10 overwater hotels in unexpected destinations around the world

When you dream of an overwater hotel, you may first conjure up images of faraway island destinations like the Maldives or Bora Bora. What if we told you that your fantasy didn’t do justice to this category of hotel? Here are overwater hotels in unexpected destinations that will make you realize it’s time to dream a little bigger. By Rana Bon

Overwater hotels that should be on everyone’s radar

1. Hotel Palafitte, Switzerland

Image credit: Courtesy of Hotel Palafitte

One of the last places you would expect a hotel on stilts is in a landlocked country. Although Switzerland has no coastline, it has wonderful lakes. On the edge of Lake Neuchâtel in Romandie, a city located about 30 minutes from Bern and 1h30 by train from Zurich, you will find Hotel Palafitte. The hotel offers guests traditional rooms and 24 lake pavilions, which sit directly on the water, allowing guests to jump from their room. The water here is exceptionally calm, which is ideal for swimming, paddle boarding or a kayak ride. Although the views outside are spectacular, it is also worth looking at the hotel. The building is the result of a collaboration between architect Kurt Hofmann and students from the hotel school Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, who worked together to create an exhibition piece as part of the Swiss national exhibition. Expo.02.


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2. Palafitos Overwater Bungalows in El Dorado Maroma, Mexico

Hotels on stilts
Image Credit: Courtesy of Palafitos Overwater Bungalows

Riviera Maya is famous for having beautiful beaches. The region’s pristine coastal beauty makes it a prime location for Palafitos Overwater Bungalows in El Dorado Maroma by Karisma. Each bungalow features glass floors offering a glimpse of the azure waters below, as well as direct ladder access to the water and private infinity pools for those times when you prefer to soak in the peace. A stay here is all-inclusive, with gourmet dining, so guests can grab a bite of Mexican, Peruvian, or Caribbean-inspired treats whenever they want.


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3. Manshausen, Norway

Norway
Image credit: Steve King

Overwater hotels don’t always have to be in hot climates. Example: the Manshausen huts in Norway. Settle into one of its seven maritime cabins, located on the island of Manshausen in the municipality of Steigen. Here, guests will enjoy architectural excellence thanks to minimalist designs that emphasize nature outdoors with clean lines leading to floor-to-ceiling windows that allow ever-changing light to flood in. While it’s unlikely you’ll go swimming (unless you like to brave cold water), there’s a hot tub on-site for a dip, and you can also enjoy water activities like kayaking and snorkeling. sin. As for meals, all meals are served in the main house restaurant and the ingredients are as local as possible, including fish caught right off the wharf.

4. Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

Hotels on stilts
Image Credit: Courtesy of Bawah Reserve

You may not have heard of the remote Anambas archipelago yet, but if you love overwater hotels, you should put this Indonesian paradise on your travel bucket list. Here you will find Bawah Reserve, home to 11 sprawling overwater villas allowing direct access to stunningly blue water and numerous coral reefs. The reserve comprises six islands and three lagoons, all isolated some 160 nautical miles (296 km) from Singapore, the nearest city. Water activities are the main draw here, including snorkeling and diving, sailing and kayaking, paddle boarding, and plenty of beach games. Guests can also give back during their stay by participating in the reserve’s marine conservation efforts, including transplanting corals and helping clean up the underwater oceans.


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5. Megza Bungalov, Turkey

There is nothing quieter than a stay at Megza Bungalov, a riverside retreat in the small town of Çamlıhemşin, Turkey. The hotel offers rooms overlooking the Fırtına River, surrounded by a lush forest landscape. When you’re ready to go on an adventure, the hotel will be happy to help you organize a rafting or trekking trip through the mountains. Afterwards, guests can head back for a serene evening in their rooms — bonus points for booking a room with a hot tub so you can relax while watching the river meander.


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6. Banana Island Doha, Qatar

Doha
Image Credit: Courtesy of Banana Island Doha

Banana Island Hotel Doha is the desert oasis you were looking for. The resort’s thatched-roof overwater bungalows offer indoor-outdoor living at its finest, thanks to accordion doors that open the entire fourth wall to the large outdoor patio, where guests can take a dip in their private pool. Guests can relax further by visiting the resort’s spa, which has Moroccan and Turkish hammams and an extensive menu of treatments.


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7. Webs and orchids, Cambodia

Hotels on stilts
Image Credit: Courtesy of Canvas & Orchids

This Cambodian eco-lodge, located in the Cardamom Mountains region, offers travelers the opportunity to spend a few nights in safari-style tents built on floating pontoons, which float very lightly in the water, cradling you at night. The entire lodge is surrounded by dense rainforest and is just steps from the Tatai River, where guests can take a refreshing dip or take the free kayaks for self-guided tours.


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8. Chale Island Sands, Kenya

Kenya
Image Credit: Courtesy of The Sands At Chale Island

Don’t overlook a sea getaway on a trip to Kenya. Chale Island is a beautiful piece of land located in southeastern Kenya, surrounded by bright blue water and a mangrove forest. There is only one Overwater Suite at this property, but it is definitely worth booking, thanks to its views of nearby Bird Island and the Shimba Hills, which can be seen directly from the oversized bed, the spacious living room or the private one lined with lounge chairs. balcony that offers direct access to the water.


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9. Arctic Bath, Sweden

Image credit: Courtesy of Arctic Bath

If you thought Overwater Hotel Norway was the chilliest option on this list, you were wrong. Head to the Swedish Arctic Circle, and you’ll find arctic bath. The bungalows, located in Harads, a picturesque town in the middle of Swedish Lapland, only “float” in summer because the water is frozen in winter. However, no matter the season, it’s always a spectacular stay thanks to the simple design that once again puts the focus on the outside world. There is also a floating walkway from each bungalow to bring you back to shore where you can enjoy moose safaris, dog sledding trips and see the Northern Lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer.

10. Six Senses, Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

Sometimes you just need a little more room to stretch out, and that’s exactly what overwater accommodations at Six Senses, Ninh Van Bay to bring. The resort’s Water Pool Villas have over 1,600 feet to go, all built right on the water’s edge with wooden steps leading directly to the sea. The resort’s architects ensured that the villas face the west to allow guests to watch the beautiful sunsets from their private decks (or from their plunge pools). Those wishing to leave their private paradise will find plenty of activities to partake in, including local hikes, cooking classes, romantic cruises for two and, of course, a myriad of aquatic adventures.


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This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com

(Main and feature image credit: Courtesy of Palafitos Overwater Bungalows)

Related: Explore the wonders on and under the sea at Heritance Aarah Maldives

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