded to the thrones of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms upon the death of her father, King George VI, while she was staying there in 1952.
The initial idea of Major Eric Sherbrooke Walker, who owned land in the Aberdeen Range, was to build a treehouse for his wife Lady Bettie, who liked them. The idea grew, and in 1932 the couple oversaw the construction of a two-room treehouse in a huge, 300-year-old fig tree as an adjunct facility to the Outspan Hotel, which they also built and owned. Initial construction was hampered by the presence of wild animals, as the treehouse was purposely built beside animal trails leading to a nearby waterhole. Labourers and supervisors were often chased away by wild animals, which led to increased labour costs.
While originally two rooms, and open only on Wednesday nights to overnight guests as a night-viewing platform, rising demand forced the Walkers to accommodate more visitors. The visit of Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to Kenya in 1952 led to their visit to the Treetops as personal guests of the Walkers. The Treetops was reinforced, and its capacity was increased to four rooms, including one for a resident hunter.
Treetops became famous around the world when Princess Elizabeth, as she then was, stayed there at the time of the death of her father, King George VI, which occurred on the night of 5/6 February 1952, while she was at Treetops. She learned of the fact, however, after having left, at Sagana Lodge. She was the first British monarch since King George I to be outside the country at the moment of succession, and also the first in modern times not to know the exact time of her accession because her father had died in his sleep at an unknown time. On the night her father died, before the event was known, Sir Horace Hearne, then Chief Justice of Kenya, had escorted the princess and her husband, Prince Philip, to a state dinner at the Treetops Hotel. After word of George VI's death reached the new Queen the following day, she returned immediately to Britain.
The legendary hunter Jim Corbett, her bodyguard at the time, wrote the now famous lines in the visitors' log book:
For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience she climbed down from the tree next day a Queen God bless her.