A true escape

What if you could get away from it all, including the land? Imagine enjoying your morning coffee as dolphins and tropical fish frolic around you or elephants bathe themselves in the warmth of the rising sun. At night, there will be nothing to block the colours of the sun as they spread across the infinity of the sky. Perhaps you’ll take it in from the waters of your own private plunge pool. Whether you’re planning your future holiday or just daydreaming, all this, and more is possible in these incredible overwater resorts.

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

The overwater villas at Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia are in harmony with their surroundings. Built from driftwood and reclaimed materials from old fishing boats, the villas feature trimmings like private pools, private decks with sunbeds, and indoor/outdoor showers while the interiors are appointed with furnishings and decor crafted by local artisans. You’ll enjoy views of old-growth rainforests, pristine white sand beaches, and reefs swimming with colourful, tropical fish. The resort itself offers an infinity swimming pool, restaurant, spa, yoga, kayaking and scuba diving.

Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The rugged Mount Otemanu looms above the jaw-droppingly beautiful French Polynesian Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora, where the thatch-roofed overwater villas feature indigenous artwork, incredible views of the lagoon or the mountain, and ladders leading down to the water. The service here is top-notch with small touches like chilled towels and fresh fruit available at the infinity pool. The resort specialises in arranging individualised excursions including private dinners on small islands, art experiences, spa treatments and snorkelling tours.

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

The Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam has it all: sweeping views of the East Vietnam Sea, towering rock formations, white-sand beaches, and views of mountainous jungles. Take in the views in your private pool, sun yourself on your private deck or garden, and end the day soaking in a hand-crafted wooden tub. Dine on local fare including succulent lobsters and the sweet meat of king prawns. Enjoy water sports, authentic Vietnamese cooking classes, and cruises in wooden boats. As soon as you come home you’ll start planning your next trip.

Manava Beach and Spa Resort Moorea, Tahiti

This resort in Tahiti takes its commitment to the environment seriously. Manava Beach and Spa Resort Moorea has established its own coral nursery where corals have a protected, natural setting to regenerate and grow. The overwater villas feature large sundecks and glass tables through which you can view underwater marine life. There are two bars, an incredible restaurant, and a spa in which to relax away all your cares. You’ll also enjoy the largest infinity pool on the island and lagoons and reefs full of vivid tropical fish.

Gili Lankanfushi, the Maldives

This incredible spot, filled with overwater villas, is located in the North Malé Atoll, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Malé and is the epitome of an island paradise. The property boasts 45 overwater villas that feature open-air living spaces, roof terraces, and decks leading directly into the lagoon below. Amazingly, the largest overwater villa in the Maldives is located at this property and has four bedrooms, a private open-air cinema, spa, air-conditioned gymnasium, infinity pool, and a two-storey waterslide, directly into the lagoon.

Meeru Island Resort and Spa, Maldives

Another Maldives’ paradise is Meeru Island. Located about 25km from Gili Lankanfushi, Meeru Island has everything from a water sports centre to lush tropical gardens to glow-in-the-dark parties. These overwater villas are a great place for families – not really your tranquil couples’ retreat. But make no mistake, these water villas are plenty peaceful!

Chobe Water Villas, Namibia

The views of the Chobe Water Villas in Nambia are among the most unique in the world. Located in the place where two rivers converge and 50,000 elephants call home. Two phenomenal activities per day are included in your room rate including game drives through national parks and safari river cruises. There’s no need to leave your villa to view the sights though. The villas have views of both wetland and bushland sanctuaries spanning the Chobe River, Sedudu Island, and Chobe National Park across the river. The restaurant’s dishes are so beautiful they’d be too perfect to eat if they weren’t so delicious. A stay here is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

The Manta Resor, Tanzania

Why rent just your average overwater bungalow when you can have your own private floating island? That’s exactly what the Manta Resort offers with its one-of-a-kind underwater room villa. The three-level villa is perched in the middle of the sea where a boat will drop you off at the start of your stay. You can lounge in one of the many rooms, but the best spot of all is the floating suite’s bedroom located three metres under the water’s surface. Yes, you can watch fish swim past while you fall asleep.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

It doesn’t get better than a five-star resort on a small private wilderness island. That is until you add luxurious overwater villas or ‘bures’ in a natural ocean lagoon surrounded by a protected marine sanctuary. You can jump straight into the ocean from your private balcony perched over a coral reef. You can even lounge in your tub while taking in the ocean views. If you get bored in your little oasis, hop on over to one of the restaurants, spa, or gym for a break.

Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort Hotel, French Polynesia

Located on the edge of a magnificent lagoon with views of the main island of Tahiti and awe-inspiring mountains rising out of the Pacific Ocean, Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort Hotel boasts 112 luxurious villas – some built over the water, others on the white-sand beachfront, while several are surrounded by landscaped gardens. You can experience the chic decadence of French-style cheese and wine with the vibrant culture of Moorea. And if an overnight stay is out of your budget, there are day passes available.

Hotel Palafitte, Switzerland

Overwater villas aren’t confined to tropical locales. Hotel Palafitte created an architectural masterpiece when it unveiled its modern 26 over-lake villas built on stilts. You may not see tropical fish, but you can indulge in water activities like boating and kayaking, eat delicious food, and enjoy amazing sunsets and views of the Swiss landscape.