Why Overwater Bungalows are the Ultimate Luxury Vacation
Who can resist the allure of an overwater bungalow? The fantasy of escaping to a picture-perfect sanctuary suspended over sparkling blue waters with spectacular sunsets dipping into the horizon just never gets old. It's the most seductive of bucket-list dreams: pure escapism and care-free living in a world away from reality.
In the last few decades, the overwater bungalow has gone from simple sea shack to over-the-top opulent, and in some cases with a price tag to match. But there are also plenty of very affordable deals to be found, with bungalows, suites and villas to suit all budgets, especially now in these unusual times.
What exactly makes a stay on the water so divine? Read on to stir your vacation imagination.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Picture this: You wake up, step outside and cannonball off the wraparound deck into crystal-clear waters. Or, if you prefer a more relaxed start to your day, sip your morning coffee as you spot dolphins splashing in the distance. Either way, you have front row seats to a prime ocean location.
Being suspended over water means instant access to the ocean and its throngs of multi-coloured corals and fantastical marine creatures. Take a dip in the reef, then climb up your lagoon stairs onto your deck to laze under the sun. Rinse and repeat.
Late afternoon sea breezes with sensational tropical vistas are best enjoyed while tossing back a glass of Champagne in your private plunge pool. At night, there's nothing blocking the infinity of the sky as it reveals a glitter bomb of stars above.
A World Away from Reality
When you imagine a vacation in an overwater bungalow, visions of lush, serene tropical locales are sure to come to mind. The origin story comes from the Islands of Tahiti, but the overwater bungalow is now a staple of barefoot bliss in the most idyllic destinations on the planet — from the azure waters of the Indian Ocean in the Maldives to the exotic tranquillity of French Polynesia, plus Belize, Cook Islands, Jamaica and even Sweden!
Luxury in a League of its Own
What started as a simple bungalow stilted above the sea, overwater options have evolved into palatial, highly designed suites that marry modern luxury, sensory hedonism and exotic palapa-style architecture. What’s really stepped up the game are features such as infinity pools, intricate terraces, suspended hammocks and swim-up platforms coupled with promises to provide, plan, and create any experience on a whim for guests.
Today’s elite overwater accommodations come in all shapes and sizes and continue to raise the bar with ultra-luxurious features. The only common denominator to these serene escapes is a vivid view of the turquoise ocean at your doorstep.
All the Things or Nothing At All
Your stay can be as active or laid-back as you're feeling and activities on offer usually include yoga, fitness classes, tennis kayaks, paddleboards and oftentimes beach bicycles to explore the island. And, of course, no overwater stay would be complete without the luxury of snorkelling straight from the villa. If diving is more tempting, most resorts offer lessons and excursions to explore under the sea.
You're Alone Now
Imagine for a moment being perched off a private island in the middle of an ocean on the other side of the world — there’s no higher level of privacy. The promise of seclusion and serenity means you can indulge in peaceful luxury without a care.
While some overwater villas cater to families, it's not uncommon for them to be restricted to adults only with privacy walls and ample space from neighbouring units and the outside world. Some villas are even stand-alone units, cut off from land completely and only accessible by boat or a really long swim.
A Room with a View
Thatched roofs and a mosaic layout of wooden boardwalks that stretch into the ocean from white-sand beaches are the hallmarks of the quintessential overwater bungalow. Many villas are designed to bring the outside in with breezy open spaces and windows and entryways that let you stare out over the water.
These havens offer all the modern and luxurious amenities you would expect from a 5-star stay such as stunning interiors, outdoor aesthetics that complement the surroundings and spacious sleeping quarters with plush beds. Of course, it’s hardly worth sleeping over the water if there’s no peekaboo window to see the marine world directly below your feet.
50 Shades of Blue
Wake up and step straight into the lagoon from your private sundeck. When you’re living over postcard-perfect waters, there’s no better way to start the day. Overwater villas offer direct water access with stairs, ladders or even slides to help you cool off throughout the day. There’s nothing like being completely surrounded by nature from above and below the water. In an overwater bungalow, you'll enjoy endless vistas and gain a new appreciation for the ocean as shades of blue from azure to turquoise to navy stretch as far as the eye can see to meet sunrises and sunsets in vivid technicolour.