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14 Best Overwater Bungalows in the World

Written by Shandley McMurray
Updated Jul 26, 2022

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Is there anything dreamier than staying in an overwater bungalow? Picture it, you're lying in a plush bed, listening to waves lap below your room as you watch a dolphin jump on the horizon. To cool off, you merely have to slip into the water from your private deck or take a dip in the plunge pool. Seriously, who's going to say "no" to that kind of luxurious beach holiday?

Luckily, the world is filled with overwater villas so gorgeous, they'll take your breath away and replace it with a sigh of utter relaxation. Whether you're looking for an adults-only resort where you can eat a floating breakfast in your pool, or a family-friendly retreat where kids can press their faces against a glass floor to watch fish swim by, there are plenty of overwater bungalow resorts that will turn your holiday into an unforgettable escape. All you have to do is get there.

Choose your next bucket list vacation with our list of the best overwater bungalows in the world.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Photo Source: Gili Lankanfushi
Photo Source: Gili Lankanfushi

Few do luxury better than Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives. A spot so stunning it will ruin other resorts for you, this picture-perfect retreat is deemed one of the best resorts in the Maldives for good reason. Once you see their breathtaking overwater bungalows, you'll never want to leave.

Picture a thatched-roof villa perched on stilts above the most vibrant turquoise sea. Inside, you'll find floor-to-ceiling windows that make the most of the stunning view, as well as a canopied bed with plush linens and a deep soaking tub. Outside lies a private plunge pool, sun deck, and sea hammock.

If that wasn't luxurious enough, up the ante with an incredibly expensive stay in the largest overwater villa in the world, The Private Reserve. Located right here at Gili Lankanfushi, this phenomenal villa will leave you speechless.

It features an open-plan, large sundecks, an infinity pool, gym, cinema, and a spa pavilion (with its own sauna and steam room). The slide that leads from the top floor to the translucent water below is a notable touch.

If a private holiday is what you're after, this overwater villa is just what you need. It stands over its own section of the lagoon and lies 500 meters from the main resort.

No matter which type of overwater villa you choose, you're in for a treat. They all come with Mr. Friday (named after Robinson Crusoe's loyal assistant) who is there to assist with your every need. Guests can expect service so spectacular; they'll forget what it was like to lift their own finger.

Also here are a pampering spa, numerous water sports, and tasty fare served at Kashiveli on the beach and By the Sea. Fini Foni offers refreshing, sweet treats.

Address: Lankanfushi Island, North Malé Atoll

Accommodation: Gili Lankanfushi

2. Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives

Photo Source: Cheval Blanc Randheli
Photo Source: Cheval Blanc Randheli

From the moment of your arrival at the resplendent Cheval Blanc Randheli, there's no disputing the fact that you've landed in the lap of luxury. Friendly staff members will rush to greet you, and their enthusiasm won't wane throughout your stay at this outstanding resort in the Maldives.

While the resort itself is a masterpiece of elegance featuring five restaurants, it's the overwater bungalows that will have you reaching for your camera. Known as the water villas, these striking retreats hover on stilts above the crystalline lagoon below.

In addition to walls of floor-to-ceiling windows that highlight the unbeatable views, these expansive 2,580-square-foot villas boast large infinity pools on overwater decks; double dressing rooms; and contemporary living rooms. Indoor and outdoor rain showers and a bathtub are also on hand.

Think that's opulent? The Cheval Blanc Spa is like nothing you've ever seen. This relaxing haven spans its own private island and boasts multiple treatment villas, as well as outdoor massage and yoga pavilions and a steam room. The Spa Bar is a favorite spot to spend a few hours, especially during sunset. This health-conscious retreat offers food you'll thank yourself for eating, an infinity pool, and remarkable views.

Address: Randheli Island

Accommodation: Cheval Blanc Randheli

3. Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, Maldives

Photo Source: Kudadoo Maldives Private Island
Photo Source: Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

Even seeing a photo of the lavish overwater bungalows at Kudadoo Maldives Private Island Resort is enough to make you quake with excitement. Once you're lucky enough to stay in the real thing, we promise you won't want to book anywhere else–ever again!

