Whether you refer to them as overwater bungalows or water villas, these hotel suites on stilts in the ocean are a dream accommodation for honeymooners and romantic couples everywhere. We are the world's first and only complete guide to all of these places around the world, and we've been doing this since 2011.

People always ask which are the absolute best overwater villa resorts in the world and we usually say that it depends on where you are coming from and where you want to go. Of the more than 200 such resorts, over half of them are in the Maldives (just south of India), but there are dozens in Bora Bora and elsewhere in French Polynesia, as well as in Central America and the tropics of Asia.

Below you'll find all of the best overwater bungalow resorts, including the best in each of the popular regions.

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Jamaica - Sandals South Coast

  • Overwater bungalows: 12
  • Total rooms/suites: 360




If the idea of strolling down miles of white sand beach, tanning at a resort pool, or relaxing in a steam room after an afternoon snorkeling adventure, then you’ll find your oasis waiting for you at the Sandals South Coast Resort in Jamaica. Without hesitation, staff members, including a butler elite service,  go the extra mile to make sure that your resort stay is one for the record books. On-site you’ll find a few different restaurants and bars to enjoy, along with shopping, nightly entertainment, and a long list of water activities.





Though the land based rooms here are sure to please, the real attractions are 12 water villas that come complete with a glass floor cutout, an outdoor shower, an extended sun deck that offers stunning views of the ocean beyond, and a private water taxi.  From your bed, you’ll also be gifted ocean views that you can enjoy with your room service.


If you’re a fan of the Sandals brand, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are two other great overwater resorts within the Caribbean that impress just as much as Sandals South Coast. These resorts are the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort and the Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort, which is also located in Jamaica.



  • Low season online specials from US$2,159 per night
  • High season online specials from US$2,159 per night


>More information about the Sandals South Coast Resort

>Check rates

Mexico - El Dorado Maroma

  • Overwater bungalows: 30
  • Total rooms/suites: 158




A decently sized resort, the El Dorado Maraoma Resort in Mexico sits on the Atlantic coast in the Riviera Maya region and beckons visitors with 30 overwater bungalows, restaurants, swim up bars, yoga and cooking classes, and the Naay Spa. In addition, you’ll never run out of things to do during your stay as the resort caters with kayaking, water volleyball, dance lessons, and beach picnics.



The overwater rooms here continue to impress with a glass-bottom floor cutout that allows you to view the ocean below without actually having to get into the water, a private infinity pool situated next to your outdoor seating area, and an indoor jacuzzi. These villas are also very large and roomy, with floor to ceiling windows that offer you views of the ocean from your bed.



  • Low season online specials from US$1,330 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,330 per night


>More information about the El Dorado Maroma Resort

>Check rates

Belize - Cayo Espanto

  • Overwater bungalows: 1
  • Total rooms/suites: 7



Featuring a single overwater suite alongside 6 land based suites, the Cayo Espanto stands out as a self described “private island” resort. The overwater villa stands out from others in the area because of its size, and the amenities it presents. These range from an in-suite kitchen with a private chef for every meal, a personal butler, full spa services directly in your villa, a private sundeck, oversized Turkish robes, and much, much more.



The rest of the resort also impresses with sea kayaks, sailboats, and a professional massage therapist. Nearby, you’ll find lots to do with jungle trips, fishing, a golf course, and trips to see Mayan ruins.



  • Low season online specials from US$1,595 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,795 per night


>More information about the Cayo Espanto Resort

>Check rates

Bora Bora - Conrad Bora Bora Nui

  • Overwater bungalows: 85
  • Total rooms/suites: 120



A 5-star resort that’s rather large, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is prepared to make your island getaway dream a reality. Here you’ll find very large overwater bungalows that offer fantastic views of the ocean, all around. Also, for a little extra viewing pleasure, you’ll find a glass floor cutout panel that allows you the option of viewing the ocean life below your room, without having to venture into the water yourself.



Though it will be difficult to leave your room or your private terrace, the world-class spa beckons with a steam room, a sauna, an open air treatment room, and a long list of treatments. You’ll also find a beach to relax on, fishing, sightseeing tours, snorkeling and scuba diving, a mini golf course, and outdoor movies.


