The Best Luxe Overwater Hotels Around the World

Few things are more luxurious than a stylish beach-like bungalow suspended above a natural body of water, especially when it’s five-star. Alluring at first glimpse, we’ve rounded up our favorite chic overwater bungalow hotels worldwide. 

Z9 Resort (Kanchanaburi, Thailand)

5 Stars | Website | Kamphaeng Saen Airport

15 | Free WiFi; Breakfast included; Room service | 1

Chong Khao Khat; Khwae River; Time Memorial Park & Sundial

Floating above the Srinakarin Dam in Thailand, Z9 resort is a luxury hotel focusing on recharging guests’ minds and souls via its nature-heavy environs. The 15-key stay boasts earth-influenced structures and trappings: Sand-colored beddings, natural hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows grant idyllic mountain and lake views. 

Nayara Bocas del Toro (Isla Frangipani, Panama)

5 Stars | Website | Bocas del Toro Isla Colon International Airport

16 | Outdoor swimming pools; Fitness center; Spa | 2

Parque Simón Bolivar; Bosque Protector Palo Seco; Reserva Municipal de Playa Bluff

Nayara Bocas del Toro is an exclusive island resort off Panama’s Caribbean coastline. With the 16 villas sporting private saltwater plunge pools, personal firepits, and glass-paneled floors allowing guests to view the aquatic life underfoot, it doesn’t get much more luxe than this stay. In terms of design, Balinese-style undertones reign supreme here.

The Standard, Maldives (Huruvalhi Island, Maldives)

5 Stars | Website | Malé’s Velana Airport

115 | Outdoor swimming pools; Private beach; Spa | 5

Huruvalhi Island; Meedhupparu; Dhigali

Just a 40-minute seaplane from Velana International Airport, The Standard Maldives is a private island resort ensconced in crystal-clear Indian Ocean waters. Within the 115 villas, guests can enjoy easy access to all water activities, including snorkeling in the resort’s protected house reef, with sea creatures, boating, and deep sea diving. Beyond the sea, luxe in-room amenities range from exclusive decks to private plunge pools. Aside from the picture-perfect bungalows, the resort also has a medley of in-house restaurants and bars serving delicious Maldivian cuisine, along with DJ performances at the onsite Beru Bar. 

Le Taha’a (Taha’a, French Polynesia)

5 Stars | Website | Raiatea Airport

57 | Spa; Fitness center; Private beach | 3

Mount Otemanu; Tahua To’a huri nihi; Tahua Hawaiki Nui

Located in French Polynesia, pristine white-sand beaches and shimmering turquoise waters are omnipresent at the boutique stay, Le Taha’a. These overwater bungalows strut traditional Polynesian fashion: Thatched pandanus roofs, bamboo decor, and expansive windows decorate the villas. With its placement on a private islet, Motu Tautau, Le Taha’a is a true island oasis.

Bawah Reserve (Anambas Island, Indonesia)

5 Stars | Website | Singapore Changi Airport

36 | Outdoor swimming pool; Fitness center; Spa | 4

Anambas Island; Pulau Bawah; Elang Private Residence

Secluded in the Anambas Islands, Bawah Reserve boasts panoramic views of the surrounding turquoise lagoon and preserved coral reef. The 11 luxurious overwater bungalows equip tropical-inspired interiors: Recycled-bamboo wood interiors, white-and-blue-hued furnishings, and recycled copper bathroom fixtures, to name a few. From the villa’s outdoor decks, guests can quickly dip into the lagoon for snorkeling with the exotic marine life or, if wearing goggles isn’t the move, take in the spectacular Indonesian sunrise and sunset.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba (Riviera Maya, Mexico)

5 Stars | Website | Cancún International Airport

162 | Outdoor swimming pools; Spa; Bar | 14

Mayakoba Beach; Playa del Carmen Beach; Riviera Maya

With mangrove forests fringing pristine Riviera Maya coastline, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is an enchanting beachfront resort in Playa del Carmen. The seven overwater lagoon and rooftop pool villas are as chic as it gets, with each lodge boasting a two-story layout, an outdoor bathtub, and an open-air rooftop with a private, heated infinity pool overlooking the water. Plus, the villas are hidden in the mangroves away from the rest of the resort, providing the utmost privacy.

