Destinations

The 7 plushest overwater bungalows in the world

Tara Harrison

We’ve scouted the best options for overwater bungalows, from jungle cocoons, to family, to well-priced and regal.

  1. Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

 Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

A stunner, this resort offers something quite different to the others. Its location means its main attraction is not just the overwater structures, but rather the jungle it is ensconced in.

Imagine misty mornings and dappled sunsets through the thick Malaysian jungles on the island of Perak, just off the Malaysian mainland.

It’s a YTL resort and comes recommended by some in the industry who have honeymooned there – the ultimate seal of approval. There are jungle treks for those clients who may be adverse to the flop and drop nature of overwater bungalows.

Another differentiator is the high position of the bungalows, on tall stilts. There’s no direct access to swim in the water below, it’s more about seclusion and the jungle environment.

  1. Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora

 Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora

The drama begins on arrival as this resort is laid out with the craggy peaks of Bora Bora towering over the blue lagoon and arteries that demarcate the overwater walkways.

They take their overwater bungalows seriously at Four Seasons Bora Bora. There are two overarching categories: specialty overwater bungalow suites with plunge pools, split into one and two bedders as well as the regular overwater bungalow suites which come with one bedroom.

There’s a ladder to access the lagoon that laps the bungalow stilts as well as a private lagoon sanctuary, replete with a plethora of marine life and a marine biologist to monitor the fragile ecosystem.

  1. Amilla Fushi, Maldives

 Amilla Fushi, Maldives

A minimalist masterstroke in the Maldives, the aesthetics of Amilla are ahead of its time.

Sleek, symmetrical, white lines perfectly compliment the turquoise waters and coral reefs beneath the beds and baths. Found on the UNESCO protected reserve of Baa Atoll, it is just one of 26 natural atolls in the Indian Ocean, making it a privileged and hallowed region to holiday at.

Of course, a seaplane arrival is a requisite here, where you will be greeted by palm fronds,  rectangular blue private pools, white roofs, and the natural lagoon – which actually gives the pool blue a hefty run for its money.

  1. Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

 Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

First of all, Likuliku is adults only. While it may not be child friendly (neighbouring sister resort Malolo Island takes care of the family aspect) there is a resident pet.

Beyond the tropical fish of the natural lagoon it is located on, there is a Labrador that calls Likuliku home, and takes to the sea for a swim multiple times a day.

It’s Fiji’s only property with overwater bungalows, and draws in the rich and famous who are after unpretentious and friendly service that still offers all the accoutrements and luxuries of a high end hotel.

The overwater bungalows have a glass panel in the floor so even if you’re not in the water, you won’t miss passing turtles or reef sharks.

  1. L’Escapade Island Resort, New Caledonia

 L’Escapade Island Resort, New Caledonia

Officially taking the title of the closest overwater bungalows to Australia, proximity is not the only reason to try these bungalows in New Caledonia.

Recently opened, they are a short hop from capital Noumea which makes them even more accessible to Australians. They also come in at a reasonable price point, upping the accessibility even more – they are a treat not just financially viable for a honeymoon budget.

A 20 minute boat ride will get you to the pyramid-roofed villas and the island itself has a long sand beach and a swim up bar in the pool – just in case a swim-up bedroom wasn’t enough.

  1. Holiday Inn, Vanuatu

 Holiday Inn, Vanuatu

When you think of Holiday Inn, overwater bungalows may not immediately come to mind.

This property in Vanuatu bucks the overall approach of bungalows being adult only. As a family resort, it has plenty of family facilities on the main resort grounds.

The bungalows allow for some privacy and will be a huge novelty for children.

Found on the resort’s private Erongo Island, this is another accessible overwater property, from a price and proximity point of view.

  1. Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives

 Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives

Each villa here is angled to a different perspective, ensuring ocean-only views and total privacy for any nude escapades.

Yes, that’s how romantic it is.

The architecture and design also draws on local Ladivian tradition. The bungalow villas also have private pools and Indian-Moroccan interiors with plenty of colonial influence.

Of course, the piece de resistance comes via the view, and nothing detracts from the pale undulations of the Indian Ocean and the Baa Atoll. Even the spa is overwater, ramping the relaxation wave factor up more than your usual bucket of flower water beneath the massage table.

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