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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Honeymoon Overwater Bungalows

Words by Elina Furman

Get the Epic Experience without the Jet Lag

There is nothing more romantic than an overwater bungalow honeymoon. And while the South Pacific and the Maldives are the reigning hot spots for bungalow vacations, not everyone can stomach the long flight or take time off for the trek across the world for this travel bucket-list level vacation.

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Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this experience without having to endure the dreaded jet lag. For those wishing to stay closer to home, here are our top choices for nearby bungalow resorts that deliver the full luxury of living above water in half the travel time.

Cayo Espanto, Belize

As one of the original overwater bungalow resorts in Belize, Cayo Espanto is located on a private island in Ambergis Caye and provides the kind of 5-star pampering and privacy that honeymooners crave. Everything at this resort is meant to inspire a feeling of being cast away on your own remote island. Each of the resident couples is assigned to their own private butler who will bring top-shelf drinks, set up beachside dining, and help couples recuperate after an exhilarating wedding season. With seven beachfront villas to choose from, those wishing to be directly over water should book Casa Ventanas. Meal preferences are noted before arrival, so expect to have all your favorites stocked and ready, with the local private chef creating a bespoke gourmet menu based on your palette. Nor will this location require a mammoth departure from your time zone, with a quick five-hour flight to Belize and then onto either a private helicopter or quick domestic flight to reach this unspoiled paradise.

Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico

Located on a gorgeous stretch of Riviera Maya coast just a quick flight from the US, Rosewood Mayakoba's Deluxe Overwater Lagoon Suites are the answer to every honeymooner’s bungalow dreams. While there are no actual stilts to be seen, each unit provides an inviting lounge terrace with a private plunge pool and spectacular views of lagoons and mangroves. It’s easy to see why some people call this resort “The Venice of Mexico.” New arrivals are taken to their room by boat on the winding network of canals and lagoons throughout the resort. We especially love the swim-up access from the lagoons and Mescal as a welcome drink is a cherry on top of this tropical dessert. Whether you want to laze around your personal Lagoon Suite, enjoy one of the best golf courses in Eastern Mexico, or take a 10-minute ride to enjoy the lively nightlife of nearby Playa del Carmen, a stay at Mayakoba will be a honeymoon worthy of its own photo album.

Sandals Royal Caribbean, Jamaica

The closest you will ever get to Bora Bora without flying there, there’s a good reason why the Sandals Royal Caribbean Jamaica overwater bungalows are booked two years in advance. The 17 butler-serviced units are set in a heart-shape formation along a wooden walkway, with some guests swearing by the suite on the outer perimeter of the dock where you can connect to the ocean views without seeing another soul for days. Should you ever decide to come up for air, couples can enjoy all the amenities of this resort including the seven restaurants, many small beaches (including a clothing-optional section.) Each overwater suite features glass vision floor panels that connect you to the marine life and are lit at night to ensure 24/7 enjoy undersea viewing. Couples can also admire the beauty of the ocean from their private infinity-edge pool or while relaxing in the floating overwater hammocks. As part of the all-inclusive arrangement here, two round-the-clock butlers will arrange to deliver anything guests need, including all meals, select spa services and recreational activities directly to your bungalow.

Amanyara Resorts, Turks & Caicos

While not technically made up of “bungalows,” Amanyara’s open-air pavilions are an ideal compromise for those wanting to be right near water while enjoying the Eastern-based hospitality Aman properties are known for. The Ocean Cove Pavilions are our favorite, offering direct access to the beach should you decide to jump into the azure waters. The rest of the Pavilions are nestled in coastal vegetation overlooking ponds and are equally as impressive. Here, one wakes up in complete seclusion, surrounded by lagoons and tropical wildlife with only the salamanders, frogs, and sea birds as your nearest companions. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open to a combined bedroom and living area which includes a refreshing plunge pool in select rooms. Guests can tool around the expansive resort on bikes or golf carts and would do well to book the spa as it is known for being one of the most luxurious in the area. Beachside dining is also available here, with a famed Japanese restaurant and a weekly upscale beach BBQ offering a ceviche bar and grill complete with lobster and freshly caught fish. There is also a movie theater on premises in case the weather fails to cooperate.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Florida

While some honeymooners wouldn’t dream of spending their honeymoon in a child-friendly Disney resort, others will relish the chance to unleash their inner kid at these overwater villas located in the happiest place on earth. Boasting the shortest distance to experience your South Seas adventure, it’s easy to feel transported here with unique design elements reflecting a Polynesian spirit. With large ample suits featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms, most couples will have plenty of room to spread out. There are even a fully stocked kitchen and washer and dryer. The bungalows also offer the best views of the Disney park fireworks which can be watched right from your deck while lounging on a rattan swing or while dipping in your own private plunge pool, which is a nice feature since the resort’s pool can get overrun by kids and families. Easy access to Epcot Center and Magic Kingdom via the monorail is perfect for honeymooners looking to add some excitement to their vacation.

Images courtesy of (in order of appearance): Cayo Espanto (2nd, 9th, 10th, 11th); Rosewood Hotels and Resorts (1st & 14th)Sandals (3rd, 7th, 8th); Aman Group (4th, 5th, 6th); Walt Disney World (12th & 13th)

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