For most of us, staying in an overwater bungalow perched above some turquoise lagoon far, far away, is a dream trip, a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We scrimp and save so we can spare no expense. And it’s worth it—especially if you’re headed for one of the world’s best.
Escape with us to thatched-roof hideaways where colorful reefs await at the bottom of your ladder and glass floor panels and outdoor showers remind you that there’s no vacation quite like this.
Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them.
|Resort||Number of Bungalows||Butler||All-Inclusive||Type of Water|
|Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora||100||No||Packages Available||Ocean Lagoon|
|Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort||39||Yes||No||Ocean Lagoon|
|Likuliku Lagoon Resort||10||No||Yes||Ocean Lagoon|
|Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa||84||No||No||Ocean Lagoon|
|InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa||80||No||No||Ocean Lagoon|
|COMO Laucala||1||yes||Yes||Ocean Lagoon|
|Joali Maldives||73||Yes||Packages Available||Ocean Lagoon|
|Park Hyatt Maldives||14||No||Yes||Ocean Lagoon|
|Anantara Kihavah Villas||80||Yes||Yes||Ocean Lagoon/Pool|
|St. Regis Bora Bora||108||Yes||Yes||Ocean Lagoon|
|The Standard Huruvalhi Maldives||115||Yes||Packages Available||Ocean Lagoon/Pool|
|Song Saa Private Island||9||No||Packages Available||Ocean|
|Courtesy Cocoa Island By COMO||34||No||Yes||Ocean Lagoon|
|Misool Eco Resort||8||No||Yes||Ocean Lagoon|
|Cayo Espanto||1||Yes||Yes||Caribbean Sea|
|Banyan Tree Mayakoba||6||Yes||Packages Available||Lagoon|
|Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa All Inclusive||6||Yes||Yes||Bay|
|Sandals South Coast||12||Yes||Yes||Carribbean Sea|
|Stella Island Luxury Resort||9||No||Packages Available||Pool|
Overwater Bungalows to Add to Your Bucket-List
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Number of Bungalows: 100
What’s Unique: The classic magazine cover shot, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora‘s picturesque string of bungalows arcs over turquoise South Pacific waters at the foot of Mt. Otemanu. The bungalows, fanning out from a lush private island, are some of the most luxurious in French Polynesia. Most thatched-roof bungalows have glass floor panels that look into the lagoon and some have private infinity-edge pools. The resort’s own marine biologist grafts coral and offers tours of the lagoon sanctuary.
Over-the-Top Services: Breakfast is delivered to you in a ceremonial Polynesian canoe and served with fragrant bouquets of flowers. As your table is being set, you can take a short canoe ride with a rower and wake to the sounds of Tahitian song.
Sofitel Moorea Beach Resort, Moorea Island, French Polynesia
Number of Bungalows: 39 overwater, 113 in total
What’s Unique: On the northeastern coast of Moorea overlooking Tahiti, Sofitel Moorea occupies a coveted spot on one of the island’s most beautiful white-sand beaches. Snorkeling is popular here, and overwater-bungalow guests often have to shoo aside fish when climbing into the water from their private terraces. The bungalows—with glass floor panels, daybeds, stunning stone-tiled rain showers, and lavish bath amenities—define modern luxury with the French sophistication the Sofitel brand is known for.
Over-the-Top Services: You can book a lobster dinner right on the seashore. Once a week the resort’s K restaurant, with views of Tahiti and the peaceful lagoon, presents a Polynesian showcase—an evening of celebration, Polynesian food and drink, and a traditional dance performance.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Malolo Island, Fiji
Number of Bungalows: 10
What’s Unique: The first and only resort in Fiji with overwater bungalows (called bure in Fijian), Likuliku is built on the edge of a protected coral reef. Between the overwater bures and the shoreline is a tidal lagoon that fills at high tide and dries at low tide, which makes for interesting seabed exploring. Since there are only 10 overwater bungalows here, foot traffic on the boardwalk is minimal. The experience feels exclusive in this remote part of the Mamanuca archipelago, making the five-star resort especially popular with honeymooners.
Over-the-Top Services: The chef delivers a complimentary daily canape plate at sunset, exclusively to overwater-bure guests. Planning an engagement or vow renewal? Check Remarkable Honeymoons or Likuliku’s wedding page for packages that include everything from engagement-ring scavenger hunts to a Fijian-warrior guard and escort.
