The very mention of The Maldives brings to mind a serene backdrop of endless waters, sun-kissed beaches, clear skies and lavish vacations. This Asian archipelago is not just for oceanographers and marine geologists who are fascinated by the underwater coral columns and volcanic past of the soil that makes up this island. Maldives primarily charms holidayers with its luxury resorts and overwater bungalows.
Maldives is located south-west of India and Sri Lanka in the Indian ocean and is stretched across 871 kilometers from north to south. A nation of more than a thousand little islands, The Maldives is rather fortunate to have a high concentration of shallow reefs. While there are no mountains, rivers or lakes here, the largely flat and dispersed nature of this nation has resulted in the development of numerous private islands.
Luxury travel in the Maldives has risen by leaps and bounds with the ‘one island one resort’ concept. Enjoy a new level of exclusivity when you stay in a glamorous private island resort that shares its island with no other hotel! Escape into a world of turquoise waves, golden sands and gentle breeze while living in a Maldives water bungalow hovering above the ocean.
What is an Overwater Bungalow?
Spacious island living designed for those who desire to get up close and personal with the Indian Ocean, water bungalows are beautiful retreats available only in a select few countries such as The Maldives. These premium huts, constructed mainly with wood, sit on sturdy stilts which are firmly founded in the shallow seabed.
Flaunting extravagant interiors and every imaginable creature comfort, the resorts that run their own water bungalows leave no stone unturned to delight their guests. While many water bungalows in the Maldives only have a balcony that overlooks the ocean, some have the added feature of a large sundeck with lounging chairs for sunbathing and a dining space under a beach parasol.
Some of the most magnificent water bungalows in The Maldives come with outdoor bathtubs or Jacuzzi, over water hammocks, private swimming pools and even water slides! However, the timeless appeal of many overwater bungalows lies in the direct staircase access they provide to the shallow lagoon right under the room.
Best Overwater Bungalow Resorts in The Maldives
Once upon a time, when tourism had just blossomed in The Maldives many decades ago, an overwater bungalow was a rarity. Thanks to the explosion of premium hoteliers and well-heeled travellers who took keen interest in this tropical paradise, nowadays, most private island resorts in the Maldives offer water bungalows among other types of accommodation.
Take a look at some of the most popular overwater bungalow resorts in The Maldives and the incomparable hospitality they provide. The exotic locations, the amazing variety of fine-dining options and the opportunity to explore the underwater world is sure to make you want to holiday here at least once every year or two.
1. Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives Water Bungalow
The Cinnamon group is a well known name in luxury hospitality, especially in The Maldives. Formerly known as the Chaaya Island Dhonveli Resort, Cinnamon Dhonveli offers water bungalows with steps leading to the blue lagoon. This exclusive facility is available only to the guests of their overwater bungalows. However, most other features of these premium suites can be enjoyed in the garden bungalows and beach bungalows too.
Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives water bungalow rates start from 848 USD a night, but you can scout for all-inclusive packages and other stay and meal combinations to get more bang for your buck. Your over water bungalow is furnished with a king-size bed, a closet, a dresser with a mirror, a drop-down ironing board with an iron box, a safety deposit box, cable television and a phone with IDD.
The en-suite bathroom has a shower cubicle and a Jacuzzi tub, apart from complimentary bath amenities, hair dryer, Terry Cloth bathrobes and slippers. Your personal sundeck lets you relax in the sun bed, get a tan on the sun loungers or head down for a round of swimming or snorkelling in the Maldives. You would want to lose touch with the outer world when you stay at the Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, but you can still opt for their chargeable Wi-Fi if you can’t live without social media.
The water under the bungalow is not deep at all. However, if you are not a confident swimmer or have hydrophobia, grab the life jackets which are provided in the over water bungalow. Maldives weather is sunny on most days, but it can rain at times. The resort stocks your room with raincoats in case you wish to step out when it is pouring.
You will relish the food served at Maakana, the buffet restaurant named after grey herons which are easily spotted close to the island. International dishes and live counters ensure you are fuelled up for your surfing excursions, which are quite a hit with the guests. If you’re wary of gaining too much weight from dining at all the other irresistible restaurants in Dhonveli, you can always keep a tab through the weighing scale in your bungalow.
2. Sun Island Resort & Spa Maldives Water Bungalow
Located in Nalaguraidhoo or the South Ari Atoll, Sun Island Resort & Spa can be reached via a 17-minute domestic flight from Malé’s Velana International Airport. Apart from beach stay options, the property offers over water bungalows which are their most sought after type of accommodation.
Spanning 73 square metres, you can reach the over water villas / bungalows through a wooden jetty. This over water suite comes with a private sundeck with loungers and rocking chairs in the balcony, and your own staircase down to the ocean.
The roomy bath area has an open-air shower, a bathtub with Jacuzzi, bath amenities and a hair dryer. In your room, you will find tea and coffee making facilities, a mini-bar, a television, a telephone and free Wi-Fi.
For the ultimate rejuvenation holiday, explore the treatments at their Araamu Spa which is open from 9 AM through 8 PM on all days of the week. All the massages are offered in the commodious garden room with two treatment beds specially placed for couples who wish to take their sessions together. For an exclusive beach spa experience, you can opt for their signature massage offered on the sandbank where along with the oil, the fine white sand is scrubbed on your body for exfoliation.
After your massage, you will be able to let the oils sink into your skin through a steam bath at the steam chamber and then bathe in the private shower room. Also available is a Jacuzzi for water-pressure based relaxation. The spa also has a beauty salon section for facials, body works and nail treatments.
Gourmands can anticipate a marvellous spread at the international buffet restaurant of Sun Island. Speciality restaurants on this isle offer Italian, Indian, Thai, barbecued treats and an assortment of locally sourced seafood. For a romantic jungle-style date, dine at Zero, the treetop restaurant that even lets you pick your own ingredients from the backyard farm.
3. Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
Club Marriott members rejoice! If you have enough points stored up in your loyalty rewards account, it is a great time to vacation at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Located on the Furanafushi Island in North Malé Atoll, this Marriott property is just 20 minutes from the Velana International Airport in the capital city of Malé.
Sheraton’s Full Moon Resort offers two categories of overwater bungalows, the regular one, and high-end version with a private plunge pool. Each of these bungalows comes with a king-size bed in the master bedroom and a day bed on the sundeck. Wooden door frames and sloped roof add character to the already premium interiors.
Spanning 54 square metres or 541 square feet, the Club water bungalows offer evening turndown service so you don’t have to lift a finger before retiring for the day. A reading sofa with cushions is provided in your water bungalow, which can be repurposed as an extra sleeping space in case you have a child with you. Direct access to the blue lagoon means you can snorkel and swim whenever you wish! Your en-suite bathroom is outfitted with a bathtub that looks out to the cast Indian Ocean.
Exclusive experiences available with the Sheraton Maldives are dolphin cruise, big game fishing, hand line fishing, surfing, catamaran sailing, flyboarding, windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, parasailing and sea bobbing. Apart from water sports you can also look forward to picnicking on a sandbank and a romantic dinner on a private islet.
For a satisfying meal-time experience, dine at any of the themed restaurants at the Full Moon Resort. Pick from the beachfront, forest or lagoon setting and choose your restaurant based on the cuisine you wish to sample. Sheraton Maldives serves Mexican, Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Mediterranean (including Italian and Greek) delicacies, apart from seafood and other international fare.
4. Velassaru Maldives Water Bungalow
Just 25 minutes away from the Malé International Airport, Velassaru Maldives sits in the South Malé Atoll. This water bungalow resort arranges for the speedboat transfer, so you need not worry about arrival logistics. Do not miss staying in their water bungalow with a pool as only 17 of these exist.
Your 80 square metre wood-floored over water bungalow is done up with wooden and cane furnishings. The bedroom comes with Bluetooth enabled home theatre system, floor-to-ceiling folding glass windows, and ironing facilities. The modern bathroom with a view features a bathtub with L’Occitane bath products, bathrobes and a hair dryer.
Slippers, beach bags and beach towels are offered complimentary so you can enjoy lounging on the sundeck while nibbling on canapés and sipping on a drink from the wine chiller. You can also plunge into your private infinity pool or step down the water bungalow via the ladder into the lagoon for a round of snorkeling.
Part of the Small Luxury Hotels group, Velassaru Maldives is a boutique property with a multilingual staff, ready to assist you at any time of the day. 24-hour in-villa dining apart, you will be able to gorge on delicious dishes at 5 restaurants and 2 bars on this island. Whether it is teppanyaki at the Japanese restaurant on stilts, or the chef’s special Indian Ocean preparations on the sandbank, or Latin-American flavours indoors, or European and Asian craft cocktails sipped on a beanbag, or seafood from around the world, you will find a lot of culinary variety here.
