Top 10 Overwater Bungalows Maldives

Overwater bungalows Maldives

Dreamy overwater villas and pristine beaches are what come to mind when you hear the name “Maldives”. It is a mesmerizing destination unlike any other. From white sand beaches to turquoise waters, it is a dream destination.

I remember looking at the travel catalog in the Sunday newspapers when I was a child. It always featured overwater villas in the Maldives, which left me in awe. When I did eventually stay in an overwater villa, it was better than I could imagine.

If you are reading this then you are also probably dreaming about staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives.

Maldives has the biggest and most luxurious selection of water villas in the world.

Whether you are planning a honeymoon or family getaway, at a Maldive all-inclusive resort, this post will guide you in choosing the best water villas and planning the ultimate Maldivian escape.

The resorts below are hand-picked by myself based on reviews, amenities, impeccable service, and other factors that give them the edge over other resorts.

Top Overwater Bungalows Maldives

In this section, I’ll highlight a selection of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives. Each of these accommodations offers a unique and luxurious experience. I have selected these based on bungalow design, amenities, guest satisfaction, reviews, and other X factors.

1. St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

Best St Regis in the World
  • Location: Vommuli Island Dhaalu Atoll
  • Why it’s special: The St Regis resorts are synonymous with some of the most luxurious properties in the world. The resort has all the amenities you can imagine. It is also one of the newer resorts, which features modern design elements. This is one of the most gorgeous villas I have seen inside and on the outdoor terraces.
  • Getting to the resort: Seaplane
  • Insider tip: If you have Marriott Bonvoy points stacked up, you can use these to book a stay. For elite status members, the 5th night is free when booking with points. You will still have to factor in costs for food and seaplane transfers though.

2. COMO Cocoa Island Resort

  • Location: South Malé Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: COMO Cocoa Island offers a collection of overwater suites and villas designed in traditional Maldivian style. There is a vibrant coral reef close by, perfect for snorkeling. Villas have a natural look and feel.
  • Getting to the resort: speedboat
  • Insider Tip: Don’t miss the chance to indulge in holistic wellness at the COMO Shambhala Retreat, known for its rejuvenating spa treatments.

3. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

  • Location: North Malé Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: Gili Lankanfushi is focused on luxury and sustainability. The villas are designed in wood and have thatch roofs, giving it a rustic feel. Villas also have overwater hammocks for you to enjoy in your private space. The resort was the Winner of Trip Advisors 2023 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best.
  • Getting to the resort: Speedboat
  • Insider Tip: Take advantage of the “No News, No Shoes” philosophy – it’s a place to unplug and truly unwind. Walking without shoes has many health and wellness benefits too.

4. Soneva Jani

  • Location: Noonu Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: All the villas have private pools, a private slide into the lagoon, and retractable roofs in the master bedroom. This resort is possibly most famous for its slides. This concept was imagined by Soneva at the Soneva Fushi. The slides add an extra wow factor to the villa. Just think about sliding down from your private water villa into the crystal-clear lagoon below.
  • Getting to the resort: Seaplane from Male International Airport or speedboat from Maafaru International Airport.
  • Insider Tip: Opt for the Cinema Paradiso experience, where you can watch movies on a screen suspended over water.

5. Ozen Reserve Bolifushi

Views from inside the bungalow
  • Location: South Male Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: I stayed at this property when it was still Jumeirah Vitavelli. Although it has undergone some changes, the structure and layout of the villas remain the same. The villas have a spacious outdoor deck with a private infinity pool, lounging area, and direct ocean access via stairs. The bathroom has a huge bath with stunning views of the ocean. The villa also has a glass floor in the lounge where you can catch some fish just floating by.
  • Getting to the resort: Speedboat
  • Insider tip: Book the semi-submarine experience where you can explore the reefs with a submarine submerged just 1 meter below. The resort also has a house reef where you can explore marine and coral.

6. Ritz Carlton Fari Island Resort

Ritz carlton Fari Island overwater villa
Overwater villa at the Ritz Carlton Fari Island
  • Location: North Male Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: The Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Islands can best be described as an experience where everything is elevated from the luxe accommodations to the dining experiences. It is also one of the newer resorts and has villas that are contemporary in design. The villas are sleek in design and create an oneness between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The villa pool is more than just a rectangular plunge pool, its curvy design makes it so inviting.
  • Getting to the resort: Speedboat or seaplane ride
  • Insider tip: Book a sandbank experience where you can enjoy cuisine from the resort’s restaurants in the most beautiful setting.

