New Caribbean Over-Water Bungalows

These upscale all-inclusive resorts now offer the ultimate waterfront accommodations


The Caribbean has its share of beachfront resorts where rooms and suites open to sweeping views of beach and ocean. What the region has traditionally lacked are the more exotic over-water accommodations found in destinations such as Tahiti, Indonesia and the Maldives. That’s changing, as 2016 marks the arrival of a new and spectacular collection of over-water bungalows at upscale resorts in Jamaica and Mexico’s Riviera Maya. If you are looking for an intimate connection with water, combined with the highest levels of privacy and personal indulgence, these two properties are sure to deliver.

Sandals Royal Caribbean – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Built over turquoise waters on the western edge of the resort’s private island, the over-the-water villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean resort are billed as a first in the Caribbean. Villas open onto private decks that blend indoor and outdoor spaces and incorporate luxe features such as private infinity pools, shaded veranda seating, over-the-water hammocks for two, private floating docks and a tranquility soaking tub, all facing the lagoon and the blue waters of the ocean beyond.

Jamaica Montego Bay Sandals Overwater Bungalow

Each private villa features infinity pools, over-the-water hammocks and interior spaces that open to private decks and expansive ocean views. Photo: Sandals

Mahogany king-size beds are adorned with soft Egyptian linens and plush pillows, and just forward of the bed is a unique see-through glass floor that provides a revealing look at the underwater landscape. Villa stays include the services of a personal butler, who is trained in accordance to the exacting standards of the Guild of Professional Butlers, and is on call day or night. Villas are connected to the resort’s private island by wooden docks, where spa services and dining await. Private boat transfers also connect the villas to the numerous all-inclusive amenities of the Royal Caribbean resort, which is just a short ride away.

Montego Bay Jamaica Sandals Overwater Bungalow

Glass floors bring the colors of the reef into the bedrooms of over-the-water villas. Photo: Sandals

Palafitos, El Dorado Maroma – Riviera Maya, Mexico

Powder-fine white sands and pristine water make Maroma Beach one of the most desirable destinations on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. With the opening of the Palafitos in September of 2016, the El Dorado Maroma, a Karisma property is poised to become the region’s premier resort. This collection of 30 overwater bungalows combines thatch-roof charm with an extensive roster of upscale amenities. Large private decks provide sunrise to sunset views, with stairs leading directly into the ocean below. Additional opportunities for immersion include private infinity pools, indoor Jacuzzi tubs for two and the El Dorado’s signature aguas del amor outdoor showers.

Riviera Maya El Dorado Maroma Palafitos Exterior

Each Palafito suite provides quests with expansive private decks and stairs leading directly into the ocean. Photo: Karisma

Bedrooms feature glass floor cutouts for fish watching, and guests enjoy the services of a 24-hour butler for attentions such as in-room breakfast and afternoon hors d’oeuvres and cocktail service. Sharing the waterfront with the Palafitos is the Overwater Grill and Wine Bar, with a private glass- floored dining room, and the Naay Spa over the ocean, offering treatments inspired by traditional Mayan herbal practices. Ashore, guests can choose from four bars and six restaurants serving national and international cuisines, engage in a full range of water sports and activities, and experience the upscale indulgences of the resort’s gourmet inclusive program.

El Dorado Maroma Palafitos Overwater Bungalow Interior

Palafito suites include separate sitting areas, where guests can enjoy in- room breakfasts, happy hour relaxations and 24-hour butler service. Photo: Karisma