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There are no overwater bungalows in The Bahamas itself sadly, as they are specialist buildings which need certain conditions to be structural viable – conditions that are not so easy to find in The Bahamas.
But, by traveling just a little more south, you will find the Caribbean has plenty of tremendous overwater bungalow resorts – some of the world’s very best in fact.
With that in mind here are our choices for, and in-depth reviews of, the best overwater bungalows nearest The Bahamas in 2023. All of them can easily be reached via direct flights from most major US cities.
If though you have your heart set on a vacation in The Bahamas, and are prepared to forgo the novelty of an overwater bungalow, head to wereviewresorts.com for a round-up of its best all inclusive resorts in 2023, or try Booking.com for more general vacation accommodation.
Address: Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Playa del Carmen
MexicoWhy We Like It: The newest of only three overwater bungalow resorts in Mexico, the other two being the nearby Palafitos El Dorado Resort and the even more nearby Rosewood Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is another very much exclusive resort near Playa del Carmen. It wins consistently great reviews for its eco-friendly principles, its choice setting, its luxury accommodation and facilities, which include a Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course and an award-winning spa, and gourmet food & drink. Their overwater bungalows are more European chalet-like than rustic Polynesian. The interiors are sleek, modern, and plush but with plenty of nice earthy, back-to-nature touches. They are set over two floors and offer a far greater sense of privacy than most. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: The above-mentioned over-water villas are all doubles with king-size bed and are very spacious indeed – over their two floors they cover a full 2400 square feet / 222 sq. meters. They have a heated plunge pool on the private terrace which has views over the lagoon. Their bathrooms are particularly nice with spa baths as standard. As with the resort in general, though they have READ THE REVIEW
Address: Sandals South Coast
JamaicaWhy We Like It: One of only two overwater bungalow resorts in Jamaica (the other being Sandals Royal Caribbean), Sandals South Coast is a 5-star luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive resort which offers Epicurean indulgence in a dreamy Caribbean beach setting. The resort is large and the amount, and quality, of facilities and activities on offer is very impressive. The food is a particular attraction – guests have nine gourmet restaurants to choose from with food that spans the globe. Overwater Bungalows: They have a wide range of luxury accommodation to choose from, between rooms, suites, and over-water bungalows/villas, all offering varying levels of space, luxury, and privacy. Their 1,100 square feet over water villas are suitably plush and luxurious and come with outdoor sun decks with soaking tubs and overwater hammocks, internal glass floor panels, particularly nice, spa-style bathrooms, personal butler service and an exclusive in-room dining and room service menu. Prices & Availability: Check out all the details and compare prices at the resort’s own website (Sandals) here, on Expedia.com here and at Booking.com here. Note: Like all luxury overwater bungalows in the Caribbean those at Sandals South Coast are READ THE REVIEW
Address: Northwest Point
Turks and Caicos IslandsWhy We Like It: The fabulous, 5-Star Amanyara Turks & Caicos sits on a rocky shore overlooking the Caribbean and the coral reefs of Point Marine National Park. The beach that fronts the resort, Malcolm’s Road Beach, is incredibly pristine and is also surrounded by a full 100 acres of private estate, mostly lush tropical forest. The place feels beautifully peaceful and secluded, which well it certainly is, but it’s still only 20 minutes from Providenciales International Airport. The resort features Indonesian-inspired structures and villas, almost all built over the water or at the very least alongside the water. But in this case, not over the sea as is the most typical for traditional overwater bungalows, but over very placid and pristine, private ponds or pools. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: The accommodation ranges in size from cozy one-bedroom suite pavilions to really fabulous, two to six-bedroom, villas. The terraces of each are shaded by eaves on three sides and have floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening out to their private pools. The villas are serviced by what they term a villa host, rather like a butler, and the three-to-six-bedroom villas also READ THE REVIEW
Address: Carretera Federal Cancun - Playa del Carmen Km 298
Playa del Carmen
