Image: Courtesy of St. Regis Hotels & Resorts There was a time when travelers looking for the ultimate island paradise in locations like Fiji, the Maldives, and Tahiti had just one choice: a hotel room or avilla on the beach. It’s practically difficult to picture now, when the plane descent into one of these destinations betrays a complete spectrum of cottages lined up along long pontoons, jutting out over the unreal crystalline cerulean waters that made these locations well-known.
In 1967 on the island of Raiatea– which, without a sandy beach, was showing a tough cost travelers– a trio of Californians known as the Bali Hai Boys developed the game-changer of a dream lodging: the overwater bungalow. At the time they guaranteed the government that, like traditional Tahitians’ fishing huts, they would not hurt the coral with their pandanus leaf– thatched roofing system structures, which order still applies. Their trio of bungalows at Bali Hai Hotel ended up being a craze that infected Bora and beyond; after all, the charming stilted cottages offered immersion into the magic of the sea, sans snorkel mask or air tank. Now 50 years old, the iconic honeymoon hideaways, desired spots for not simply romance but simple access to throngs of Technicolor sea creatures below, are looking better than ever.
In the last half-century the overwater cottage has gone from easy to over-the-top extravagant sometimes, although there are also a lot of extremely cost effective, basic versions around the world. Its homeland, the Islands of Tahiti, claims nearly 900 of them, from Moorea (where the Sofitel prohibits motorized activities to secure its beautiful lagoon) and Tikehau (by night, sharks swim underneath Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort’s charming perches) to Rangiroa (Hotel Kia Ora’s 10 cottages boast a few of the very best views of all the islands) and Bora Bora, where Le Meridien’s Mount Otemanu– dealing with cottages have the biggest glass floors of all. Of course, other destinations have done their best to capture up, and now there are massive varieties of thatched-roof villas dominating not simply the Caribbean Sea, the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean, however lakes, too.
Wherever it stands, the quintessential overwater cottage has the tendency to comprise comparable aspects, with style hallmarks tending to remain constant. Thatched-roof systems made from natural, indigenous materials (which need to be replaced every couple years) are basic, as is the layout of cottages attached to a wooden pontoon walkway. Obviously, it’s barely worth sleeping over the water if there’s no peekaboo window embeded in the floor. Breathtaking views of the many tones of blue exterior are another requisite element. More just recently, exactly what’s truly stepped up the game are personal overwater pools, jacuzzis, and suspended hammocks, in addition to two-story variations that overshadow not just a Manhattan studio home but a common American single-family house.
In celebration of the innovative structure’s major birthday milestone, we look at a few of the most spectacular contemporary incarnations.
< source media= "(min-width: 768px )"srcset="https://media.architecturaldigest.com/photos/59e4da99ce2a2e6477d9a41c/master/w_385,c_limit/BOR_292.jpg"data-reactid="158"> Image: Moeava de Rosemont Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia While all the overwater bungalows at this flawless property epitomize the genius of the genre with their celebration of the stunning environments, the 4 Otemanu Overwater Bungalow Suites are genuinely breathtaking. Whether you’re in the airy living-room, noshing at the table, bathing in the sculptural tub, relaxing in the palapa, or swimming at the edge of the infinity swimming pool, the lagoon’s lovely blues are staring back, truly the star of the scene. fourseasons.com/borabora/
Picture: Courtesy of Song Saa Private Island Tune Saa Private Island, Cambodia may not be the last place you ‘d expect an awesome resort of overwater cottages, but it’s probably unexpected. In 2012, the Koh Rong Archipelago became the home of this sustainable Robinson Crusoe– stylish home with, to name a few designs, a two-bedroom overwater Royal Rental property of rough-hewn lumber, with a vast glass flooring in the living-room (together with driftwood furnishings), a half-moon infinity pool with an extensive balcony, dual large-scale sunken tubs, a personal chef, and a personal jetty total with a boat for the guests’ special use. laucala.com
One&& Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
There are numerous overwater cottages in the Maldives, but these have the difference of being a few of the most private, given that just a couple connect to each pontoon, each dealing with a different instructions in the unbelievably blue-green Indian Ocean for an edge-of-the-earth feel. Lofty wood-beam ceilings keep things light and airy in the Grand Water Villa, but understandably bonus like the long infinity pool (total with built-in immersed chaise), different jacuzzi, curtained outdoor daybed and lounge areas decrease time spent within. (It’s also worth reserving a check out to one of the spa’s overwater couples’-treatment suites.) oneandonlyresorts.com Photo: Thanks to Cayo Espanto
Cayo Espanto, Belize
As island paradises go, this one– featuring the very first overwater cottages in Belize– is up there. While all the vacation homes are luxe, Casa Ventanas, at 1,100 square feet and more than 150 feet of personal privacy, goes above and beyond with custom-crafted furnishings and a brand-new glass flooring featuring a light that can be switched to various colors to filter the sea-creature-filled waters below.
