From the first-ever spa on stilts to five-star dining under the sea: The world’s most opulent overwater getaways
- French Polynesia’s Bora Bora offers some of the most stunning bungalow getaways in the world
- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island offers deluxe dining in the world’s first underwater restaurant
As the cold weather firmly sets in, you may feel those winter blues creeping up on you with a vengeance.
The perfect cure? Escaping to a tropical ocean villa, situated off the coast of a remote island, propped up over crystal-clear seas.
Take inspiration from Trivago
‘s top overwater getaways, from the bungalows of Bora Bora to an underwater restaurant in the Maldives and where Tom Hanks filmed his film blockbuster Castaway.
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The Intercontinental Le Moana in Bora Bora, French Polynesia boasts two restaurants, a cocktail lounge and spa services nearby
Intercontinental Le Moana – Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora in French Polynesia is undeniably home to some of the most picturesque above-water bungalow resorts, pioneered in the region by Intercontinental.
Suspended on stilts between the ocean and the lagoon, Intercontinental has secured the best location in the archipelago – and Le Moana is no exception.
Complete with two restaurants, a cocktail lounge and with spa services nearby, the hotel is certainly among one of the most beautiful in the world.
And the luxurious resort has also managed to stay true to its Polynesian roots, with hats, baskets and mats created from coconut palm leaves the sort of souvenirs on sale. Additionally, guests can shop for Monoi oil (renowned for its medical properties) and even scoop up some loose pearls from vendors nearby.
Above-water bungalows were pioneered in the region by Intercontinental – and as such, the hotel has nabbed some of the most prime areas
There are 63 guest-rooms situated throughout the resort, each with a fantastic view of the crystal-clear ocean right outside the door
There is an outdoor pool at the Intercontinental Le Moana, which, of course, overlooks the lagoon and the stilted hotel bungalows
Float House River Kwai – Kanchanaburi, Thailand
For a completely different overwater experience, the Float House River Kwai offers bungalows that appear as though they are floating above the famous Khwae Noi in Thailand.
There are 18 villas to rent, each constructed from bamboo and teakwood, offering a truly traditional Thai experience.
Perfect for those who enjoy activities above simply lounging, there are many excursions offered – from elephant riding and canoeing down the river to visiting an indigenous Mon village and exploring the nearby temple.
And what better way to wrap up a full day of sightseeing than by coming home to the comfort of a private water-front view and indulging in a Thai massage?
Best of all, stays at this resort are relatively affordable, beginning at £118 per night, including breakfast.
For a completely different – and very traditional – Thai experience, head to Float House River Kwai resort in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Each of the 18 bungalows appear as though they are floating above the famed Khwae Noi and are constructed out of traditional materials
The bathroom features bamboo and teakwood accents and Thai massages are readily available to be booked in the privacy of your villa
For those who’d prefer a bit of adventure, the hotel also offers excursions such as elephant riding and canoeing down the river
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – Alif Dhaal Atoll, Maldives
This opulent resort is certainly not the cheapest option, but can you really put a price on luxury?
The five-star Conrad Rangali is accessible only by boat and is spread out across two private islands.
There are 150 different guest-room options, from beach bungalows to – of course – above water villas.
The resort’s most noteworthy feature? The world’s first all-glass underwater dining experience, the aptly-named Undersea Restaurant, serves up fine European cuisine five metres below sea level, surrounded by unique coral reefs and marine life.
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort is certainly not the cheapest overwater hotel option, but can you put a price on luxury?
With over 150 different guest-room options, the resort is spread out across two islands and offers activities for all tastes
The Undersea Restaurant is one of the resort’s most noteworthy features as diners can eat five metres below sea level, surrounded by fish
The five-star Conrad Rangali is accessible only by boat and offers unobstructed sea views from every vantage point
Likuliku Lagoon Resort – Mamanuca Archipelago, Fiji
Another expensive but unique option, the Likuliku Lagoon Resort is situated in the stunning Mamanuca Archipelago, near Nadi, in Fiji.
Like the resort itself, the bungalows were all designed using traditional Fijian architecture and built using materials native to the region.
The area is perhaps most-known for Modriki Island, where the Tom Hanks film Castaway was filmed. In fact, guests can even travel there from the resort via jet-ski.
If simply relaxing isn’t enough, there are a range of activities available, including Fijian body treatments at the spa and windsurfing on the Pacific Ocean.
The Likuliku Lagoon Resort in the Mamanuca Archipelago in Fiji boasts bungalows decorated using locally-sourced materials
The traditional Fijian architecture offers a relaxing environment for guests to relax – and there are even see-through glass bottom floors
The area is best known for Modriki Island, where the Tom Hanks film, Castaway, was filmed and yes, guests can visit – via jet-ski!
