It’s the ultimate holiday dream for many: an over-water villa set above a crystal clear ocean. We’ve found the best of these for families for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Prices are based on a family of four sharing, starting with the most extravagant, down to the more budget-friendly options.
1/9 Soneva Jani
We’re not sure who loves Soneva Jani more, the kids or the adults, but one thing’s for sure – the whole family will have a blast sliding from the top of this two-bedroom water retreat into the ocean below. Features of this dream-like villa include a basket swing, an open-air bathroom with lagoon access, a walk-in minibar and private wine cellar and spacious outdoor deck on which you will be served by your butler. Enjoy time in your retreat that includes dressing rooms, a TV lounge and a private swimming pool with catamaran nets. There are even bicycles for adults and tricycles for tots!
What: One night in a two-bedroom water retreat villa with slide
Where: Soneva Jani, Maldives
Price: From £3000 per night
2/9 Anantara Kihavah Maldives
Situated on the stunning Kihavah Huravalhi Island in the exclusive Baa Atoll, families will find themselves surrounded by coral reefs and lagoons in the lap of overwater luxury. The two-bedroom residences feature oversized bathtubs, outdoor dining pavilions and luxury entertainment systems. The resort offers five dining options including at underwater restaurant and wine cellar, a Teppanyaki lounge and a two-storey overwater SKY bar, as well as beachside and yacht dining. There are plenty of activities for adults and children, offered both together as a family and separately.
What: One night’s half-board in a two-bedroom overwater residence
Where: Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Maldives
Price: From £2000 per night
3/9 Lily Water Villas
This luxury resort in the South Ari Atoll of the Maldives redefines five-star luxury. A 25-minute private seaplane ride will bring families to the tiny resort island where guests can enjoy an open air restaurant with panoramic lagoon views, an overwater spa and plenty of health and sports facilities. Villas include Nespresso machines, home theatre systems and spa bathtubs and showers. There are also two outdoor swimming pools and a dive centre at the resort offering scuba diving and PADI courses.
What: One night all-inclusive accommodation in a sunset suite with private pool at Lily Water Villas
Where: South Ari Atoll, Maldives
Price: £1800 per night
4/9 Dusit Thani
Located in the first and only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives, the Dusit Thani resort offers another-level luxury to families looking for an overwater villa retreat. The resort contains one of the Maldives’ largest infinity pools surrounded by coral reefs and a postcard-perfect lagoon. The Thai-style villas are equipped with a Bose sound system, Nespresso machines, a wine cooler and minibar, as well as an outdoor rain shower. The Devarana Spa houses six tree-top pods from which guests can have massages and beauty treatments, and there is also a kids’ club, library, photography studio and activity centre.
What: One night’s B&B in a two-bedroom family villa with pool
Where: Dharavandhoo, Maldives
Price: From £1500 per night
5/9 Lagoon water villas
Enjoy a two-bedroom bungalow set on stilts above turquoise water at Conrad Rangali. Relax in the whirlpool on your private deck and enjoy the view or hop into the ocean via the steps that lead straight down from your terrace. The first bedroom features a king bed with twin beds in the second, and the bathroom offers a daybed, dressing area and bathtub with uninterrupted sea views. Activities for the family include spotting wildlife on a cruise, exploring underwater reef gardens and dining at the world’s first underwater restaurant!
What: One night’s B&B accommodation in a two-bedroom lagoon water villa
Where: Rangali, Maldives
Price: From £1500 per night
6/9 Overwater St. Regis villa
Benefitting from both a glamorous and cultural location, the St. Regis resort in Bora Bora is just two kilometres from a WWII historic site and three kilometres from Mount Otemanu volcano. Considered one the most exclusive resorts in Tahiti, the St Regis treats children as VIPs starting with the child-sized bathroom amenities and bathrobes as well as treats on arrival. Toys will be waiting for them in their room along with family DVDs and a world-renowned children’s club will keep them happy and entertained while parents hit the spa or enjoy a romantic meal. There are indoor and outdoor play spaces and even an Aquasafari where kids can walk 10 feet underwater with a specially designed scuba helmet!
What: One night in a butler-serviced villa with plunge pool
Where: Bora Bora
Price: From £1000 per night
7/9 Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
Unwind in your deluxe bungalow at Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, featuring a private plunge pool and sun deck as well as a marble bathroom with rain shower. A spacious green garden on the island is the perfect place to hang out with the kids; that is when you’re not paddleboarding, relaxing in hammocks, enjoying gourmet food on the beach or making a splash in the pool. Kids will love the creperie and adults will love the activities on offer including jet skiing, fishing trips and scuba diving.
What: One night’s B&B accommodation in a deluxe bungalow
Where: Moorea, Tahiti
Price: From £400 per night
8/9 Anthony’s Key Resort
Right next to Carambola Botanical Gardens and Roatan Museum, Anthony’s Key Resort in Sandy Bay, off Honduras’s Caribbean coast, offers some of the few family-friendly over-water villas in this country. Stays include breakfast and in-room Wi-Fi, and there’s an outdoor pool. It’s near both Sandy Bay and Half Moon Bay beaches for fun day trips, and the concierge will happily book other day tours for you. Enjoy a private deck, hammocks and outdoor dining furniture in your villa, and soak up the tropical surroundings. The diving is said to be second to none in the Roatan marine park, with sharks, seahorses and abundant tropical fish.
What: B&B in an over-water cabin
Where: Roatan, Honduras
Price: from £400 per night
9/9 Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort
Overlooking the Polynesian island of Tahiti, the five-star Sofitel resort on Mo’orea Island is surrounded by aquamarine water with a backdrop of rolling emerald hills. As well as over-water villas, there are beach and garden bungalows, so families can go for different types of accommodation according to budget.
Water villas have luxurious rain showers and private terraces from which guests can soak up the view of paradise, as well as minibars and air conditioning to keep cool. There are three restaurants to dine at, from family-friendly international cuisine to a gourmet dining experience. In the resort guests can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking, pedal boats, swimming pools, water-skiing, windsurfing and beach games, among others.
What: an over-water villa with one king bed and one sofa bed
Where: Mo’orea, French Polynesia, South Pacific
Price: from £260 per night