30 Overwater Bungalows That Will Make You Want to Hop on a Plane
What do you picture when you close your eyes and dream up an idyllic, island escape? How about a remote, private bungalow, perched above a crystalline lagoon — what could be more dreamy than that? Overwater bungalows are the trademark of luxury living, evocative of remote island paradises, where well-heeled travelers can steal away and remain anonymous for as long as they please.
Overwater bungalows signify far-flung destinations — a handsome reward at the end of a very, very long travel adventure. The most common spots for overwater bungalows are in the South Pacific and the Maldives. But you don’t have to travel all the way to the ends of the Earth for these posh paradises. Some can be found much, much closer to home, like in Mexico and the Caribbean.
Still, it can be daunting to start to plan the perfect overwater bungalow stay. To help get you started, we rounded up 30 of the best places around the world to make it happen.
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30. Le Meridien Bora Bora
Location: French Polynesia
One of the original luxury resorts in Bora Bora, Le Meridien Bora Bora is almost completely made up of overwater bungalows. Each bungalow has an iconic glass-bottom floor, perfect for peering into the crystalline water below. The resort also has one of the best views of Mount Otemanu, giving guests the true sense of place that they are, in fact, in Bora Bora. Note: Le Meridien Bora Bora is currently undergoing renovations and will reopen at the end of 2022.
Visit: Le Meridien Bora Bora
29. Sandals South Coast
Location: White House, Jamaica
Jamaica has its fair share of luxury resorts, but only a few of them actually boast the overwater-bungalow experience. Sandals South Coast is one of the best on the entire island. The all-inclusive resort exudes a romantic vibe, perched on a 2-mile stretch of beach within a 500-acre preserve. Other amenities include three pools, fantastic restaurants, bonfire areas and fire pits. Did we mention this resort is also adults only?
Visit: Sandals South Coast
28. Sandals Grande St. Lucian
Location: Pigeon Island Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious islands you can visit in the Caribbean. And what does every luxury destination need? An overwater bungalow. Enter Sandals Grande St. Lucian, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort located in St. Lucia's idyllic Rodney Bay. From the deck of your private bungalow, you'll have views of the beautiful jade-colored mountains of St. Lucia as well as a stretch of gorgeous, mile-long beach.
Visit: Sandals Grande St. Lucian
27. Pangkor Laut Resort
Location: Perak, Malaysia
Off the coast of mainland Malaysia is a private island retreat that just drips with luxury. Pangkor Laut Resort is a tranquil, secluded five-star resort surrounded by rainforest and white-sand beaches. Located in what is called Emerald Bay, guests can choose from different villas, including villas on stilts that are linked by wooden walkways and feature a large balcony with sun loungers and beautiful showers that open to the sea.
Visit: Pangkor Laut Resort
26. Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Location: French Polynesia
Bora Bora is strewn with fabulous five-star resorts, but Conrad Bora Bora Nui is by far one of the best. The resort has 114 villas to choose from, but the ones you're looking at here are certainly the overwater ones. In addition to the gorgeous overwater villas, you'll find a beautiful stretch of beach, infinity pool, spa and fabulous fine dining. All rooms feature patios decked out with lounge chairs, while the overwater villas have ladders that plunge right into the turquoise sea.
Visit: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
25. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Perched over the sparkling Indian Ocean, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island sets itself apart from the dozens of other gorgeous Maldivian resorts with distinct features like private pools, overwater villas and suites, and The Muraka — a one-of-kind overwater residence that incorporates living, dining and sleeping with 360-degree views. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island even has an overwater spa, so even if you don't book an overwater bungalow, you can still get that overwater experience.
Visit: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
24. Angsana Velavaru
When it comes to overwater bungalows, the Maldives is a paradise found. Throw a rock in any direction, and you'll hit an overwater bungalow. At Angsana Velavaru, the vibe is all about tranquility, endless views out to sea and that barefoot luxury style that has become iconic of the destination. The In Ocean Villas were some of the first "stand-alone" water villas in the archipelago. Perched on stilts, the villas have spacious terraces that are decked with sunbeds and hammocks. Some villas have rooftop pavilions that are perfect for spa treatments as well.
Visit: Angsana Velavaru
23. Song Saa Private Island
Song Saa Private Island takes idyllic island living to the next level. Perched on its own island off the coast of Cambodia, the luxury resort offers an all-inclusive concept, complete with overwater villas, an infinity pool, spa and water activities. Overwater villas feature private sundecks, sunken bathtubs, private pools and direct ocean access from the luxuriously decorated accommodations.
Visit: Song Saa Private Island
22. Soneva Jani
True to Maldivian form, Soneva Sushi provides a private, island-style experience smack in the middle of a vast stretch of turquoise-colored sea. The resort features 24 Water Retreats that have one to four bedrooms, all with private pools — and most have waterslides that feed directly into the lagoon. Extra touch? Check out the retractable roofs over the master bedrooms. The resort has 27 new Water Reserves, too, which are larger than the villas and include private pools and indoor-outdoor living space.