Pangkor Laut Resort (Pangkor Laut Island, Malaysia)

5 Stars | Website | Sultan Azlan Shah Airport

140 | Outdoor swimming pool; Private beach; Spa | 5

Pasir Bogak Beach; Teluk Ketapang Beach; Teluk Nipah Beach

Pangkor Laut Resort is the beach resort of our dreams, located on its 300-acre private island off the west coast of Malaysia. These stilted-overwater bungalows sit above the waters of the Strait of Malacca and provide guests with personal outdoor verandas, sun loungers, and oversized bathtubs. The Pangkor Laut’s prized villas, specifically the Suria and Purnama stays, boast an expansive entrance hall, a separate bedroom, and spacious bathrooms with an oversized bathtub peering out at sea.

One&Only Reethi Rah (Malé, Maldives)

5 Stars | Website | Male International Airport

122 | Outdoor swimming pools; Spa; Private beach | 6

One & Only Reethi Rah Beach; Eriyadu Beach; Bodu Hithi Beach

Regarding the ideal beach vacation, One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives is an ultra-luxury, all-villa beach resort that’s la crème de la crème. High-stilted wooden walkways lead guests to their private overwater villas, which feature traditional thatched-roof design, over-water catamaran nets, and personal sunbathing decks ideal for soaking above the sea. The resort’s newly-launched collaboration with Italian fashion house Missoni adds even more loftiness to the stay’s existing upmarket fare. 


Anantara Veli Maldives Resort (South Male, Maldives)

5 Stars | Website | Male International Airport

67 | Outdoor swimming pool; Fitness center; Spa | 3

Bikini Beach; Gulhi; Makunufushi Cocoa Island Beach

This luxury adults-only resort is within swimming distance of sister resorts Anantara Dhigu, geared towards families and Naladhu, designed for beach lovers. These stilted villas have refined elegance and coziness compared to other palatial and pricier options. The intricately carved bathroom doors with soaking tub look out onto one of the Maldives’ most spectacularly turquoise natural lagoons—as does the villa’s private pool. Its pitched wooden roof and flooring give it a classic Maldivian vibe, while bright touches pop against a gobsmacking blue backdrop.


JOALI Maldives (Muravandhoo Island, Maldives)

5 Stars | Website | Dharavandhoo Airport

73 | Outdoor swimming pool; Fitness center; Spa | 4

Muravandhoo; Dhigali; Northern Maalhosmadulu Atoll

One of the Maldives’ best and most design-centric resorts has a glamorous, feminine touch owed to its Turkish owner Esin Güral Argat. JOALI’s super spacious overwater villas with private pools are decked out in rose gold finishes with sky-high bamboo-thatched ceilings, artfully carved wood doors, pastel pink throw pillows, and an emerald green marble shower. It’s also the first art-immersive hotel in the Maldives, with 13 pieces scattered around the island. The most popular is the manta ray-shaped treehouse, perfect for a photo shoot or an outstanding multi-course meal.


Gili Lankanfushi Maldives (Lankanfushi Island, Maldives)

5 Stars | Website | Male International Airport

45 | Outdoor swimming pool; Fitness center; Spa | 2

Paradise Island Beach; Hulhumale; Lankanfushi

Live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasies at this ultra-sustainable overwater-only retreat. There are 45 rustic yet luxurious overwater villas to choose from, including their stand-alone Crusoe Residences with a private water hammock. Gili Lankanfushi’s reclaimed wood villas have unique touches like handmade rocking chairs and mirrors made from driftwood. There’s an abundance of outdoor living space with multiple lounge areas, a semi-open-air bathroom, and several villas with private pools. The rooftop terrace is the best place to spot passing eagle rays or drift off to sleep in a bed set up for you to sleep under the stars.

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