Five best: Rooms on stilts

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Snorkelling at your door, tropical fish under the floor: Aoife O'Riordain on the top over-water bungalows


Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Fiji

Likuliku translates as "calm waters" and is also the view that guests can expect from one of its 10 over-water bures (a type of hut). When the resort opened on Malolo Island in Fiji's Mamanuca archipelago, its over-water bures were a first for Fiji. This luxury hideaway looks like a traditional Fijian village, with thatched roofs and wood structures; the stilted huts continue the theme, but are just offshore and suspended over the lagoon. Snorkelling is just a drop down from the bures, while land-based activities include nature trails.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Malolo Island, Fiji (00 679 666 3344; www.likulikulagoon.com). Over-water bures start at FJ$1,950 (605), full board.

Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge
Panama

The Bocas del Toro archipelago off Panama's Caribbean coast is known for its abundance of flora and fauna poison dart frogs, sloths and howler monkeys are some of its inhabitants. Just off the main island, Isla Colon, Punta Caracol's nine cabins in ice-cream shades teeter over water that teems with tropical fish, dolphins and coral reefs. Native wood, roofs thatched with palm, clay and bamboo have been used in the construction of the two-storey cabins. Each is equipped with solar panels and bio-degradable sewage systems, so you can be lulled to sleep by the waves, safe in the knowledge that your stay is not wreaking too much havoc with the local ecosystem.

Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama (00 507 661 210 88; www.puntacaracol.com). Doubles from US$321 (130), half board.

Soneva Gili
The Maldives

As soon as guests arrive at Soneva Gili, they are encouraged to shed their flip-flops and observe the hotel's "no news, no shoes" policy. When it opened in 2001, Soneva Gili was the first over-water resort in the Indian Ocean, and many would argue that it is still the best. Set on Lankanfushi Island in the North Mal Atoll, its 44 villa suites and residences are reached by three wooden jetties that thread out into the electric-blue waters of the Lankanfushi lagoon. Guests can sunbathe on the terraces with the water just inches away from their toes or, for the ultimate five-star castaway fantasy, book one of the seven Crusoe villas, which can only be reached by boat.

Soneva Gili, Lankanfushi Island, North Mal Atoll, Republic of Maldives (00 960 664 0304; www.sixsenses.com). Villas start at US$1,414 (707), room only.

Pangkor Laut
Malaysia

Of all Pangkor Laut's 142 guest rooms, its 45 sea and spa villas and suites are the ones to book. They skirt along a coastal sliver of this tiny, jungle-blanketed island off the coast of peninsular Malaysia. The rooms, built on stilts above the water, are reached by a series of wooden walkways, and all have panoramic views of the Strait of Malacca. Last month, Pangkor Laut unveiled a swish new makeover of its guestrooms, restaurants and communal areas. When guests are not gazing out over the water from their huge baths, they can lounge on Emerald Bay, an idyllic quarter-moon arch of powdery white sand on the east coast, or avail themselves of the array of treatments in the impressive spa complex.

Pangkor Laut, Lumut, Perak, Malaysia (00 605 699 1100; www.pangkorlautresort.com). Sea villas start at US$460 (230), room only.

Bora Bora Lagoon Resort
French Polynesia

Settings don't come much dreamier than the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort in Tahiti's Leeward Islands. This Orient-Express property is perched on the edge of the small island of Motu Toopua, and has views of limpid aquamarine water and the craggy peaks of Mount Otemanu. The resort's bungalows echo the local style of architecture albeit with luxurious flourishes but the stars of the show are the 50 over-water bungalows. Here, you can sit and watch tropical fish dart below the glass-topped coffee tables, as you wait for breakfast to be delivered by Tahitian canoe.

Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa, Motu Toopua, Vaitape, Bora Bora, French Polynesia (00 689 60 40 00; www.boraboralagoon.com). Over-water bungalows start at 695 (496), room only.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable