From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

The World’s Best Overwater Bungalows to Give You Travel Envy

Picture yourself here.


Must-Visit Tokyo Neighborhoods


Must-Visit Tokyo Neighborhoods

Excellent areas to find Michelin-starred dining, art and design, and everything in...

Objets d’Art for an Elevated Table


Objets d’Art for an Elevated Table

A curated collection of five-star linens, glassware, and beautiful embellishments.

Sam Heughan Is in Good Spirits

Film and TV

Sam Heughan Is in Good Spirits

The Scottish actor reflects on his homeland, the pleasure of a good drink, and the...

Overwater bungalows are a top item on the luxury travel bucket list. The fantasy of escaping for a few nights to a sprawling villa, outfitted with a plunge pool, sun deck, overwater hammock, and the like, will just never get old. Few accommodations inspire a sense of serenity and peace quite like idyllic overwater bungalows. And at these luxurious tropical resorts, the overwater bungalows come with five-star amenities, butler service, ocean-to-table dining options, and yacht excursions. Here, the overwater bungalows that will have you planning a second honeymoon as soon as possible:

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Guests arrive at Velana International Airport and are whisked off on a 40-minute yacht ride to Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. The property, which is coming up on its one-year anniversary, boasts 11 dining venues, the most of any Maldives resort. Each of the 119 villas on property has its own private infinity pool, and 56 of them are overwater bungalows stretched out along a fantastical coral reef.

St. Regis Bora Bora

This 44-acre resort is a Polynesian paradise, with private overwater villas set on the idyllic South Pacific waters. St. Regis Bora Bora, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, boasts views of Mount Otemanu, four dining options, an al fresco bar, and the luxe Miri Miri Spa. With butler service and roomy overwater bungalows starting at 1,550 square feet, all that’s left for guests to do is kick back and feel the sun on their faces.

COMO Cocoa Island, Maldives

A quiet, more intimate private island resort in the Maldives, COMO Cocoa Island has just 33 exquisite overwater bungalows. COMO Cocoa Island is committed to offering guests a holistic wellness experience; guests can indulge in treatments and practice yoga at COMO Shambhala Retreat. And each of the 33 overwater villas and suites are perched on the hotel’s reef, so guests can dive right in and snorkel whenever they please.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

On a pristine lagoon and protected marine sanctuary, Likuliku Lagoon Resort has 10 overwater bures, each made partially with found Fijian materials in the classic bures style. The overwater bungalows have separate bathing pavilions, where guests can gaze out over the lagoon from their grand bathtub.

Song Saa Resort, Cambodia

Song Saa Resort, a dazzling private island experience in Cambodia, is home to 24 private villas, each with their own pool, two restaurants, a spa and wellness center, and seemingly unlimited aquatic activities. We’re particularly taken with the two-bedroom overwater bungalow, which has a sundeck, a private infinity pool, an outdoor shower, and ocean views as far as the eye can see.

Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

The only resort in the Maldives’ Laamu Atoll, Six Senses Laamu, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts partner, is home to truly enviable overwater bungalows. Their 97 villas include beach stays and overwater bungalows looking out on the alluring Indian Ocean. These magnificent overwater accommodations have their own infinity pools, rain showers, and a spacious living area and bedroom. We’re partial to the Sunset Laamu Water Villa, which also offers views of the sunset and a sunken glass bathtub and overwater hammock.

Amanyara, Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is already known as full-blown paradise, but staying at Amanyara, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, takes the Caribbean experience to the next level. On the west coast of Providenciales Island, Amanyara has over-the-top villas and pavilions available for guests. The pavilions are a different take on the traditional overwater bungalow. Rather than being perched over a coral reef, these pavilions, with a terrace, sundeck, free-standing tub, and rainshower, extend over a serene pond or a private infinity pool.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Picture everything you love about a Four Seasons stay. Now, project that image over the crystal-blue South Pacific waters of French Polynesia. And there you have it: that’s the Four Seasons Bora Bora, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts partner. You’ll struggle to tear yourself away from the overwater bungalow life, but if you’re able to, we highly recommend a snorkeling tour or a boating experience where you catch your dinner with a Four Seasons Bora Bora chef. As for their overwater accommodations, opt for their specialty overwater bungalow suite with a private plunge pool.

KC Hotels & Resorts Koh Samui, Thailand

On Thailand’s third largest island, Koh Samui, this luxe resort offers coveted views of Chaweng Bay, the stunning Gulf of Thailand, and Matlang Island. The resort itself feels as though it’s built in tiers, connoting the feel of a mountain perch. They offer a different kind of overwater bungalow experience here; Each villa at KC Hotels & Resorts Koh Samui sits on stilts above a private infinity pool.

Vakkaru Maldives

Vakkaru Maldives is home to 59 overwater bungalows, all set over a turquoise lagoon with overwater terraces and hammocks. While you can’t go wrong with any of these villas, we’re partial to the Four Bedroom Overwater Pool Residence. The two-story overwater residence is a decadent sanctuary with uninterrupted views of the sunset and complete privacy.

Sandals Grande St. Lucia

You don’t have to fly to the Maldives, South Asia, or the South Pacific to find exceptional overwater bungalows. There are a few destinations as close as the Caribbean with calm enough waters for overwater bungalow accommodations. The Sandals Grande St. Lucian offers an iconic overwater bungalow set on the Caribbean Sea. The Over-the-Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalow is freestanding and has glass floor panels through which you can gaze at the water below, a private outdoor tub, and overwater hammocks.

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

From the iconic Indian brand Taj Hotels comes a magnificent Maldivian getaway: the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts partner. Their overwater bungalows are mounted on stilts in a sparkling lagoon, offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Many of Taj Exotica’s overwater bungalows come with freshwater plunge pools, while others have their own stretch of private, man made beach, or suspended sundecks in view of the sunset.


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.