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge – Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas del Toro is one of the most popular backpacker destinations on the Caribbean Sea, renowned for its colourful nightlife, national parks and plethora of beaches.
The majority of the province is based on the water, with boats ferrying tourists to and from restaurants and bars – all perched on stilts over the sea.
And those looking for a bit of luxury? They head to the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, which has nine overwater huts with thatched palm roofing.
It’s the perfect base from which guests can immerse themselves in the local culture, with trips to indigenous villages, hikes through the rainforest and fishing trips with locals available daily.
Looking for a bit of luxury in Panama? Head to the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, which has nine overwater huts with thatched palm roofing
Bocas del Toro is a region almost entirely based on the water, with boats ferrying tourists to and from restaurants and bars perched on stilts
Berjaya Langkawi Resort – Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands and is called the ‘Jewel of Kedah,’ hardly surprising considering the exotic jungle, pristine beaches and clear Andaman Sea that are located just steps away.
The Berjaya Langkawi Resort, spread across 28 hectares of tropical rainforest, encompasses every one of these ‘jewels,’ easily accessible from its 50 rooms, suites and chalets. (There are both above-water and in-rainforest options available.)
Guests can also partake in a game of tennis, try their hand at fishing, scuba diving or windsurfing and hit up one of the nine bars and restaurants in the evening.
For an incomparable Malaysian retreat, head to the Berjaya Langkawi Resort, located on an archipelago of 99 islands
With 50 guest rooms available, travellers have the choice between suspended overwater bungalows or chalets situated in the rainforest
There are also nine bars and restaurants on site, as well as tennis courts and plenty of opportunities for scuba diving and windsurfing
Song Saa Private Island – Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia
This all-inclusive, and all expensive, resort is a testament to just how special it really is.
It’s actually the country’s first all-inclusive private island resort and claims that it can provide anything your heart may desire.
Spread across two pristine islands, known as Song Saa (‘The Sweethearts’), the resort is as seductive – with its crisp white accents – as it is luxurious.
There is a large infinity swimming pool, a yoga and meditation centre and an exclusive island boutique.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, the resort has even established a marine reserve in order to safeguard the nearby reef and allow guests to observe turtles, seahorses and tropical fish.
This all-inclusive private resort is Cambodia’s first of its kind and claims to be able to provide ‘anything your heart desires’
Song Saa actually means ‘The Sweethearts,’ which is appropriate considering that the hotel is spread across two pristine islands
The all-white interiors are as seductive as they are luxurious. Can you think of a more beautiful location for a romantic getaway?
The resort is also mindful of the environment, having built a marine reserve to safeguard the nearby reef and the underwater animals
Constance Le Prince Maurice – Poste de Lacq, Mauritius
Tucked away in Poste de Lacq, the secluded Constance Le Prince Maurice is home to 64 suites, 12 luxury overwater villas and the extraordinarily opulent Princely Suite.
And after seeing their sprawling villas, it’s hard to imagine just how much more extravagant the Princely Suite could possibly get.
The resort prides itself on its luxury and intimacy, with private terraces, infinity pools, an outdoor spa and alfresco dining.
It was designed by Jean Marc Eynaud, who built the resort in harmony with its surroundings – and yes, that includes the suites and villas on stilts.
This is about as tranquil as it comes.
Constance Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius is home to 64 suites, 12 luxury overwater villas and the extraordinarily opulent Princely Suite
Designed by Jean Marc Eynaud, all of the rooms are built with the themes of harmony, tranquility and intimacy in mind
The resort boasts private terraces on its overwater villas, as well as infinity pools, an outdoor spa and alfresco dining around the property
Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang – Nha Trang, Vietnam
Private island resort Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang lies on the Hon Tre Island and is accessible only by a seven minute luxury yacht transfer.
From the boat, guests will spot 84 villas dotting the shoreline – each with terraces overlooking the white sand beaches and distant mountains.
The resort, however, is most famed for having the only overwater spa in the world.
Called the Vincharm Spa – and yes, it lives up to its name – it features private massage huts suspended above the ocean, providing stunning views for guests experiencing complete relaxation.
The resort features 84 luxury villas, which dot the shoreline, looking onto the pristine white sand beaches and mountains in the distance
Private island resort Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang lies on the Hon Tre Island in Vietnam and is accessible only by luxury yacht transfer
Although the rooms are appropriately luxurious, it’s the famed overwater spa, Vincharm Spa, that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience