Without a doubt, when people think of the Maldives, they think of overwater bungalows. But not just any stilts overwater. the Maldives is famous for its extravagant water villas. Private infinity pools, glass floors, and waterslides are just a few of the things that come to mind. It’s what’s made the Maldives synonymous with luxury. But with so many islands and resorts to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. For this reason, I’ve compiled the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
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Don’t have time to read the whole guide? No worries! To summarize, here are the three best overwater bungalows in the Maldives
20 Best Overwater Bungalows in the Maldives
I’ve listed the 21 best overwater bungalows in the Maldives below, including a table with all the resorts and prices. Following that, is a section with detailed reviews of each property. In truth, all of these resorts could vie for the title of the best overwater villa in the Maldives. With this in mind, here are the contenders. If you’re traveling as a couple, try my Best Resorts in the Maldives for Couples guide.
This is a comparison table of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives. At the present time, these prices reflect the lowest per night room rate for an overwater bungalow. It’s important to note that some of these properties have entry-level overwater villas, whereas others start with private pools and butlers. Most of these rates include at least breakfast, but most do not include transfer by seaplane or speedboat from Male International Airport. If these prices look a bit steep, try my Best Affordable Resorts in the Maldives guide. And if you’re interested in glass floor options, try my Maldives Glass Floor Water Villas guide.
|St Regis Maldives||$2250|
|Waldorf Astoria Maldives||$3700|
|The Nautilus Maldives||$2900|
|OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI||$1850|
|Conrad Maldives Rangali||$1750|
|Four Seasons Landaa||$2350|
|Ritz Carlton Fari Islands||$1900|
|COMO Cocoa Island||$1400|
|VARU by Atmosphere||$975|
|Meeru Island Resort & Spa||$650|
|LUX* South Ari Atoll||$760|
Best Overwater Bungalows in The Maldives
Few places in the world evoke the same images as the Maldives. Made up of 1200 coral islands and sandbars across the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a dream come true. Add the water villas dotting the turquoise lagoons, and you have paradise. Although with private pools, glass floors, and more, the bar has been set ever higher. Subsequently, it can be incredibly difficult to filter through the options. Given that, I’ve compiled the 21 best overwater bungalows in the Maldives. You’ll find both elegant island escapes and extravagant floating palaces. Whatever your taste, you’ll discover the best overwater villa in the Maldives for you.
Gili Lankanfushi is the epitome of Maldivian barefoot luxury. It’s won multiple awards, even being named the best hotel in the world. In truth, it’s my all-time favorite resort in the Maldives. Located in one of the most beautiful lagoons in the country, it’s a short 20-minute speed boat transfer from Male. And unlike other resorts with both beach and water villas, every villa here is over water. There are also several Robinson Crusoe residences reachable only via a private boat.
But the true reason Gili Lankanfushi tops this list is its Private Reserve. This keystone villa is the largest overwater bungalow in the world. Featuring 4 bedrooms and an expansive 1,700 sqm, it is the definition of Maldivian luxury.
Guests arrive and depart via a private yacht. Once at The Reserve, residents enjoy amenities such as a spa pavilion, sauna, gymnasium, and cinema. Of course, there are the usual touches like an infinity pool, water slide, and butler service. Guests are even given a private boat to transfer to and from the reserve. But chances are, you won’t want to leave. The only thing better than the gorgeous setting and extravagant villa is the service. And for that reason, this is my favorite overwater bungalow in the Maldives.
St Regis Maldives Vommuli
The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is a beautifully designed property. Located in the Dhaalu Atoll, it’s a 45-minute seaplane flight from Male. In contrast to most resorts in the Maldives, all of its 77 villas come with a private pool and personalized butler service. But of all its multi-bedroom retreats, the John Jacob Astor Estate is the crown jewel.
The sprawling three-bedroom estate is the second largest water villa in the Maldives. It features sublime indoor-outdoor spaces, multiple infinity pools, and exceptional modern decor across 1500 sqm. There is of course a private cinema and exercise room, and plenty of sophisticated touches throughout.
In like manner, all overwater villas at the St Regis enjoy the same level of thoughtful design and excellent service. And sit over the same azure waters. Whatever you choose, it will be one of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Anantara Kihavah is located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Baa Atoll. It’s a 35-minute seaplane journey from Male. If you’ve read my other Maldives guides, you know the Anantara group has a number of gorgeous resorts in the region. Kihavah makes this list because of their newly renovated Residence. At 1500 sqm, their Two Bedroom Overwater Pool Residence is now the 3rd largest overwater bungalow in the Maldives. And it comes with all the bells and whistles.
