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The Overwater Bungalow Turns 50 and Here Are the Most Spectacular Villas Around

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The overwater bungalow was first introduced 50 years ago on Raiatea, which is the second largest island in the French Polynesia, next only to Tahiti. The concept was originally suggested to draw in tourists in large numbers, and it proved a hit and a game-changer at the same time. Over the years, the overwater villas became a favourite not only of the romantics seeking tranquillity found only near the sea but also of the nature lovers. True enough, the overwater bungalow offers “easy access to throngs of Technicolor sea creatures below,” according to The Architectural Digest.

And in the following decades, the once modest bungalow has magically evolved and in many cases now boasts of stunning luxurious features. In the same report, AD made a list of the most incredible overwater bungalows located around the world – from the Caribbean Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. No matter where in the world these thatched-roof villas stand and however significant the structure amenities have been enhanced, the essence of the structures remains the same. Still, the overwater bungalow is a gorgeous way to experience the calming splendour of the seaside.

Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia

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The four Otemanu Overwater Bungalow Suites represent a unique celebration of the relaxing surroundings with the stunning blue lagoon serving as the highlight of the deal.

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

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This breath-taking resort of overwater bungalows feature a two-bedroom overwater Royal Villa of timbers, with a vast glass floor in the living room, a half-moon infinity pool with an expansive terrace, dual oversize sunken bathtubs, a personal chef and a private jetty complete with a boat for the guests’ exclusive use.

Laucala, Fiji

Photo Credit: Laucala Island Photographer via

The Overwater Villa is practically an overwater estate that is unique for its dramatic outdoor spaces – massive terraces and a large pool carved directly into the rocks on the shore. The vast expanse that highlights luxury should readily convince guests to keep within the confines of the private island for an extended time.

One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

Photo Credit: Mel Yates via

The best feature of these overwater bungalows is the promise of privacy. Each pontoon faces a different direction in the mesmerising turquoise that is the Indian Ocean, which creates a majestic illusion of infinity. As a result, guests will be lost on the thought of nearly eternal seclusion.

Cayo Espanto, Belize

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Casa Ventanas inspires awe with beautifully designed furnishings and a glass floor that doubles as an aquarium. Admiring the sea-creatures below is made more exciting by the built-in floor light, which permits the use of different colours for a more stunning viewing pleasure.

Hotel Palafitte, Switzerland

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This Swiss offering features 26 overlake bungalows with private terrace per unit that puts guests into a welcome secluded setting. Among the fun activities that guests can enjoy are paddling, boating and water-skiing.

The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia

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The Overwater Royal Otemanu Villa has a 20-by-16-foot infinity edge pond, which is considered as the largest suspended pool in the South Pacific. In addition, the nearly 3,000-square-foot bungalow functions as the platform to watch neon lagoon fish. The villas, no doubt, scream of luxury as the low-season rate commands a steep price of $5,000 per night.

Six Senses, Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

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The Water Pool Villas provides for a seamless appreciation of the outdoors and indoors. The bungalows act as the front seat to enjoy Vietnam’s coral formations and the majestic sunset vistas. Inside and within, the structures calm the senses with plunge pools, outdoor showers, handcrafted wooden bathtubs, and steps into the water for snorkelling.

Conrad Bora Bora Nui, French Polynesia

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These overwater bungalows occupy the best spot in Bora Bora and boast of designs that accentuate the blue environs. The beautiful architecture and high-end facilities only confirm that this part of Bora Bora has become a favoured destination, frequented by guests from all over the world.

Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico

Photo Credit: Rosewood Hotels via

The ultra-luxe over-lagoon villas are set not far from the Caribbean Sea to convince that one is trapped on an island paradise, specifically in Riviera Maya. The host of amenities that inspire relaxation, which already started during to the boat trip to the place, include a plunge pool and shower in a lush garden.

Jumeirah Vittaveli, Maldives

Photo Credit: Jumeirah via

Opulence the Maldives way means a 2000 square feet of private space that actually is an overwater villa with the following features floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, large glass floors, and split-level verandas. The structure serves as an all-angle window to the world outside – to enjoy, for instance, the sunset view – while having access to the modern trappings of life, which include mood lighting, interactive LCD TV, sunken bath and rain shower with infinity pool off the bathroom.