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, Moorea Island, French Polynesia
Number of Bungalows: 54
What’s Unique: These bungalows perch above the wide, shallow lagoon that surrounds the island of Moorea, a seven-minute flight from Tahiti. Located on Moorea’s north side, Hilton Moorea Lagoon‘s bungalows are perfectly positioned for taking in views of sunrises, sunsets, and the island’s mountain ridges. Bedrooms feature a glass floor panel, and large Italian bathrooms include marble flooring, rain showers, claw-foot tubs, and dual vessel sinks made of stone. You can snorkel right off your deck. At night, sharks are occasionally sighted beneath the boardwalk at the resort’s Toatea Bar.
Over-the-Top Services: Head over to the Moorea Lagoon spa, where you can opt for their anti-jetlag massage to refresh after a long flight or enjoy a couple’s treatment with a view of the lagoon.
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, Motu Piti Aau, French Polynesia
Number of Bungalows: 80
What’s Unique: This eco-friendly hotel pumps ice-cold seawater from depths of 3,000 feet to power the air-conditioning in overwater bungalows and throughout the resort. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is also home to the South Pacific’s first thalassotherapy center and uses the deep-sea waters in spa treatments. In the overwater bungalows, very little separates you from spectacular mountain and lagoon views. There’s a glass wall in the bedroom, and the living room features a glass coffee table that opens up so you can toss pieces of bread to the colorful fish below. Even the bathtub offers a picture-perfect view of the water.
Over-the-Top Services: During a treatment at the Deep Ocean Spa, you can watch marine life pass below glass floor panels. Resort staff will deliver breakfast by a traditional decorated outrigger canoe.
Number of Bungalows: 1 Overwater, 25 total.
What’s Unique: The overwater bungalow at COMO Laucala is a split level villa with two bedrooms, and a pool carved into the rock cliff. Enjoy your meals in the outdoor dining “bures” (huts), or relax on a daybed or sun lounger, all with your private swimming pool and deck. The bungalow has room for up to four guests, has a fully stocked bar, and stunning views of the ocean.
Over-the-Top Services: The onsite spa, COMO Shambhala Retreat transports you to an oasis of peace and calm. The wellness center is surrounded by lily pads floating in still ponds, and features a hot stone heater, outdoor bathtub, and you can create your own lotion with tropical flowers, herbs, spices and fruit found in the resort distillery.
Number of Bungalows: 73
What’s Unique: Designed as a luxurious art-immersive island retreat, Joali Maldives prides themselves on helping guests find joy during their stay. Throughout the resort there are one-of-a-kind art installations, which you can explore freely during your stay. The state-of-the-art mood control lighting in your room will ensure peace and rest during your stay. Book a free consultation with the resort’s Alternative Wellness Specialist to get an inside look at what holistic approaches you can take for full mind, body and spirit wellness.
Over-The-Top-Services: Ultimate Delight Hammam Indulge Ritual, which includes a body scrub, full body foam massage, a marine body mud mask, a hair cleanse and scalp treatment/massage, and ends with a 60 minute personalized massage- the ultimate body indulgence to give your skin and muscles what they deserve.
Park Hyatt Maldives
Number of Bungalows: 14 Overwater
What’s Unique: Although Hyatt is a familiar name, the services and experiences you get at Park Hyatt Maldives are far from usual. Whether it’s a floating breakfast while relaxing in your pool, a candlelit beach dinner, yoga on the beach, relaxing with a singing bowl meditation, or having an adventure snorkeling, your stay will be filled with wonder.
Over-The-Top-Services: Dine in the Chef’s Garden Treehouse, with vegan cuisine prepared with organic vegetables grown within the resort.
Anantara Kihavah Villas, Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Maldives
Number of Bungalows: 42
What’s Unique: Book a stay at the Anantara Kihavah Villas resort in the Baa Atoll region and you’ll arrive via seaplane from Male, the Maldives’ capital. Set out over crystal-clear waters are the resort’s one-bedroom and two-bedroom overwater villas, each with its own private infinity-edge pool. From your sunken glass-bottom bathtub (built for two) you can watch tiny fish swim beneath you while you soak. Other luxuries include his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes, a wine chiller, a hammock, a rain shower, an outdoor shower, and a personal villa host who is on call 24 hours a day.
Over-the-Top Services: Dine at the Anantara Kihavah’s underwater restaurant, then return to your villa for the Slumber Guru experience: a luxury essential oil bath by candlelight, a massage, and a perfect night’s rest in your 1,000 thread count sheets. It sure beats the standard “Do Not Disturb” door hanger.
