Overwater bungalows and water villas are becoming ever more popular each year, but to most people they remain a mysterious form of resort. First conceived in the South Pacific in the 1970s, the style of thatched-roof huts stringing out into a still and clear-blue lagoon has only been around for about two decades now.
These resorts are mostly clustered in only a few parts of the world, which is a source of frustration for many people hoping to find them closer to home. We'll go over all the most common questions and their answers below. If you have any other questions that aren't answered here feel free to email us at [email protected]
Frequently asked questions
Are there overwater bungalows in the Caribbean?
Yes, there are quite a few smaller eco-resorts that feature overwater rooms, but at least until 2012 there aren't any located in the northern part of the Caribbean where all the popular islands are. Check our main overwater bungalows in the Caribbean page for all the specifics.
A Sandals resort in St. Lucia is currently building 26 overwater bungalows in a new section of an existing resort. Sandals is also trying to add some to one of its Montego Bay, Jamaica resorts, but if those are ever approved they likely won't open until 2013 at the earliest.
Are there overwater bungalows in Hawaii?
No, there are not. However, those coming from the United States will be happy to learn that Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora are only about 2.5 hours farther by plane, and those islands have many of the nicest overwater resorts in the world.
Why aren't there overwater bungalows in more places?
It does seem that more parts of the world will be getting these rooms on stilts in the coming years, but only a very few places actually have settings which could be considered ideal for these resorts. There's a certain type of volcanic island that has a still lagoon surrounding it, which are perfect for swimming directly beneath a room. Even if they could build bungalows on beaches with waves and tides, it would be loud and the swimming would be dangerous.
There's also the issue of hurricanes and cyclones, which are common in many parts of the Tropics each year. Overwater bungalows and water villas would have to be built like bomb shelters in order to guarantee surviving a direct hit, so the cost of building or replacement is considered too high.
So where can I find overwater bungalows?
There's a full list of all the regions and explanations of what you'll find there at our main article about the location of overwater bungalows and water villas.
Are there any all-inclusive overwater bungalow resorts?
Good news here, as almost all of the 110 or so resorts in the world operate at least partially on an all-inclusive basis. Most of them are very secluded so guests have no other options for dining or recreation. As a result, almost all of these resorts include most activities in the room price, and they offer different food and drink options that can include everything. You'll often find excellent discounts online for full-board plans, which will usually be a money saver since the a la carte restaurants at these places tend to be very pricey as well.
See our main article discussing all-inclusive overwater bungalow resorts for more details on how to find and book the best resort for you.
Are overwater bungalows good for families?
They are ideal for many families, but not for those with smaller children. Nearly all resorts won't allow children below around 12 years old to stay in overwater rooms due to safety concerns.
While it's true that these bungalows are very popular with romantic couples, many are also perfect for an active family trip. The rooms tend to be quite large, though many will only allow 2 people per room. Those with larger budgets will find that there are 2-bedroom units at many of the more posh resorts, or that an additional bungalow can be reasonably priced at some of the larger resorts that cater to families and groups.