Where to Find Great Deals on Over-the-Water Bungalows
By Burt Carey
With gently rolling salty waves rolling just below and panoramic ocean views that take your breath away, a bungalow perched over the water could be just the type of vacation you’ve been looking for.
Such a vacation doesn’t have to be only for the rich and famous. There are deals to be had in locations all across the globe. In the Maldives, for example, and also in Malaysia, Tahiti and Panama.
Timing is key to everything, of course, to catch the least expensive rates for such over-the-water resort experiences. June and July are the least expensive months to visit the Maldives and Malaysia, and March and April are best for South Pacific hot spots such as Tahiti.
Here are some resorts that could fit into your budget and set the mood for one of the most relaxing vacation experiences known to mankind.
AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort, Malaysia
Visit this gem in that June or July time frame and you’ll be looking at a bargain basement deal: $129 per night for two people, taxes included, for a Traveler Palm Villas bungalow. Even during the high season, the rates only reach $149 per night.
You’ll be swaying with the tides in a large palm-tree shaped bungalow village built in 2011 and remodeled in 2014. There are 392 over-the-water villas at AVANI Sepang, formerly known as the Golden Palm Tree Resort & Spa. The smallest villas offer 560 square feet of space, and the largest sprawl out to nearly 2,500 square feet and include up to three bedrooms. Those larger villas are at the ends of each pier and come at a premium price.
This resort has improved dramatically since its opening in 2011, and now offers all-inclusive packages that include three meals per day at any of its five restaurants, drinks from two different bars, and room service.
The AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort is on the Malacca Strait, 10 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Air Asia flies there from virtually any airport in the region.
The low-price deal has to come with a catch, and here it is: No swimming is allowed in the lagoon below the villas. The resort does feature plenty of activities, including an infinity swimming pool, clubhouse, gym and fitness center, sailing, speed sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, biking, golf, beach activities and more.
Reethi Beach Resort, Maldives
With nothing but the Indian Ocean and white sandy beaches to enjoy, the Reethi Beach Resort features 30 over-the-water villas in addition to 114 of its traditional resort rooms.
And it’s a relative bargain at $268 per night for two people during the June/July time frame. Rates increase to about $406 per night during the high season. Vacation plans include a bed and breakfast special as well as all-inclusive packages that include adult beverages.
Each of the water villas are connected by one wall with another villa, but privacy is still quite possible. Each of those has a king-sized bed and occupies 657 square feet. Room service is not offered. Guests have access to five bars and five restaurants.
The island villas cost just $202 per night during the low season, and can be had for as low as $218 per night during the high season.
There’s no shortage of water and beach sports, including a dive center for those who have SCUBA on their minds.
Reethi Beach Resort sits on a tiny island in Baa Atoll, about 124 kilometers from Malé International Airport in the Maldives.
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, Panama
The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge isn’t luxurious and it isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s remote, and meant to be that way. Leave the cell phone and all of your worries behind, enjoying low-season specials for around $360 per night.
Billed as an “eco resort,” Punta Caracol features nine over-the-water suites. Each suite features a terrace and is two stories, with a king-sized bed situated in an upper loft. Guests enjoy breakfast and dinner (included in their room rate), so the price remains one of the best in the Western Hemisphere for an overwater stay.
Snorkeling equipment, beach towels and a hammock come as standard room amenities. Kayaking is also an option.
The Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge is on the southwest coast of Isla Colón, near Bocas del Toro, just off the Caribbean coast of Panama. After flying into Panama City, you’ll need to take an additional one-hour flight to the Bocas del Toro Airport. Hotel staff will meet guests at the airport and provide transportation to Punta Caracol.
InterContinental Tahiti Resort
Yep, you saw Tahiti in the subheading and immediately reached for your wallet, right? But by zipping to the South Pacific in March or April, two people can stay in one of the InterContinental Resort’s over-the-water bungalows for just $409 per night.
While the 200 guest rooms at this resort get the lion’s share of family vacationers, the resort’s 32 overwater villas tend to draw couples with romantic intentions. Most are either 500 or 544 square feet in size, with one bungalow that’s 1,023 square feet. All have terraces and offer views of the nearby island of Moorea. This is the largest and one of the oldest resorts in Tahiti.
If it’s a five-star resort experience you’re looking for, this is the place to find it.
The InterContinental Tahiti Resort is on the west coast of the main island of Tahiti, about 10 minutes south of the airport.