7. Waldorf Astoria

Overwater villa at the Waldorf Astoria
  • Location: South Male Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: Waldorf Astoria is also one of the newer resorts in the Maldives. The overwater villas have a large private terrace with a private pool, overwater hammock, swing, and sun loungers. Floor-to-ceiling windows create excellent views all around. The dressing area also has a glass floor to watch the marine life swim by.
  • Getting to the resort: Speedboat
  • Insider tip: Booking an ocean excursion where you can discover a secluded beach or sandbank.

8.Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali island

  • Location: North Male Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: Jumeirah does not hold back when it comes to amenities and interiors and this resort is no different. In true Jumeirah style, villas are designed to give that plush feel. there is a spacious wooden deck with a private infinity pool, outdoor shower, and rooftop terrace to admire the turquoise lagoon below. The bungalows here have a beautiful contemporary feel.
  • Getting to the resort: Speedboar or airplane
  • Insider tip: You can enjoy a game of tennis with beachside views at the resort’s tennis courts. There is also a semi-submarine experience you can book.

9. Four Seasons Resort Laanda Giraavaru

overwater villa four seasons maldives
Overwater villa at Four Seasons Laanda Giraavaru
  • Location: Baa Atoll
  • Why It’s Special: Its location in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere is one of the most beautiful islands. I love the bleached wood and soft tones used in the villas. It gives a “clean and calm” feel. The outdoor deck has an overwater hammock, plunge pool, and direct beach access. Four Seasons has a reputation for delivering high guest satisfaction.
  • Getting to the resort: seaplane
  • Insider tip: You can explore coral spawning with Reefscapers biologists at the Four Seasons.

10.Patina Maldives

Seamless integration between indoor and outdoor space in the overwater villas Patina
  • Location: North Male Atoll
  • Why it’s special: The resort has been designed by a Brazilian architect and it is evident that a lot of thought and elements have gone into creating a unique Maldivian Resort. The resort is focused on sustainability. There are many art pieces throughout the property. The earth tones of the villas give a very minimalistic and calming feel.The villas are created with all-natural materials which create a minimalistic but luxurious feel. The full glass sliding doors create an oneness between the indoor and outdoor spaces. There is an outdoor bathtub and pool.
  • Getting to the resort: Speedboat
  • Insider tip: Patina is focused on wellbeing. Their philosophy is called FLOW and they have various elements to create this state within you. Make use of the spa, meditation, and mindfulness practices to enhance your wellbeing and recharge your batteries.

Maldives Overview

The Maldives is a country made up of natural atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs, islands, or islets) along with a few other islands.

It is situated in the Indian Ocean and located southwest of Sri Lanka.

The economy is largely dependent on tourism and they have created some of the most luxurious resorts in the world. Resorts are all located on atolls (private islands) which are accessible by boat or seaplane.

Every moment feels like a dream, from before you land to your first Maldivian sunset on a private island and even your farewell departure.

Why Visit the Maldives for Overwater Bungalows?

You can opt to stay in beach villas or other accommodations, but the overwater bungalows are a unique experience you hardly find in the world. I would highly recommend booking at least a part of your stay in a water villa.

It is hard to imagine staying in an overwater villa until you experience it. I can best describe it as falling asleep to the gentle crashing of waves beneath your bungalow and waking up to gorgeous ocean views.

It’s the epitome of luxury and relaxation.

Some of the benefits of staying in over bungalows are:

Secluded Bliss

You do not need to walk through lobbies and corridors to access your accommodation. Bungalows on resorts are accessed by boat, bicycle, or buggy. These are built for privacy and seclusion, ensuring that you will get your quiet private space.

This makes them a top choice for honeymooners, couples, and even families.

Most Amazing Views

Overwater bungalows in the Maldives have uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, often with direct access to the water, where you can swim or snorkel.

The villas are large and have outdoor terraces where you can spend time admiring the views.

Vibrant Marine Life

Hawksbill Turtle floats under water. Maldives Indian Ocean coral reef.

The Maldives is a snorkeler’s and diver’s bliss. There are vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine species. This is a must-try experience at least once.

Inside tip: If you are claustrophobic or scared of water, try a shallow snorkeling experience, where you can still see some marine life, but don’t need to go deep in.

Luxury Resort

best st regis in the world

The Maldives features world-class resorts with luxurious accommodations, top amenities, spas, and dining options. They are all located on private islands.

Maldives is home to more luxurious over water villas and resorts than French Polynesia and Hawai.

Stunning Sunsets

Maldivian sunsets are something you cannot put into words. I will best put it into a picture below.

For Inspiration

Worst time to visit Maldives
Dreamy Maldives

I am always inspired by travel and Maldives takes that inspiration a level up.

It is one of those destinations where you can truly rest your body and mind. When you are in such a relaxed state in one of the most beautiful places in the world, it leads to creativity and inspires you.

