As holiday accommodation goes, it’s hard to imagine something more indulgent than a room not just overlooking the sea, but right on top of it. Here are the best countries if you’re looking to book an overwater bungalow.
The sheltered lagoons enclosed by The Maldives’ coral atolls are the perfect spot to construct overwater resorts, so it’s no surprise that the country has become synonymous with this type of hotel. The most luxurious boast private plunge pools, glass floors and of course, your own private butler. Among our favourites are the One & Only Reethi Rah, Baros Resort Maldives and Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, but with around 80 overwater resorts to choose from you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Malaysia’s jumped on the overwater bandwagon with enthusiasm. You’ll have no problem finding somewhere that fits the bill on the island of Langkawi. It’s a tropical archipelago consisting of 99 islands surrounded by the brilliant turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Many of its resorts offer exceptional value for money. Try the Berjaya with almost fifty overwater rooms, or book ahead to grab one of the four at the St Regis.
This small French Polynesian island northwest of Tahiti is centred around the dormant volcano, Mt Otemanu. However, this little slice of paradise is better known for its palm trees and white sands than it is for its mountainous peak. A feature on many bucket lists and wedding planners’ wish lists, this South Seas beauty screams luxury. Among the most popular are the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, the St. Regis Bora Bora and the InterContinental Bora Bora.
The Central American nation of Panama is perhaps more famous for its canal than it’s overwater accommodation. Nevertheless, head to the Bocas del Toro islands and there are a selection of rustic but utterly charming offerings. Isla Bastimentos is home to the Eclypse de Mar Acqua Lodge and the Azul Paradise, both of which feature overwater accommodation. The northwest of the island is a nesting ground for sea turtles. Meanwhile the south coast has an abundance of mangrove forests and coral reefs that form the Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos.
The large resorts of the Riviera Maya are typically more traditional. But then the Rosewood Mayakoba brought overwater luxury to a site just north of characterful Playa del Carmen. Its prestigious overwater lagoon suites have a private outdoor terrace with a plunge pool as well as all the usual amenities. The El Dorado Maroma, on the same stretch of Caribbean coastline, followed suit a few years later with its palafitos, or rooms on stilts.
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