Imagine leaving your massive infinity pool to take a dip in your glass bottom bath. Or maybe a workout in the fully-equipped gym followed by a massage in your private spa. Of course, a villa host is on call 24 hours, and a private chef is always on hand. Paired with the resort’s fantastic location and endless amenities, Anantara Kihavah undoubtedly has some of the Maldives’ best overwater bungalows.
Soneva Jani has made a name for itself with its opulent overwater bungalows. The number of palatial villas here is insane. But of course, they’re not just villas. Named Water Retreats and Water Reserves, these accommodations have as many as four bedrooms and 1291 sqm of living space. You’ll probably recognize them from viral videos of the Maldives.
Rooms feature glass floors to view the turquoise waters below, and retractable ceilings to sleep under the stars. Almost all of the villas come with their iconic slides, while all include a private pool and open-air bath. Similarly, personalized butler service is available to all guests. There’s also a floating cinema and an observatory to make the most of your stargazing on-property. In any case, this resort is an adult playground, with some of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives is a new jewel in the island archipelago. Located in the South Male Atoll, guests arrive via a 40-minute yacht journey from Male. And while all of its overwater villas are impossibly modern, the Three Bedroom Overwater Villa Pool is sublime. At 1113 sq.m, it’s only the 5th largest overwater bungalow in the Maldives, but certainly one of the best designed.
Featuring three bedrooms and two infinity pools, there’s ample space for family and friends. Outdoor amenities include a jacuzzi, private cabana, and overwater hammock. A dressing room sitting over a glass-bottom floor is my favorite interior feature.
And there are plenty of fun perks, like a complimentary yacht transfer and personalized bathrobes for each guest, even the children. Furthermore, a concierge is assigned to handle any and all needs of the residents. Coupled with the gorgeous grounds and unparalleled service, the Waldorf Astoria boasts one of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
JOALI Maldives is island living at its finest. Located in the Raa Atoll, it’s a scenic 40-minute seaplane journey from Male. Each of its overwater villas is among the best in the Maldives, but its three-bedroom Ocean Residence is a standout. Featuring two infinity pools facing different directions, sunrise and sunset views are guaranteed. There’s also an outdoor rain shower, private spa room, and Jadugar (butler) service. Moreover, every inch of its 990 sqm is curated to create the best experience for guests.
In addition, the resort offers all the usual ultra-luxe Maldives amenities. There’s the JOALI Spa, a fitness center, gourmet journeys available at four restaurants, and an underwater museum. Furthermore, swimming with manta rays can also be arranged. Given these points, JOALI offers some of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
Jumeirah Maldives is a luxurious offering from the Dubai-based group and one of the best resorts for Maldives overwater villas. Located in the North Male Atoll, it’s a 60-minute speedboat ride from Male. Altogether there are 67 villas, each with a private pool. The one that puts Jumeirah on the list is the Three Bedroom Water Retreat with Pool. Dubbed, “your personal marine palace,” this is a sheik-worthy water villa.
There is, of course, a private gym, hammam, and sauna. Bathrooms feature rain showers and oversized tubs. The 970 sqm Retreat has not only one but two kitchens. And most importantly, there’s space to dock a boat up to 90ft long. How could one go without? Excellent service pulls all these featured amenities together. Simply put, for those seeking the best Maldives overwater bungalow, look no further than Jumeirah to find luxury beyond boundaries.
Vakkaru Maldives is set in the pristine waters of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the Baa Atoll. It’s a scenic 25-minute seaplane journey from Male. And although it’s home to an immense 113 villas and suites, Vakkaru does incredibly well to create an intimate experience for guests. This is thanks in part to their villas, as well as their personalized butler service. As far as overwater amenities, Vakkaru boasts an overwater spa, bar, and gym. But its best offering is the Vakkaru Overwater Residence.
Not only do guests get a free CIP transfer (Commercially Important Person) but they also enjoy a stay in one of the largest villas in the Maldives. This oversea sanctuary features both an infinity pool and plunge pool. A large sundeck also provides panoramic views and ample outdoor space. Not to mention, a dedicated chef is available on standby. At 950 sqm, there’s ample space to enjoy and host an unforgettable getaway. Given all these reasons, the Vakkaru Maldives is one of the best choices for overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
The Nautilus Maldives is an intimate 26-villa property near Hanifaru Bay, the manta ray reserve. It’s a 30-minute seaplane transfer from Male, and one of the only independently Maldivian-owned luxury properties in the archipelago. As for its claim to fame, none of its overwater villas are the largest, most expensive, or most opulent. They’re simply elegant.
Each of the villas offers a private infinity pool, stunning ocean views, and personalized butler service. Not to mention, there is a glass bottom floor, complimentary champagne, and CIP service at the airport. Additionally, the resort offers an overwater spa, fitness center, and swimming with whale sharks and manta rays (in season). Together with its luxury bohemian charm, the Nautilus has some of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI
OZEN RESERVE is a luxury all-inclusive located in the South Male Atoll. At a 20-minute speedboat ride from Male, it’s a quick journey to paradise. The resort itself is a playground for guests, offering an open-air ice rink, PADI dive center, overwater gym, and semi-submarine adventures. But seeing as this guide is about overwater bungalows, let’s get to the point. Ozen is home to not just one mega water bungalow, but seven.
That is to say, it has seven Two Bedroom Private Ocean Reserves. Each features an infinity pool, 23m water slide, and split-level living. An overwater hammock and extensive outdoor seating help make the most of the panoramic deck, and guests are privy to 5-star service throughout their stay. Accordingly, Ozen is an excellent choice for families and groups seeking the best overwater bungalow in the Maldives.
Soneva Fushi is yet another veritable paradise in the Baa Atoll. This eco-friendly escape is a 30-minute seaplane transfer from Male. Being from the group that created both Gili Lankanfushi and Soneva Jani, it’s no surprise Soneva Fushi makes the list. The infamous waterslides at Soneva Jani had their start here, and a whopping 60% of guests at Soneva Fushi are return visitors. In other words, they’re doing something right.
Their Two Bedroom Water Retreat has one of the best glass bottom floors in the Maldives. And of course, the ceiling is retractable. But even without the flashier touches, every inch of the Retreat is designed to complement its beautiful setting. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide unobstructed views of the sparkling turquoise lagoon. The decor is decidedly Robinson Crusoe. And the Barefoot Butler and access to the chocolate room are the cherries on top. On the whole, any of the water villas at Soneva Fushi are among the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Resort
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Resort is situated on the twin islands of Rangali and Rangali Finolhu, a 30-minute seaplane transfer from Male. One of the most well-established resorts in the Maldives, the Conrad added Muraka, the world’s first underwater suite, in 2018. The Muraka also happens to be an overwater villa, which is a bit mindblowing.
The overwater half is just as stylish and sophisticated as any of the other water villas in the Maldives. But the underwater half makes for a whimsical, once-in-a-lifetime experience. In addition, amenities at the Conrad (for those booking regular water villas) include the all-glass underwater Ithaa Restaurant, two award-winning spas, and watersports in the crystal-clear lagoon. With so much to offer, the Conrad Maldives Rangali easily boasts one of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Conrad Maldives Rangali
- Muraka Underwater Suite
- Underwater Restaurant
- Beautiful Lagoon
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island
Kudadoo Private Island is a Hurawalhi property located in the Lhaviyani Atoll. It’s a 40-minute seaplane ride from Male, and the ultimate adult playground. As a matter of fact, it’s the only truly all-inclusive luxury resort in the Maldives. And with only 15 luxurious overwater villas, each one is best in class. To begin with, the resort runs 100% on solar energy, making this one of the least guilty indulgences in the Maldives.
As far as the villas go, each comes equipped with a large private infinity pool, glass-bottom deck, and soaking tub. A personal butler is available 24 hours to arrange excursions, personalized wellness treatments, and coordinate meals with your private chef. What’s more, all of these are inclusive. Featured excursions include luxury sailing, deep sea fishing, dolphin watching, and sand bar picnics. Undeniably, Kudadoo offers some of the best Maldives overwater bungalows.
Four Seasons Maldives at Laanda Giraavaru
The Four Seasons is set in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Reserve. It’s a 30-minute seaplane transfer from Male, and a perfect luxury escape. To begin with, there are a number of over-the-water bungalows. Each is crafted with the same attention to detail you’d expect from the Four Seasons. But their ultimate ocean accommodation is the Sunrise Three Bedroom Water Suite.
Surely, there is a massive infinity pool and overwater hammock with panoramic views. Also included are three full baths, an outdoor shower, and extensive outdoor seating. Meanwhile, the resort offers plenty to entertain.
Guests can snorkel with mantas or help rehab sea turtles at the Marine Discovery Center. The award-winning AyurMa offers a host of treatments, and there’s even a hair salon. All things considered, the Four Seasons Maldives offers some of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Islands
The Ritz Carlton Fari Islands is a smart, modern twist on the classic Maldives overwater villa. Located on the man-made Fari Islands of the North Male Atoll, the Ritz is reachable via a 60-minute speedboat or 10-minute seaplane from Male. Given that it’s one of the newest resorts in the archipelago, the rooms are stylish and minimally designed. Of course, that’s not to say that they’re lacking in any way.
There are several overwater options to choose from, including both one and two-bedroom ocean villas, and a lagoon pool villa. Each room features an infinity pool set against a perfect azure horizon. Guests also have access to a bicycle to make their way around the property. After all, there are plenty of amenities to enjoy. For instance, there’s a fitness center, tennis courts, dive center, and Kids Club. What’s more, guests can dine and shop at the nearby Fari Islands Marina. Considering the above, the Ritz Carlton unquestionably offers some of the best water bungalows in the Maldives.
