With nearly 80 Maldives resorts that feature overwater villas, it's rarely easy to find the one that suits you best. Just because a hotel has a high rack rate doesn't mean that it's one of the best out there, so we've gone through all of them to create a list of the absolute best of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives to help you find the best for you.

The majority of the overwater bungalow resorts in the Maldives are 4-star or 5-star, so expectations tend to be high at any of them, but some deliver on the super-luxury promise far better than others, and those are listed below. We keep a list of all of the most luxurious Maldives resorts for those who have the time to spend the time researching a great number of them.

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The best resorts have amazing service and an exclusive feel

All of the private-island resorts listed below feature very large water bungalows with luxury amenities, but at the best resorts it’s the service that make them stand out from the pack. In many of these each water villa has a private host assigned to them upon arrival who will accommodate you however possible, including arranging restaurant reservations and activities.

On top of all of this the finest luxury resorts also offer a sense of something special that you can’t get at the crowded resorts and their buffet restaurants. All of the hotels listed below get among the very best guest reviews in the Maldives, so they offer excellent value on top of everything else listed.

Best super-luxury resorts in the Maldives

Baros Resort – Maldives

  • Water villas: 30
  • Total rooms/suites: 75


Arguably the most famous overwater villa resort in the Maldives, Baros Island invented the 5-star style in this area. They have 30 water villas beautifully set in a semi-circle in the lagoon for maximum privacy, in addition to 45 island rooms and suites. Each water villa is quite large and filled with high-end amenities, some of which are a private in-villa wine chiller and bar, an espresso machine and a bathtub with a view of the sea beyond.


The excellent diving and snorkeling here as well as its convenient location only 20 minutes by speedboat from the main airport add to its charms, but it’s really all about the service. The Baros Resort gets amazing reviews and a constant stream of repeat guests, so considering they are among the more expensive options, you know they are doing something right here.


  • Low season online specials from US$1,540 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,826 per night
>More information about the Baros Resort – Maldives >Check rates

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives Resort

  • Water villas: 45
  • Total rooms/suites: 45


A different kind of luxury, the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives (formerly known as Soneva Gili by Six Senses) resort is designed for comfort and privacy, where most guests happily go barefoot for days at a time. Among the 45 water villas here is by far the largest in the world at 1400 square meters, and there are 7 others along with that one that are only accessible by boat. These are some reasons many celebrities choose this resort when in the Maldives.


Even the smaller classes of overwater villas are enormous with multiple levels, but it’s important to note that they are built with many outdoor areas so guests can relax in the warm tropical breezes rather than only in an air conditioned bedroom area. The summer low-season online specials at this resort make it one of the best luxury bargains in the Maldives, if not the world.


  • Low season online specials from US$1,262 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,956 per night
>More information about the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives Resort >Check rates

One & Only Reethi Rah – Maldives

  • Water villas: 32
  • Total rooms/suites: 150


A stunning and unique island, the One & Only Maldives offers 32 water villas in small clusters set off at angles for maximum privacy. There are 118 island rooms as well, each with its own strip of beach, and everything is 5-star plus throughout. The One & Only resort chain is known for super-luxury properties and the finest service, for those who can afford it.


All the water villas are huge and each comes with a personal villa host to attend to your every need. The largest two are much larger and come with a private pool out on the terrace. All of the suites feature air conditioning, a private bar and a split level deck to enjoy. Guest reviews here are overwhelmingly positive, which isn’t always the case in this price category, so it’s obvious that One & Only are very serious about their goal of creating the best experiences for all guests.


  • Low season online specials from US$2,710 per night
  • High season online specials from US$3,720 per night
>More information about the One & Only Reethi Rah – Maldives >Check rates

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives

  • Water villas: 60
  • Total rooms/suites: 142


With a very remote location that is billed as the Maldives first and only resort south of the Equator, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort is a newer 5-star property with 60 huge ovewater villas in addition to nearly 90 island rooms and suites. The diving and snorkeling are among the best in the Maldives, and guests rave about the absolute beauty of the island itself.


With 5 restaurants and bars as well as a long list of activities of all types, this resort is great for families though also very popular with the honeymoon crowd, making it a multifaceted resort. Among its best features is its close proximity to a small airport where private planes can land, so it’s very popular for those with access to their own aircraft.