  • Low season online specials from US$1,158 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,180 per night


>More information about the Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort

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Bora Bora - Four Seasons Resort

  • Overwater bungalows: 100
  • Total rooms/suites: 121



The Four Seasons Resort family is both well known and admired, with resorts around the entire globe, each offering class and style with lots of bells and whistles. This particular resort, known as the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora impresses with 100 overwater rooms in addition to the 21 land based rooms. The overwater rooms here provide guests the opportunity to relax with a stocked mini-bar, bath amenities, bottled water that’s refreshed twice daily, and 24 hour room service.



Around the resort, you’ll find a spa that caters with massage facilities, an outdoor vitality pool, a drench shower, and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy the fitness classes, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, shark and bat ray feeding, and the two on-site tennis courts.


  • Low season online specials from US$1149 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1360 per night


>More information about the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

>Check rates

Bora Bora - InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

  • Overwater bungalows: 80
  • Total rooms/suites: 83



A very large resort housing both land based and over the water rooms, the InterContnental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is a great vacation spot for groups and families. If you are part of a honeymooning couple and you don’t mind people around you, then this resort would be a great choice. This is because here you’ll find a spa, a private beach, a lagoonairum, 30 acres of gardens to walk around and enjoy, plus a lot more.



The rooms here are quite impressive with a bathroom TV, a private terrace and patio, a separate living room, dining table, and more. Due to how the rooms are assembled, they are more like small apartments than resort rooms.


  • Low season online specials from US$1425 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1503 per night


>More information about the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

>Check rates

Bora Bora - St Regis Bora Bora Resort

  • Overwater bungalows: 77
  • Total rooms/suites: 91



If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find that here at the St Regis Bora Bora Resort. With over 70 overwater villas, you’ll find all of them to be quite large in size, more on the level of a house than a villa.  Each of these villas impress with a private terrace, 1 or 2 kingsize beds, Wi-Fi, a mini bar, 24 hour room service, and more.



If you’re looking for a spa vacation, then you’ll be delighted to know that the resort’s spa is 13,000 square feet in size and offers a very large array of treatments and massages. In addition, there are 4 restaurants on the resort property, as well as a poolside bar.


  • Low season online specials from US$1288 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1830 per night


>More information about the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

>Check rates

Malaysia - Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

  • Overwater bungalows: 522
  • Total rooms/suites: 716




Most of the best overwater resorts in the world have from between 10 and maybe 50 overwater suites. The Lexis Hibiscus has 522 of them in a recently-opened modern resort that resembles an actual hibiscus from above. Each of the water villas has a private splash pool on the front deck, which doesn’t provide as much privacy as some would like, but it’s an amazing place.



Another reason to consider the Lexis Hibiscus is that it’s incredibly affordable for what you get, and it’s very easy to reach compared to nearly every other resort on this list. You can book an affordable flight into Kuala Lumpur International Airport and then take a shuttle to be at the resort about an hour later.

  • Low season online specials from US$206 per night
  • High season online specials from US$223 per night


>More information about the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

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Maldives - Anantara Kihavah Villas

  • Overwater bungalows: 42
  • Total rooms/suites: 78



Located on a private island, the Anantara Kihavah Villas resort is one of the newer overwater resorts in the Maldives, and is gaining many fans with its 5-star service. In fact, the overwater villas each have their own private outdoor pool, showcasing how private you can make your island escape. Each room also comes with Wi-Fi, 24 hour room service, a minibar, espresso machine, and an outdoor shower on your private deck.



Another impressive aspect of this particular resort is the Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky restaurant which is both overwater and underwater, creating a very unique and memorable dining experience. In addition, guests will find themselves privy to a pool bar and restaurant.


  • Low season online specials from US$1835 per night
  • High season online specials from US$2098 per night


>More information about the Anantara Kihavah Villas

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Maldives - Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa

  • Overwater bungalows: 38
  • Total rooms/suites: 96



This medium sized resort houses both island suites and overater bungalows. Some of the overwater bungalows present a sunrise view, while others provide a sunset view. Nomatter what the view, you’re sure to be impressed with the sundeck, private bar, dressing room, and deep tub found in the bathrooms. If you’re interested in enjoying the warm ocean waters surrounding your room, there is a set of stairs that lead directly into the water below.