At this eco-conscious resort, you can rest assured knowing your sumptuous overwater villa is made from sustainable wood and other materials to reduce its environmental impact. The overwater decks are large and wonderful, boasting pools, sun beds, and a swing. The interior design is minimalist and contemporary, with many Maldivian touches, so you don't forget where you are.

Large, sliding doors transform the living and sleeping areas into an outdoor oasis that allows a refreshing sea breeze to tickle your face as you relax. As if that wasn't enough luxury, a private butler will see to your every need.

This is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Maldives. Guests can enjoy "anything, anytime, anywhere" during their stay at this exceptional resort. That means all food and beverages, as well as spa treatments, leisure, and wellness activities are included in your stay.

Address: Kudadoo Island, Lhaviyani Atoll

Accommodation: Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

4. Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Photo Source: Soneva Fushi
Photo Source: Soneva Fushi

There are only eight overwater bungalows at the impeccable Soneva Fushi resort. Each one offers guests a spectacular glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Whether you choose a one- or two-bedroom villa, you'll be greeted by sustainable yet elegant furnishings, first-class design, and an immense attention to detail.

From the moment you step foot on this desert hideaway on Kunfunadhoo Island, you'll be treated like royalty. You won't need to leave the privacy of your villa. They boast everything you need, from a large infinity pool to an overwater catamaran net to a picturesque patio offering unbeatable views.

They even feature an outdoor slide to take you straight into the clear Indian Ocean. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean you won't miss out on the impressive view, even on a rainy day. The resort's overwater villas also come with bicycles, outdoor showers and bathtubs, butler service, and a sunken seating area.

Healthy meals featuring fresh, local ingredients can be enjoyed at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, and feature a variety of cuisines, including plant-based, Japanese, Asian, and Mediterranean. Or go a bit wild and choose to dine at Once Upon a Table, a culinary theater experience for eight that allows the chef to create whatever he or she wants while you watch the magic unfold.

The Den is a haven for children and teens, and boasts two pools, a pirate ship, and a cinema, among other fun-filled attributes. All-day, free ice cream is another perk that'll have the kids eating out of your hands. Watch a movie al fresco, learn about the stars from the resident astronomer, or head out on a snorkel tour with a marine biologist – your family will never get bored at this unbeatable resort.

Tip: So Guilty is where you'll find the sweets you've been craving: truffles and pralines and chocolates, oh my!

Address: Kunfunadhoo Island Baa Atoll, Maldives

Accommodation: Soneva Fushi

5. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, Bora Bora

Photo Source: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Photo Source: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort boasts the largest overwater bungalows in the South Pacific, and if that wasn't enough to sell you on a stay, just wait until you see the glamorous surroundings. We're talking postcard-worthy, sugar-white sandy beaches; tall, waving palm trees; and thatched roof buildings that ooze both charm and luxury.

The view from the private patio of your overwater bungalow will take your breath away, replacing it with a relaxed sigh. Crystalline turquoise water laps gently around and below your overwater villa, begging you to take a dip off your dock. No wonder this has been dubbed one of the best resorts in Bora Bora.

Inside, you'll find plush furnishings and a bathroom fit for royalty – it comes complete with Italian marble and a bathtub beside giant windows that can be opened to your hidden garden. The bungalow's highlight is a glass-paneled floor offering glimpses of the sea life below.

As for the resort itself, you'll be wowed by staff so friendly, you'll feel immediately welcome; a spa so serene, you'll have trouble tearing yourself away from the treatment rooms; and five restaurants serving food so delicious, you'll beg for seconds. The Lagoon by Jean-Georges is a particular delight for gastronomes.

Bring the children along if you're hoping to score extra parent points. They'll love the activities organized by the kids' club; the Lagoonarium; and child-sized robes, slippers, and treats available in the villa. A personal butler will help take the stress out of vacation worries like packing and unpacking and getting a morning coffee or tea.

