These Overwater Bungalow Spas Are What Dreams Are Made Of
Since its introduction in French Polynesia more than 50 years ago, the overwater bungalow has become a symbol of the ultimate tropical getaway, and a staple of sandy paradises like Tahiti and the Maldives. Now, after all these decades, a few resorts around the world have realized that the instant relaxation and romance that these overwater structures inspire can work beyond just guest rooms. These six standout resorts feature dreamy overwater bungalow spas, most with open walls and glass floors through which you can watch the sea life go by—if you haven’t already drifted away during your massage, of course.
Kamalame Cay, Bahamas
This family-owned boutique resort, on a private island just off Andros in the Bahamas, is committed to helping guests disconnect from the world (and reconnect with each other). Suites and bungalows are ringed by three miles of powder-white sand, and all are TV-, WiFi-, and telephone-free—so you can spend less time tuned out and more time tuned in to activities like snorkeling and sipping drinks in the torch-lit Tiki Bar, or enjoying the Bahamas’ only overwater spa, where six treatment suites feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls that collapse onto views of the Atlantic Ocean and Andros Barrier Reef. Go for the coconut body polish (it uses freshly-shredded coconut mixed with brown sugar) or the mineral-rich seaweed botanical wrap.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
The Maldives is renowned for its impossibly clear Indian Ocean waters, palm tree-ringed beaches, and rich marine life, so it makes sense that its resorts aim to make the most of their surroundings. This Conrad outpost is spread over two islands: the larger Rangalifinolhu Island is home to all the beach villas and main restaurants, while the smaller Rangali Island is where you'll find the overwater villas. Though there are spas in both places, Rangali’s is the one you want to book. Its treatment bungalows are set on stilts over the ocean and feature relaxation decks and glass floors that frame the coral reef below. We can't think of a more dreamy setting for a chakra-balancing treatment or a nourishing Thalgo marine mineral-infused massage and bath.
Vinpearl Nha Trang, Vietnam
A private island on Nha Trang, one of the world’s most beautiful bays, is the setting for this tropical resort in southern Vietnam. Settle into one of the 84 villas (each with private terrace and water views), then head for a dip in one of the several pools or beaches around the island, for lunch at one of the three restaurants and bars, or for some well-deserved pampering at its breathtaking Vincharm Spa, the only overwater spa in the country. A stroll along a white sand beach, shaded by coconut trees, brings you to its stilted spa bungalows, where expert therapists perform services influenced by both Western and Eastern techniques and ingredients—all to the sound of gently lapping waves.
Song Saa Private Island Resort, Cambodia
This private-island sanctuary in Cambodia’s Koh Rong archipelago is dedicated to sustainability (the owners even created a charity to work with local villages on conservation and education), and to honoring the destination as much as possible—evidence of which you’ll see in everything from the use of building materials like bamboo and driftwood to the local herbs highlighted in the excellent spa treatments. Services like Kundalini Back Massages, Khmer Leaf Herbal Poultice Massages, Rainforest Facials, and Coconut Champi Head Massages can be enjoyed in cozy sanctuaries, which are scattered around the island to ensure maximum privacy; the overwater options feature a separate changing room and bathroom, plus a treatment area that’s open to a secluded lagoon and warm tropical breezes. JS Tip: Book a special Night Spa service to trade the sun for the stars.
Mandarin Oriental, Canouan, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
The 26-suite, 13-villa Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is part of the 1,200-acre Canouan Estate on a tiny Canouan Island. Guests can hop on the resort's private golf carts to make use of estate facilities like a championship golf course and kids’ club, or enjoy gourmet dining, water activities, and direct access to white-sand Godahl Beach. And then there’s the spa: along with seven hillside treatment cabanas, the sanctuary includes two glass-floored, open-air overwater suites where you can enjoy services like ESPA facials, natural body scrubs, and sleep-inducing massages accompanied by the soothing sounds of the Caribbean Sea.
El Dorado Maroma, a Beachfront Resort by Karisma, Mexico
Eastern Mexico’s Maroma Beach, fronting the Caribbean Sea just outside Cancun, is one of the country’s most beautiful stretches of sand—and as of 2016, it finally has hotel rooms that take full advantage of the spectacular setting. Yes, we're talking about the all-inclusive El Dorado Maroma, whose new Palafitos Overwater Bungalows are the first of their kind in the country. Aside from abundant ocean views, each come with glass floors, hot tubs, private terraces and beach beds, 24-hour room service, butlers, and more. Bungalow guests also have exclusive access to an overwater restaurant and wine bar as well as the overwater Naay Spa, where treatments are inspired by ancient Mayan healing traditions, surrounding marine life, and the four key elements of Fire, Wind, Earth, and Water. Don’t miss the body treatment that incorporate Maroma Sea Moss, a mineral-rich ingredient only found in the Caribbean.
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