Staying in an Overwater Bungalow: Everything You Need to Know

It’s the ultimate dream, right? Staying in an overwater bungalow in actual paradise. There are only a handful of these luxurious accommodations in the world, and they’re rarely budget-friendly. So when you get the chance to book one, you want to make it count! Here are a few things to know before you book one of these glamorous, Insta-worthy accommodations.

I think my face says it all!
Reality check: Was It Worth It to Plan a Trip to French Polynesia During the Pandemic?

Not Every Room is an Overwater Bungalow

Don’t be fooled by that oh-so-affordable price you see online! Hotels that feature overwater bungalows also have rooms or villas onshore, which are, predictably, less expensive. Hotel websites and third-party booking sites alike are configured to show you the lowest price available, which certainly won’t be the price for an overwater bungalow. Be sure that you’re looking at the room or bungalow you want when choosing which one to book!

The overwater bungalows are not the only rooms at a hotel, just the most conspicuous!
Here’s what it’s like: Staying at a Sofitel Kia Ora Overwater Bungalow in Mo’orea

It’s Expensive

Relatedly, overwater bungalows are expensive. It all depends on the season, day of the week, and the location, but plan on spending around $1,000-$5,000 per night, give or take. This is a great opportunity to cash in credit card points, hotel loyalty points, or do some good old fashioned saving up. I’ve written extensively about How I’ve Been Able to Afford Travel and How to Use Credit Card Rewards for Travel, but don’t underestimate’s Rewards Program (100% not sponsored)!

It’s also very peaceful over the water.
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You (Usually) Can See Through the Floor

Not always, but often! Many overwater bungalows feature a plexiglass cut-out to capitalize on the uniqueness of actually staying over the water. You can look right down to see the coral and the fishes! If it freaks you out, you can put a table or a towel over it, but don’t worry! It’s made to withstand the weight of the people staying there!

It was too fun to watch the fish and see the coral below!
My honey got friendly with the fish living in the coral beneath our floor window!
Also fun: The Best Hotel Luxuries in the World

French Polynesia was the First

It’s true! You can now find overwater bungalows in Fiji, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Maldives, but French Polynesia is home to the original concept. The first overwater bungalows were built just offshore of the island of Ra’iatea. A group of American expats started one of French Polynesia’s first hotels, but the island had no beaches. The reef was beautiful, though, so they took the accommodations where the beauty was. That was 1967, and the rest is history. Check out the Tahiti Tourisme Website for more!

We spent almost as much time on and in the water around our bungalow as we did in the bungalow itself!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit French Polynesia

There are No Drawbacks

The water pressure is great, the electricity works like a dream, we didn’t have any bug or other “critter” problems, and there’s air conditioning when the sea breeze isn’t quite enough. Steve was more concerned about these things than I was, and he was pleasantly surprised! Overwater bungalows certainly take more effort and cost to maintain, but for us, we could tell everything was being done to make these rooms function just like the ones onshore. This did not feel like glamping; instead, it truly felt like staying in a super luxurious hotel!

Staying in one is an experience not to be missed!
More here: Legendary Hotels of the World

There are Some Unexpected Benefits

Most notably for us was the fact that it was the best place to be during the (many) rain storms we experienced during our stay–admittedly, during the rainy season. We could literally still enjoy being on the water, even in the less than perfect weather. We got to see the fish right from our room! We got to snorkel right under our bungalow and swim over to the beach if we wanted to. It’s not just a cool place for memorable Instagram photos, it’s a whole experience of its own!

It was fun to swim to our room from the beach!

Want more? Check out all my post from our trip on my dedicated French Polynesia Page!

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3 responses to “Staying in an Overwater Bungalow: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. […] Coming soon: What to Know Before You Book an Overwater Bungalow in French Polynesia […]

  2. […] Related: What to Know Before You Book an Overwater Bungalow […]

  3. […] More here: Tips for Booking an Overwater Bungalow in French Polynesia […]

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