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8 Incredible Overwater Bungalows for the Ultimate Beach Vacation

Here is the ultimate guide to the world’s most spectacular overwater bungalows and luxury villas for a truly epic over-the-water escape!

Looking for the most spectacular overwater bungalows and villas in the world? Your search is over!

Here it is, the ultimate guide to the planet’s best overwater bungalows and beach villas you’ve been waiting for ⏤ featuring only the very best of the best, cream of the crop, 5-star ultra luxury, over-the-water bucket list stays imaginable!

Lori and I are excited to bring you our carefully curated list of eight exceptional properties in picture-perfect paradise.

Whether you are planning a truly memorable honeymoon or destination wedding, a luxurious Caribbean overwater escape, or the ultimate family getaway to the tropical islands of the South Pacific, Indian Ocean and beyond, you’ll find it in our guide.

What makes these overwater bungalows so incredible?
For beginners, they are unique! There are simply no other properties quite like these on Planet Earth—from design aesthetic and natural setting to service and amenities, these eight resorts truly stand out from the crowd.

You can rest assured that each and every place on the list below has consistently received top marks for excellence from discerning guests and travel critics around the world.

So prepare to be blown away by the world’s best overwater stays and get packing for paradise!


Can’t wait to dive in? Here’s a quick preview of our picks!

Hungry for more? Keep reading for all the juicy details about these truly exceptional overwater bungalows and villas!

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8 Bucket List Overwater Bungalows

Whether you are looking for wow-inducing Maldives overwater bungalows, a luxurious Polynesian escape to Bora Bora, or truly over-the-top overwater bungalows in Jamaica, you’re sure to discover it in our handcrafted guide (plus a few surprises!).

luxury hotel Maldives
Chapter Two overwater villas (Source: Soneva Jani)

Soneva Jani MALDIVES

Number ONE on our list of best overwater bungalows and beach villas in the world is Soneva Jani Maldives, an unbelievable property that truly has no equal here in 2023.

Copycats may very well be in the works in Maldives and beyond. But if you desire super-luxe bungalows over the water (with your very own water slide plunging into stunning azure water!!!) RIGHT NOW, well then, Soneva Jani is your ticket!

What else should you know about Soneva Jani? You’ll have your choice of eleven world class dining options across both phases (Chapter One and Chapter Two) of the property.

Additionally, enjoy classic movies at Cinema Paradiso, the resort’s onsite, open-air cinema, spotting dolphins aboard a sunset cruise, and even coral planting with Soneva Jani’s own resident marine biologist.

Hands down, one of the most spectacular bucket list overwater bungalow stays on the market today!

HOT TIP #1  As you might expect with the ultra exclusive Soneva Jani, they book up quick, so you’ll want to reserve your stay as early as possible, particularly if you’re looking to score a water slide in one of the Chapter Two overwater villas.

HOT TIP #2  Chapter Two villas are much newer and guests report that they tend to have better A/C—and did we mention the private water slide? You made it this far—spring for the water slide!!!

luxury bungalows over the water in Jamaica
Over-the-Water Private Island Butler Villas (Source: Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort)

Sandals Royal Caribbean JAMAICA

Looking for an incredible all-inclusive, adults-only overwater stay a short hop from North America?

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort has some of the very best overwater bungalows and villas in the world—perfect for weddings and honeymoons.

So perfect, in fact, that the entire over-the-water portion of the resort is designed in the shape of a giant heart.

Relax on your own private sun deck with easy stair access to the shallow, crystalline lagoon beneath you. Or, take a dip in your personal infinity pool (villas only).

If this all sounds too relaxing, call for a private water taxi to whisk you away to the main resort to take advantage of all of Sandals’ all-inclusive amenities on offer (and they are numerous).

These spectacular overwater bungalows in Jamaica are a true bucket list stay and an ideal destination for the ultimate honeymoon or beach getaway.