  • Low season online specials from US$825 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,065 per night
>More information about the Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives >Check rates

Kanuhura Resort – Maldives

  • Water villas: 20
  • Total rooms/suites: 95


Each of the 20 huge water villas at the Kanuhura Resort comes with its own private villa host, so amazing service is virtually guaranteed. There are 75 island rooms and suites, and everything on the property is a serious 5-star in quality, including the unique Kandu restaurant on its own private islet in the lagoon.


You can count on excellent diving and snorkeling plus a large variety of other water sports options, and even an attended Kids Club, making this one of the better luxury choices for families. With a total of 9 different restaurants and bars plus an actual nightclub, the Kanuhara Island Resort offers fantastic variety for fewer than 100 guest rooms.


  • Low season online specials from US$1,320 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,611 per night
>More information about the Kanuhura Resort – Maldives >Check rates

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

  • Water villas: 71
  • Total rooms/suites: 150


Actually set on two private islands that are connected by a long elevated walking path, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort offers a rare adults-only area on one island for those who’d prefer a kids-free environment. There are 71 water villas and 79 additional rooms in total, each appointed as you’d expect for this luxurious wing of the Hilton Hotels chain with Wi-Fi, an entertainment system, room service, ocean view baths and more.


The water villas here come in a variety of sizes and configurations, with many including their own outdoor spa tub or a plunge pool. Among the other luxurious novelties here are the world’s only all-glass undersea restaurant and an overwater restaurant and an overwater spa.


  • Low season online specials from US$568 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,492 per night
>More information about the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island >Check rates
30 thoughts on "6 Tips to save money booking an overwater bungalow"

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    1. The tips are in the article and overwater bungalows mostly start at US$300 per night in the absolute cheapest places, but US$600 per night is more realistic in the more desirable places. -Roger

    1. Pam,

      We keep a full list of all overwater bungalows in the Caribbean, and each one is describe in pretty great detail. I have no reason to think that the ones in Panama aren’t safe, although I haven’t been myself. They tend to attract scuba divers and they are very popular from what I can see. There are also overwater bungalows at the Disney Resort on a lake, so that’s another one to look into. Sorry I’m not of more help. -Roger

  1. Hi there. We’re a family of 6 (mum, dad, and four boys 16, 15, 13 and 8) who primarily surf, but also want to enjoy time snorkelling etc. We’d love to stay nearest to decent surf (doesn’t have to be massive though! Just really fun waves-especially as the 8 year old needs to be involved and me (mum) doesn’t really surf bigger than 2-3 foot either these days :)). We desperately want to stay in a water villa but are so happy to do it on the cheap (thats we how we travel-always on a massive budget, so as long as rooms are clean that’s all we care about). Can you recommend anywhere/a few cheap water villas for us? Thanks so much! We’re coming April 13th-April 20th.

    1. Samantha,

      Your main challenge will be that most overwater resorts only allow 3 guests per bungalow and a few allow 4 guests per bungalow, but none of them allow 6. You’d have to get two overwater villas for six people and that would start at around US$700 per night at even the cheapest place. A few of the Maldives water villa resorts have surfing beaches, and the cheapest way to pull that off would be to get one water villa and one island villa and take turns in the water villa. Sorry the news isn’t any better. -Roger

  2. Hi
    I wish to combine a trip to Tahiti with a trip to Easter Island next year. Do you have suggestions for somewhere in Tahiti that is an over water option? Also do you know if it is correct that Tahiti and Easter Island are only connected on a Tuesday by air? Do you have any recommendations for how to combine the two? We are flying from NZ.

  3. I am currently planning a birthday and graduation get away, two weeks, two islands, over the water and beach front looking at next April any suggestions on how to save $? I know if we do the over the water on Moorea vs Bora Bora will save some $. Anything else would be much appreciated.

    1. Rosary,

      I’d say your best strategy for (hopefully) saving some money, or rather getting a free upgrade, is to book only two nights are so in each overwater bungalow and the rest in a beach room. You will have a much better chance of a room upgrade compared to anyone who is only booked in a beach room, so you should be at the top of the list. You might end up 4 or 5 nights in an overwater bungalow that way while only paying for two and the rest in a beach room. It’s a bit risky if you REALLY want to spend most of the week overwater, but it could work.