Visit: Soneva Jani
21. St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
The St. Regis brand is known for its impeccable design and service — and the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is no exception. Located on its own private island, the resort is surrounded by tropical foliage and ringed in powder-soft sand that edges its way into a tranquil, crystalline lagoon. The resort is home to 77 villas and suites, each of which has its own private pool, terrace, marble bathrooms and rainforest showers. Of the 77 villas, 44 are overwater villas, which afford unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean. The suite to beat here is the John Jacob Astor Estate, which is a three-bedroom Overwater Villa with its own private gym, movie theater and spa suites attached to each of the bedrooms.
Visit:St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
20. Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas
Epic views and next-level wellness are what set Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas apart from other world-class Maldivian resorts. Not far from the Male International Airport, these overwater villas are famous for their large terraces that have direct access to the picturesque lagoon. Each villa has its own living area and private bathroom. Other bungalows are peppered along the beachfront and also have private verandas and outdoor showers.
Visit: Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas
19. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort
Just off the coast of Vietnam, the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay features 58 villas in one of the most tropical and picturesque settings in Southeast Asia. Each of the villas has its own private plunge pool, sea views, wooden bathtubs and breakfast included. Water Pool Villas have direct access to the turquoise-colored sea, with steps that lead directly from the villas into the warm, languidly lapping water.
Visit: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort
18. Taj Coral Reef & Spa
What's not to love about a private island that is naturally shaped like a heart? Perched on its own island, the 62 thatched rooms of the Taj Coral Reef are absolutely stunning. The rooms are made up of Beach Villas, Water Villas and two-bedroom suites. The rooms to book here are the Premium Indulgence Water Villas, which are adjacent to the shore and have outdoor showers and ladders that plunge directly down into the sea.
Visit: Taj Coral Reef & Spa
17. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
Location: French Polynesia
It's difficult to do Bora Bora wrong, but you'll be doing the destination absolutely right with a stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa. With 80 overwater bungalows, this is one of the best places to stay in Bora Bora. Additional amenities include an infinity pool, gorgeous beach and 43,000-square-foot Thalasso Spa.
Visit: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
16. St. Regis Bora Bora
Location: French Polynesia
There are those hotels that you will only stay at once in a lifetime if you're lucky, and The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort happens to be one of them. The 44-acre resort, known for its 89 overwater and beachfront bungalows, is probably one of the most expensive (and glamorous) resorts in the world. The resort even features a Jean-Georges restaurant as well as a spa sponsored by Clarins.
Visit: St. Regis Bora Bora
15. El Dorado Maroma
Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Perched on one of the best beaches in Mexico, El Dorado Maroma was the first resort in the country to feature overwater bungalows. These 30 overwater casitas are part of an exclusive section of the resort connected by wooden footbridges. The bungalows have private infinity pools, private outdoor showers, glass-bottomed floors and direct ladders into the ocean. You'll also find an indoor hot tub for two, beach beds and access to an exclusive overwater restaurant.
Visit: El Dorado Maroma
14. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Another private island retreat in the Maldives — don't mind if we do! The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is another classic example of barefoot luxury in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The resort features 50 villas, 14 of which are water villas. Featuring 180-degree views of the ocean, a sun deck and direct access to the water, these are the top choices at an already over-the-top resort. For something truly spectacular, consider the Presidential Overwater Residence, which has its own infinity pool, three bedrooms, pool terrace, outdoor dining and direct access to the lagoon house reef.
Visit: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
13. Four Seasons Bora Bora
Location: French Polynesia
Back to Bora Bora, for one of the world's most glamorous and exclusive experiences — a stay at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. Four Seasons has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most luxurious hotel brands, and for good reason. The Four Seasons Bora Bora does not disappoint when it comes to crystalline water, lush mountain views and exclusive service. The overwater bungalows here have been recently refurbished. Some feature private plunge pools or spacious decks with direct access to the lagoon.
Visit: Four Seasons Bora Bora
12. Likuliku Lagoon Resort
What is magical about Likuliku Lagoon Resort is that it is evocative of an ancient island village, with its thatched roof buildings and Fijian canoe house focal point. The gorgeous resort sits on a sleepy, secluded bay surrounded by undulating lush mountains with views out over gorgeous turquoise water. The overwater rooms here, called Over-Water Bures, have private decks and bathing pavilions with lagoon views. A daily canapé plate is brought right to your doorstep, made for you to enjoy overlooking the marine sanctuary.
Visit: Likuliku Lagoon Resort
11. Cheval Blanc Randheli
By now you know just how spectacular the Maldives are and the level of accommodations you can find there. Cheval Blanc Randheli is yet another A-list option. The Water Villas here feature living rooms that look out over the crystal-clear waters. You'll find an overwater deck with a dining table and sunken benches as well as private infinity pools. These villas are 2,580 square feet — massive for any resort room, but especially a water bungalow.