The W Maldives sits on a private island in the North Ari Atoll. It’s a 1.5-hour speedboat transfer or 25-minute flight from Male. The Maldives branch of the W showcases a collection of fabulous water villas. In fact, overwater categories to choose from are Fabulous, Spectacular, and WOW! Without a doubt, each room type features a private plunge pool, ocean access, and plenty of wow factor. The glass floor living room is undoubtedly one of the best in the Maldives.
While at the resort, guests can pamper themselves at the AWAY spa. Activities include watersports, yoga classes, and aqua aerobics. There are four restaurants to choose from, as well as two bars. Together with the signature W personality and style, this resort provides some of the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Kandolhu Maldives is an intimate property located in the North Ari Atoll. It’s reachable via a 20-minute seaplane followed by a 15-minute speedboat. Once on the island, guests can choose from just 32 rooms, making this a quiet, exclusive resort. The overwater offerings here include villas with and without private pools. Without reservation, pick the pool.
You’ve probably seen photos of the glass-walled bath. After all, a soaking tub with near-360 views of the Indian Ocean is pretty divine. Meanwhile, the infinity pool perfectly matches the aquamarine of the pristine lagoon. As for the resort itself, Kandolhu offers five restaurants, honeymoon perks, and a full-service spa. It’s not as flashy as some of the other resorts on the list, but its bespoke service speaks for itself. In sum, Kandolhu has some of the most simply elegant overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
COMO Cocoa Island Resort
COMO Cocoa Island Resort is a classic romantic Maldives getaway tucked away on Kaafu Island in the South Male Atoll. It’s a short 45-minute speedboat transfer from Male, and home to one of the most colorful coral reefs in the area. It’s also home to some of the cutest overwater villas. The standard overwater bungalows here are shaped like Maldivian Dhoni boats. They’re also well designed to offer maximum privacy.
With only 33 overwater villas, this is a private, boutique resort. In fact, guests often report feeling like the only ones on the island, making for a truly romantic escape. What’s more, island amenities include a starlit cinema, world-class diving with a marine biologist, and wellness retreats. Together with its simple luxury and intimate feel, COMO Cocoa Island Resort is a great choice for an overwater bungalow in the Maldives.
VARU By Atmosphere
VARU provides the best value overwater bungalows in the Maldives. Located in the North Male Atoll, it’s a 40-minute speedboat ride from Male. The resort runs on an all-inclusive basis. And unlike most, it includes free transfers. In any event, it offers several Maldives water villa room types. Guests can choose from a simple Water Villa, Water Villa with Pool, or the exclusive Water Suite.
However you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Amenities on the island include all-inclusive food and beverage at four restaurants and a bar. Guests can find a fitness center, as well as tennis and non-motorized water sports. Spa facilities are available, as is a Kids Club. Above all, guests are made to feel pampered. For these reasons, VARU wins for best budget overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Meeru Island Resort & Spa is a scenic 55-minute speedboat journey from Male. This is a classic island resort with rustic charm. Incidentally, it’s both the third oldest and third largest resort in the Maldives. Despite its size and age, it also has 9,000 5-star reviews. Meeru makes this list as another value option for overwater villas in the Maldives. The overwater offerings here are humble but noteworthy. And the lagoon is as pretty as many of the pricer resorts. Brilliant white sand and turquoise water abound.
For amenities, there’s a children’s playground, two freshwater pools, and a spa. There are also six restaurants and six bars on the island. Private sunset dinner cruises and beach picnics can be arranged as well, giving guests plenty of dining options during their stay. All things considered, Meeru Island Resort offers some of the best value water bungalows in the Maldives.
LUX* South Ari Atoll
LUX* South Ari Atoll is one of the most Instagrammable resorts in the world. It also has some of the most affordable overwater bungalows in the Maldives. Located in the South Ari Atoll, it’s a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male International Airport. And as a matter of fact, it has an eye-watering 87 water villas. With four overwater options to choose from, there’s something for every budget.
The Temptation Pool Water Villa in particular offers 220 sqm of living space. Meanwhile, the resort offers plenty of amenities. LUX* features five bars and eight restaurants to cater to its large number of guests. You’ll also find paddle boarding, yoga, tennis, and an open-air cinema. Additionally, a marine biologist is on-call to offer whale shark tours in a protected area. For all these reasons, LUX* South Ari Atoll is a great value choice for the best Maldives overwater bungalows.
That’s it for my guide to the best overwater bungalows in the Maldives. Hopefully you’ve found what you’re looking for, and if not, try my other Maldives guides.