Sometimes a picture in a magazine or online or a scene in a movie makes you want to be there—like right now. That’s the feeling most people get when they see an overwater bungalow, the thatched-roof, Tahitian-style wooden villa sitting on stilts above the most perfect South Pacific lagoon imaginable. Paradise found.
A popular honeymoon choice for more than five decades, overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, one of the most visually captivating islands in French Polynesia, have evolved from simple one-room huts to lavish villas that are as large as an average house and feature private plunge pools, tubs for two with panoramic views and easy access to the inviting lagoon. The island of Moorea is equally impressive.
From classic options (with somewhat affordable nightly rates) to the most lavish splurges, here are the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora and Moorea.
One Bedroom Otemanu Overwater Bungalow Suite at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Imagine waking in the morning to the gentle lap of a surreal blue lagoon all around you and a view of one of the South Pacific’s most recognizable landmarks, Mt. Otemanu, right from your bed. That fantasy is a reality at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, where just four of its overwater suites are designated One-Bedroom Otemanu Overwater Bungalow Suites, offering 1,576 square feet of Tahitian-inspired contemporary living and sleeping space, a wrap-around sun deck with a private plunge pool, and a bathtub with a panoramic view.
The bungalows sleep two adults in a bedroom and one adult or two kids on a pullout sofa, but these spacious bungalows are truly havens for romance, the perfect splurge for a honeymoon or milestone anniversary. The rest of the resort’s 100 overwater bungalows are equally indulgent at 1,080 or 1,120 square feet and most have lagoon views (the others have beach views)—but only 15 have plunge pools and 32 directly face Otemanu.
The family-friendly Four Seasons also has kids club and teen island, plus a serene and architecturally stunning spa (with an overwater spa suite, of course), four restaurants and a sunset bar. For the ultimate escape, order room service and laze the day away in your private paradise.
Diamond Otemanu Overwater Villa at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
You can book an overwater villa with a private plunge pool at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, but Bora Bora Lagoon is so calm and inviting here that you might never use it—just slip into the sparkling pale blue water from your Diamond Otemanu Overwater Villa whenever you desire.
At 1,022 square feet, these bungalows feature airy modern décor with Polynesian touches and more than 300 square feet of outdoor space, where you’ll be entranced by the views of Mt. Otemanu as the rest of the world fades away (there’s also a view from the bed and the bathtub). Lower-priced Emerald and Sapphire categories are identical, but with beach and lagoon views, respectively, and all sleep three adults or two adults and two kids.
The 84-bungalow resort has three restaurants and several cool amenities, including the stylish Bubbles Bar for nightly happy hours and the Deep Ocean Spa, where Polynesia’s first Thalasso circuit and overwater treatment rooms with glass viewing portals into the lagoon both await.
King Deluxe Overwater Villas at Conrad Bora Bora Nui
At the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, which debuted in 2017 after an extensive renovation of what had been a Hilton resort, the King Deluxe Overwater Villas come with three kinds of views: Mt. Otemanu, horizon or uninterrupted lagoon.
This is the place where you want to choose uninterrupted lagoon because the 114-villa resort, located on the back side of Motu Tapu, faces away from Mt. Otemanu and instead offers some of the most breathtaking panoramas of blue water imaginable.
At 1,249 square feet, the King Deluxe Overwater Villas feature fully retractable floor-to-ceiling windows, a spacious bathroom with a free-standing round tub and separate shower, and an overwater hammock, and they sleep three adults or two adults and two kids.
The sprawling resort (it also offers beachfront and hillside garden villas) is both family- and couple-friendly and has one of Bora Bora’s best beaches as well as six restaurants and lounges and the Hina Spa offering 360-degree views.
Overwater Premier Otemanu One Bedroom Villa at St. Regis Bora Bora
The smallest overwater villas at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort measure 1,550 square feet—making them the largest standard bungalows in the South Pacific—so if that isn’t enough to tell you that a stay here will be highly indulgent, how about the addition of a private whirlpool on the sundeck with a view of Mt. Otemanu?
At 1,905 square feet, the Overwater Premier Otemanu One Bedroom Villa channels five-star luxury with exotic wood décor accented by dramatic ceiling canopies over the king-sized bed, luxe fabrics in bright hues, and an Italian marble bath that could easily fit three standard bathrooms inside of it.
The expansive, 44-acre resort features 90 villas, six restaurants and lounges (including Lagoon by Jean-Georges) and a Miri Miri Spa by Clarins. And if the view from your overwater villa isn’t enough, take it in from the splendid beach or the swim-up bar at the main pool.