The resort’s spa has its own island and invites with a yoga pavilion, spa treatments, and much, much more. Of course that’s not all you’ll find here. The resort’s gym provides lots of different cardio and weight lifting equipment, there’s a surfing course available each and every week, and there is a library on-site.



  • Low season online specials from US$2100 per night
  • High season online specials from US$2100 per night


>More information about the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

>Check rates

Maldives - Lily Beach Resort and Spa All Inclusive

  • Overwater bungalows: 56
  • Total rooms/suites: 119



Featuring a variety of different rooms, from land based rooms to partially over the water rooms, to full brown overwater villas, the Lily Beach Resort and Spa offers an all-inclusive experience to its guests. Situated on a private island, guests here will find privacy reigns king with suites that offer a Maldivian outdoor bath concept with a private Jacuzzi bathtub. If staying in one of the 4 sunset water suites, you’ll find your very own private Jacuzzi pool.



Outside of the resort suites, guests will find an ocean pro dive centre, table tennis, an internet cafe, beach volleyball, 2 fresh water swimming pools, and a fully equipped gym. If you don’t want to spend your entire vacation jumping from one activity to the next, you might want to take a look at the resort’s spa. The Tamara Spa by Mandara is a 5 star spa that offers massages, treatments, and therapies that help you to unwind and relax.



  • Low season online specials from US$1223 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1314 per night


>More information about the Lily Beach Resort and Spa – All Inclusive

>Check rates

Maldives - Meeru Island Resort

  • Overwater bungalows: 106
  • Total rooms/suites: 286



A personal favorite of ours, the Meeru Island Resort in the Maldives offers amazing value for an all-inclusive stay in the Maldives. With 106 water villas (most of them have private Jacuzzis), they can offer better deals than the small places and still offer excellent service. I am always asked about the best of the cheaper all-inclusive Maldives resorts and I always tell them Meeru Island.



With almost 400 total rooms and villas, you might think that Meeru Island would feel crowded, but it’s actually the largest of these single-resort islands and the place feels very private and somewhat empty even when it is fully booked. Many people come back year after year, which is another sign of a fantastic resort.

  • Low season online specials from US$518 per night
  • High season online specials from US$716 per night


>More information about the Meeru Island Resort

>Check rates

Maldives - Robinson Club Maldives

  • Overwater bungalows: 25
  • Total rooms/suites: 101



With 25 water villas available, the Robinson Club Maldives invites vacationers that are looking for a great snorkeling adventure alongside relaxing private villas. Here, guests will find a private island experience dripping with fun things to do. Though snorkeling is the most popular attraction here, guests also have access to scuba diving, catamarans, sailing, surfing and beach volleyball.



Rooms here are very large and feature their own Jacuzzi, indoor day bed, mini bar, outdoor day bed, 24 hour room service, and much more. There are also a few restaurants and bars on-site, including a pool bar.


  • Low season online specials from US$450 per night
  • High season online specials from US$620 per night


>More information about the Robinson Club Maldives

>Check rates

Maldives - Soneva Jani Residences

  • Overwater bungalows: 25
  • Total rooms/suites: 57



At the Soneva Jani Residences resort in the Maldives, guests will find overwater villas that come in 1, 2, or 3 bedroom categories. Each of these villas, though different in size, all feature a private pool, outdoor shower, a kitchen, and a master bedroom. Because of this, you’ll feel more like you’re in your second home rather than a resort room, except for that this home comes with glass portholes that are cut into the floor.



Though the villas certainly are impressive enough on their own, the resort wins in many different categories. Here you’ll find a spa, several different restaurants and bars, and lots of different on-site activities to partake in. These activities range from the outdoor pool, to the tennis courts, to the library and different water sports. There’s also an overwater silent cinema to enjoy.


