Ever since our trip to Bora Bora we have been dreaming about visiting other water villas or Overwater Bungalows Around the World. Waking up to the sounds of water lapping gently on the stilts, enjoying a morning coffee or mimosa watching the tropical fishes, spending lazy days on the sandy beaches, and waiting for epic sunsets from the solitude of the private water bungalow balcony …sounds magical, doesn’t it! Spending a few days on the water villas strung like pearl necklaces onto dreamy atolls, seemingly afloat on the turquoise ocean makes you feel like you are in paradise whether you are on a honeymoon, babymoon, or familymoon!
Most of the water villas or overwater bungalows around the world are located in the Maldives. The huge group of tropical atolls and islands has more than 80 water villa resorts alone, and its location just southwest of India makes it easy to reach for anyone from Europe or Asia, but is a trek from the Americas but ohh totally worth the trip! There are other water villa resorts in Asia as well – in Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and there are even a few in the Caribbean.
Bucketlist worthy Overwater Bungalows Around the World
1. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
The Gili Lankanfushi Maldives is located on Lankanfushi Island – its own private island, which is 12 kilometers north of the Malé International Airport in the Maldives. If you are looking for the finest overwater resort in the world, you’ve arguably just found it.
The Gili Lankanfushi Maldives – formerly known as Soneva Gili by Six Senses, features a total of 45 water villas exclusively, eight of which are only accessible by boat. Apart from the water villas, they have “Crusoe Residences” stand alone in the Indian Ocean, secluded for total privacy and “Private Reserve” villa, which is the largest overwater villa in the world, by far, located even further out into the lagoon. This often tops the list of luxury Overwater Bungalows Around the World.
To reach the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives you’ll need to fly to the main Malé International Airport in the Maldives. From there you’ll be met by resort staff and put on a private boat for the 20-minute speedboat ride to the hotel’s island.
6 Other top overwater villas in the Maldives:
There are more than a few hundred resorts and overwater bungalows in the Maldives. But if you are looking for that bucketlist worthy resorts frequented by the rich and famous in the Maldives, here are 6 of best overwater bungalow resorts.
- Baros Maldives, an award-winning boutique luxury resort
- Reethi Rah by One & Only
- Adult only Huvafen Fushi
- Anantara Kihavah is just 35 minutes by seaplane by looks worlds away
- Located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi is one of the most luxurious villa resorts in the Maldives. It is an intelligent luxury resort with sustainable design and a super cool ocean slide.
- Looking for a sustainable luxury resort in the Maldives, then Six Senses Laamu is where you should go. You will be surrounded by clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches.
2. Conrad Maldives (Great for Families)
Conrad Maldives has about 70 villas and located in Rangali Island located in the Alif Atoll, approximately 96 kilometers west of the main island of Malé in the Maldives. Once you fly into Malé International Airport in the Maldives, you’ll board a seaplane for the 30-minute flight to the small island where the resort lies.
Part of a 5-star resort division of the Hilton Hotels group, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island offers great value in the luxury class of resorts. All water villas here are large or huge, and all are well equipped with luxury amenities that you’d expect in a top-end Hilton hotel. You might want to go there just for a memorable meal at Ithaa, an undersea restaurant.
There is a Kids’ Club here, plus even a Kids’ Spa, so everyone can stay active and even get pampered a bit. There is also a tennis court and a large infinity swimming pool in addition to the many water sports activities on offer. The Conrad Maldives Rangali gets for families.
We made it to the Maldives but we didn’t make it to Conrad, Maldives. See 9 Reasons why we love Taj Maldvies
3. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
We have been to Bora Bora and Moorea, I’m still keeping French Polynesia on the bucket list. Since there are a couple more resorts like the Brando and Four Seasons Bora Bora that I would love to visit. If you’ve seen photos of thatched-huts on stilts overlooking a clear lagoon with striking green mountains behind them, you will understand the allure of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. After a 50-minute flight from Tahiti, you’ll reach this island group featuring 10 overwater-bungalow resorts.
Although advertised as a honeymoon destination, Bora Bora is perfect for familymoons as well. See our trip and Family Guide to Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora
Because of its stunning scenery and accessibility to Papeete, Moorea is visited by many western tourists who travel to French Polynesia. Just like Bora Bora, Moorea is a popular honeymoon destination. The water is a shade of turquoise blue that is hard not to fall in love with, but the explosion of velvet green mountains jutting out of the ocean will have you visiting over and over again.