Island holidays are ideal for relaxation. One must not skip a spa treatment while staying at the Velassaru Maldives over water bungalow. While they offer free sunset yoga classes on the sand thrice a week, you can also opt for their chargeable therapies. There are 10 over water spa pavilions where a selection of rejuvenation treatments are offered.
5. Adaaran Club Rannalhi Maldives Water Bungalow
At a distance of 34 km from the Velana International Airport, Adaaran Club Rannalhi is a luxury private island resort reachable via a 45-minute speedboat transfer. This isle is spread over 5 acres, offering a suite of activities and sightseeing tours to Malé city, which include visiting the Grand Friday Mosque, the National Museum, the Presidential Palace, the Islamic Centre, the Mulee Aagee Palace, Sultan Park, and local shopping streets and fish markets.
Adaaran Club Rannalhi Maldives offers Standard Bungalows on the beach and the much sought after overwater Bungalows. The over water accommodation comes with a straw roofed exterior and pasted-hued interiors. If travelling with friends or a large family, take a look at the duplex-style water bungalows which have 4 rooms together, 2 each on the upper floor and ground floor.
Your plush bedding is hand-painted, and the hardwood floor extends the tropical ambience to your bedroom. Free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and beverage making facilities are available. Step out onto the sundeck to feel the sea breeze caress your senses. You can head straight to the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean through your personal wooden ladder down the water bungalow. After the cool dip, soak in the sun or work on your beach tan on the sun bed.
Choose from a handful of Maldivian excursions such as morning or sunset fishing on the reef to catch rainbow fish, snappers, barracuda, sailfish, emperors, wahoo, marlin, jacks, swordfish, squirrelfish and yellow fin tuna. You can also go on a local village tour on a traditional dhoni in South Malé Atoll or island resort hopping to Guraidhoo, Biyandhoo and Fiyalohi. Couples may opt for a romantic sunset cruise for photo-ops while families can visit a fishing village.
To soothe your tired muscles, walk into Chavana Spa at Adaaran Club Rannalhi Resort. The sea-facing two-storey spa pavilion offers massages, manicures, pedicures and sundry treatments. Some of the therapies include detoxification, cleansing, aromatherapy, warm stone massage, foot massage, facial and Balinese massage.
6. Dreamland Maldives Water Bungalow
Located in Baa Atoll, Dreamland Maldives is a unique sea and lake resort and spa. The resort offers a one-of-a-kind setting which is not available anywhere else in The Maldives – a freshwater lake in the middle of the ocean! This natural lake is surrounded by mangroves and palm trees, while being Asia’s first ever Biotop pool safe for swimming.
Located by the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Hanifaru Bay, this private island lets you get up close and personal with whale sharks, manta rays and other types of fish. The isle spans over 52 thousand square metres and offers a string of beach bungalows and water bungalows.
Dreamland Maldives’ overwater bungalows are spread over 78 square metres and can accommodate 3 adults. The air-conditioned interiors have a four-poster bed with curtains which can be secured, a coffee table with armchairs, an elegant lamppost, a dresser with a mirror and a seat, satellite television, mini fridge and wooden flooring.
The en-suite bathroom has an indoor shower as well as an outdoor one, besides a bathtub with a hand shower. You will also find dual vanity stations and bath amenities. The sundeck outside the glass-walled bedroom looks out to the crystal blue ocean. There are cushioned sun loungers for you to laze, and steps that take you down to the reef.
Dreamland arranges for a wide range of excursions on dhonis which are motorized wooden boats. You can select from sunset cruise or fishing, snorkeling in the Baa Atoll, and special trips to sight turtles and dolphins. For those who wish to know the Maldivian culture with a greater depth, the resort offers trips to the nearby local islands of Kamadhoo and Dharavandhoo where it is possible to see the fishermen at work and also catch up on souvenir shopping.
7. Thulhagiri Island Resort and Spa Maldives Water Bungalow
About 13 km away, the tiny Thulhagiri private island is only 20 minutes from the Velana International Airport by speedboat. Nestled in the North Malé Atoll, Thulhagiri Island Resort and Spa is sprawled over an area of about 8 acres. With 34 water bungalows, the resort offers elegant over water hut-style rooms to its guests.