  • Low season online specials from US$4289 per night
  • High season online specials from US$4302 per night


>More information about the Soneva Jani Residences

>Check rates

Moorea - Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa

  • Overwater bungalows: 54
  • Total rooms/suites: 106



Situated on the beautiful island of Moorea, the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is a great choice for those seeking an island escape at a lower per nightly rate. This resort offers guests lots of different activities, making it so that you never get bored during your stay. These activities are catered to those who want to spend their time outside and include scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing, and more.



The overwater rooms themselves are fantastic as well, with each offering room service, a 37 inch satellite TV, air conditioning, a glass floor section, and extra little touches here and there, including bath slippers. If you like the idea of bringing leftovers back to your room from the on-site restaurants, then you’ll want to note the in-room mini refrigerator.


  • Low season online specials from US$640 per night
  • High season online specials from US$647 per night


>More information about the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa

>Check rates

Vietnam - Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

  • Overwater bungalows: 9
  • Total rooms/suites: 59



With 9 overwater bungalows that sit on the Hiha Phu Bay in Vietnam, the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay resort caters to those looking for a relaxing tropical escape. Along with the resort’s on-site spa, you’ll also find yourself privy to a 24 hour butler, yoga pavilion, and a laundry service. However, if you’re up for some adventure, you’ll find snorkeling, volleyball, a dive center, hiking, fishing and much more.



Each of the 9 overwater bungalows here impress with amenities that include a private deck to view the ocean from, personal bicycles that are perfect for a mini adventure, a mini wine cellar for those evenings in, an open bathroom, and a private plunge pool that’s perfect for viewing the sunset from.


  • Low season online specials from US$942 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1268 per night


>More information about the Six Senses Van Bay Resort

>Check rates

14 thoughts on "Overwater villa holidays: How to begin planning yours"

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  1. My family and I live in Asia and we are looking for a trip to anywhere with water bungalows and hopefully clear, turqoise water with snorkelling and water activities available, and is also budget friendly if possible. We are two adults and one child who is a little over 17. Are there any suggestions or recommendations? Thank you

  2. I am looking to plan a family vacation that is budget friendly. I would love to stay in an overwater hut. Can you tell me the best and most reasonable place to stay with a family the kids are 12 & 16

    1. Kris,

      Since you aren’t even sure which part of the world you want to visit, I’d recommend starting with this list of the world’s cheapest overwater resorts on our other site. Most of those resorts only allow 3 guests per room, even though almost all of them have a pull-out couch in addition to a king bed. You might find some good choices in Central America or in Asia other than the Maldives. And of course it really depends on where you are starting from because the cost of flights could cancel out any savings from a cheaper resort. I hope that helps and I’m happy to help with other questions if you have them. -Roger

  3. I would like to attend an over water bungalow resort for me and about 7 of my closest friends to celebrate my 45th Birthday. As most resorts are for honeymooners, are there single friendly resorts that can accommodate a "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" week long celebration. We live on the East coast and realize we will have to fly West for all the bungalows you have described above. All feedback is appreciated to guide me in the planning phrase.

    1. Kim,

      That sounds like a lot of fun. You won’t find many resorts that are great options for “solo” travelers, but groups of singles will fit in with many other groups there. Most of the resorts in Bora Bora and Moorea allow 3 guests per bungalow, and they all have a sleeper sofa in them for that purpose (most don’t allow 4 guests per room though). So if two of your group are okay sleeping on a pull-out couch then you can get by with 3 bungalows.

      It’s true that many of the guests at these resorts will be honeymoon couples or anniversary couples, but there are also families with older children and multi-generational groups. I think your group would have fun at just about any of those resorts, but I’d probably focus on one that has some nightlife each evening such as a band or DJ. Some of the smaller resorts only have a beach bar and it’ll mostly be couples in those. Long story short, I think I’d look at one of the larger resorts on Moorea or Bora Bora or even Tahiti. The places with at least 100 total rooms (including beach and garden bungalows) should also have plenty of things to keep you happy and a diverse clientele.