MexicoWhy We Like It: One of three overwater bungalow resorts near Cancun, Mexico – the others being the nearby Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Palafitos El Dorado resorts – Rosewood Mayakoba shares the same serene Caribbean coast setting along with high-quality accommodation, service, and facilities, in particular its award-winning spa. It is a sophisticated resort and though it attracts a very much high-end clientele, there is little in the way of snootiness. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly throughout. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: The resort has 129 sleek and modern suites and villas, including overwater bungalows, of varying sizes from 780 sq. ft. to 1500 sq. ft., all of which come with an array of luxury facilities and the very finest interior design. They all have a sleek and classy modern design and a real sense of luxury. Features include private plunge pools, spacious open-plan bathrooms with bathtubs, indoor and outdoor showers, walk-in closets, and a separate lounge area with seating and dining space. Facilities include WiFi, Satellite TV, iPod docks, Bose music systems, personal butlers for the overwaters and some other villas, and 24-hour room service. Their overwater bungalows are READ THE REVIEW
Address: Aruba Ocean Villas
ArubaWhy We Like It: The Aruba Ocean Villas Resort, home to Aruba’s only overwater bungalows, occupies a slice of tropical paradise in the southwest of the island near Oranjestad and the international airport. This adults-only resort is a luxury oasis with a gorgeous location, good facilities, top-class food, drink and excellent service all round. It’s also small, intimate, and friendly, and has none of the anonymous, almost industrial atmosphere of many of the larger Caribbean resorts. They have only three overwater bungalows at Aruba Ocean Villas, and they are extremely popular, so you’d be advised to book your stay well in advance. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: They have some fantastic, individually designed choices at Ocean Villas, all except one being doubles. The three coveted over-the-water choices – listed on the booking page under various names such as LouLou, Isla Alistaire, and Dushi Sue are incredibly opulent and spacious. They are also very stylishly furnished. Minimalists may shudder at the interiors but we found them to be atmospheric and thoroughly romantic. If the overwater bungalows are booked out you will not be disappointed by the other beachfront choices at Aruba READ THE REVIEW
Address: Pigeon Island, Gros Islet
Saint LuciaWhy We Like It: Sandals Grande St. Lucian became the latest Sandals’ resort to open overwater bungalows after they achieved great success at their two Jamaican overwater bungalow resorts. Their overwater bungalows are a honeymoon favorite but with only nine of them, they get booked out well in advance. Make reservations as early as you possibly can. They come with glass floor panels that allow you to peer into the Caribbean just below your feet, tranquility soaking tubs, private patios, and over-water hammocks amongst other special features. They also have a 24-hour personal butler service and the service throughout the resort is top-notch – efficient and professional but also personable. Sandals Grande St. Lucian is, like all Sandals resorts, 5 Star, all-inclusive and strictly adults-only. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: They have an enormous range of accommodation at the resort, with the above-mentioned overwater accommodation being absolutely the most popular. These have a spacious, luxurious feel with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, king-size beds with soft linens and plush pillows, smart TVs, sun decks, outdoor showers, swish bathrooms, and 24-hour personal butler service. Many of the other choices will match, if not READ THE REVIEW
Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum, Km 55.3
Playa del Carmen
MexicoWhy We Like It: This adults-only, all-inclusive near Cancun is home to Palafitos, the very first overwater bungalows in Mexico (there are now still just three: the other two being the very nearby Rosewood Mayakoba & Banyan Tree Mayakoba) and consistently hits world-class standards for luxury all-inclusives in the Caribbean. It really is a tremendous resort – it has a fabulous location on Maroma Beach, Playa del Carmen – rated one of the Caribbean’s, and in fact, the world’s, best beaches – the accommodation is wonderful across the board and their gourmet food and drink are of the highest quality. Overwater Bungalows: As mentioned, the Palafitos’ bungalows were the very first in Mexico and come with all the features you would expect from such a pioneering resort – glass floor panels, jacuzzis, private infinity pools, outdoor showers, and direct access to the crystal clear waters below your feet. There are two types – the standard Palafitos are closer to the shore and have partial ocean and partial beach views. The ‘Elite Suite Bungalows’ on the other hand are farthest out, at the end of the pier, and have unobstructed ocean READ THE REVIEW