Not exactly a water bungalow, The Brando, in the private island Tetiaroa, French Polynesia is a unique luxury resort that breathtakingly beautiful on the edge of the water and midst of pristine nature and worth adding to this list!
4. Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Enveloped by lush tropical greenery and azure blue ocean, Bawah Reserve sits in sheltered seclusion some 160 nautical miles northeast of Singapore in Indonesia’s remote Anambas Archipelago. Surrounded by clear turquoise waters, blue lagoons and coral reefs, this pristine and previously uninhabited marine conservation area cater to outdoor adventurers as well as paradise seekers looking for relaxation.
Bawah offers the sustainable luxury with their 11 Overwater Bungalows that enjoy splendid vistas over the lagoon and outer islands, with six suites catching the sunrise in the east, and five perfect for a sunset in the west.
To get there, you will fly from Batam airport, on their private plane. The ride should take about 80-minutes to arrives on water, in the beautiful lagoon.
5. El Nido Resorts in the Philippines
Our favorite El Nido resorts would be the El Nido Miniloc featuring just 5 water villas and no other rooms, which is quite a breathtaking location on its own island.
This eco-resort has a long list of water sports and activities available, so as long as the kids and families are looking for an escape in paradise, you can’t go wrong. There’s no TV or entertainment system, so this is ideal for families looking to escape the modern world. Since there are three El Nido resorts close to each other, you can choose to stay at more than one of them.
The El Nido Apulit Island Resort is located on a small private island just north of the island of Palawan in the Philippines. To reach the Apulit Island Resort you’ll need to fly to Manila and then take a short flight to the town of Taytay. From there you’ll get ground transportation to the jetty, and then a 75-minute ferry ride to the resort itself. Always a long trip to get to these Overwater Bungalows Around the World.
6. Coral Lodge in San Blas Islands in Panama
With just 6 overwater bungalows plus two restaurants and a spa, the Coral Lodge is a boutique resort in a secluded part of the San Blas Islands in Panama. The bare-bones and eco-friendly approach means there is no TVs or internet here, so a distraction-free vacation is nearly guaranteed. Coral Lodge is located west of El Porvenir along a secluded stretch of the Caribbean coast.
Coral Lodge has something for everyone from mangrove and river kayaking, jungle hikes, sport fishing and moonlit strolls to horse riding along deserted beaches and scuba diving. Only 2 miles from the resort, is an extensive unexplored pristine reef known as “Baja Escribano.” An underwater wilderness of untouched corals, sponges and a variety of marine life. With rainforest and coral reefs at your doorstep, there is so much to explore and wildlife waiting to be discovered.
Navigating the Panama Canal alongside towering cargo vessels is an unforgettable experience. After which you can take light aircraft flight from Panama City to the San Blas Islands and Mamitupo airstrip. From here you can arrange for transfers to your Coral lodge.
7. Pulo Cinta Eco Resort in Indonesia
A small eco-resort that features only overwater villas, the Pulo Cinta Eco Resort in Indonesia offers snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities on a private island reef. Alongside the reef is a small sandy area (beach) that you can enjoy your afternoons on if you don’t want to be in the water the entire duration of your trip.
The rooms here are all situated over the water, with a long private boardwalk that stretches to each and every single one. This means that you’ll have plenty of privacy as your neighbor is not directly next to you.
Accommodations come in three classes, 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedrooms which is perfect for families or bigger groups. You will begin your trip with a flight to Jalaluddin Airport, Gorontalo Province of Sulawesi where an exclusive airport pick-up will be waiting for your arrival and ready to take you further into an exciting journey to Pulo Cinta.
8. Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia
The Song Saa Private Island Resort has 9 water villas that bring a new scale of luxury to the Cambodian market. The location is a convenient 30-minute boat ride from the Sihanoukville Airport, yet the setting is extremely private and exclusive once you arrive. Each water villa has a private pool and the entire resort operates on an all-inclusive basis so it’s better value than you might realize, especially considering the excellent kitchen. There are 18 garden and beach villas that are also impressive.
9. Marriott Momi Bay in Fiji
Although it is set on a man-made lagoon, the Marriott Momi Bay is Fiji’s luxury, 5 star resort featuring elegant bure villas with unrivaled lagoon and ocean views in a serene setting at pristine Momi Bay. Intriguing dining options and three large swimming pools, including an adults-only pool, a swim-up bar and a children’s pool. It looks like the perfect setting for a tropical paradise. Located on the western coast of Viti Levu, it is only a 45-minute drive from Nadi International airport. Man-made lagoon or not this resort still makes our bucketlist of Overwater Bungalows around the World.
