It used to be that you had to traverse the Indian or South Pacific ocean to sleep in a thatched-roof, overwater bungalow—the epitome of luxury accommodations. With ladders that descend straight into turquoise waters, four-posted beds with gauzy mosquito netting, and private plunge pools, they’re the stuff of honeymoon dreams. (Never mind what they’ll do for your Instagram feed.) But they’ve traditionally been limited to remote locations: Think Bali, Bora Bora, Fiji, and Thailand.
Now you can get the floating villa experience without the full-day voyage. A trio of resorts is introducing the concept in Mexico, Jamaica, and Panama—where growing demand for luxury has made overwater bungalows a no-brainer for hoteliers.
The first to open its doors will be the Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma, in the Riviera Maya, with 30 villas that hover over the Caribbean Sea. They’re still under construction, with bookings being snapped up for Sept. 1 and beyond.
Interestingly, the owners say they weren’t inspired by iconic, award-winning properties such as the Four Seasons Bora Bora or Indonesia’s Misool Eco Resort; instead, they say they took a page from the ancestral Aztec community, who built their homes over Tenochtitlan’s lake. For guests, the 800-square-foot bungalows will be more reminiscent of the five-star resorts they’ve seen online: They have custom furnishings made of local Zapote wood and Mexican white granite, thatched palapa-style roofs, outdoor showers, and glass floor panels (so you can spot blue-green pompano fish and silvery sea bream without leaving your room).
Naturally, they’ll also come with butlers. At $665 per night, they’re priced on an all-inclusive basis, including premium booze and 24-hour room service.
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