Overwater bungalows closest to Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

If Hawaii was suited to building overwater bungalows in the same way that Bora Bora and Moorea are, there would be dozens of some of the world’s nicest resorts already offering them up. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian Islands aren’t right for them so you have to go a bit farther in order to find the perfect honeymoon suites.

The good news is that there are amazing overwater bungalows on Tahiti as well as Moorea just across from it, and many of the world’s most luxurious tropical resorts are found in Bora Bora, which is less than an hour away by plane. These French Polynesian islands are more remote so they feel more exotic and far less crowded than Hawaii, so it’s easily worth the slightly longer flight for most couples and even families.

Why are there no overwater bungalows in Hawaii?

In case you are curious about this, there are no overwater bungalows in Hawaii because those are volcanic islands of a different variety than is ideal for a hotel room on stilts above a lagoon. For the bungalows that most people dream of staying in you need a still and shallow lagoon, with breakwater well away from the beach, as you can see in the photos on this page. There are no such lagoons in Hawaii.

These atolls (island groups) that are suitable for them are only found in the South Pacific and in the Maldives, which is just southwest of India, and home to about two-thirds of the water villas (as they are called there) in the world. For this same reason, there are none of the most popular type of overwater bungalows in the Caribbean either, although there are some that are very nice in that region off Central America.

Let’s go to the South Pacific

  • Los Angeles to Honolulu: 5.5 hours each way
  • Los Angeles to Tahiti: 8.25 hours each way

Tahiti

Le Meridien Resort - Tahiti

With only a few exceptions, all overwater-bungalow resorts are reached through the main Tahiti airport in its capital of Pape’ete.

There are two large resorts with these bungalows on the island of Tahiti itself, including one very near the airport, but for all the best ones you’ll need to take another short flight to a more secluded island, just as most people do after landing in Honolulu in Hawaii. The flights to other islands leave frequently and are reasonably priced, so many people end up staying at resorts on two or more islands during the course of a honeymoon trip.

>>>Overwater bungalow resorts in Tahiti – 2 resorts

Moorea

Hilton Resort - Moorea

This island is Tahiti’s close neighbor and a flight takes 10 minutes, or you can take a 1-hour ferry ride if you are already in Tahiti’s capital city of Pape’ete. It’s actually even more beautiful than Tahiti itself, and it has quite a few lovely clear-water lagoons hosting excellent resorts.

Nearly all the resorts in Moorea are situated such that you can visit restaurants, shops, or activities elsewhere on the island, which is an added bonus for those who like to explore rather than stay put in one place.

>>>Overwater bungalow resorts in Moorea – 5 resorts

Bora Bora

St. Regis Resort - Bora Bora

A 50-minute flight northwest from Tahiti, this is where you’ll find the best overwater-bungalow resorts in the Pacific, with the most room choices. Many of the resorts are located on small private islands (called motus) that are a few hundred meters off shore from the main island.

Staying on Bora Bora also usually makes it easy to visit off-site restaurants and activities, although most of the resorts here are quite secluded as well, so it can be the best of both worlds.

>>>Overwater bungalow resorts in Bora Bora – 10 resorts

The rest of the South Pacific

Likuliku Resort - Fiji

There are 7 additional overwater-bungalow resorts spread around the South Pacific, with most of those being near Tahiti and Bora Bora, but a few of them are more remote, in Samoa and near Fiji.

People seeking an extremely secluded resort can find some great choices in this group, some at relatively reasonable prices. A few of them are closer to New Zealand, and most popular with Aussies and Kiwis, but all of these can be reached by a reasonably short flight from Tahiti, just like the others above.

>>>Overwater bungalows in the South Pacific – 7 resorts (this includes Fiji, Samoa, and many smaller islands)

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