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Are There Overwater Bungalows in Hawaii? Everything to Know About These Unique Resorts

Are you searching for overwater bungalows in Hawaii? This guide from a Hawaii local has everything you need to know.

thatched roof overwater bungalows over cerulean waters overwater bungalows in Hawaii

Since Hawaii is one of the most popular beach destinations in the world, it’s no surprise to find out that beachfront and overwater accommodations are in demand. After all, you’ll inevitably want to spend sunrise to sunset enjoying the beautiful Pacific Ocean. So the question is, can you do that from an overwater bungalow in Hawaii?

Does Hawaii Have Overwater Bungalows?

Let’s get straight to the point. Hawaii does not have overwater bungalows. Instead, visitors tend to stay in oceanfront accommodations when visiting the Hawaiian Islands.

closely packed overwater bungalows in Hawaii

Why Doesn’t Hawaii Have Overwater Bungalows?

While there’s quite a bit of science behind it, it really has to do with the fact that the water conditions in Hawaii aren’t safe for overwater bungalows.

As any Hawaii local will tell you, different parts of the islands will get larger waves during different seasons of the year. In other words, there’s really no part of any Hawaiian Island where the water is always calm enough to support overwater bungalows.

Consequently, there aren’t any plans to build any overwater bungalows in Hawaii either – and, as you can see, that’s for good reason.

If There Aren’t Any Overwater Bungalows in Hawaii, Where Can I Stay in Hawaii Instead?

Hawaii has MANY beachfront hotels and vacation rentals, so you’ll have lots of options. So instead of saying “I want to stay on the beach” and then picking from there, I recommend picking the island that works best for you and then finding an oceanfront accommodation.

That said, I of course have a few recommendations for you.

Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina lagoon

Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

You can’t go wrong with a stay in Ko Olina, especially if you’re staying at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. This lavish resort is situated right on a peaceful lagoon, where you can swim, paddleboard, or sunset watch to your heart’s content. As for the resort itself, the relaxing swimming pools, high-tech health club, and award-winning restaurants won’t disappoint.

Book Here: Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

Turtle Bay Resort and accompanying lagoon on Oahu, Hawaii

Turtle Bay Resort

Head to the North Shore of Oahu instead for a stay at the lovely Turtle Bay Resort. For years, this hotel is where Hawaii locals have chosen to head for a lovely staycation. Walk along the hidden oceanfront hiking trails, get tasty bites at the Beach House by Roy Yamaguchi, or simply relax in one of the luxury beachfront huts on the water.

Book Here: Turtle Bay Resort

aerial shot of Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii, including beach, kayaking lagoon, and main hotel building
Photo Courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort

Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort

The Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort in Kona feels like a playground of sorts. Ride your way around the hotel on convenient boats, kayak on a picture-perfect lagoon, swim with dolphins, or dine at the delicious on-site restaurants. Oh, and you certainly can’t forget to suntan on the golden sand beach right outside of the resort.

Book Here: Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort

aerial view of pool area and surrounding greenery at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

If you’re looking for a peaceful, yet luxurious beachfront place to stay in Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai is undoubtedly the best option.

Situated on Hawaii’s smallest (visitable) island, a stay at this resort pretty much guarantees that you’ll have your own little slice of paradise. There, you can snorkel in Hulopoe Bay, swim in one of the sparkling pools, or dine at Nobu.

And don’t forget about all of the other incredible things to do on Lanai outside of the resort. Pay a visit to Keahiakawelo (the Garden of the Gods), explore Shipwreck Beach, or hike the 12-mile Munro Trail.

Book Here: Four Seasons Resort Lanai

palm-tree framed pool at Westin Princeville on Kauai, Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Located on Kauai’s North Shore, the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is one of the fanciest places to stay on the island. With spacious villas, tropical cocktails, and of course beautiful beachfront views, this lovely hotel is a fantastic place to stay during your trip to the islands.

Book Here: Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

woman balancing on the edge of rock-framed pool at the Grand Wailea Maui overwater bungalows in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of the Grand Wailea Maui

Grand Wailea Maui

The Grand Wailea on Maui is a water lover’s paradise. In addition to stunning ocean views, this hotel is home to four thrilling waterslides, a handful of heated pools, a Tarzan swing, and the world’s only water elevator! It’s no wonder why we decided to sneak it into our list of the best water parks in Hawaii!

Book Here: Grand Wailea Maui

I’d Like to Stay in an Overwater Bungalow, Even if It Isn’t in Hawaii. Where Can I Go Instead?

I get it. Staying in an overwater bungalow is a unique experience that deserves a trip of its own. So we’ve got a few overwater bungalow destination ideas for you to check out.

Overwater Bungalows in the U.S.

