5 Overwater Bungalows for Families the Whole Gang Will Love
So you’ve added “stay in an overwater bungalow” to your travel bucket list (really, who hasn’t?), but you still don’t want to leave the kids at home. Don’t panic: while these typically romantic escapes don’t often put an emphasis on family time, there are options out there! Below, five overwater bungalow resorts the whole gang can enjoy.
Soneva Jani, The Maldives
Typically, luxury resorts of this caliber are geared only towards couples (often honeymooners) looking to cash in in the name of romance. Truth be told, there’s more fun to be had at Soneva Jani than they let on. Entry-level villas start at 5,000 square feet so everyone has room to spread out and come with wow-factor amenities like retractable roofs for stargazing, upper-floor decks, and, for the lucky ones, overwater swings and two-story waterslides that empty into the lagoon. When the parents want to hit up the spa or enjoy quiet time by the pool, kids can participate in treasure hunts, visit the ice cream room, or bike around the island. At night, everyone reconvenes for alfresco movie screenings under the stars.
Le Méridien Bora Bora
Le Méridien was among the first hotels to carve out space in Bora Bora, so the views from its 99 Polynesian-style rooms (85 of which are overwater) are some of the island's most spectacular. Along with a private lagoon, there's a large beach and two equally big pools. While there's no spa (we doubt the kids will mind), plenty of downtime can be spent back at your bungalow, where glass floors allow guests to peer into the fish-filled waters below. Although there is a kid's program available, you might not need it thanks to the on-site turtle sanctuary, which is both a rescue and rehabilitation program and features a touch pool, museum, and inner lagoon that offer hours of fun.
Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Maldives
Does "one price fits all" sound like the perfect family vacation to you? Say hello to Lily Beach, a true all-inclusive that wraps in all meals and drinks, alcoholic beverages, most activities, not one but two excursions per stay, and even suntan lotion by the pool and beach into your rate. The included kid's club hosts immersive activities like costume-making and treasure hunts while adults are off scuba diving or paddling around in glass-bottom canoes. Prefer to stick together? After hours spent by the family-friendly pool and playground, opt for a snorkeling session or sunset cruise before dinner.
Anantara Dhigu Maldives
Anantara Dhigu Maldives bills itself as one of the "Best Resorts in the Maldives for Families" and it makes a good case. While the resort might not go out of its way for honeymooners (no welcome drinks, for example), it does for kids: little guests get their own slippers and bathrobes, all four restaurants offer children's menus, and the kid's club includes unique perks like a treehouse, a climbing wall, and hands-on activities like cooking and dance lessons. Our favorite feature has to be Gulhifushi, the resort's own satellite island where families can take day trips (psst—kite flying, sea swings, and a beach barbecue are on the agenda). Plus, the resort shares its lagoon with two other Anantara properties, so families have even more restaurants and activities to choose from.
Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Are the above resorts still not family-friendly enough for you? You won't find anything that gets in your way of fun at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, a luxurious extension of Disney's renowned Polynesian Resort that brings Tahiti to Florida. While the majority of the property consists of studio villas (where mid-century modern design is given a Polynesian twist), the real showstoppers are the 20 stilted bungalows built over Seven Seas Lagoon that come with their own back deck plunge pool, two bedrooms and bathrooms (in addition to a family room), and a full kitchen. Of course, most of your time will be spent inside the parks during the day, but you'll want to return the property come nightfall so you can see its pathways lit by tiki torches and the Magic Kingdom fireworks erupt above Cinderella's Castle in the distance.