The water bungalows at Thulhagiri Maldives are decked up with premium bamboo furniture, cane sun chairs on the over water deck, bathtub with shower in the en-suite bathroom, and bath amenities. The 4-poster bed comes with mosquito netting which can be rolled away during the day. The sun deck has a staircase with direct access to the turquoise lagoon. Wi-Fi is also available but on a chargeable basis.
Snorkelling and scuba diving are quite popular on the island. The Sub Aqua Dive School operates all diving activities at the Thulhagiri Island Resort. You will be able to dive to a maximum depth of 30 metres, as mandated by the Maldivian law. Explore a number of dive sites, various reefs, rocks and caves while here. If you are serious about diving, enrol into their PADI scuba diving certification courses in the Maldives.
Water sports apart, one can indulge in a game of beach volleyball or soccer on the smooth white sands. Indoor games such as table tennis, chess, foosball and darts are also available. Fitness enthusiasts need not miss their workout as the resort’s 24-hour gym is fully equipped with treadmills, spin bikes, barbells, dumbbells, and other exercise machines.
Dining on Thulhagiri Island is a simple affair with fan-cooled tables arranged on the sand or wooden deck inside the Main Restaurant. The buffet spread looks after most tastes and you can also request for some customization as per your preferences. The resort has two bars with a barefoot lounging concept. At the main Sand Bar, you will be able to order a selection of cocktails, mocktails , wines and beers. The Beach Bar simulates a beach shack experience on the sandbank, and lets you savour the sunset along with your drinks and snacks.
8. Anantara Veli Maldives Resort Over Water Bungalow
Just a 30-minute speedboat ride away from the airport, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort is located on the private island of Boduhuraa in South Malé Atoll. This is one of the few adults-only resorts in The Maldives, designed exclusively for the relaxation of couples.
Pick one from a range of overwater bungalows which are 62 to 92 square metres in size. Perched over the lagoon on stilts, these water bungalows provide direct access to the clear waters below by way of a private stairway. All the rooms come with hardwood flooring, iPod docking station, a king-size bed, complimentary Wi-Fi, a sundeck with a daybed and a coffee table.
The Deluxe Over Water Bungalow at Anantara Veli has a split level deck with additional sun loungers. Its en-suite bathroom also has a Terrazzo bathtub that can fit a couple. The tub overlooks the lagoon through the floor-to-ceiling wood-framed glass windows. Don’t forget to make use of the yoga mats and fitness kit in your bungalow! The Superior and Deluxe Over Water Bungalows also have an Espresso machine.
Anantara Veli Maldives is the ideal honeymoon resort, especially with all the frills thrown in. You have a selection of private dining options, couple spa sessions, starlit dinner, Ayurvedic treatments, sunset luxury yachting and romantic open-air cinema to fill your time with. You will also be able to take advantage of certain facilities at Anantara’s sister resort in Dhigu.
The resort offers a mind boggling array of wellness and detox routines, from yoga, pranayam (breathing exercises) and water exercises to ancient massage therapies, hot oil sessions and medicinal herb treatments. You can sign up for longer courses that improve your sleep, skin and internal wellbeing. Apart from treatment suites, the Balance Wellness Spa has a nail salon, a sauna and steam room, a garden with hot and cold plunge pools and showers placed indoor and outdoor.
9. Embudu Village Water Bungalow Maldives
Sitting in the South Malé Atoll, Embudu Village Maldives is only a 20-minute speedboat ride away from the Malé International Airport. This eco-conscious private island resort aims to make minimal impact on the environment. Towards this, Embudu Village has taken a number of steps such as rooftop solar panel-powered water heating systems, hydroponically produced food, and locally sourced fish at a fair price from village fisherfolk.
The resort offers Superior Beach Bungalows and Water Bungalows which are firmly secured to the shallow seabed on stilts. The overwater bungalows have a balcony that looks out to the infinite blue seas. A sun bed and a fresco tea table with chairs let you take in the gorgeous Maldivian sunsets on this island.
Each wood-floored air-conditioned water bungalow is furnished with a 4-poster king-size bed, a glass section on the floor, satellite TV, safe, mini fridge, hair dryer and tea and coffee maker. Your bathroom has a Jacuzzi bathtub and the entire space is Wi-Fi enabled.
