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Overwater Bungalows in the Maldives - An Overview.
Though the concept of the overwater bungalow or water villa didn't actually come from the Maldives it is now the country most associated with it.
Resort owners there were quick to realize that the waters surrounding their multi-island paradise were extremely well suited to the construction of overwater bungalows. And construct they did, so much so that today the majority of the world's overwater bungalows/water villas are in the Maldives. The majority of visitors to the islands, especially those on honeymoon or romantic getaways, end up staying in one.
You have a greater choice of overwater bungalows here therefore than anywhere else on earth, and competition between the resorts has lead to very high standards.
Below you will find our choices for the best resorts with water villas in the Maldives islands in 2021 but be aware that this list could have been much, much longer!
None of the resorts here will be cheap of course but all of the resorts we have listed will offer what we see as the best value, especially in terms of all-inclusive packages.
The 5 Star, adults only Anatara Veli Resort has 67 chic overwater bungalows in a sublime setting just half an hour by speedboat from Mali’s International Airport, Maldives. The location is more private and secluded than other overwater bungalows in the area and is very much designed for romantic getaways. It is still though just a two minute speedboat shuttle to the busier (& family friendly) Anantara Dhigu Resort across the lagoon. There you’ll find a broad range of facilities and entertainment; restaurants, bars, shops, water sports etc. Antara Veli also has facilities of its own though with tennis courts, a fitness center, an outdoor spa and three very fine restaurants serving Japanese, Thai and international food at your doorstep. The service here is consistently impeccable, and you are allowed as much, or as little, interaction with staff and other guests as you would like. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: You can choose between a classic overwater bungalow on the lagoon or an ocean bungalow set on a secluded cliff edge overlooking the ocean. As mentioned this is an adult’s only resort, all the accommodation choices are doubles and all come with a suitably grand King size bed. To sum up though, your choices among the overwater bungalows are: ‘standard’ 62 m² units with an outdoor sun deck and direct access to the lagoon, deluxe units which have about 30 m² of extra space plus some very special open-air bathrooms with terrazzo bathtubs overlooking the lagoon. The ‘superior’ overwater bungalows go a step further with a plunge pool overlooking the lagoon and a full 125 m² of space over two floors. Finally there are the ‘Ocean Bungalows’, not overwater bungalows per se but their position on the edge of a small, secluded cliff directly over the ocean grants them a similar feel. They are broadly similar too in layout, and in size, to the superior overwater bungalows, also having that lovely plunge pool, but this time overlooking the Indian Ocean. All the accommodation choices are B&B and have a pleasing array of modern facilities; air-con, WiFi, cable TV, music system, refrigerator, coffee maker, mini bar (with private wine collection), bathtub, rainfall READ MORE
Address: Soneva Jani
MaldivesSoneva Jani is one of The Maldives’ most exclusive private island resorts and has overwater bungalows that are almost uniquely spacious, stylish and luxurious. The very largest of them, the two and four bedroom ‘water reserves’ around the end of the walk way, being really quite extraordinary. These opulent wooden palaces come with private pools, water slides and retractable roofs that allow stargazing direct from the master bedroom. Soneva Jani is also an eco-resort that has, since its inception, striven to keep its environmental impact as low as possible. Water and waste is recycled and treated via the on-site waste management center and most of the resort’s electricity is solar generated. Facilities include, amongst others, a luxurious spa, tennis courts, a gym, four restaurants and a bar, a cinema, a night-time sky observatory, a water sports center and a kid’s club. Most of the island is left natural and wild so, anytime the feeling takes you, you can have a wander through mangrove forests and deserted beaches, and feel yourself enticingly detached from civilization. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: The first stand-out feature of Soneva Jani’s overwater bungalows is their sheer size – all of them are spread over two floors and their very smallest one bedroom units still cover 4477 square feet/416 square meters while their largest, the four bedroom water reserve, covers a whopping 15295 square feet/1421 square meters. There are five other categories between those two extremes none of which will disappoint. The majority of them have water slides from the upper floor if you’re ever in a hurry to get downstairs. Other standard features include large private pools, various glass floor viewing panels, study rooms, huge walk in wardrobes, kitchenettes and stunning bathrooms. Outside of the overwater bungalows you can also choose to stay in their two bedroom beach bungalow hidden away in the mangrove forests. It is titled the Robinson Crusoe Residence and comes with lots of very private space. Or you can also choose to stay in their very indulgent, 23 meter private yacht. It has two en-suite bedrooms and a glass-bottomed spa tub amongst other things. Your crew includes a captain, sous chef, READ MORE