St. Regis Bora Bora
Number of Bungalows: 108
What’s Unique: Touted as the South Pacific’s “most spacious” overwater bungalows, St. Regis Bora Bora has six different types of overwater bungalows to choose from. From an overwater superior, your basic over water bungalow, to the Overwater Royal Oteman, a 2 Bedroom Villa, with views of Mt. Otemanu. You’ll have everything you need, thanks to St. Regis’ acclaimed butler service.
Over-the-Top-Services: Three words: Outdoor Candlit Massage. A service that seems too luxurious to be true can be yours when you stay at St. Regis. Find bliss while you receive a massage under the gazebo on the beach, at sunset, surrounded by candles.
The Standard Huruvalhi Maldives
Number of Bungalows: 115
What’s Unique: While relaxation is typically on your mind when you book an overwater bungalow, The Standard Huruvalhi Maldives offers a unique blend of tranquility with a fun social scene. Swim with the Manta Rays, try waterskiing, enjoy happy hour at Todis Bar, or enjoy a Maldivian feast at Guduguda the overwater restaurant.
Over-The-Top-Services: Book a chartered boat to your own private island, Kuda Vilingilli. Housed with a pergola with blankets, cushions, and a picnic basket, you can do as you please for as long as you like, without anyone else around to interrupt. Simply call the resort on the provided cell phone when you are ready to return.
Song Saa Private Island, Koh Ouen And Koh Rong, Cambodia
Number of Bungalows: 9
What’s Unique: This resort is the first to be built on Cambodia’s mostly untouched islands in the Koh Rong archipelago. Song Saa spreads across two islands which are connected by a footbridge over a marine reserve, and with any luck, you’ll spot one of the protected sea turtles or seahorses during your stay. The resort’s ultramodern overwater villas have an air of always-been-here authenticity thanks to the reclaimed wood from retired fishing boats and local driftwood incorporated into the architecture and furnishings. The organic design manages to effortlessly blend luxuries like private infinity-edge pools, outdoor showers, and twin bathtubs into the surrounding rainforest.
Over-the-Top Services: Indulge in a Buddhist-inspired treatment at the resort’s rainforest wellness center or have local monks perform a traditional blessings ceremony for you. Staff can also turn your villa into a private cinema with a screen and projector for movie night.
Courtesy Cocoa Island By COMO
Number of Bungalows: 34
What’s Unique: Just a 40-minute speedboat ride from the Maldives’ international airport, this luxurious COMO resort on the private Cocoa Island (known locally as Makunufushi) is like no other. Cocoa Island by COMO‘s overwater-bungalow suites are built in the style of traditional Dhoni, the wooden boats used by local fishermen. They might look like mini Noah’s arks, but these suites don’t actually float. They’re fixed to stilts over the Indian Ocean and include private sundecks, luxurious bathrooms, and large windows with gorgeous views.
Over-the-Top Services: Wellness is a major focus at the resort, with therapies at the Shambhala Retreat center and Shambhala raw-cuisine options. Take a yoga or meditation class in the retreat center’s open-air pavilion, or experience India’s holistic Ayurvedic therapy in one of four massage-treatment rooms. Cocoa Island butlers often arrange intimate dinners for guests and give guided snorkeling tours.
Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Number of Bungalows: 8
What’s Unique: On a private Indonesian island inside a protected No-Take Zone, this dive resort and conservation center treads lightly. Not a single tree was felled to create Misool, a Secret Retreats-member resort. It was built entirely of driftwood and naturally fallen timbers milled onsite in the presence of cockatoos, parrots, baby sharks, and sea turtles. Surrounding Misool are some of the richest reefs on Earth, in the waters of the Coral Triangle region. When you’re not diving, read a book on your verandah’s hammock or soak in the tropical vibe while showering in a Balinese-style bathroom that opens up to the sky.
Over-the-Top Services: Excellent service is a hallmark here. The resort’s maximum capacity is only 40 guests and the staff-to-guest ratio is four to one. Book the spa’s after-sun skin-rescue treatment, complete with a banana-leaf body wrap right on your verandah.
Cayo Espanto, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Number of Bungalows: 1
What’s Unique: Cayo Espanto, on a private four-acre island in Belize’s Ambergris Caye area, is the next best thing to having your own Caribbean island. There are no more than 18 guests here at any given time, and the overwater bungalow and six beachfront villas are situated so that you need not see another soul during your stay if you don’t want to. As overwater bungalows go, Cayo Espanto’s one-bedroom is huge at 1,000 square feet. It sits alone at the end of a 150-foot dock. A glass floor panel looks onto the silvery bonefish below, and one of the world’s largest barrier reefs is nearby.