Address: Motu Ome'e BP 506, Bora Bora

Accommodation: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

6. Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island, Maldives

Photo Source: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
Photo Source: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island

Once known as the LUX* North Malé Atoll Resort & Villas, the Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island resort made sure to keep the impressively lavish two-story overwater villas from its predecessor.

Rooftop patios, private plunge pools, and glass floors help guests make the most of their magnificent surroundings. There's also a private infinity pool, outdoor lounge area, and outdoor shower on hand to aid in blissful relaxation.

One of the most beautiful resorts in the Maldives, this is the place to be if you're looking for an extravagant vacation. It's also packed with fun for the entire family. Complimentary sports like canoeing, windsurfing, paddle boating, and paddleboarding are on offer, as are motorized water sports like waterskiing and flyboarding, for a fee. Kids' and teens' clubs are on hand to keep the younger crowd entertained.

Set off on a culinary adventure while eating foods from around the world at the resort's main restaurants, Glow, Kayto, and Shimmers. You can also book a floating breakfast in your private pool or enjoy a cool treat at the Gelateria.

Address: Olhahali, North Malé Atoll

Accommodation: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island

7. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Photo Source: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Photo Source: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

This Bora Bora gem tops our list of the best overwater bungalows in the world. At this five-star Four Seasons Resort, you can expect top-notch service (we see you, chilled towels and fresh fruit by the pool) and impeccable surroundings.

The overwater bungalow suites feature either lagoon or mountain views; oversized, deep soaking tubs; unobstructed vistas; and private decks that lead to the crystalline water below. Upgrade to a specialty overwater bungalow with a plunge pool for added luxury. Over 1,000 square feet larger than the suites, these overwater villas feature private infinity pools in addition to the amenities mentioned earlier.

Grab a snorkel to explore the underwater nirvana below your room, head out on a kayak or catamaran, or play a game of tennis or badminton in your free time. If you can't leave the office behind, spend a bit of time in the business center to get things finished so you can get back to the reasons you came: sun, sand, and surf.

Send little ones to the Kids for All Seasons club, so you can enjoy some alone time. They'll be happily entertained while a trip to the Te Mahana Spa will reinvigorate and relax you. A bonus: massages can be enjoyed while you watch fish swim below the glass floor.

Grab a bite at one of the four gourmet restaurants, each of which serves tasty fare worthy of a second helping.

Address: Motu Tehotu BP 547, Bora Bora

Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

8. Conrad Bora Bora Nui, Bora Bora

Photo Source: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Photo Source: Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Welcome to the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, an overwater bungalow resort so luxuriant, it's favored by celebs. This five-star masterpiece doesn't come cheap, but the lavish accommodations and enticing activities are more than worth the hefty price tag. The main pool, complete with in-water lounge chairs, is so gorgeous, you'll gasp in delight.

The overwater villas are where it's at if you're hoping to up your vacation game to the high-class level. These stunning bungalows feature over 1,000 square feet of tranquil bliss. Bluetooth speakers; a massive, airy bathroom; and private terrace make it easy to unwind. Book a pool overwater villa if you'd like to enjoy the lagoon view from the comfort of your own infinity plunge pool. Lounging in the overwater hammocks is a must!

A fab kids' club, popular water activities, mountain and lagoon views, and picture-perfect white beaches make this one of the best resorts in French Polynesia. Have breakfast or dinner at the open-air Iriatai restaurant. Meals can also be enjoyed at the more upscale Banyan or the beachside Tamure Beach Grill, or you can enjoy a quick snack at the Tarava Pool Bar or Upa Upa Lounge.

Address: BP 502 Vaitape, Bora Bora

Accommodation: Conrad Bora Bora Nui

9. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort, Vietnam

Photo Source: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort
Photo Source: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort

A family-friendly wonderland awaits visitors to Vietnam's Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort. Sandwiched between a white sandy beach, lush tropical forest, and towering mountains, this fantastical spot is a mecca for nature lovers.