Visit: Cheval Blanc Randheli
10. Hotel Palafitte
Location: Monruz, Switzerland
It may not be the typical setting for an overwater bungalow, but that does not make the experience at Hotel Palafitte any less luxurious. Perched on stilts over Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland, this is one of Europe's only overwater accommodations. The lakeside rooms all have sweeping views over the water, with deep soaking tubs that allow you to drink in the Alpine view from the bath.
Visit: Hotel Palafitte
9. Soneva Fushi
Soneva Fushi is simply stunning. From the moment you approach this tree-covered, white-sand island, you'll be transported to another world entirely. What you're booking here is one of the eight Water Retreats, which sit perched above a sparkling lagoon. Water retreats are spectacular overwater villas with private pools and waterslides into the sea. You'll also find sunken living areas, spiral staircases and private decks with ladders that enter directly into the lagoon.
Visit: Soneva Fushi
8. Rosewood Mayakoba
Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
When it comes to luxury in Mexico's Riviera Maya, you won't find anything better than Rosewood Mayakoba. This luxury enclave sits on a massive stretch of white-sand beach, and its 129 suites are the epitome of class. While the villas here are not perched about the ocean, they are perched over the mangrove canals that make Mayakoba particularly unique. The Lagoon Suites are scattered around the resort's lagoon and have private boat docks, where the resort's shuttle boat can pick you up and ferry you to other parts of the property.
Visit: Rosewood Mayakoba
7. COMO Cocoa Island
One of the original luxury resorts to open in the Maldives, COMO Cocoa Island still stands out as one of the best. The 33 water bungalows set the tone for this barefoot luxe island paradise. The resort features different styles of water bungalows, including the Loft, One-Bedroom, Dhoni, Dhoni Loft and sprawling Como Villas. What's neat about the Dhoni rooms is that they are built to resemble traditional dhoni boats.
Visit: COMO Cocoa Island
6. Vahine Island Île Privée Resort and Spa
Location: French Polynesia
Polynesia does not need any help in the posh department, but a stay at Vahine Island Île Privée Resort and Spa can certainly help. Located on a remote private island, the five-star, exclusive resort features nine beachfront and overwater bungalows that are tucked amid swaying palm trees. The overwater villas sit luxuriously above the sparkling lagoon. The 23-acre private island is a paradise for snorkeling, kayaking and romantic, highly curated experiences.
Visit: Vahine Island Île Privée Resort and Spa
5. Constance Prince Maurice
Off the coast of East Africa, you'll find the exclusive islands of Mauritius. This is where Constance Prince Maurice calls home. This luxurious island resort is small, boutique and decidedly glamorous with 89 rooms, gorgeous pools, a decadent spa and a floating restaurant and bar. The rooms to book here are the junior suites on stilts, which include a furnished wooden deck and views over the lagoon.
Visit: Constance Prince Maurice
4. AYADA Maldives
If it's not a private island, is it even the Maldives? Hardly! AYADA Maldives delivers the idyllic Maldivian vacation from its private island perch. Here, the Lagoon Suites are the showstoppers, with outdoor terraces over the ocean, plunge pools, outdoor showers and lagoon access. The resort features eight dining venues, serving everything from Mediterranean to teppanyaki. You'll even find an overwater wine cellar that can curate one of the most unique aquatic wine and cheese experiences around.
Visit: AYADA Maldives
3. Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses is a spectacular hotel brand, creating a barefoot luxury experience that is all about immersing in the local destination but with a five-star style. Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives is no different. Fringed in palm trees, the private island resort is surrounded by frolicking dolphin pods, peppered with overwater villas and dripping with luxe amenities. Book the stunning Sunset Laamu Water Villa for the absolute best evening views and a private pool with uninterrupted vistas. The suite even has a glass sunken bathtub with a view out to sea.
Visit: Six Senses Laamu
2. Gili Lankanfushi
If you're searching for top-tier resorts in the Maldives, you needn't look any further than Gili Lankanfushi. Widely considered to be one of the best resorts in the Maldives, this eco-conscious, boutique resort offers 45 villas that overlook the glimmering Indian Ocean. Overwater bungalows here are not the flashiest, but they are incredibly beautiful and private, scattered along the lagoon or off of the three jetties. The open-air designs have natural skylights, rooftop decks, dining spaces and direct access to the lagoon. Book one of the seven Crusoe Residences, which are only accessible by boat.
Visit: Gili Lankanfushi
1. Jumeirah Maldives, Olhahali Island
Here you have it — the best hotel for an overwater bungalow stay. This Maldivian resort is widely considered to be one of the best resorts in the world. Rising from the expansive ocean, the modern-style resort is chic, sleek and washed in white. The all-villa resort shows off its stunning architecture and contemporary design in the 67 beach and dove-water villas. Each villa has a private infinity pool and rooftop terrace as well as dining areas. Three-bedrooms villas even have their own personal gyms.
Visit: Jumeirah Maldives, Olhahali Island