Overwater bungalows are a staple in luxury travel destinations. However, few vacations can top the excitement and romance of overwater bungalows. With your private island, clear water just beneath you, and breathtaking sunsets outside from your stilted accommodations, this is a vacation like no other.
If you’re considering taking your next vacation to an overwater bungalow, you must know what to expect and how to prepare for this type of stay. In this post, we’ll discuss everything about these accommodations so that you can make the best decision possible for your trip!
What Are Overwater Bungalows?
An overwater bungalow is a luxury accommodation built on stilts over the water. A hotel room is that: They are located over water, typically showcasing a tranquil view. You can find these in many locations worldwide (such as Fiji, Indonesia, India).
Related: The World’s Best New Luxury Hotels
What Are the Benefits of Staying in One?
The benefits of staying in an overwater bungalow are many. These bungalows, built above water, have unique views, as well as plenty of space to relax in. Some people even say that these accommodations make you feel like royalty because they’re so lavish!
Why Should You Consider Overwater Bungalows?
Every person should experience a luxury overwater bungalow at least once in their lifetime. The benefits of doing so are many; one thing is for sure: you won’t find any other place with the stunning views as those found from these amazing accommodations.
Imagine waking up and falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. You’ll feel like you’re experiencing a brand-new type of relaxation because your body and mind can relax in such an environment.
Which Hotels Have Overwater Bungalows?
Overwater bungalows are becoming more and more popular. Currently, there are around 225 overwater resorts worldwide as of mid-2020, with more than 8,300 total overwater villas.
There are now 130 overwater bungalows in the Maldives, with Bora Bora and Tahiti (in French Polynesia) among the most famous. A few resorts are starting to open in Hawaii, but those are very rare.
Why Are They So Expensive?
Overwater bungalows are notorious for being expensive, but why is that the case? For starters, they are considered luxury accommodation and, as such, priced accordingly.
In addition to being more expensive to build than standard hotel rooms, many standalone units are not family-friendly. Moreover, the cost to stay in these villas fluctuates depending on seasonality as well.
Who Should Consider Overwater Bungalows?
If you are looking for isolation or utter seclusion, staying at an overwater bungalow will be for you. The privacy you will find is unparalleled by any other type of accommodation. Staying in an overwater bungalow is one of the best places to visit in December for couples, experiencing all the festivities of the month while having the utmost privacy.
A traditional feature of overwater bungalows is the private pool, most times an infinity pool, on the terrace overlooking the ocean. Some may consider this a pointless extravagance considering that you can enjoy some of the world’s best water just feet below you already. But many welcome unparalleled privacy.
The Pros of Staying in an Overwater Bungalow
The bungalows are ultra-luxe havens, and you won’t want to leave! One of the big draws of overwater bungalows is that they feature a window in the floor so you can watch the underwater marine show.
The location, weather, and tides will all affect the view in the floor window.
One of the benefits of overwater bungalows is lounge chairs on your deck with exceptional views. It’s easy to access everything you brought with you, too, because the sunning area is right near your door.
The swim platform is an integral part of the bungalow and one that any kid-at-heart can enjoy. There is no need to worry about splashing anyone or disrupting anyone’s tanning session.
A premium experience for travelers is a stay at an overwater bungalow. Spending your time in paradise with the ocean as your backyard gives guests an incomparable vacation.
Stargazing is excellent, with possibly the best sunset views. Who wouldn’t love splurging on a bottle of champagne and enjoying the setting sun together while sharing romantic moments?
The Cons of Staying in an Overwater Bungalow
While most guests rave about overwater bungalows, there are some drawbacks. Some people may prefer more privacy or visit a resort’s amenities without having to step off the property into the water to do so. If you’re one of these people, then an over-water bungalow might not be for you.
Many hotels offering overwater bungalows are on secluded islands or spits of land, meaning that they have a limited number of restaurants. As a result, many of the resorts offer an incredibly tranquil experience without many recreational options.
The bungalows are generally built in a curvilinear pattern into the ocean, so it’s possible to see other guests in the water and on their balconies. There will also be times when you might be the only guest outside.
What is the Cost Per Night?
The cost for a stay in an overwater bungalow can vary depending upon location and seasonality, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 for a one-night stay and up. The overwater bungalows are considered luxury accommodations.
Where Can I Find the Best Deals?
Overwater bungalows are expensive, and most cost upwards of $1000 a night. However, you can find lower prices in Columbia, Panama, or Belize. One of the cheapest we found was Oa Oa lodge in Bora Bora for just USD 260 per night.