While this unique resort features rock pool villas and hilltop escapes, it's the dramatic Water Villas that leave you speechless. Perched upon rock formations at the water's edge, these split-level villas boast a plunge pool; private deck; outdoor shower; and an exquisite, handmade wooden bathtub set before floor-to-ceiling windows.

The more exclusive two-story, three-bedroom Water Reserve can only be accessed by a walkway or speedboat, enhancing the feeling of tranquility. It features a separate living/dining room, and each of the bedrooms comes in its own separate bungalow with a bathroom. In addition to the amenities found in the other Water Villas, you'll also find a kid-pleasing waterslide leading from the top floor to the pool.

The dining options are varied and include poolside options, as well as dinner in a cave, an open-air bay side restaurant, and an eatery perched on the rocks overlooking Ninh Van Bay. There's a spa, of course, and activities ranging from hiking to yoga to kayaking to SUPing to cooking classes.

Address: Ninh Van B ay, Ninh Van, Ninh Hoa, Vietnam

Accommodation: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort

10. Angsana Velavaru, Maldives

Photo Source: Angsana Velavaru
Photo Source: Angsana Velavaru

Barefoot luxury reigns supreme at the Angsana Velavaru, a five-star resort in the Maldives. Set on the beautiful South Nilandhe Atoll, this luxurious resort offers spectacular sunset views, stellar service, an enchanting spa, and 34 InOcean Villas.

Towering on stilts, these overwater villas are the cream of the veritable crop in this five-star sliver of paradise. They offer sunrise or sunset views, depending on their location, a private infinity pool, a large outdoor terrace, overwater hammocks, and a rooftop pavilion. Grab a snorkel and jump off your deck for easy access to the resort's impressive coral reefs.

Guests can choose from five different all-inclusive packages to cater to their exact needs. Tip: For a unique and photo-worthy dining experience, book a floating breakfast to enjoy in your pool.

Complimentary daily snorkeling trips are offered, as are paddleboarding, catamaran, and wakeboarding adventures (for a fee). Other complimentary activities include coral planting, stingray feedings, a drumming concert, aqua polo, and outdoor movies. The Rangers' Club for kids is a big hit with both children and parents.

Address: South Nilandhe Atoll, Maldives

Accommodation: Angsana Velavaru

11. Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

Photo Source: Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Photo Source: Likuliku Lagoon Resort

A stay in an overwater bungalow at the five-star Likuliku Lagoon Resort is akin to living in paradise. Authentically designed, the 10 overwater bures are so beautifully traditional, you won't forget you're in Fiji.

Surrounded by a dramatic azure ocean lagoon, lush forest, and the brightest of blue skies, this is literally the place where dreams are made. Did we mention they have a spa to help soothe those aching muscles? Told you this is paradise!

No kids are allowed at this adults-only resort, which means you'll have your luxurious overwater villa all to yourselves. Lounge on your private deck, enjoy an almost outdoor bath, or relax in your complimentary sarong while admiring the unforgettable view.

Another bonus of staying in this idyllic retreat: it's all-inclusive, which means your food and non-motorized water sports are complimentary. A daily canapé plate and Friday cocktail party are also part of your package.

The resort is surrounded by a protected marine sanctuary boasting a vibrant coral reef teeming with marine life. Borrow snorkel equipment for an underwater adventure.

With these extensive amenities mixed with beauty and first-class service, it's no wonder Likuliku has been deemed one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Fiji.

Address: Malolo Island, Fiji

Accommodation: Likuliku Lagoon Resort

12. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, Bora Bora

Photo Source: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Photo Source: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

A stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is one you won't forget. One of the most romantic resorts in Bora Bora, this opulent stunner is a haven for couples who love to be pampered. The view is as spectacular as you'd expect from a top luxury resort: bright turquoise water, the towering Mount Otemanu, and verdant gardens make up the idyllic backdrop for a sumptuous tropical vacation.