The buffet restaurant at Embudu Village Resort caters to all your gastronomic cravings. From hot curries to decadent pastries, the award-winning chefs whip out a new menu each day. Seafood is especially recommended here as the catch is always fresh and sourced through honest and sustainable practices. Bespoke dining experiences can be created at your wish, at the seafront or in the flower garden. A-la-carte steaks and lobsters are sure to keep you asking for more! Sunsets are best enjoyed with a cocktail at the bar.
Embudu’s house reef is blessed with a wonderful coral ecosystem. When you go diving with Diverland, the resort’s exclusive dive centre, you will be able to see many schools of colourful fishes, manta rays, turtles and sharks. While you can snorkel at Embudu itself, they also organize snorkeling excursions to biodiversity hotspots around the island.
Other water sport activities to experience are stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing offered by Diverland. Whether you are a seasoned angler or not, you can try your hand at fishing, with a little help from the crew. Learn about the traditional hook and line method of catching fish and then move on to the easier deep sea trawling.
10. Safari Island Maldives Water Bungalow
Sprawled over 30 thousand square metres, Safari Island Resort & Spa is hidden in the heart of North Ari Atoll. Enjoy a 25-minute seaplane ride to this private island located 60 km from the capital’s international airport. When you stay at this resort for a week or two, you get free overnight access to their luxury safari boats which cruise the high seas.
While we highly recommend Safari Island’s water bungalows, if that’s too expensive for you, beach bungalows and semi-water bungalows make for nice alternatives. Each 45 square metre over water bungalow enjoys panoramic views of the Indian Ocean through floor-to-ceiling glass windows and sliding doors. The four-poster bamboo bed comes with sheer curtains.
The sundeck looks out to the mesmerizing lagoon and lets you enjoy the sea breeze under a canopy as you put your feet up on the sun chairs. A personal staircase with railing lets you gently lower yourself into the inviting lagoon. The overwater bungalow also has a bathtub and separate shower, a mini fridge, satellite television and chargeable Wi-Fi.
To enhance your vacation experience, drop by the Duny Thai Spa. The traditional Thai Massage which includes foot spa and muscle stretching is great for those who like their massages oil-free. If you would rather delight your olfactory senses, take an aromatic massage using hot oil to nourish your body and soul. Other facilities include pre-tanning and post-sun treatments, body wraps and polishing, nail care, facials and waxing.
11. Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon Water Bungalow
Formerly Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo Maldives Water Bungalow, this luxury resort is a part of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts. The special treats at Ellaidhoo begin right at the moment you enter your overwater bungalow. A glass-bottomed section on the floor greets you at the entrance while the split level sundeck invites you to sit back on the daybed.
In-room furnishing includes a writing desk with a chair and a mirror-back cushioned sofa. Your plush king-size bed has plenty of pillows and cushions for added comfort while the bathroom offers twin sinks for couples. Beach and bath towels, vanity kits, shaving kits and toiletries are complimentary. If you aren’t comfortable in the water, you can wear the life jacket provided in the room.
A perfect Maldives holiday is not only about the stay but also the food. To satisfy your taste buds, Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon Resort lets you dine at 4 restaurants. Iruohsnee Bar on the main deck is perfect for some cocktails in the evening while EYZ Lounge & Bar keeps you warm and dry indoors when a storm is brewing up in the sea.
Malamathi Restaurant & Bar is the main buffet restaurant close to the water bungalows, offering a combination of indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the infinity pool. Finally, their Madi Restaurant serves up international cuisines in a casual setting where the natural white sand is the only floor you have.
Ellaidhoo is a favourite with tourists for its water excursion packages which include dolphin pod sighting, local island exploration amidst Maldivians living in coral stone houses, snorkeling trips, and fishing on a dhoni. In fact, your catch is soon cooked and served to you! For romantic moments, ask the staff to arrange for a sandbank picnic or a candle-light dinner on a jetty.
If you are dreaming of a vacation in the Maldives, help is not far away. Samudra Maldives will make your holiday planning a cakewalk with its thoughtfully designed Maldives vacation packages and traveller-oriented approach. We are there to answer all your queries on Maldives Water Bungalows and even help you make a prudent choice based on your preferences, budget and holiday duration.
Make the most of Maldives Honeymoon Packages and stay in the best overwater bungalows as the ocean waves lap under your vacation home on stilts. Revisit your wedding vows and bring back the romance with sunset cruises, date nights on the beach or some wine enjoyed under the stars on your private deck. Never underestimate the power of a secluded island in making you fall in love!