No other room type gets requested more at Bliss Vacations than the one and only overwater bungalow. Or as they are sometimes referred to ‘overwater villas’, ‘rooms on stilts’, ‘huts in the sea’, ‘bedrooms in the ocean’ – you name it, we’ve heard it!
The islands of Tahiti are the official home of the overwater bungalow, the idea behind which is believed to have stemmed from the pearl farms which are similarly suspended and scattered amongst the Tahitian lagoons. Long pontoons were built stretching from the mainland, deep into the lagoons, each with a hut at the end to store equipment and provide shelter and shade from tropical weather – rain or shine! It was in the late sixties and early seventies when French Polynesian hoteliers started to think about taking the concept of these basic abodes and creating something a little more substantial and luxurious for guests to stay in. From that moment in, the development and design of overwater bungalows and villas has exploded onto the resort scene.
These days, it’s a lot less about the simplicity of a hut above the ocean. It’s all about the private infinity pools, enormous outdoor bathrooms, glass floors (through which to watch Tahitian television) and of course all the mod-cons you could imagine. Some Maldivian resorts, who took to this trend in the 90’s, now have multi-story villas, private slides into the ocean, indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Indeed, some are now so exclusive they’ve forgotten about the pontoon all together – guests are only able to access their front door by private speedboat!
Other destinations in which you can wake up to the sounds of water lapping beneath you include Fiji, Jamaica, Mauritius, Malaysia, Cambodia, Mexico and The Philippines.
Here are 3 top tips when it comes to choosing your overwater bungalow:
1. Pontoon Positioning.
The further away from land you are, the more desirable (and often more expensive!) a room becomes. TOP TIP – speak to a specialist about whether there are any villas which are an exception to this rule. For example, villas 44 and 45 at Constance Moofushi in the Maldives are located right at the end of the first half of the pontoon. Giving the privacy and views of their top room category, without the price tag. They are slightly smaller and they don’t have a bathtub – but these are the only differences!
2. Sunrise Or Sunset.
You often pay a premium to bag a sunset facing bungalow – as it enables you to watch the sun disappear from the privacy of your own room. However, there are some properties where you can request these rooms for free. Our specialists can guide you towards these. TOP TIP – the sunsets in Fiji are completely eye-watering, jaw-dropping stunning – especially at Likuliku Lagoon Resort & Spa.
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3. Lagoon Or Ocean.
In some areas of the world you will notice that hotels offer lagoon or ocean locations. Often this means that ocean bungalows will be over deep water and lagoon bungalows will be over slightly shallower water. You will never be above an unsafe swimming area, but it might affect whether you can jump in straight off your balcony or whether you need to climb carefully down the steps. TOP TIP – the Four Seasons in Bora Bora offers the best of both worlds – deep enough water to jump in, within a protected lagoon, so the water is (almost always) calm.