10. Thatch Caye Resort in Belize (Cheapest Overwater Bungalow)
Located on a private-island hideaway nine miles off the coast of Belize is Thatch Caye. It is a hidden gem and has been around for many years. While this overwater bungalow is not like the other luxury resorts on this list, but if you’re looking to get back to nature and off the grid, this is it.
There are 5 Premier Overwater Bungalows that are built on stilts out over the ocean with 180° views of distant islands. There a few other smaller water villas as well. While the premier bungalows do have air conditioning, everything is run by wind and solar power. You will find hammocks, private baths, and bamboo ceilings. The dinners at the restaurant are served communally, that way you can exchange stories after an afternoon snorkeling in the world’s second-largest barrier reef.
Bucketlist worthy Overwater Bungalows Near the USA
Most of the best water villas or overwater bungalows around the world seem to be in the Maldives but there are a few overwater bungalows near the USA in the Caribbean and Mexico!
11. Rosewood Mayakoba near Playa del Carmen in Mexico
Located in a special compound near Playa del Carmen – 40 miles south of Cancun, the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort has 18 Deluxe Overwater Suites perched above its mangrove lagoon. Each of these suites is nearly 1,000 square feet, and comes with a heated plunge pool and a wide array of modern luxury amenities.
Definitely the closest thing to the overwater bungalows in the Caribbean, this resort also has oceanview rooms and other luxury suites. And it is also one of the highest rated in all of Mexico. Unlike the other Overwater Bungalows Around the World, the location is less than an hour away from the Cancun Airport, so it’s far more convenient to reach than any of the other resorts on the list.
We have been to Cancun and Cabo in Mexico (See this post for a visit to the Mayan Ruins) a few times but haven’t been to Rosewood Mayakoba yet and it is still on our bucket list.
12. Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica (Adults only)
This adults only watervillas that form the shape of a heart over the tropical Caribbean water is truly unique. Opened in December 2016 at this ultra-luxurious Sandals all-inclusive resort is close to the USA than most other water bungalows. Each of the 17 overwater bungalows come with a private pool, jacuzzi, glass floors, and a personal butler. Because of all of the luxuries found in each and every room, you’ll find that this resort is one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean, with room rates to match. Isn’t it one of the most romantic overwater villa layouts!
13. El Dorado Maroma in Riviera Maya, Mexico (Adults only)
El Dorado Maroma is a new resort that has 30 adult-only overwater rooms. Not only are the water villas adult only, but they also come with a long list of amenities including a large bed, entertainment system, mini bar, sitting area and a private deck with steps leading straight into the ocean. In addition, guests will also find a rather large glass floor cutout in each suite that allows you to view ocean creatures below without every having to go into the water.
Outside of the rooms, El Dorado Maroma Resort features a spa, various dining choices via restaurants and bars, various activities, including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, beach volleyball and much, much more.
14. Sandals Grande St. Lucian, St. Lucia (Adults only)
The first of its kind on the island, the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort is an oasis for those looking for an overwater villa vacation without having to travel to the South Pacific. Within each overwater bungalow, you’ll find a glass floor panel for viewing underwater sea life from the comfort of your chair and a private soaking tub.
With all the little extras such as the resort’s pillow menu and a refrigerator stocked with water, soda and juice selections, you will never have to leave the room. There are 9 overwater villas and 300 rooms and suites. From snorkeling and scuba diving to paddle boarding and hydrobikes, the resort offers fun water activities for couples. Add this to your wishlist if you are looking to holiday in an overwater bungalows near the USA!
15. Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Resort in Orlando (Perfect for families)
This resort evokes the languid spirit of the South Pacific right here in Orlando, Florida. Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows Resort is a great option for family vacations with an island vibe and an excellent option for families visiting Orlando and its theme parks.
The resort houses 360 deluxe studios as well as 20 overwater villas. The best part is, at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows Resort each villa is able to sleep up to 8 people and come complete with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a full kitchen. This overwater bungalow in the US is perfect for multigenerational vacations too! At night, you can watch Magic Kingdom’s firework show from the privacy of your own balcony.
Updated January 2020
All these water villas are a ‘Postcard destination’ for sure, which Overwater Bungalows Around the World are you dreaming of? Are there any other water bungalow destinations that you would add to this list?
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