Otemanu View Overwater Suite at Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort
Cozy and utterly authentic can be a winning combo, too, and it is in the Otemanu View Overwater Suites at the 80-room, Tahitian-owned Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort. At 667-square feet, these bungalows feature the things that travelers who crave traditional details come here for—Polynesian architecture in local wood and other materials, hand-embroidered quilts and direct access to a section of the lagoon that’s so clear and shallow it feels like you’re floating in a soothing salt-water tub—and are designed to sleep three comfortably (families can find more space in a beach villa or garden villa).
Located on Motu Teavairoa, Bora Bora Pearl has a splendid view of Mt. Otemanu and also features three restaurants (the authentic poisson cru is a must), a bar and the Tavai Spa, which is set amid a tranquil garden and specializes in local taurami massage with scented monoi oil.
Overwater Otemanu Premium Bungalow at Le Meridien Bora Bora
Another long-time resort option here, Le Meridien Bora Bora underwent its last refresh in 2010 and features 98 overwater bungalows that extend over the brilliant lagoon from a slender motu.
The Overwater Otemanu Premium Bungalows, which are 593 square feet (a larger outdoor area adds about 50 square feet) and feature one of the largest glass viewing panels in the floor for spying on sea life, are located in spots that offer terrific views of the lagoon and Mt. Otemanu. The bungalows sleep up to three adults (there’s a sofa bed) and are designed with polished hardwood floors, louvered blinds and touches of vibrant turquoise and red.
The resort has two restaurants and a pool bar, the Manahau Wellness Center for spa treatments, a variety of watersports and something unique on the island: the Turtle Sanctuary, home to injured and rescued sea turtles, and an Ecological Center, which offers other sea life exhibits.
Luxury Overwater Bungalow at Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort
Bora Bora is in French Polynesia after all, so why not go all-in with a stay in a très French resort? The 55-room Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort which is located on the southern coast of Bora Bora on Matira Bay, mixes traditional Polynesian architecture with a chic French feel in its overwater bungalows, the best (and biggest) of which are the 538-square-foot Luxury Overwater Bungalows.
They feature direct lagoon access (and an outdoor shower for rinsing off), an in-floor glass panel at the foot of the king-sized bed, and a rainforest shower in the bathroom. Enjoy happy hour at the Hurricane Bar, culinary specialties that mix French, Polynesian and international techniques at the restaurant, and a spa that specializes in locally-inspired treatments.
End of Pontoon Horizon Overwater Bungalows at InterContinental Bora Bora La Moana Resort
The InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort is the brand’s original resort here and one of only a few properties located on the actual island of Bora Bora, right next to beautiful Matira Beach, rather than an outlying motu.
The 62-room property has a more intimate and authentically Polynesian ambience and design (and lower rates for overwater bungalows) than its splashier sibling across the lagoon, and the five End of Pontoon Horizon Overwater Bungalows combine privacy and spectacular views. Designed to accommodate two adults (and one child), the 678-square-foot bungalows (with 290 square feet of that being outdoor space) are located at the end of the wooden walkway that’s known here as a pontoon.
The resort has two restaurants and happy hour at the al fresco Vini Vini Bar is announced by the blowing of a conch shell (pu in Tahitian) just in time to enjoy the spectacular sunset.
Horizon Luxury Overwater Bungalow at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
Craving that private-island vibe at a resort that’s laidback and intimate but also connected to a slightly larger property via a short boat ride? The 30-room Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island gets you all that—plus 360-degree panoramic views of the lagoon and Mt. Otemanu.
Cozy and traditional at 355 square feet, the Horizon Luxury Overwater Bungalows offer direct lagoon access (plus an outdoor shower), splendid views, a king-sized bed and a bathroom with a rain forest shower (or bathtub). Exquisite French-Polynesian cuisine (including a top wine list) await at an open-air restaurant sheltered by a traditional thatched roof or enjoy casual camaraderie at the Maku Bar.
Guests can also cruise over to sister property, Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, to to access the sights of Bora Bora.
Manava Beach Resort and Spa Moorea
Manava Beach Resort and Spa Moorea offers its guests an opportunity to indulge themselves in a traditional Polynesian resort. This island stay resides on the northern shores of the island of Mo’orea in French Polynesia, and, while there’s a limited number of rooms, there’s no shortage of privacy.
