It's widely acknowledged that the first commercial overwater bungalows were created by an American trio known as the Bali Hai Boys who, in the 1960s, constructed bungalows on stilts over a lagoon off the island of Moorea, French Polynesia, so their guests could enjoy the view of the beautiful water direct from their room. Today, staying in an overwater bungalow is the epitome of luxury; these self-contained apartments offer unparalleled views of the surrounding scenery and many have a glass section in the floor to watch the passing parade of marine life.
Here are our top five overwater bungalow accommodation options.
|Le Méridien Bora Bora
Seamlessly blending modern influence and traditional Polynesian designs, the overwater bungalows offered at Le Méridien Bora Bora feature a glass floor to admire the marine life of the South Pacific below, as well as an outlook across to Mount Otemanu. If you can drag yourself away from the bungalow, head to the Manahau Wellness Centre and relax into a traditional Polynesian massage, rejuvenate with a Bora Bora coconut polish or enjoy a monoi-salt polish. Also, consider taking a yoga or Tai Chi class.
|Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives
The Conrad Maldives boasts a variety of Water Villas including the sumptuous Sunset options, which come complete with a glass-floor, private swimming pool and personal butler available to answer your every call 24-hours a day. The bed rotates 270 degrees so that you can follow the incredible sunsets over the Indian Ocean. To complete the experience, the resort also presents an overwater spa. Each spa treatment has been designed to be the most luxurious using precious oils, colours and crystals specific to each ritual, creating an air of seduction and mystique.
|Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji
Known as a bure, the country's first and only overwater offerings incorporate traditional architecture and materials in their design. The views of the lagoon are the most important aspect of these constructions - so much so that you can even admire the lagoon from the bathtub. The resort is located on the island of Malolo, around 25 kilometres from Nadi. This is the perfect destination to relax and unwind, admire the marine life on a snorkelling expedition, enjoy windsurfing or wander along the various nature trails.
|Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa
Le Taha'a Island Resort, situated on a secluded island in the South Pacific, offers various overwater suites including the Bora Bora Suite, the Sunset Suite and the End of Pontoon Suite, which is billed as the most private of all. Regardless of which overwater option you choose, they are all incredible spacious with immaculately decorated interiors and thatched rooves, but the principle reason for staying in an overwater suite is the incredible view of the lagoon.
|Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa, French Polynesia
The overwater bungalows of the Hotel Kia Ora Resort provide the perfect antidote to modern pressures. Each bungalow boasts a separate bedroom and sitting room and a spacious terrace that leads to a water-level platform perfect for an early morning dip. The resort features two restaurants to tempt your taste buds and a bar that provides the ultimate atmosphere to sample an exotic cocktail while appreciating the sunset over the Rangiroa lagoon.