Address: St. George's Caye
BelizeWhy We Like It: The adults-only St. George’s Caye is a scenic private island off the coast of Belize City near the Caribbean’s largest, and the world’s second-largest, barrier reef. It offers adventure and excitement on the one hand (it is a popular vacation spot for divers for eg.) and peace and tranquility on the other (honeymooners come here too). The food is generally highly praised, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included in the room rate, the service is great and the atmosphere is relaxed, warm, and friendly. It sells itself as a luxury resort but if you are indeed expecting luxury the accommodation, though charming and very comfortable, may be underwhelming. Overall though the resort, the island, and the general atmosphere of the place make it a very enjoyable place to spend time in. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: You have a choice of broadly similar thatched roof cabanas, all doubles/twins in three different locations – Overwater, Beachfront & Garden, with the Oceanfront being the most expensive, the Garden cheapest, and the Overwater in the middle price range. In the vast majority of resorts, the overwater accommodation is the READ THE REVIEW
Address: Thatch Caye Island
BelizeWhy We Like It: Thatch Caye is a private island paradise in the Caribbean with overwater bungalows 25 minutes by speedboat from mainland Belize. It is eco-friendly and has a kind of rustic, barefoot chic vibe. It caters for no more than 30 people at any one time too so also feels relatively intimate and exclusive, but with a friendly, communal atmosphere. Numerous activities are offered at Thatch Caye and your days can be as busy or as peaceful and relaxed as you may wish. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: You have a choice of beach cabanas and overwater bungalows. The latter are divided between Standard and Premium with the standard units being three bungalows sitting practically right beside each other just off the shore. Thus they’re really not ideal if privacy is what you’re after. But for a group of friends, if booked together, they could be perfect. The premium overwater bungalows on the other hand offer a huge amount of privacy. Though they are pretty much the same internally as the standard bungalows they have their own private walkway so feel very secluded indeed. They don’t cost all READ THE REVIEW
Address: Sandals Cay
JamaicaWhy We Like It: The couples-only Sandals Royal Caribbean, near Montego Bay and just minutes from Sangster International Airport, was the very first overwater bungalow resort in Jamaica and indeed the first in the entire region. The concept was an immediate success and the Sandals company soon followed it with more bungalows at Sandals South Coast (also in Jamaica) and in their branch in St. Lucia. Sandals Royal Caribbean though was the groundbreaker, or well…water breaker, in this region, and its standards, have been extremely high from the beginning. It is a high-end luxury, all-inclusive paradise with a private island (where the overwater bungalows are to be found), top-of-the-range facilities, superb food and drink, and consistently excellent service. It also has a tremendous location: getting to most overwater bungalow resorts usually involves a fairly long journey from the nearest airport but here you are, tantalizingly, just minutes (via the resort’s private shuttle) away. Overwater Bungalows: They have a great range of accommodation to choose from – standard hotel rooms, suites, and overwater bungalows, which offer varying levels of space and luxury to suit most budgets. Their overwater bungalows, attached to READ THE REVIEW
Address: Five Islands Village
Antigua and BarbudaWhy We Like It: First opening its doors in May 2019, Royalton Antigua is an all-inclusive resort that is home to Antigua’s only overwater bungalows. The resort offers opulence and luxury and has a choice setting on the clear, calm waters of Antigua’s Deep Bay, less than twenty minutes from St. John’s, and a half an hour from V. C. Bird International Airport. Having been acquired in late 2021 by the Marriott Hotel group, you can expect it, little by little, to become one of Antigua’s most sought-after resorts. Overwater Bungalows & Other Accommodation: The accommodation choices are many, with of course the over-water villas taking pride of place. They cover a full 1442 square feet and have king-size bedrooms, lounges (with sofa bed), dining areas, and gorgeous outdoor terraces overlooking the Caribbean. They are also sleek, sophisticated, and luxurious. Expect private infinity plunge pools, jacuzzis, glass floor viewing panels, private butlers, and 24-hour room service as well as in-room aromatherapy, satellite TV, top-of-the-range music systems, complimentary IPTV movie selections, twice daily re-stocked minibars and a pillow menu for example. The other accommodation choices are a mixture of suites in READ THE REVIEW
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