You're surrounded by calm, turquoise blue water as far as the eye can see. It's just one reason why overwater bungalows are the ultimate place to unwind. That's right... you can check-in to restore your spark for life or escape here to spend some quality time with your significant other. From Dubai to Tahiti to Mexico to Jamaica, Vacation pulled together a list of some of the best overwater retreats in the world. There's just one requirement: Leave your worldly woes on the outside doorstep of these beautiful bungalows. Your return to serenity starts now!
Song Saa, Cambodia
Chill out and relax at Cambodia’s first private island resort located in the secluded Koh Rong archipelago. Lying in the warm sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Song Saa, Khmer for “the sweethearts,” straddles two pristine adjoining islands. From the nine overwater bungalows, guests can watch teeming tropical fish swim beneath the villas and hornbills circle overhead. Wooden walkways lead to a champagne bar, spa and overwater restaurant. With the accent on laid-back and barefoot chic, the villas incorporate recycled timber from fishing boats and furniture made from driftwood.
The Wow Factor: The Royal Villa, in one of the island’s most discreet locations, has its own jetty where guests arrive and depart on the resort’s private boat.
Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, Tahiti
The Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort – one of the first resorts to pioneer the concept of rooms over water – is located on heart-shaped Moorea Island. What makes a stay here extra special is that the forty overwater bungalows are the largest on the island, and they include a sweet backdrop of a lush green mountain with views overlooking a turquoise lagoon. Accommodations are built from natural materials, and the spa treatments include hot stone massages, cooling papaya body wraps and dried coconut pulp body scrubs. It’s the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate.
The Wow Factor: Admire the fish through your bungalow’s illuminated glass floors, at night.
Taj Exotica, Maldives
You have to see this postcard-perfect resort in person to believe it. A 15-minute speedboat ride from the airport transports guests to this tropical isle once known as Three Coconut Island. Situated amongst coral reefs, it’s now home to the award-winning Taj Exotica resort where 55 of the 64 butler service villas and suites are suspended over the water. Amenities include the Jiva Grande Spa, the first authentic Ayurvedic spa outside India.
The Wow Factor: The Rehendi Presidential Villa has a suspended deck filled with sand and an infinity view bathroom.
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, Cook Islands
Escape to the only private island resort in the Cook Islands. Aitutaki’s rooms include seven overwater bungalows offering unparalleled panoramic views of the vast lagoon, small islands floating on the horizon and glorious sunsets not to be missed. In addition to shopping, golfing, snorkeling, fishing and a 4WD safari tour, you can book a ride aboard Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruise where you could see humpback whales if you’re visiting between June and September. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest the rejuvenating treatments offered at SpaPolynesia such as the Moana Aqua Marine Sea Salt Rub, which includes juniper, peppermint, rosemary and lavender to revitalise your body and soul.
The Wow Factor: This adults-only South Sea hideaway sits in a spot that’s regularly been voted as having the best views in the world.
Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Check into Jamaica’s most alluring resort and stay in one of the Caribbean’s first overwater luxury suites. Hovering above the turquoise seas, these gorgeous Tahiti-style bungalows feature see-through glass floors, a Tranquility Soaking Tub, an overwater hammock for two, a private infinity pool and personalized butler service. And private transfers to and from the resort are included! Sandals Royal Caribbean also features a private offshore island with a Thai restaurant, the Red Lane Spa, seven main pools, five whirlpools and a swim-up bar.
Wow Factor: Foodies and watersport enthusiasts will enjoy staying at this resort. Why? Because it offers fine dining at eight restaurants, five full-service bars and unlimited land and water sports, including scuba diving.
El Dorado Maroma, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
And if you’re looking for a romantic Riviera Maya getaway, you should consider staying in one of the luxurious Palafitos-Overwater Suite at the El Dorado. Enjoy the picturesque beauty of Maroma Beach from your bungalow, which features a glass-bottom floor, private infinity pool, direct ladder access to the ocean, an outdoor shower, indoor Jacuzzi for two and an oversized deck with lounge chairs. And there’s no shortage of ways to sweep your significant other off his/her feet, especially with amenities such as a customized beach picnic or an intimate gourmet meal at the resort’s restaurant with breathtaking ocean views as your backdrop. Honeymooners looking for a postnuptial getaway closer to the U.S. will enjoy their stay here.
Wow Factor: The magic of Mayan civilization comes to life with treatments based on the four elements: Fire, Earth, Water and Wind. Detox with rejuvenating couple’s massage.
Anantara The Palm Resort, Dubai
Opened in 2013, this resort has 18 bungalows that span a generous 1,140 square feet and have private decks extending over the crystal-clear waters. And guess what? Your attention will be focused on the unique glass viewing panel set in the floor of your bungalow’s deck where you can ogle at 500 species of fish and other marine life swimming below your feet. Dedicated villa hosts are always on hand to cater to your every whim. This unique resort offers a tranquil haven for guests who want Asian-style hospitality combined with the option of dipping in and out of Dubai’s dazzling attractions and world-class shopping scene.
The Wow Factor: Relax and unwind in the oversized bathtub while gazing out over the sea.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan an amazing stay at an resort with overwater bungalows? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a specialist to plan your next vacay.