Glass floors, outdoor showers and dedicated butlers are just the start of the overwater bungalow situation in the Maldives. Though tourism in the archipelagic state only kicked off around the ‘70s, today it has over 100 hotels and resorts, a handful of them on private islands.
With so many options, it can be tricky to choose where to stay. Do you want more of a chill experience where you don’t have to leave the resort — or even your room? Or, do you want more of an adventure holiday that’ll see you snorkelling alongside dolphins, jumping on a jet ski, or diving to see spectacular marine life? Or, instead, are you a big foodie and fan of Michelin-star dining?
Whatever style trip you fancy, we’ve got a Maldives overwater bungalow option to suit. Ahead, we share some of the best options in the area to book.
Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu in the remote Laamu Atoll boasts no less than 27 experiences you can choose to partake in, including a guided surfing experience, sunset cruise and, best of all, a desert island picnic where you’ll be dropped on an island and get to spend the day there, having it entirely to yourselves. Some overwater bungalows come with private pools and sunken glass bathtubs.
Soneva Fushi’s one and two-bedroom Water Reserve overwater bungalows are the largest of their kind in the world, each featuring a waterslide from their second level that plunges into the clear waters of the Baa Atoll below. If you aren’t booking one of the eight Water Reserve overwater bungalows, book a villa on the sunset side for easy access to three house reef sites and a better chance at seeing dolphins. Opt for the sunrise side if you’re keen on privacy. All villas come with butler service.
Anantara Dhigu Maldives
Conveniently located just a 30-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport, Anantara Dhigu Maldives has your choice of overwater bungalows that either show sunrise or sunset over the Indian Ocean. Experience Indigenous-inspired treatments for the body and soul or sign up for a wellness package with nutrition guidance at the resort’s on-site spa.
Velaa Private Island
Velaa Private Island prides itself on its privacy and on creating a stay that’s harmonious with its environment. Sleeping 10, the Velaa Private Residence has a vaulted living area, two terraces and an infinity pool, while the Nika Residence by Patricia Urquiola also sleeps 10, but features a five-metre dining table made from rare black marble, handmade carpets from Taiping, and a stunning, beaded chandelier.
Open since 1973, Baros has had more than 50 years to hone its offering. Today, room types range from deluxe villas to the Baros Residence, which gives you access to your own private beach and outdoor shower as well as an infinity pool. In the water pool villas, you’ll find rich teak floors, a pool with a deck, and a stairway descending straight into the lagoon.