It's the magnificent overwater bungalows, though, that will really have you begging to stay. These deluxe villas hover above a lagoon so bright, you'll have to wear sunglasses to truly enjoy its beauty at midday.

Inside, the king-size beds boast spectacular views, as do the large living areas. That's all thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, you'll find overwater decks with pools, comfy lounge areas, and stairs leading to a platform above the water. For the best view of both the lagoon and Mount Otemanu, book one of the Villas Teremoana.

The Thalasso spa integrates nutrients from the sea into its Polynesian-inspired treatments, and the glass-bottomed cabins means you can watch fish swim below the table as you enjoy a massage. It doesn't get much more relaxing than that!

When it comes time to eat, there are three main restaurants to choose from, each offering delectable dishes worthy of the high price tag.

Address: Motu Piti Aau, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Accommodation: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

13. AYADA Maldives

Photo Source: AYADA Maldives
Photo Source: AYADA Maldives

Welcome to your virtual tour of an overwater villa at the decadent AYADA Maldives resort. Picture this: you're lying on an ocean hammock gazing at an ocean so crystal clear, you can see the vibrant marine life with your own eyes. Waves gently roll below as a warm breeze tickles your face.

Feeling a bit hot, you decide to cool off with a quick dip in your private plunge pool, which is located just off the wooden deck of your tiki-roofed overwater bungalow. Next, you wander through your living room, stopping to admire the fish swimming below the glass floor panel. You then head through the bathroom to a blissful outdoor shower. Not bad, huh?

While most choose to bike around the private island, one call to your personal butler means a ride will arrive within minutes to take you where you'd like to go. The restaurants are varied (in location and cuisine), which means you can dine everywhere from the beach to the pool to the tropical forest, on everything from fresh seafood to teppanyaki to pasta.

The Ottoman Lounge offers authentic Turkish coffees and specialty teas served in traditional silver as you sit in low seats. If you want a dining experience you'll never forget, try a floating tray breakfast delivered straight to your private pool (on a floating tray, of course). Or book a tropical breakfast, which you can enjoy in the shallow water of the white sandy beach.

When it comes time to play, you won't be disappointed. AYADA is a top surfing destination. Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, heading out on boat cruises, and dolphin-spotting trips are only a few of the activities guests enjoy.

The ZUZUU kids' club is another hit, especially with parents who would like to take a few moments to enjoy things like a quiet walk on the beach, a spa treatment, or an uninterrupted nap by the pool.

Address: Magudhuva Island, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives

Accommodation: AYADA Maldives

14. El Dorado Maroma, Mexico

Photo Source: El Dorado Maroma
Photo Source: El Dorado Maroma

When most people think of overwater villas, they picture a bucket list destination like the Maldives, not Mexico. That's why the gorgeous palafitos (a.k.a. overwater bungalows) at El Dorado Maroma come as such a pleasant surprise.

Nestled under a thatched roof and sitting high above the deep blue Caribbean waves, these 30 luxurious villas exude romance and opulence at every turn. A private pool, glass paneled floor, elegant furnishings, and expansive decks make these overwater bungalows the most coveted of accommodations. They hover just offshore from the pristine Maroma Beach.

These exclusive villas come with butler service, a ladder for easy access to the ocean, a hot tub, outdoor shower, customized beach picnics, daily in-bungalow breakfast, two beach beds, and in-bungalow pre-dinner drinks and snacks. You're guaranteed a passion-filled, serene vacation at this all-inclusive, adults-only Mexican resort.

The Overwater Grill is a must-see, even if you aren't hungry (which isn't likely). The floors are made of glass, so guests feel as if they're swimming in the sea as they dine. You don't have to worry about how much you eat, as this resort offers a Gourmet Inclusive® experience, which includes beverages, meals, and activities.

Address: Carretera Federal Cancun-Tulum, Playa Maroma, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Accommodation: El Dorado Maroma

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