Let’s face it, we could use some escape now. While flying is pretty much off the table, that doesn’t mean we can’t wheelchair travel to distant lands. And what better place to escape mentally than in magnificent overwater bungalows on a remote island? To help fuel your urge to travel, we’ve found the most serene seaside homes, where you can dream of sipping cocktails by the pool, lounging on palm-fringed beaches, and jumping in the water.
crystal clear cobalt right next to your private patio. And when you feel safe to take to the skies again, these resorts await. For more tropical paradises where you can actually take a vacation.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
The all-new Waldorf Astoria knows how to arrive in style. When you land in the Maldives, a sparkling yacht will pick you up and personally transport you to this offshore oasis. With 122 villas spread across three private islands, there are plenty of options to choose from. But secluded Stella Maris villas – nestled in the middle of the azure sea – are the way to go.
These modernist glass bungalows showcase all the opulence you’d expect from this upscale brand (think: marble bathrooms, rich textiles, and sleek European interior design).
However, they shine in all the excess perks, including a huge outdoor pool, two hammocks over the water, and a spiral staircase that leads to an upstairs patio with an infinity hot tub, grill station, and a dining area. And if you go for a resort restaurant, Terra is an otherworldly experience where you can eat in a nest-shaped bamboo hut with an ocean view.
Heritance Aarah, the Maldives
If you dream of living like a rockstar, Heritance Aarah delivers in spades. The luxury Maldives retreat has a range of accommodations, but the splurge-worthy ocean suites go beyond your wildest expectations.
The 1,700-square-foot two-story overwater bungalows feature a second-floor bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and a balcony perfect for curling up with your morning cup of coffee.
Still, the royal treatment is on the main level, where the plush L-shaped sofa frames a glass floor with tropical fish swimming below and floor-to-ceiling windows, which lead to a terrace with an infinity pool and a swivel daybed. Next to the living room is an even larger bathroom with a deep soaking tub that opens to the deck, allowing you to enjoy sea views.
This private, adults-only island is a pioneer on many fronts: it’s the first solar-powered resort in the Maldives, and one of the very few to offer an all-inclusive experience.
Kudadoo is home to just 15 overwater bungalows – and that privacy is why A-listers like Naomi Campbell have quietly checked in. Each Japanese-inspired abode, designed by Yuji Yamazaki Architecture, is done up in rich cedarwood and granite, with an expansive bedroom and sliding glass walls that open to an equally massive outdoor living area.
When you’re not wading in the crystal-clear water on your patio or having your personal butler delivering a floating breakfast right to your plunge pool, you could sip your way through the property’s exclusive wine and cheese cellar, where the champagne collection is hand-picked by the bottle, or relax in the spa’s Himalayan salt chamber, the only one in the whole country.
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo
In a world where social distancing is key, there is no safer place than on an island just for you. And for $ 1 million, you can buy back the entire Raffles Meradhoo complex for five days.
Sure, the price is extreme, but just imagine being airlifted in a private jet and then having 21 luxurious beach and water villas for you and your crew. Now it really is an off-grid getaway.
Oh, and let’s not forget, there’s also unlimited access to spa treatments (aromatherapy massages, anyone?) And a marine butler, who can arrange diving expeditions to the two on-site coral reefs. or dolphin watching cruises on the resort’s elegant yacht. The concierge team can also arrange stargazing sessions led by astronomers, sunset concerts, and castaway picnics on a deserted island nearby.
JW Marriott Maldives
Don’t underestimate this Marriott. While the JW may look like another cookie-cutter international hotel, its new Maldives outpost is anything but. The intricate architecture of the overwater bungalows evokes the shape of a dhoni, a traditional Maldivian fishing boat, and the sloping beams of the thatched roofs are reminiscent of a white heron dipping its head into the turquoise sea.
Beyond their striking facades, the villas have endless volumes, starting at 2,520 square feet. Private pools, wooden decks, and sunsets are also worthy amenities.
Baglioni Resort, Maldives
If the Amalfi Coast had a child in love with the Maldives, it would be the Baglioni Resort. This gem of the eponymous Italian hotel group is the definition of la dolce vita; with 96 villas designed by Cassina, an elegant Riva speedboat for moonlight cruises; and a beachfront restaurant that serves delicacies like tagliatelle from seafood; which you can eat with your toes in the sand.
And that’s not to mention the lavish Presidential Villa; a 7,212 square foot three-bedroom overwater bungalow that looks straight out of a James Bond movie.
Pullman Maldives Maamutaa
The Pullman Maamutaa Resort has an array of breathtaking overwater bungalows in Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Still, you’d be surprised to find that some have a secret: underwater chambers. Yes, that’s right, you can sleep with the fish in these two-bedroom water villas; submerged in the largest lagoon in the Maldives. Here, turtles, dolphins, and sharks swim around the coral reefs just outside your fishbowl window. And when you want some fresh air above the ground; you can splash around in your private pool, wash in the outdoor shower; or explore the island’s 47 acres of lush mangroves, natural lakes, and white sand beaches.
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