What Should I Bring for My Stay in an Overwater Bungalow?
The most important thing to remember about staying in an overwater bungalow is that you will likely have a long walk to the rest of the resort. So, keeping that in mind, you will want to make sure you pack the essentials.
Bring a variety of clothes, toiletries, and your camera.
Pack extra sunscreen, as you will be outside on your private deck. Bug spray may come in handy depending on the season in which you are vacationing. Pack a portable charger so your camera and phones don’t run out of battery from all the photos you will take.
10 of the Best Overwater Bungalows
Setting foot in an overwater bungalow, one can’t help but feel like they have escaped the world and stepped into a private paradise. From the thatched roofs to outdoor showers through spellbinding views of azure waters–there’s nothing quite like it! We have found the best overwater bungalows from all around Tahiti, Fiji, Bora Bora, and beyond in our search for these mystical gems. Here are our top picks:
- The Four Seasons Bora Bora overwater bungalow is an experience like no other. Complete with a private deck and serene views over the lagoon, this overwater bungalow has it all. You don’t even have to leave your room to indulge in overwater dining; it can be delivered right to your overwater bungalow.
- Six Senses Laamu, Maldives is one of the most luxurious overwater bungalows in the Maldives, a stay at Six Senses is an experience like no other. Recline on your overwater platform and watch as the sun sets over crystal clear waters–pure paradise.
- Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa, Antigua is a stunning overwater resort in Antigua. Some perks include mixologist service on your private deck while watching the sunset over the water and access to your own yoga instructor.
- Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius overwater bungalow is a perfect overwater hideaway. This 60-acre resort in Mauritius is one of the few overwater overwaters in Africa. The private deck and outdoor shower will leave you feeling like your own personal beachside retreat!
- Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam, may be difficult to get to, but the overwater bungalow at this resort is well worth the journey. Many of the villas are set among large boulders and offer private overwater platforms with unbeatable views.
- El Dorado Maroma by Karisma, Mexico overwater bungalow will leave you feeling like royalty with its overwater “palace” complete with a private deck. This adults-only resort is one of the most luxurious overwaters we have found–definitely not for those on a budget!
- Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia, has colorful reefs, lush rainforest, and overwater bungalows on this private island with 27 villas. It is the ideal getaway for those who want to escape their hectic lives and live like royalty for a few days.
- Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia, overwater bungalows are a tropical oasis. These overwater villas are surrounded by the clearest waters and feature an extra-large private deck. There are also four restaurants on the resort to choose from if you decide to leave your villa.
- Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji overwater bungalows are located on the Likuliku Lagoon, surrounded by clear water and lush gardens. This adults-only resort offers some of the most breathtaking views from their private decks and is a haven for honeymooners.
- Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort, Tahiti overwater bungalows are a luxury overwater retreat. They offer amazing views and easy access to the lagoon without having to venture far from your room, and the hammocks on the private deck are a perfect place to relax and unwind.
Related: 25 Romantic Getaways in the U.S.
Five Affordable Overwater Bungalows
If you’ve always dreamed about vacationing in an overwater bungalow but don’t want to break your bank account, we found five relatively low-cost options. Even those with modest budgets can enjoy it.
- Anthony’s Key Resort – Roatan, Honduras is located on the beautiful island of Roatan in Honduras. This family-run resort caters to a wide variety of travelers, and rates start around $600 per night.
- St. George’s Caye Resort – Belize is located on a private island in Belize with overwater bungalows and rooms overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The overwater bungalow rates start around $500 per night, with premium overwaters starting at $750 per night.
- Royal Huahine Resort – Huahine, French Polynesia, is just a quick plane ride from Tahiti and provides one of the best values for overwater bungalows worldwide. The villas start around $300 per night, with overwaters starting at $600 per night.
- Azul Paradise Resort – Panama is located on the Caribbean Side of Panama in a private overwater location that provides a truly authentic experience being one of the area’s best-kept secrets. The overwater rates start around 4000 per night.
- Holiday Inn Resort – Vanuatu sits on a private island with direct access to the lagoon. Holiday Inn is known for its budget-friendly accommodations, and this resort is no exception. Overwater bungalows start at around $300 per night.
If you’re considering taking your next vacation to an overwater bungalow, you must know what to expect and how to prepare for this type of stay. With your own private island, clear water just beneath you, and breathtaking sunsets outside from your stilted accommodations, this is a vacation like no other.
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and the co-owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more.
You can follow her travel adventures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.