If you’ve got a bucket list, chances are an overwater bungalow stay has made the cut. Escape with us to one of these incredible spots, where rainbow reefs and crystal water await beneath glass floors, and lazy mornings begin with open air showers and breakfast delivered by canoe. Here are some of our favourites.
Image Credit: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
BEST OVERALL OVERWATER BUNGALOW
Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
Newly built and seriously modern, these private bungalows stretch into sparkling seas from the private island of Motu To’opua. The luxurious bungalows aren’t even the most beautiful part of this property: You’ll have a long stretch of white sand beach, six restaurants and bars, an onsite spa, infinity pool and the resort’s own private islet. Nearby Mount Otemanu and the surrounding forests offer ample trekking…if you can bring yourself to leave the bungalow.
Image Credit: Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa
BEST FOR FAMILIES
Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa
Large grounds and a variety of accommodation make this a great choice for families. Budding explorers will love the onsite Sea Turtle Care Centre and Planet Trekkers Kids Club, which entertains wee ones six days a week. Onsite babysitting service is available too. And everyone will love the resort’s calm, shallow waters for easy snorkelling.
Image Credit: Royal Huahine
BEST ON A BUDGET
It’s probably no surprise that stays in lesser known French Polynesian islands can come with a smaller price tag. The Royal Huahine is a boutique resort with just 40 bungalows. Insider tip: The overwater bungalows here are up to a few hundred dollars cheaper than similar stays in famous Bora Bora and Moorea. Locals love Huahine for its luminous blue lagoon and lush rainforest—They give the island its moniker, the Garden of Eden.
Image Credit: Intercontinental Tahiti Resort & Spa
BEST FOR SHORT STAYS AND STOPOVERS
Intercontinental Tahiti Resort & Spa
Sitting close to Faa’a International Airport and downtown Papeete’s bustling markets, this resort still feels like a remote sanctuary. With two pools, two restaurants, a swim-up bar and completely renovated rooms and overwater bungalows, you’ve got plenty of reasons to stay another night or two…
Image Credit: Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort
BEST ALL OUT LUXURY
Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort
Even the name is synonymous with luxury. One of the largest properties in Bora Bora, the Four Seasons offers heaps of amenities set in the stunningly upscale surroundings you’d expect—as well as goodies like chilled fruit and towels by the expansive infinity pool. Some overwater bungalows even have private plunge pools. Its onsite Kahaia-tree inspired spa offers treatments using traditional ingredients. And the setting! A crystal-clear lagoon teeming with fish and reef below and towering Mt Otemanu above.
Image Credit: Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa
BEST FACILITIES AND RESORT ACTIVITIES
Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa
Set on beautiful Motu Tautau, a private islet overlooking the shores of Taha’a on one side and the famous Bora Bora silhouettes on the other, this intimate resort punches well over its weight with activities. Its Coral Garden is made for snorkelling and paddle boarding. Guests can book jet ski tours, fishing expeditions and kayak rides through lush jungle. Explore on land (even by 4x4) with visits to local vanilla plantations, pearl farms, a sacred marae and nearby Raiatea Island. With three onsite restaurants and a luxurious spa, you won’t want for ways to fill the days. You’ll probably just wish there were more hours.
Image Credit: Le Meridien Bora Bora
BEST GLASS FLOOR
Le Meridien Bora Bora
One of the most memorable features in many overwater bungalows are their glass floor panes, which open up the stunning seas below. Most of these floor panes are relatively small, like little windows into the azure water. Not so at the Le Meridien, which can easily claim the largest glass floors in the islands and gives you the unforgettable feeling of, quite literally, walking on water. Descend a short spiral staircase and meet your sea turtle neighbours.
Image Credit: St Regis Bora Bora
BEST FOR HONEYMOONS AND ROMANCE
St Regis Bora Bora
The St Regis offers classic five-star Bora Bora luxury with the dreamiest, most loved-up amenities: candlelit restaurants looking out over the water, secluded private dining and an onsite spa offering treatments for two. Let us know it’s your honeymoon and we’ll make sure the resort includes a bottle of bubbles, chef’s sweet treat, tropical flower bed dressing and 45-minute couples massage.
Image Credit: Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
BEST FOR SUNSETS
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
Hands down the best sunsets—and sunrises, for that matter—can be spotted from these breath-taking overwater bungalows. It’s almost like they’re purpose-built for sun spotting, with large windows and generous wraparound decks. For the hours in between, we love the resort’s daily “3 Hour Happy Hour” and overwater restaurant—the only one in Moorea!
Image Credit: Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort
BEST SNORKELLING AND DIVING
Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort
This resort sits on its own island in a lagoon studded with coral and teeming with fish. Whether you’re looking for an easy snorkelling trip or a more adventurous scuba dive, you won’t be disappointed. The lagoon’s coral gardens are filled in brilliant anemones and playful fish. In the deeper waters outside, manta rays, sea turtles, marlin and dolphins await.
Image Credit: Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
The views here are nothing short of spectacular. You’ll gaze straight from the pool to majestic Mt Otemanu and the lush forests surrounding it. The resort sits on a clear lagoon surrounded by endless sparkling waters—there is beauty everywhere you turn. Just as incredible: the resort’s onsite Thalasso spa, which integrates deep-sea nutrients into healing treatments in ancient Polynesian tradition. You know, for when you need to give your retinas a break from all that staring in amazement.