      Honestly, the overwater experience is amazing for a few days but the novelty wears off a bit after that because you always have to walk much farther to get anywhere compared to the beach rooms. April is one of the slowest months in the South Pacific, so you should be getting pretty good rates as it is. Sorry I don’t have more advice for you. -Roger

  4. You mentioned eco-style resorts in the Caribbean that are fairly affordable. Do you have a list of these? We would love to stay in an affordable over the water bungalow but don’t want to have to fly all the way to Tahiti.

  5. Soleena,
    for the future
    I hope you don’t mind me sharing 🙂
    It is considered rude to use capital letters when chatting. It is considered to be shouting. You did not sound like you were cross so I thought you’d like to know. Cheers Audrey



    1. Soleena,

      Thank you for the kind words, and sorry for the delayed response. We actually do an annual list of the cheapest overwater bungalow resorts in the world on our sister site. You’ve probably seen it, but you may not have realized that it’s the same data. There are no secret places that aren’t on the list, at least if you are looking for a "honeymoon-style" overwater bungalow. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll try to help, and more quickly this time. -Roger

    1. Jacki,

      There is a new resort opening next year in Panama with honeymoon-style overwater bungalows. We don’t know the rates yet, but they should be far more affordable than the new Sandals resorts in Jamaica. If you are okay with the eco-style resorts, there are many in the Caribbean that are fairly affordable. -Roger

  7. hello there
    this will be our first time traveling to the maldives ,
    my wife and me want a nice romantic place with a private pool in our overwater bungallow and a beautiful view ,,this will be our second honey moon ,,, wich island or resort do you recomend

    thank you so much .

    1. Agustin,

      Actually, we have a list of the best Maldives water villa resorts with private pools. The first one on the list is amazing and it’s also the best of the all-inclusives, though it’s quite expensive. If you are looking for one that is more modestly priced you’ll want to focus on the bottom one on the list, the Irufushi Beach and Spa Resort. The water villas there are huge and all have private pools. Have a great trip and let me know if I can help further. -Roger

  8. Is there a number to call to tell an advisor what exactly we want / expect out of our trip so they can recommend the best resort thay would fit our needs. Also which part of maldives is the best to stay as far as entertainment brar by etc.

    1. Kira,

      We are primarily an online guide to water villa resorts and we don’t do bookings or consultations, although I try to offer advice when I can. As far as which part of the Maldives, each resort there (by law) is on a private island, and each one is different. If you are looking for a place with nightlife and entertainment then you’ll want to book at one of the larger places like Meeru Island, as they have multiple bars and night time activities. Some of the smaller resorts have nothing beyond the dinner service and a small bar. Best of luck with this. -Roger

  9. I am dreaming and want to plan a trip for a ann. next year. a couple different places so I see all the beauty in Tahiti or where ever I can afford. please send me more info and updated rates. THANKS for the tips.

  10. I really want to stay in a over water bungalow at some point in time. So can you get an all-inclusive with 2 or 3 day in the bungalow and then move to an island room?

    1. Dee,

      Yes, you can definitely stay in an overwater bungalow for only part of a stay at a resort. In fact, it’s mentioned above that this is a pretty good strategy to possibly get an upgrade for additional days or perhaps your whole stay. Best of luck with this. -Roger

    1. Katherine,

      They are good deals if you enjoy drinking more than one or two alcoholic drinks each day. Generally, pretty much all the activities are included at all overwater resorts, so it’s pretty much food and drinks that are part of all-inclusive. And it’s not surprising that alcohol tends to be quite expensive (as does food) at these resorts, so all-inclusive is best for drinkers. Otherwise, you are subsidizing big drinkers if you don’t consume much alcohol.

      It’s also worth noting that nearly all the all-inclusive overwater resorts in the world are in the Maldives. There are none like that in or near Bora Bora. -Roger

    1. Alino,

      There is a link to the cheapest online booking site for each resort on each page. Just look for the link that says "Check for online specials…"