      If your budget can handle a bit over US$2,000 per night you might even consider one of the Sandals resorts on Jamaica because the flights will be so much shorter and cheaper. The overwater bungalows there are huge (I just toured both resorts recently) and the nearby beach rooms are really wonderful there as well. The beach rooms start at around US$500 per night, but they are premium all-inclusive with even many activities included so they would be really fun for a group. In other words, maybe you could get 1 (or 2) overwater bungalows and a couple of beach rooms, and take turns in each? And you could mostly hang out in the overwater bungalow during the day, which is plenty big enough for everyone. When you add in the cost of flights and all that time flying to Los Angeles and to Tahiti then the Jamaica plan could look even better. Also you have to factor in the cost of meals and drinks and activities. In the South Pacific the room includes breakfast, but everything else is extra, while in Jamaica it’s ALL included in the price. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  4. My wife and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. It would be wonderful to stay at an over water bungalow.

    Is Tahiti, Bora Bora gay-friendly islands? Are any island more friendly than others?

    1. Merchel,

      Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora are all part of French Polynesia, and the French culture there is quite strong. With that in mind, I’d expect that the islands and the resorts in particular would be quite LGBT-friendly. I don’t recall seeing anything in particular that stood out when I’ve been there, but I have a strong hunch that the resorts are all very progressive with that sort of thing. The island people seem to be quite open minded, and French people are famously tolerant. I wish I could give you more certainty. Best of luck with this. -Roger

  5. I am trying to plan our 10 year wedding anniversary. We are both pretty easy to please regarding vacations.

    I do know that my wife would really love to stay at an over water Bungalow for this trip.

    We would be traveling from Wichita, KS to Bora Bora or somewhere similar.(hopefully if price is right).

    I have browsed a bit and can’t find much for our budget (around $3-4k per person). Obviously I would love to be on the low end of my budget and save as much as possible.

    If not in Bora Bora, we would be okay with over water bungalow’s elsewhere.

    Travel dates would be leaving August 26th and Returning September 2nd (can go 1 day either way if needed).

    1. Michael,

      We are simply an online guide to overwater bungalows and not a travel agency. You’ll find the best deals online for these resorts. You can usually get better value in Moorea, which is another gorgeous island right off Tahiti itself. The room rates are a bit lower and transportation is faster and cheaper as well. If you have any specific questions just let us know. -Roger

  6. We our planning our honeymoon and live near San Francisco. We’d love to go to an amazing bungalow but the issue is we have only around 7 days for our trip, so the long flights really eat into our time. Is there an island you recommend we go to which is easy to reach from SFO? Thanks!

    1. Andrew,

      From San Francisco the closest overwater bungalows are in Tahiti, which is only a couple hours farther than Hawaii. It looks like you’d have to fly down to LAX first, as that’s where all the flights to Tahiti start. There are two resorts not far from the Tahiti Airport that offer overwater bungalows. Those resorts are pretty nice, but there are 4 nicer ones on Moorea, which is a 5-minute flight or one-hour ferry ride from Tahiti. If you are going all that way, it’s probably worth going to Moorea, as it’s also a much prettier island than Tahiti itself. Bora Bora is a 60-minute flight from Tahiti, and it has even more options. Those islands are so gorgeous and wonderful that I think it’s worth the flight, even for a week. Best of luck with this. -Roger

  7. Hi
    We live at the Gold Coast, Australia so can fly out of here or Brisbane. For our 20 year wedding anniversary in April we want to stay at an overwater bungalow – this will probably be a one-off so I want it to be in the clearest water with white sand so that the swimming and hopefully snorkelling is great. Maybe even some other water activities like sailboarding nearby? What do you recommend also considering ease of getting there? Thanks!

    1. Margo,

      There are actually a few resorts in the South Pacific that aren’t far from you, including one in New Caledonia. Have a look at our list of resorts in the South Pacific for more details. The next closest to you are in the Philippines and Malaysia. You can find those under the Asia tab on the top of this page.

      But really you’ll find the best affordable resorts in the Maldives, which has 80 different overwater hotels, each on its own island. Click on the Maldives tab for all of that information. And of course Bora Bora, which also isn’t too far from you, has many of the world’s best overwater resorts if price isn’t a major factor. Best of luck and let me know if I can help more. -Roger