Whether you’re seeking romance, adventure, or a tranquil escape, I guarantee that the Maldives overwater bungalow is an experience you will never forget. It will leave you refreshed and inspired.

Activities and Experiences

While staying in the Maldives’ overwater bungalows, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an incredible experience.

Snorkeling and Diving

  • Why It’s Special: The Maldives is a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise. Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life, including tropical fish, rays, and even majestic whale sharks.
    Most bungalows have direct access to the water below, so you can explore this vibrant undersea world right from your bungalow.
  • Insider Tip: Consider taking a guided snorkeling or diving tour to discover the best underwater spots.

Maldivian Sunsets

  • Why It’s Special: Maldivian sunsets are breathtaking.
    You can choose to watch the sunset on a cruise or you can enjoy the sunset right from your overwater bungalow.
  • Insider Tip: Don’t forget to make space on your camera (I always do this) as you’ll want to capture these magical moments. Also, book a sunset water villa as villas are either facing sunrise or sunset. Position your phone somewhere steady and capture a timelapse of the sunset.

Water Activities

  • Why it’s Special: From paddling to windsurfing, there are so many water activities you can try.
    If you have a water villa with a slide, you can slide right down into the ocean and enjoy a serene swim.
  • Insider Tip 1: Try stand-up paddleboarding for a unique perspective of the crystal-clear waters. The waters are gentle enough.
  • Insider Tip 2: Wear your life jacket when accessing the water directly from the bungalow. As gentle as it seems, the current can pull you away from your bungalow rather quickly

Unique dining experiences

  • Why It’s Special: Some Maldivian resorts offer the extraordinary experience of dining underwater, surrounded by marine life. Other dining experiences include having a secluded meal on a sandbank or you can simply opt to dine at your bungalow on the deck as most offer this option.
  • Insider Tip: Make reservations well in advance for these exclusive dining experiences.

Booking Tips

I did a lot of research when booking my trip to the Maldives. There is a lot to consider as you don’t want to be spending a ton of money and then be disappointed because it’s rainy season.

Consider the tips below when planning your adventure.

Plan Ahead

  • Why it’s Important: Overwater bungalows are in high demand, especially during peak seasons. Book well in advance to secure your dream stay. Booking at the last minute may end up costing you more.
  • Insider Tip: Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) for more competitive rates, but also make sure that it is not complete monsoon season so that you are stuck indoors all the time.

All-Inclusive Packages

  • Why It’s Smart: Many resorts offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, activities, and even spa treatments. These packages can provide excellent value for your money.Often food will end up costing you a lot more if you don’t include this in the package. Some packages also include transfers to the resort (transfers can be really expensive).
  • Insider Tip: If you are booking on points, then budget accordingly for food and transfers.

Loyalty Programs

  • Why it Matters: I am big on loyalty programs. I have seen the value it brings over the years. Pick one loyalty program that you will be able to use the most and try to advance your status with this.
    You can earn perks like room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and lounge access.
  • Insider Tip: Check if your preferred resort chain has a presence in the Maldives. Most of the big hotel companies have resorts in the Maldives.

Travel Tips

Make your journey to the Maldives smooth and enjoyable with these travel tips:

Visa Requirements

  • What to Know: Most tourists are granted a free 30-day visa on arrival in the Maldives. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates.
  • Insider Tip: Keep a printed copy of your accommodation reservation and return flight details for immigration.

Respect Local Culture

  • Why it’s Important: The Maldives is a Muslim country, so dress modestly when outside the resort. Bikinis and swimwear are appropriate only on resort beaches.
  • Insider Tip: Learn a few basic local phrases like “Hello” and “Thank you” to show respect to the local population.

Knowing the best times to visit the Maldives

The Maldives is a destination like no other. From the moment you step onto the soft, powdery sands of these atolls, you’ll be enveloped in an atmosphere of serenity, luxury, and natural beauty. The allure of the Maldives is real, and its overwater bungalows are the best part of it.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, seeking a romantic escape, or simply yearning for a tranquil retreat, the Maldives delivers an unforgettable experience.

From the privacy of your overwater bungalow, you can enjoy endless ocean views, and mesmerizing sunsets, and explore the vibrant underwater world.

I’ve presented a hand-picked selection of the best overwater bungalow resorts, each with its unique charm.

No matter which you choose, you are sure you have the experience of a lifetime.

As you plan your trip to the Maldives, remember my insider tips for a seamless and extraordinary experience.

Thank you for joining me on this virtual journey to the Maldives’ overwater bungalows. I hope this guide has inspired your wanderlust and provided valuable insights for your upcoming trip.

May your time in the Maldives be filled with everything you are dreaming of.

Affiliate Disclosure:

Please note that this article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a booking through these links. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps support our website. We only recommend resorts and services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experience.

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