Picture: Thanks to Hotel Palafitte
Hotel Palafitte, Switzerland
The overwater trend is not confined to tropical climes. This Swiss bolthole became the first and only hotel in Europe built on stilts when it was built as part of the National Exposition 2002 as a “unexpected work” by architect Kurt Hoffmann with a group of students. In fact, the stilts recommendation ancient Swiss construction methods, however also give guests of the 26 overlake cottages (each with a private balcony) the sense of being on a remote island, total with access to stand-up paddling, boating, and waterskiing to make up for the absence of tropical fish.
palafitte.ch Photo: Thanks to St. Regis Hotels & & Resorts
The St. Regis Bora Resort, French Polynesia
At a low-season rate of more than $5,000 per night, the Overwater Royal Otemanu Villa with Pool– it’s worth keeping in mind the 20-by-16-foot infinity edge pond is the biggest suspended pool in the South Pacific– is among the more elegant ways to vacation. Crafted of unique noble woods with lively accents, the nearly 3,000-square-foot bungalow is a prime location to see neon lagoon fish either behind glass portholes or in the flesh through private ladder gain access to. stregisborabora.com Image: Courtesy of 6 Senses 6 Senses, Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
One of the stunning features of overwater bungalows is that, to a big degree, they permit nature blend with the inside, and tend to act as frames for their postcard-perfect surrounds. An ideal example is this location on the bucolic coast of Vietnam, where excessively personal 1,600-square-foot Water Swimming pool Villas neglect the bay’s coral developments and pave the way to flawless sunset vistas, not to point out boasting plunge swimming pools, outside showers, handcrafted wooden bath tubs, and actions into the water for snorkeling. sixsenses.com Picture: Courtesy of Conrad Hotels The just-opened resort (previously the Hilton Bora Nui) is set on probably the most magnificent part of Bora Bora, and is home to the only two-story overwater bungalow in French Polynesia. With a palette that reflects their azure surroundings, the Presidential Villas (there are 2)– equipped with a wellness space with sauna, 3 bed rooms, a personal sundeck, a pool, and a bar– resemble the ultimate playgrounds in among the planet’s most beautiful areas.
Conrad Bora Nui, French Polynesia
One of the stunning features of overwater bungalows is that, to a big degree, they permit nature blend with the inside, and tend to act as frames for their postcard-perfect surrounds. An ideal example is this location on the bucolic coast of Vietnam, where excessively personal 1,600-square-foot Water Swimming pool Villas neglect the bay’s coral developments and pave the way to flawless sunset vistas, not to point out boasting plunge swimming pools, outside showers, handcrafted wooden bath tubs, and actions into the water for snorkeling. sixsenses.com Picture: Courtesy of Conrad Hotels
The just-opened resort (previously the Hilton Bora Nui) is set on probably the most magnificent part of Bora Bora, and is home to the only two-story overwater bungalow in French Polynesia. With a palette that reflects their azure surroundings, the Presidential Villas (there are 2)– equipped with a wellness space with sauna, 3 bed rooms, a personal sundeck, a pool, and a bar– resemble the ultimate playgrounds in among the planet’s most beautiful areas.
Image: Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels
Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico
There’s something unique about a water arrival, and the boat journey through verdant mangroves to the personal dock of a Deluxe Overwater Lagoon Suite at this ultraluxe Riviera Maya paradise sets the right tone. The serene over-lagoon vacation home is a couple minutes from the crashing waves of the Caribbean, however presents numerous chances to cool down, with appealing features including a plunge swimming pool and shower in a lavish garden. rosewoodhotels.com Image: Victor Romero/ Thanks to Jumeirah
Jumeirah Vittaveli, Maldives
This Maldivean bastion of high-end’s Ocean Villas are the meaning of opulent, offering a pair of guests their own 2,000 square feet where to enjoy the mild aquamarine lagoon listed below. Two stories with floor-to-ceiling scenic windows, big glass floorings, and split-level verandas imply every single angle of the show-stopping sea shows up. Regardless of the modern facilities (mood lighting, interactive LCD TELEVISION, sunken bath and rain shower with infinity pool off the bathroom) it’s everything about what’s outside, like the unbeatable sundown view from inside the infinity swimming pool.