Over-the-Top Services: The chef customizes a menu based on the preferences you indicate in a pre-arrival survey. While you’re here, a personal butler is assigned to you.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Number of Bungalows: 6
What’s Unique: A heated plunge pool, and an outdoor bathtub with spectacular sunset views are just the beginning of the specialties these two-story villas provide at Banyan Tree Mayakoba. The six villas rest on a lagoon, and ensure privacy throughout your stay. Relax on your king sized bed, and laze about in your rooftop plunge pool. Your personal butler will ensure you have everything you need during your stay- all just steps from the beach.
Over-The-Top Services: The HAAB, an immersive dinner in the jungle. HAAB is named after the Mayan solar calendar, and you will eat authentic food, while learning more about the Mayan culture and traditions. Along with your meal, there is storytelling and dancing.
Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa All Inclusive
Number of Overwater Bungalows: 6
What’s Unique: This all-inclusive resort has everything you need for the ultimate Caribbean vacation, complete with their adults-only overwater bungalows. Fitted with a king bed, seating area with a sofa bed, dining room, and a swim-out infinity plunge pool, you’ll experience Caribbean luxury like never before. To add to the experience, the bungalows feature an over-water hammock and glass floors to peep at the ocean below.
Over-The-Top-Services: At Antigua’s first overwater bungalows, you will enjoy a complimentary romantic dinner served in your room, sparkling wine served upon arrival, a personal butler, and jacuzzi. An added specialty: when you book at least one day in advance, you can have your very own on-site mixologist service on your private terrace.
Sandals South Coast, Jamaica
Number of Overwater Bungalows: 12
What’s Unique: Sandals has introduced overwater bungalows at three of their caribbean resorts: South Coast in Whitehouse Jamaica, Grande St. Lucian, and Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica. While Caribbean overwater bungalows were less common, they have started to pop up more around the islands. Touted the “Honeymoon Bungalow,” South Coasts twelve overwater bungalows are in situated over the sea in a heart shape, ideal for a couples getaway (honeymoon or not!) An outdoor shower, private Tranquility Soaking Tub, and hammocks over the ocean so you can lie and melt all your worries away. Enjoy gazing at the water through the glass floor panels with lights even when you are tucked away inside.
Over-The-Top-Services: SCUBA lovers will be thrilled with the SCUBA diving that is included in your stay. Learn how to SCUBA dive with PADI certified teachers, and after your 3-hour lesson, it will be time to start exploring. Your top-of-the-line equipment is included as well, so you will be all set for your SCUBA adventure.
Number of Bungalows: 24
What’s Unique: For a less traditional overwater bungalow stay, Hotel Palafitte in Neuchâtel, Switzerland has several bungalows situated on Lake Neuchâtel. Built on stilts for the 2002 Swiss National Exhibition, it was designed by architect Kurt Hofmann in collaboration with students from the hotel management school l’Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, and is truly a work of art. Enjoy views of the Alps while you take a dip in the lake, or explore it by paddleboard or kayak.
Over-The-Top Services: Service is key at Hotel Palafitte, and your every need will be taken care of. Whether you book a massage at the onsite spa, or book a tandem paragliding day through the concierge, you can create whatever type of vacation you choose while staying at this distinctive hotel.
Stella Island Luxury Resort, Greece
Number of Bungalows: 9
What’s Unique: While not over ocean water, the overwater bungalows at Stella Island Luxury Resort are over a giant pool, for a truly unique overwater experience. Located on Crete, this adults-only (ages 15 and over) resort is the perfect spot for complete relaxation- choose their all-inclusive option so all you have to worry about is booking your spa treatment while you are there. There is plenty to explore around the island, or you can easily spend the day doing various activities or simply unwinding by the pool.
Over-The-Top Services: For the ultimate overwater bungalow experience, book their Grand Overwater Bungalow. Larger than the regular bungalows, the Grand Overwater Bungalow features a jacuzzi for ultimate relaxation. You can jump right into the infinity pool, or lounge in an overwater hammock.
You Might Also Like:• 5 Bubbly and Beautiful Champagne Tours to Take
• The Thinnest, Warmest Winter Clothes for Packing
• 11 Warm, Lightweight Jackets and Coats for Travelers
• Finding Moments of Stillness in Petra
• How to Buy Hurricane Travel Insurance
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Top Fares From
Today's Top Travel Deals
Brought to you by ShermansTravel
Globus Tours to Greece, Ireland, France...
Avoya Travelvacation $499+
The Caribbean: Luxe, All-Inclusive Sandals Resorts...
Avoya Travelhotel $489+
Azamara Cruises Around the World w/Free...
Avoya Travelcruise $629+