Self-described as a “boho-chic, plant-based, biodynamic hideaway in the City of Angels,” The Treehouse Bel Air seems, at its outset, a theme-based alternative to the claustrophobic containment of the traditional hotel. A light scratch just beneath the surface, however, reveals a much deeper, broader, and far more transformational tale.
Conceptually crafted by literary consultant and former PR dynamo Hedda Leonardi, The Treehouse Bel Air is built on the three central pillars of sanctuary, commitment, and space – more specifically, spiritual sanctuary, environmental commitment, and sacred space. The manner in which Leonardi and her team approach the fulfillment of these foundational values is nothing short of counter-cultural. But perhaps the most unorthodox part of its conceptualization (and the reason why The Treehouse has become such a life-changing space for its revolving door of guest “souls seeking shelter, companionship, and learning”) is that its proprietor claims credit for none of its success.
“I feel The Treehouse organically manifested itself as a gathering place,” explains Leonardi. “It is co-created with many human hands involved, and I find that when I take my controlling hands off of it, it tends to thrive.” The demure matriarch continues on to share the story of a Reiki master who, early on in its conception, conducted a reading on The Treehouse. The space reportedly informed her: “We have our destiny and will do what we are supposed to do, with our without this human.” In light of this conviction, Leonardi views herself as nothing more than a conduit for the sacred healing work of the spiritual elements tangibly alive within the collection of cedar, alder, walnut, pine, and redwood sacrificed to form its physical boundaries.
To Leonardi, carrying forward this message means holding space for every living thing, both past and present. Understanding her role and responsibility as a steward of the sacred Tongva land on which The Treehouse is established, she had it re-consecrated to actively welcome back the rich history of ceremony, teachings, and spiritual wealth of the North American natives who once called it home – a rich spiritual resource entirely out of step with the area’s modern cultural view of wealth.
For Leonardi and her team, however, true wealth is vibrant health and well-being, an inner peace and harmony that radiates outward from inside the soul. That is what Leonardi believes the space intends to bring about for those who cross its threshold. And, borrowing from other world cultures with a rich spiritual history, she aims to help in this endeavor. The placement of every physical aspect of The Treehouse “bows to the unseen realm,” having been designed with purpose and intention by a Feng Shui Master skilled in the principles of sacred geometry.
A compassionate worldview guides the team’s plant-based, zero-waste values, as well as the manner in which they source their sustainable and eco-friendly products. In collaboration with local artists, The Treehouse features original work created to inspire wonder and delight, while resident sacred numerologist, Gina Roda, offers individual readings. “If The Treehouse is a space of peace and harmony,” Leonardi comments, “then Gina is its oracle. These days, we have unprecedented access to a world of information at our fingertips, yet we don’t know ourselves. The self-awareness and self-empowerment she opens up in people is magnificent.”
Roda’s ethereal abilities have become an integral part of The Treehouse Bel Air’s function – its “secret sauce,” as Leonardi likes to say. In fact, the hotel and event space offers a personalized Self Care, Self-Love Ritual Retreat centered on the numerologist providing a tangible spiritual and mental reset based on a guest’s number code. Called a “prescription for total well-being, rather than a pampering to forget,” the experience is about learning to love and care for self so that guests can give to the world from a full cup – a piece of ancient wisdom Leonardi and her staff strive to live by each and every day.
“It’s difficult to tell,” she says, “how, exactly, we give back to our community or the environment. That’s a very lofty question to answer. What I can say is that each of us at The Treehouse is doing the best we can to upgrade ourselves, to de-program our socially-trained reactions, to practice kindness and non-judgment first and foremost.” It is precisely this juxtaposition of simplistic ancient wisdom, standing in stark defiance against an insatiable world determined to have, do, and get, which seems to generate the space’s singular brand of magic.