Just imagine waking up to the soothing sounds of lapping waters and open your eyes only to see that those sounds are resonating from the calm aqua waters that you're casually floating over. You get up and grab your swim suit, then you take about ten steps to your patio and take one more little step down into a world of exotic fish, crystal clear water and the sun shimmering through the waves. You climb back out of the water, onto your own private patio and have a breakfast of fresh fruit and champagne on a glass table with those same waters, those same fish, all alive and flowing beneath your feet. Then you think to yourself, now this is paradise.
If this all sounds like your cup of tea, then you'll want to check out the luxury that is overwater bungalows. Perfect for a honeymoon, an anniversary or just a fantastic luxurious break away from reality; an overwater bungalow getaway is sure to help you unwind. These bungalows are beginning to pop up in beautiful scenic spots all over the world. From the Maldives, to French Polynesia, many exotic places are beginning to boast their own versions of these luxurious havens.
These bungalows are usually attached to a jetty that extends out from the land into the ocean. The jetties, as well as the bungalows, are raised above the water on stilts which means that you are literally surrounded by water, and not so literally “floating” on top of it. The bungalows, that are often made completely of wood in order to remain light enough as to be supported by these beams, are usually built with only one thing in mind: to provide its guests with the experience of a private island paradise.
10 InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, Motu Piti Aau, French Polynesia: $530 Per Night
This eco-friendly resort is located on a beach on the “Motu Piti Aau”, which loosely translates to “reef islet that is formed by broken coral and sand surrounding an atoll” – or something along those lines. The resort, which was opened in May of 2006, pumps ice-cold deep-seawater from the Pacific Ocean in order to power the air-conditioning in the overwater bungalows and throughout the resort.
The resort’s Thalasso Spa is also the first resort to utilise this deep-sea water in their spa treatments. To top it all off; during your spa treatments you can watch the marine life through the glass panels below you.
After your relaxing spa day, you have a choice of dining experiences at three different restaurants; Le Corail restaurant, Sands Bar and Restaurant and the Reef restaurant; all of which serve Polynesian style dishes. Finally, in the morning you don't have to worry about that slight hangover from all the delicious wine you consumed the night before because the resort staff will deliver breakfast by a traditional decorated outrigger canoe directly to your bungalow.
9 Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort, Moorea Island, French Polynesia: $600 Per Night
The Ora Beach resort is set on the coast of Moorea overlooking Tahiti. Surrounded by white beaches and the crystal clear waters of a lagoon, Moorea is a coveted spot for snorkelers. The bungalows, which are built from locally sourced timber, are decorated to keep with the Polynesian style and yet provide all the luxury amenities that will make any trip memorable.
Feel like going the extra mile? At Ora Beach Resort you can book a lobster dinner to be served to you right on the seashore. After that, why not take in a Polynesian dance performance, Te Vahine (The Woman), at the resort's K restaurant.
8 Cocoa Island by COMO, South Male Atoll, Maldives: $800 Per Night
The private Cocoa Island, known as Makunufushi to the locals, is a short 40 minute speedboat ride away from the Maldives international airport. This beautiful resort has only 33 bungalows, with a selection of different types to choose from according to what type of party you’re travelling with. There are five types of suites, each with their own advantages. The Dhoni suites are styled with the traditional look of a Dhoni, a wooden boat that is used by local fisherman. For families, COMO offers loft versions of the Dhoni suites as well as the more simpler lofts, which provides plenty of space for children to sleep.
However, for those who are looking to really dive into a world of luxury, the COMO villas are ideal. With Butler service provided to all guests, whether it’s to arrange private snorkelling tours, pack picnics for a castaway luncheon or to arrange intimate dinners for guests, COMO’s personal Butler service will provide you with the most immediate gratification that one could hope to have on holiday.
7 Six Senses Laamu, Laamu Atoll, Maldives: $860 Per Night
Diving? Snorkelling? Surfing? Island excursions? Private picnic on a deserted island? Sound good? Well, that’s exactly what you'll find at Six Senses Laamu, the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean. You'll have to take a short inter-island plane trip from the Malé International Airport and another boat ride, but you can bet it’s worth the trip.
For the more adventurous surfer types, staying at Atoll provides you with an ideal opportunity to surf the famous Yin Yang break, which breaks on the outer reef of the local island Hithadhoo. Not for you? No problem. The Six Senses will be happy to organize to take you to your own deserted island and drop you off for a day of sun, sea and sand. Of course, they provide you with a picnic, wine included, for your relaxing escape from the world.
