The year 2011 has been a big one for the overwater bungalow and water villa industry, with nearly a dozen new resorts having opened or having added brand new overwater rooms. Not surprisingly, the year 2012 looks to be shaping up at least as big with a wide variety of highly anticipated projects opening or reopening.

Among the more notable openings in 2011 have been the massive Golden Palm Tree Resort just south of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, with nearly 400 water villas.

In the Maldives it's been extremely busy with successful openings by the Six Senses Laamu, the Jumeirah Vittaveli, the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, the Dholhiyadhoo Resort and Spa, and recently the Ayada Maldives, among others.

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New openings in 2012

One of the more talked about water villa resorts opening in 2012 is the Song Saa Private Island Resort in Cambodia, which was scheduled to open in 2011 but is now slated for a February 2012 launch. There will be 9 luxury water villas and 18 beach villas on a private island off Sihanoukville on the southern coast. While Cambodia is known as a cheap destination overall, don’t look for a bargain here as prices for the water villas and even the island villas will be nearly US$1,000 per night.


We can also look forward to the opening of The Residence – Maldives, which will feature 71 water villas in a very luxurious setting. This will mark the first resort in the Maldives for this new high-end hotel brand that also has resorts in Tunis, Mauritius, and Zanzibar.

South Pacific

At this point the only action we are aware of in the South Pacific is the scheduled reopening of the Hotel Bora Bora, which has been undergoing what it says is a complete refurbishment for well over a year now. Previously there were 14 overwater bungalows, and we are hoping there will eventually be even more when it reopens in 2012. Check the hotel’s official website for updates or watch this site as we’ll be covering it as well.

The Caribbean

Many have been long anticipating the reopening of the 9 Beaches Resort in Bermuda, but according to its website that has now been pushed back to “late summer 2013.”


The greatest buzz, however, has been around the 26 overwater bungalows being added to the Sandals St. Lucia Grande Resort, which we’ve discussed before.


You should be aware that there are already nearly a dozen overwater bungalow resorts in the Caribbean, but until the Sandals overwater suites come online they will almost all be “eco-resorts” rather than luxurious honeymoon resorts, and all of them are just off of Central America. St. Lucia isn’t far away from most of the existing ones, but the style of the resort will be very different and make them extremely popular.


There are overwater bungalows planned for the Dominican Republic as well, but if they do open it won’t be until 2013 at the earliest.


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