In total, there are 90 rooms and garden, beachside and overwater bungalows. Each room is equipped with air conditioning, a ceiling fan, an IDD phone, Wi-Fi, a mini bar, tea/coffee machines, a satellite flat-screen TV and a CD/DVD player. There are also two restaurants, two bars, an infinity-edge pool, an on-site spa, a meeting room, a boutique and an on-site diving center.
Mahana’i Restaurant offers French and Polynesian cuisines and a themed Polynesian evening every Saturday with a traditional show. Head over to poolside Autera’s Bar for local-food cooking lessons on Wednesdays and Thursdays and Tahitian dance classes. Afterward, check out Mo’orea’s first-ever rum bar, beachside Matiehani Rum Bar, where you can delight in a variety of rums from South America, the Caribbean and French Polynesia.
Your stay here isn’t complete without a visit to Manea Spa Moorea. Polynesian culture touts massage as a philosophy of life (called “Taurumi” in Tahitian), as it’s used in traditional medicine and ancestral practices. Each treatment uses natural products and oils sourced from Polynesian islands.
In total, there’s one Hammam (a steam bath), three private massage rooms (each with two tables), a treatment room with a rain shower and two massage tables and one solar-heated pool for aquatic massages (“Rumiavai”).
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa
Connecting with the water and its natural accommodations is easy at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa. Each of its garden bungalows have their own private plunge pools, but there are also overwater bungalows that span 667 square feet. Looking for a longer stay? The 1,711-square-foot king garden suite should do the job.
In addition to free Wi-Fi across the resort, each room has a marble bathroom, a clawfoot bathtub and 37-inch TVs. On site, there is also a 24-hour fitness center, tennis courts and opportunities to rent bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, scuba diving and snorkeling gear and jet skis. This Hilton also has three restaurants and a bar.
The al fresco Arii Vahine Restaurant serves an island-style breakfast buffet in the morning before converting to a fine-dining experience for evenings. There are also seasonal buffet dinners with Polynesian shows on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Rotui Grill & Bar serves local and international foods by the water, and Toatea Crêperie & Bar serve sweet and savory French crêpes, as blacktip reef sharks visit nightly.
There’s also more than one way to relax at this resort: Head over to Eimeo Bar for cocktails and tapas during, and enjoy its three-hour happy hour while gazing out toward the horizon; before or after, check out beachfront Moorea Lagoon Spa (in-room service is also available upon request). Each of their treatments Monoï Oil, a Polynesian product previously used only by local nobility. Private yoga classes at sunrise aboard a pontoon are also available.
InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa
Spread across 27 acres, InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa offers three restaurants and two bars, the Moorea Dolphin Center and a Sea Turtles Clinic, all on-site.
Each of its standard rooms are located in the main building, furnished with a king-sized bed and equipped with a private terrace or balcony with a view of the tropical gardens and the lagoon. The suites look out at the white-sand beach, the surrounding lush gardens and the lagoon and come with separate sitting rooms and a terrace with a sunbed. The garden bungalows have private plunge pools, and the overwater bungalows grant direct access to the lagoon.
Dine at Fare Nui for a mix of Polynesian and French cuisine, and visit in the morning for a sunrise-met breakfast. Check out Fare Hana, where you can nosh on international dishes and local dishes like chicken fafa, a stew of local spinach and coconut milk, in an al fresco setting. The Shell offers a fine-dining experience, serving a global menu popularized by its seafood options.
The Motu Iti Bar serves signature cocktails in a location flanked by the beach and gardens. As for the Beach Bar, this poolside bar is also a swim-up bar that can serve you a light lunch (like a salad).
Activities around this resort include island-hopping, snorkeling, going on a Polynesian picnic while trying Poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime and coconut milk), swimming with dolphins, going on ATV island tours, indulging in a sunset cruise and partaking in themed nights, such as Barbecue Night and Polynesian Night, an event offering local cuisine and shows of traditional song and dance.
Hotel Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort
Guests staying at one of Hotel Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort’s 112 overwater, beachfront and garden bungalows are also treated with two restaurants, two bars, an outdoor swimming pool and a day spa. In-room dining is available upon request for guests not interested in visiting on-site restaurants Pure, for international cuisine, and K, for a gourmet meal.
You can go scuba diving in crystal-clear waters here, or, if you prefer more grounded activities, there are facilities for badminton, table tennis and volleyball. Guests can also rent bikes, go on boat excursions and glass-bottom boat tours.
In addition to the bungalows, guests can choose suites and rooms, too. Each accommodation comes with Wi-Fi, a complimentary mini bar, a sofa bed, a bathroom with a rain shower, Lanvin Bath amenities, air-conditioning, a ceiling fan and a TV.