6 Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, Motu Tehotu, French Polynesia: $1,190 Per Night
The Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora sports a string of bungalows that arc over turquoise South Pacific waters at the foot of Mt. Otemanu. The resort, which was built in 2008, boasts thatched-roof bungalows that face the lagoon, with some of the bungalows coming with their own private infinity-edge pools.
Moreover, in the morning breakfast is delivered to you in a ceremonial Polynesian canoe and while your table is being set, feel free to take a canoe ride with a rower and wake up to the sounds of Tahitian song. This resort goes the extra mile, with their own marine biologist grafting coral and offering tours of the lagoon.
5 Song Saa Private Island, Koh Ouen and Koh Bong, Cambodia: $1,415 Per Night
Most of the islands around Cambodia remain undeveloped, yet Song Saa Private Island will give you a rare opportunity to not only visit one of these islands, but to actually stay overnight on this paradise island. Song Saa, which is Khmer for “the Sweethearts” extends across two islands, with a footbridge over a marine reserve attaching the two areas.
The bungalows are partly built from reclaimed wood from retired fishing boats and located driftwood which allows it to seamlessly blend in with its tropical environment. Yet, the resort doesn't shy away from luxuries, with outdoor shows, infinity pools and twin baths littering the bungalows.
If you think being on a private island would soon get boring then you can go for some sunrise yoga or meditation or indulge in a Buddhist-inspired treatment at the resort's rainforest wellness centre. At night, your villa can be transformed into a private cinema with a screen and projector.
4 Cayo Espanto, Ambergris Caye, Belize: $1,595 Per Night
With no more than 18 guests staying here at any given time, Cayo Espanto is the closest thing to having your own Caribbean island that you're likely to get. This means that if you don't want to see another soul for the duration of the stay on this 4 acre island paradise, you don't have to.
For a truly luxurious stay, check out the Royal Villa, a 1,000 foot two bedroom suite with its own private 150-foot dock. At around $1,400 per night, you can actually rent your own private island for the night.
3 Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Malolo Island, Fiji: $1,600 Per Night
Likuliku Lagoon Resort is Fiji’s only overwater bungalow resort, and with only 10 bungalows, you can be sure that you'll feel like you have the place to yourself. The resort is built on the edge of a protected coral reef, whose shoreline is a tidal lagoon that fills at high tide and dries at low tide, which reveals the seabed to all who wish to explore it.
Everything on the island is included, with the purpose being that once you step onto the island you leave the modern world, with its money and its stress, behind you. Likewise, the spas, or “sanctuaries” aim to leave the modern world’s stresses behind by incorporating the rainforest’s beauty into its treatments.
2 Anantara Kihavah Villas, Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Maldives: $1,800 Per Night
Take a 35 minute seaplane from Male, the Maldives' capital, and you’ll arrive in Anantara Kihavah Villas. Step into your beautiful bungalow, with a bed that faces the ocean, its very own private infinity-edge pool and sunken glass-bottom bathtub (built for two) so you can watch tiny fish swim beneath you while you soak in the warm bubbly water sprinkled with rose petals. If that’s not enough, the bungalows also include his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes, a hammock, a wine chiller, a rain shower, an outdoor shower, and your own personal host who is at your beck and call 24 hours a day.
The luxury doesn't stop at the bungalows, with the resort boasting six different restaurants, one being an underwater restaurant where you can dine and watch the marine life going by. At $1,800, you can bet that you'll be pampered and treated like a king.
1 Laucala Island, Fiji: $6,500 Per Night
Laucala Island has only 25 villas, all of which are styled in sophisticated versions of the traditional Fijian dwellings. There are a variety of dwellings, each as luxurious as the next one, but none quite like the Overwater Villa. The two bedroom residence rests on stilts above the green-lagoon, and has a spacious terrace that ranges over several levels. Not only do you have the ocean at your fingertips, but the villa comes with your own (very large) private pool and hot tub carved directly into the shores’ rocks.
However, not only do you get to enjoy all that the beautiful Fijian island has to offer, each villa contains an exceptional array of mod-cons to keep you entertained, including, but not limited to: Bose sound systems, giant plasma TV and a personal bar stocked with champagne - of course, for over $6,000 a night, I wouldn't expect any less! The décor is equally extravagant, with light shades that are crafted from hundreds of butterfly cocoons and bathtubs that are carved from a single slab of granite. If you get sick of your lavish villa (like that's going to happen), then Laucala also has five restaurants, a stable, a spa treatment centre and, finally, an 18-hole golf course!