When you imagine a tropical vacation, what comes to mind? For us, it’s an overwater bungalow, a thing of beauty from both a design and scenic perspective. French Polynesia—well, more specifically three Californians in this paradisiacal place—may have invented the iconic structure, 50 years ago, but today you can find them all over the globe. From the Maldives to Jamaica, these are the picturesque “floating” properties that belong on your honeymoon shortlist.
Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora
With its turquoise waters and majestic mountain views, the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is one of the most idyllic places on the planet. Not surprisingly, it’s the recipient of countless accolades, including best resort in the South Pacific in our 2017 Honeymoon Awards. All year long, the award winner is offering a special anniversary package, which includes a resort credit and “make your own Mai Tai kit.”
Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
The Maldives may be home to two thirds of the overwater bungalows in the world, but Cheval Blanc Randheli stands out for its proclivity towards all things posh. Owned by LVMH—purveyors of prestige brands like Louis Vuitton and Moët Chandon—and designed by architect Jean-Michel Gathy (whose portfolio also includes the Aman properties) the 46-villa maison leads in luxury. Expect private seaplane transfers, haute cuisine from three-Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, and Guerlain spa treatments.
Sandals South Coast, Jamaica
Looking for an upscale adults-only escape? In mid-December, Sandals South Coast will debut 12 Tahitian-style “honeymoon” bungalows, equipped with A-list amenities like 24/7 butler service, extended sun decks, outdoor soaking tubs or over-water hammocks and unfettered Caribbean Sea access. Inside: hardwood floors with glass panels, vaulted ceilings, walk-in rain showers and smart TVs.
Hotel Palafitte, Switzerland
Set in the canton of Neuchâtel (AKA the birthplace of absinthe), Hotel Palafitte has the distinction of being the only hotel in Europe built on stilts—a design inspired by the remains of ancient Swiss structures discovered nearby. When not staring out at the sparkling lake, sample regional delicacies like lake trout sashimi and, of course, absinthe.
Cayo Espanto, Belize
Three miles off the coast of San Pedro is Cayo Espanto. This exclusive island is home to seven unique villas, including the sought-after Casa Ventanas. Surrounded by the sea on all sides, this one-bedroom bungalow promises absolute privacy and an unparalleled experience. Craving some aquatic adventure? There’s even a sailboat and kayaks just for you.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Maldives
Characterized by serenity and refined ambiance, the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli exclusive island retreat invites guests is prime for relaxation and romance. Overwater accommodations marry sleek furnishings and a chic palette of cream and cobalt with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean—courtesy of expansive terraces and private plunge pools. Take advantage of a pampering couple’s treatment at the Iridium Spa.
Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Mexico may not be the first place you think of for overwater bungalows, but Rosewood Mayakoba is about to change all that. Set in a secluded enclave, this Riviera Maya gem offers serenity, natural splendor and swoon-worthy accommodations. Suspended over the shimmering lagoons, suites—like the rest of the resort—honor the pristine surroundings with eco-conscious construction and indigenous materials.
Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa, Samoa
Set in Fausaga, on Samoa’s scenic Southern coast, Coconuts Beach Club is the first and only resort in the country with overwater fales (pronounced “fah-lays”)—six to be exact. Each bungalow is positioned to maximize personal, err couple, space. Perks include soaring Samoan ceilings and spacious sun decks.
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel, Guatemala
Calling all nature lovers! Surrounded by a 300-acre private reserve, Las Lagunas is brimming with pristine beauty. Eco-friendly wooden casitas come with decks overlooking Quexil Lagoon and Petén jungle. After a day of outdoor adventure (be sure to book a tour of neighboring Monkey Island), unwind in your outdoor Jacuzzi with a glass of Château Defay.
Song Saa Private Island, Koh Ouen and Koh Bong, Cambodia
From the unspoiled wilderness to the award-winning eco-conscious design, Song Saa Private Island draws nature lovers and honeymooners alike. Each villa is sustainably constructed with reclaimed timber and meticulously decorated with upcycled elements and local artifacts. And did we mention, each one offers 200 square meters of prime (and personal) oceanfront real estate?
COMO Cocoa Island, Maldives
Fashioned after local fishing boats, the Dhoni Suites—eight split-level “vessels”—at COMO Cocoa Island appear to be floating (in reality, they’re actually fixed to the lagoon floor). Interiors flaunt vaulted ceilings, antique colonial ceiling fans and full-length glass windows that let in the Maldivian sunlight.
Laucala Island Resort, Fiji
This adults-only refuge is überpopular among the recently betrothed—and it’s easy to see why. The remote, romantic setting of Laucala Island Resort makes it perfect for some postwedding alone time. And the crystalline waters and volcanic mountains are a draw in themselves.
Constance Prince Maurice, Mauritius
Set among the lush greenery on the East Coast of Mauritius, Constance Prince Maurice is a harmonious hideaway. Suites and villas—the brainchild of architect Jean-Marc Eynaud and designer David Edwards—flaunt thatched roofs and feng shui–influenced interiors. And the amor doesn’t end with the accommodations...honeymooners can book activities like sunset cruises, wine tastings, and couples massages.