the Maldives didn't already have enough water villa or overwater bungalow resorts, the list continues to grow longer almost monthly. At the moment there are over 90 different overwater resorts in the world, and now the Maldives alone has about 60 of those.

These four resorts have been under construction since 2010, and getting an exact opening date for them tends to be difficult. The resorts tend to open later than originally planned, and most go through what they call a “soft opening” where they begin accepting guests (usually at special rates) while the finishing touches are being applied, or sometimes rooms are being finished.

Another challenge is that these water villa resorts tend to hypnotize potential guests with their photos, and yet they don't take (or at least release) promotional photos of these places until after everything is complete and perfect. So we don't have photos or guest reviews for a few of them, but it's still fun to see what's coming online finally. Two of these resorts have overwater rooms STARTING at around US$3,500 per night, so I'll meet you there, okay?

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Jumeirah Dhevanafushi Resort – Maldives

Opened in May, 2011, this is one of the super-luxury places that people have been waiting for. They have 22 rooms on the beach and on the island, and the 16 overwater bungalows (which they call Ocean Revives) are located on a separate dock that is 800 meters from the island, only accessible by boat. The rooms are amazingly huge, and start at US$3,549 per night at the moment.

>More information about the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi Resort – Maldives

Jumeirah Vittaveli Resort – Maldives

The sister resort of the Dhevanafushi mentioned above, this one isn’t yet open and it appears they might not accept bookings before September arrivals. This is a larger resort, with 46 Lagoon Villas and Suites, in addition to 45 villas on the island. Again, each of the overwater rooms here is shockingly huge, and include their own private pool. Most of the area is outdoors, but completely private, which is exactly what you want in the Maldives.

>More information about the Jumeirah Vittaveli Resort – Maldives

Six Senses Laamu – Maldives

The Thailand-based Six Senses Resort company is opening their third location in the Maldives, and the second to include overwater bungalows. Their first water villa resort is the Soneva Gili by Six Senses, which we rate as perhaps the finest resort in the area, even though it’s not even close to being the most expensive. This one has 70 Water Villas plus 27 other rooms, and it’s similar to many other mid to high-range resorts in the Maldives, with a long list of activities and restaurants available. Their opening specials appear to be good value, with rooms starting at US$688 per night.

>More information about the Six Senses Laamu – Maldives

Zitahli Dholhiyadhoo Resort – Maldives

The Zitahli Company is yet another that has an excellent reputation from previous resorts in the Maldives. This one appears to be a bit behind schedule and will be opening later in the summer of 2011. It has 65 water villas in three different categories, with even the smaller ones being huge. The largest ones have two levels, which appears to be a new trend here. There are 6 restaurants, lounges and bars, so the visitors will be well looked after. Rates aren’t yet available.

>More information about the Zitahli Dholhiyadhoo Resort – Maldives
28 thoughts on "6 Tips to save money booking an overwater bungalow"

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    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…"