HOT TIP  Yep, you guessed it, these luxurious water bungalows book up quick. Really quick! Reserve your stay as soon as possible to nab one for yourself. Likewise, make your dinner reservations as soon as you arrive. The onsite restaurant can fill up fast.

best overwater bungalows and beach villas in the world four seasons
Mt. Otemanu and luxury water villas (Source: Four Seasons Bora Bora)

Four Seasons Bora Bora FRENCH POLYNESIA

Bora Bora has become nearly synonymous with overwater bungalows. That’s because Bora Bora is home to some of the world’s most luxurious and exclusive villas and bungalows over the water!

And Four Seasons Bora Bora might just be the standard-bearer for luxury overwater stays in Bora Bora and around the globe.

Simply put, this is the Pacific island beach bungalow stay you’ve been dreaming of!

Your extraordinary getaway begins the second you leave the airport. Board the resort’s private yacht and jet off across the insanely stunning Bora Bora lagoon to paradise!

Once you’ve arrived, lose yourself in jaw-dropping vistas from your private and oh-so-luxurious overwater bungalow.

Hungry? Savor chef-prepared meals delivered by canoe to your doorstep, from one of the Four Season’s four incredible onsite restaurants.

Whether you’re planning the ultimate honeymoon or just looking to live it up in the ultimate paradise destination, Four Seasons Bora Bora is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.

HOT TIP #1  As you might expect with one of the premier resorts in the world, Four Seasons Bora Bora books up quick (particularly their bungalows over the water that face Mt. Otemanu). Be sure to book your stay well in advance!

HOT TIP #2  Villas towards the end of the pier are the most private with the best views of the mountain. West Pontoon villas are closer to the main resort and not as windy.

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stunning bungalows over the water and jacuzzi with a view
Rock Villa bathroom (Source: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay)

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay VIETNAM

Surprise! Vietnam!

A lot of travelers don’t associate Vietnam with overwater bungalows, and neither did we until we found Six Senses Ninh Van Bay!

Six Senses sits on a dramatic bay where stunning rock formations abound.

This luxurious resort has managed to do what few others have—tastefully combine traditional architecture and modern amenities into an over-the-water stay that blends so effortlessly into its natural surroundings.

What else is there to love about Six Senses? All 58 beach bungalows and villas feature personal pools, amazing territorial views, and open-air design (with A/C when the midday heat kicks up).

The resort also offers some of the best dining options (lobster and king prawns, anyone?) and spa treatments in the area.

HOT TIP  Hilltop Villas offer the best sea views, while Rock Villas get you the closest to the water. Beach Villas are great for families and more centrally located to the resort’s amenities than the Hilltop and Rock Villas.

best overwater bungalows in the world presidential villa
Presidential Overwater Villa (Source: Conrad Bora Bora Nui)


Not so long ago, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui was the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. Believe it or not, the rebranding (and full renovation) catapulted Bora Bora Nui into a class of its own.

In addition to having one of the planet’s largest and most luxurious bungalows over the water (more palace over the water—see photo above), all of their water villas come with legendary five-star service.

Want your own personal butler? No problem!

And, of course, these overwater bungalows come fully-equipped with with a personal plunge pool and everything else you’d expect from one of the best stays on the planet.

HOT TIP  Guests report that the best snorkeling can be found around the easternmost water villas of the resort. As you might expect, west-facing bungalows over the water offer the best sunsets.

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world's top villas and bungalows over the water
InOcean Pool Villas (Source: Angsana Velavaru)

Angsana Velavaru MALDIVES

Ready to jet off to your very own tropical paradise in a virtually untouched corner of the world? Angsana Velavaru delivers the ultimate over-the-water getaway far from it all with all the amenities of a five star resort.

Arrive by seaplane (a mere 45 minute ride from Malé International Airport) and prepare yourself to be pampered.

Celebrating a honeymoon or other special occasion? Opt for the two-story In-Ocean Villas with private infinity pool. Traveling with children? The resort offers babysitting services as well!

