Continuing our series of best beaches and luxury hotels around the world, this article outlines the top 5 best luxury overwater villas NOT in the Maldives.
You may not have realised, but there are overwater villas or bungalows all over the world. Most recently, Sandals has just launched brand new overwater villas in the Caribbean. Further south in Panama you can stay in some of the cheapest overwater bungalows in the world. If you are Europe based, how about booking into an overwater bungalow over a Swiss Lake? Wherever you choose, you no longer need to fly half way around the world to experience an overwater escape.
In December, Sandals unveiled its first five all-inclusive over-the-water villas in in Montego Bay, Jamaica. These are the first honeymoon style overwater bungalows in the Caribbean (pictured above) and form the newest part of this luxury all-inclusive resort. There are 17 overwater bungalows and each comes with a private pool, Jacuzzi, glass floors, and a personal butler. The glass panels in the villas’ floors illuminate at night and show sea life swimming underneath. The deck boasts not only the small infinity pool but two outdoor showers, an oversized over-the-water hammock, chic white sun loungers and a shaded circular swing chair . The villas also have 24/7 room service and two dedicated butlers. They’ll even pack and unpack your suitcases or draw you a bath with petals and champagne.
The resort itself is situated only a few minutes away from the airport in Montego Bay with a free shuttle to and from. This makes the resort easy to get to although it does suffer from occasional aircraft noise.
Sandals South Coast Resort also on Jamaica is also in the planning stages of building 12 overwater bungalows. This resort also offers 2 miles of white sand beach along with a wide selection of water sports, including snorkelling and scuba diving.
And the cost of a night in one of these overwater villas? Well you can book 3 nights for US$8814.10/£7115 including standard Sandals online discounts. If you book for a week or more you may get a lower price, but for shorter stays it appears that the rate will be around US$3,000/£2,421 per night.
Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a paradise sanctuary, offering an alcohol-free environment, an island of beaches and indulgence. Just 25 minutes from the heart of Qatar’s vibrant capital, yet a world away, a luxury catamaran ferry will whisk you across the crystal clear water to reach this breathtaking island.
The eight two-bedroom Over Water Villas and trio of prestigious three-bedroom Anantara Over Water Villas offer 360 square metres of luxurious space and a 62-square-metre personal pool. In the evenings, beds are scattered with rose petals. Lighting has 10 mood light settings and the towels are folded into different animal shapes each night. Kissing swans and even a grinning monkey can be found, all made out of towels, hanging on the back of your bathroom door.
Although you could do a layover on one of these overwater villas as it is so close to the airport, at US$4,373/£3,531 per night, this resort is not cheap if you must stay overwater. During flash sales premier (non over water rooms) start at US$297/£240 per night.
The five star Hotel Palafitte is built over Lake Neuchatel, perfects the overwater bungalow in pure Swiss style and opulence. This architectural masterpiece is the first overwater villa resort in Europe making it ideal for a weekend break. 40 eye-catching wooden pavilions stand on piles in the lake. Each room has its own terrace and the overwater roomss offer direct access to the lake. La Table de Palafitte restaurant has 13 Gault Millau points is another highlight of this modern hotel (which opened in spring 2014).
The advantage of the Hotel Pafitte overwater bungalows is that this is an easy place to pop in for just 2 or 3 nights. Rates start at around CHF 328.00/US$327/£263
Located near Playa del Carmen, 40 miles south of Cancun, the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort has 18 Deluxe Overwater Suites which sit above a mangrove lagoon. Each suite is large and comes with a heated plunge pool. These were the first honeymoon style overwater bungalows in the Caribbean. At less than an hour away from the Cancun Airport, these overwater villas are easy to get to.
Low season online specials from US$938/£757 per night High season online specials from US$1,708/£1,379 per night.
For effortless luxury in a tropical paradise, with glorious sands and majestic mountain vistas, look no further than the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. Snorkel amongst colourful reefs, dive with whale sharks and manta rays before returning for your overwater bungalow with private plunge pool. Enjoy panoramic views from a deck that also offers access to the lagoon and relax in a private bedroom with serene views of the South Pacific.
Prices come in at around $4,500 /£3,741per night.
If you prefer to stick with the Maldives, discover my best romantic honeymoon hotels in the Maldives with private pools. my 5 of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, my top 5 best places to travel and my best wilderness lodges in the world.