W Maldives is a sophisticated 5-star, private (heart shaped!) island resort with cutting edge design and facilities. It styles itself as a ‘Luxury Playground’, it sees its fair share of international celebs and is a glamorous and fun place to hang out. Facilities include high quality restaurants and bars, a sublime sauna & fitness center and a water sports & dive center. The resort sits by what is considered the best house reef in the Maldives and you can admire a huge amount of sea life direct from your overwater villa – reef sharks, angel fish, stingrays and glow in the dark jellyfish and plankton for example. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: Most of the accommodation at W is overwater. Their entry level overwater villas they term Fabulous Overwater Oasis and Spectacular Lagoon Oasis. Entry level or not these are incredible places to stay and could be marketed as pretty much presidential suites in a lot of other resorts less extravagant than W Maldives. They are sleek and stylish, and cover 1570 square feet/146 square meters of space which includes one double bedroom, a lounge with glass floor panels, bathroom and an outside terrace which has lounging space, a plunge pool and direct access to the water below. The only difference as far as we could see between these two is that the ‘Spectacular Lagoon Oasis’ has an overwater hammock on the terrace and the ‘Fabulous Overwater Oasis’ doesn’t. For such a minor difference you’d expect them to be priced very similarly but for some reason, as you will see on the booking page, the Spectacular Lagoon Oasis will cost you a couple of hundred dollars more per night. Nice feature but definitely not worth that much more. Then on to the Vice Presidential and Presidential Overwater Villas. These are jaw dropping two bedroom units which are enormously spacious, the former being 3476 square feet/323 square meters and the latter a full 5295 square feet/492 square meters. They share the same general facilities and features of the more er…’basic’ villas, what you are mainly paying for here is their much greater space and greater sense of privacy. On land there READ MORE
Address: Sun Siyam Iru Fushi
MaldivesSun Siyam Iru Fushi is an award winning 5 star all inclusive on a stunning, 52 acre private island in The Maldives’ Noonu Atoll. The resort has a great reputation for family vacations, winning the World Travel Awards’ category of Best Family Resort in the Indian Ocean three years running from 2016 to 2019, while also being nominated multiple times for the world’s best family resort. It is also though a popular place for a romantic getaway – this being the Maldives adults/couples dominate anyway, there are also dedicated adults only zones and the resort is large enough to find plenty of space for rest, relaxation and romance. It offers various options – b&b, half board, full board and all inclusive. For a 5 star resort in The Maldives Sun Siyam Iru Fushi is pleasantly very reasonably priced, with the all inclusive being overall the best value package. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: It has a nice choice of accommodation on offer, villa style, around the beach or overwater. All of them fit a maximum of two adults and two children up to the age of 12. They are all as plush and comfortable as you might expect from a 5 star private island paradise with sleek interiors and a nice sense of open space both inside and out, though some may deem the overwater bungalows too close to each other careful design means that even on their outside terrace they are still very private. The pick of the overwater villas is very much the ‘Infinity Water Villa with Separate Living Room’, all 1668 square feet/155 square meters of it. It, as the name suggests features a separate lounge area and an infinity pool on the terrace. The others are smaller, though none of them could be accused of being too small – your most basic choice will still be over 900 square feet/85 square meters and though won’t have a private pool it will still have either a semi-open bathroom with a photo worthy spa bath overlooking the sea, or a jacuzzi on the terrace. All their overwater villas also come with those classic glass floor panels so you READ MORE
Address: Ozen Resort
South Male Atoll
MaldivesAll inclusive resorts can tend to fall short when it comes to true luxury but Ozen Maadhoo is the Maldives’ finest example of how to get it right. It is a fabulous place: the setting is stunning, as is the accommodation, there is a generous supply of top quality food and drink and, if staying more than 4 nights, complimentary activities to enjoy too – spa treatments, scuba diving and a meal at the resort’s very special underwater restaurant, just to give you an idea. All that plus tremendously high levels of service make Ozen All Inclusive excellent value compared to other similar resorts in the Maldives. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: You have a choice of classic overwater bungalows and beach villas here ranging in size from 85 m² to 285 m². They are all doubles, with king size bed and a sofa bed in the lounge area if needed, with the exception of the large ‘Beach Pool Pavillion‘, which has two bedrooms – a master bedroom and one twin bedroom. The overwater bungalows are a classically romantic choice with direct access to the water and with uninterrupted views as far as the eye can see. They also all have, amongst other luxury features, glass floor panels in the living room and standalone ellipse shaped bath tubs which open up to the outside via sliding doors. The standard villas will not disappoint but the ‘Water Villas with Private Pool‘ are the pick of the bunch, having 1205 sq ft/112 sq meters of space and a nice infinity style plunge pool on the outside deck. The beachside villas may not have that but they all have a private pool as standard and across the accommodation choices the interior design and decor is crisp and smart with sleek furniture, bright fabrics and tasteful art pieces. Modern luxury hotel facilities are standard too with AC, WiFi, flat screen cable TV, Segafredo coffee machines and free mini bars that are generously restocked twice a day. The service is top quality at this resort and you will have room service, a private butler and concierge services throughout your stay. Overwater Bungalow Prices: Check out READ MORE
Veligandu Private Island, just twenty minutes by seaplane from Male Airport, is possibly the best value all-inclusive overwater bungalow resort in the Maldives. Though it lacks the full 5 Star Wow factor of Lily Beach Resort or Ozen Maadhoo, for what you are getting here you might expect the prices to be almost double what they are. As such it is extremely popular and sees return visitors year after year. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: You have two main room categories at Veligandu – Beach Villas and (Over)Water Villas, all of which are doubles with King size bed though you can order extra beds/cots for children. These are in turn sub-divided into standard and jacuzzi villas. None of these accommodation choices will disappoint though the jacuzzi villas, even disregarding the added jacuzzi on the terrace, are more spacious and open and definitely worth the extra fee. The villas have the traditional Pacific thatched roof look but inside are modern and sleek. Amenities include satellite TV, Nespresso coffee machines, air con, generous minibars and, if not a terrace jacuzzi outside then a spa bath in the bathroom inside. Bathrooms are always a good marker of hotel room quality and here they impress, with the the added bonus of an outdoor rain shower too. Note: Though they are welcome in the other accommodation options children are not allowed in the overwater villas, therefore Veligandu is placed in the adults-only category. Overwater Bungalow Prices: Check out all the details – prices, reviews and more photos, on their Booking.com page here and on their Expedia.com page here. Resort Facilities & Things to Do: The main resort restaurant is Dhonveli – a large, lively place with a fantastic selection of Asian and international cuisine. The food is buffet style and there are various sections with different categories of food for guests to investigate as well as two live cooking stations. It is located right along the beach and has tables inside, on the large terrace outside and with some tables directly on the sand. Dhonveli has a laid back, boho chic atmosphere but if you want something a bit more formal you can try Madivaru, READ MORE
Address: Lily Beach Resort
Alifu Dhaalu Atoll
MaldivesLily Beach Resort is a 5 Star all inclusive with an absolutely stunning setting on a private island in southern Ari Atoll, Maldives. Their all inclusive plan offers a generous array of quality services, with a range of free water sports activities and excursions and lots and lots of premium quality food and drink. It is a well known resort and consistently popular; people return here year after year, so advance bookings are recommended. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: They have a choice of overwater villas, beach villas and lagoon villas at Pearl Beach. The typically romantic overwater villas are divided between ‘Deluxe Water Villas’ which have 1356 ft² of space including a private outdoor deck with a jacuzzi plunge pool, and the ‘Sunset Water Villas’ which are a step ahead with 1960 ft² to play with, a proportionally larger deck and larger pool, as well as a 24 hour personal butler service. All the overwater choices have a section of glass floor panels so you can gaze at the sea life below from the comfort of your bungalow. The Lagoon Villas are at the edge of the lagoon and cover just short of 1000 ft², are secluded and private and come with an outdoor bath on the terrace, while the Beach Villas have a nice location right on the beach with a private deck and about 730 ft² of space for the ‘standard’ villas and 1463 ft² for the two bedroom ‘family’ villas, which are effectively two interconnected standard villas. The style is modernist and fairly minimalist, with the emphasis being more on comfort than interior decor, and all the accommodation choices include luxury hotel standard facilities and features as standard; air-conditioning, WiFi, flat-screen TV & home theatre system, tea/coffee making facilities, minibar and safe etc. The bathrooms are all suitably plush too with rainfall showers and spa bathtubs. Overwater Bungalow Prices: Check out all the details – prices, reviews and more photos, on their Booking.com page here and on their Expedia.com page here. Resort Facilities & Things to Do: There are four restaurants and three bars at the resort and the quality of the food and drink is READ MORE