Sample Maldivian cuisine and chef-prepared cuisine from around the world at one of three onsite restaurants.

HOT TIP  Don’t forget to take advantage of the natural marine playground that surrounds you, with world-class diving and snorkeling (across 30 sites), dolphin and whale shark excursions, and even a floating breakfast!

Malaysia over the water beach bungalows luxury resort
Spa Village and Sea Villas (Source: Pangkor Laut Resort)

Pangkor Laut Resort MALAYSIA

Nestled in a secluded bay among ancient trees on a privately owned island, Pangkor Laut Resort is one the world’s premier tropical resort destinations, and one of only a handful in Southeast Asia offering 5-star luxury bungalows over the water.

Traditional craftsmanship blends seamlessly with modern amenities and the pristine natural landscape that surrounds the resort.

Looking for the ultimate, under-the-radar luxury resort in paradise? This is it!

HOT TIP  Like most properties on this list, the over-the-water Sea Villas offer the best views, but are the farthest walk from the main resort and amenities. If you have difficulties with mobility, you may want to request one of the closer Sea Villas or a Beach Villa.

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best bungalows over the water in the world
Sunset Water Villa (Source: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island)

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island MALDIVES

It’s no surprise that a Conrad resort appears for a second time on our list—they know how to do ultra-luxury overwater bungalows and villas!

Like Conrad Bora Bora Nui, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island offers an exclusive over-the-water stay quite unlike any other.

Need more than a plunge pool and couple hundred square meters of living space to sprawl out? Rangali Island’s amazing Sunset Water Villas won’t disappoint! (see photo above)

And then, of course, there’s The Muraka—the world’s first undersea luxury residence, submerged over 16 feet below sea level. Yep, not an overwater villa…an underwater villa.

Three bedrooms, living and dining rooms with floor-to-ceiling window and a master bedroom with a 180-degree curved glass dome for viewing the underwater world (see photo below).

luxury underwater villa
Undersea Master Bedroom of The Muraka (Source: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island)

The Muraka also comes equipped with a private chef, and of course, your own private butler.

HOT TIP  Spring for The Muraka! Just go ahead and DO IT. But…if you don’t happen to have $9,999 laying around (that’s where nightly rates start), any one of the Overwater Suites delivers an unforgettable experience by any measure.

Overwater Bungalows FAQ

Your Frequently Asked Questions answered!

Which destination is best known for villas and bungalows over the water?

Bora Bora in French Polynesia may just be the best-known destination in the world for luxury overwater bungalows. In the past decade, however, the Maldives has gained greater recognition for the spectacular luxury over-the-water villas that continue to crop up there with each passing year.

Which is the best overwater bungalow in the world?

Every guest is going to have their own idea of which is the best beach bungalow in the world. And different bungalows over the water are designed for different tastes and travel styles in mind. But if you are looking for the very best luxury beach villas and bungalows for the ultimate over-the-water escape, you’re sure to find something to love in this guide.

What is the difference between a water bungalow and water villa?

The terms “water bungalow” and “water villa” are often used interchangeably. However, a number of luxury resorts use the two terms to differentiate their smaller entry-level overwater accommodation from their larger, more luxurious options. Some properties use the term “bungalow” to describe a more traditional single-room hut-style structure, while the term “villa” is reserved for a multi-room structure offering common space, a kitchen area, and even a pool.

Did We Miss Any of Your Favorite Overwater Bungalows? Tell Us in the Comments!

We always enjoy crafting helpful articles focused on exceptional stays in one-of-a-kind destinations, and this guide to the world’s best bungalows over the water might just be one of our favorites!

We’re thrilled to be able to share these very special and unique properties from around the world with travelers planning their own ultimate over-the-water escape!

Thanks for Reading Our Guide to the Best Overwater Bungalows & Villas from Around the World!

Don’t forget to share this bucket list of amazing beach bungalows and overwater villas with that special someone or your favorite travel buddies!

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Cover photo: Soneva Jani, Maldives

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