There’s just one place where you can find overwater bungalows in the U.S. – and it’s not where you might expect.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

While Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort isn’t in Hawaii, it still has a Hawaii feel to it. Palm trees, Dole whips, and flower leis are just the beginning at this Florida resort. And you’ll get to enjoy a spacious overwater bungalow as well, so it’s the best of both worlds!

*Pro Tip: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a Walt Disney World deluxe resort, which means it comes with a slew of added bonuses. This can include incredible on-site dining, transportation to the Disney parks, and even early access to the Disney parks!

Book Here: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Overwater Bungalows on Other Tropical Islands

Since there’s only one option for overwater bungalows in the U.S., many visitors choose to make their trip an international one instead. Luckily, once you leave the U.S., there are loads of beautiful overwater bungalows to choose from.

aerial view of overwater bungalows at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora overwater bungalows in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

If you’re looking for a luxurious overwater bungalow vacation, look no further than the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora in the South Pacific. This French Polynesia accommodation is absolute paradise – from the private plunge pools to the tropical fish-filled waters to the starry night skies.

On top of all that, the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora offers a wide variety of amenities and tours to help take your trip to the next level. Get pampered at the Te Mehana Spa, take a SUP yoga class, or book a marine biologist-led snorkeling tour.

All of that said, the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is just the first of many overwater bungalows in French Polynesia that are worth a stay.

Book Here: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

single large overwater bungalow at Gili Lankanfushi resort in the Maldives
Photo Courtesy of Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi on Lankanfushi Island, Maldives

The Maldives is a hotspot for overwater bungalows. After all, with year-round calm waters, you couldn’t ask for a better location for these magical hut accommodations.

While we’re going to mention a couple of overwater bungalow accommodations in the Maldives, the first is Gili Lankanfushi on Lankanfushi Island. Widely regarded as one of the best overwater bungalow resorts in the country, this resort boasts four tasty restaurants and bars, a serene spa, and just about every water sport you can dream of.

*Bonus: Gili Lankanfushi is just a 20-minute boat ride from the main airport and capital city, making it surprisingly accessible.

Book Here: Gili Lankanfushi

luxurious overwater bungalow with private pool, private deck, and a thatched roof at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island overwater bungalows in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island on Rangali Island Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives

But Gili Lankanfushi isn’t the only noteworthy overwater bungalow in the Maldives. As a matter of fact, the Maldives is filled with them! But instead of overwhelming you with options, we’ll just give you one more fantastic Maldives overwater bungalow resort: the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

This particular Maldives resort is home to award-winning dining, a spa villa oasis, and even 24-hour butler service. Sounds like a dream vacation to us!

Book Here: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

aerial view of overwater bungalows in deep blue water at Manava Beach Resort & Spa in Moorea overwater bungalows in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea in Moorea, French Polynesia

Just about every list of the best overwater bungalows in the world includes Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea. Located on the little French Polynesian island of Moorea (not far from Tahiti), this tropical resort deserves the hype.

The overwater bungalows themselves are pretty traditional. From the outside, they look particular tropical with its thatched roofs and turquoise waters, but the inside is objectively luxurious with the wooden floors, plush beds, and deep soaking tubs.

And that doesn’t even touch on the resort amenities, like the infinity edge pool, the Manea spa, the island-inspired Restaurant Mahana’i, and the unique coral grafting workshops.

Book Here: Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

elegant overwater bungalows lining a heart-shaped walkway at Sandals South Coast resort in Jamaica overwater bungalows in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of Sandals South Coast

Sandals South Coast in White House, Jamaica

Depending on where you’re located, a trip to Jamaica might be closer to a trip to Hawaii. So if you’re looking for tropical overwater bungalows, Sandals South Coast in White House, Jamaica won’t disappoint.

This adults-only resort is designed specifically with couples in mind. You and your partner can stroll along the two-mile private beach, indulge at one of the seven unlimited bars, or enjoy a fancy night out at one of the delectable on-site restaurants.

Book Here: Sandals South Coast

ocean view sunset with sailboats from the Royalton Antigua
Photo Courtesy of the Royalton Antigua

Royalton Antigua in Antigua & Barbuda

The last tropical overwater bungalow resort we want to feature is the Royalton Antigua. While Sandals South Coast is more couples-focused, the Royalton Antigua is more family-focused. In other words, this all-inclusive resort has amenities for everyone.

Kids and teens will love the interactive activities at the kids’ clubs. Adults will enjoy a day at the spa or a visit to one of the five bars. And the whole family will have a blast staying in a picture-perfect overwater bungalow.

Book Here: Royalton Antigua

So to put it simply, there aren’t any overwater bungalows in Hawaii, but there are some great alternatives! Whether it’s a beachfront resort in Hawaii or an overwater bungalow in another tropical destination, you’re sure to find a great spot for your magical vacation.

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