7 Overwater Villas Perfect for Your Next Getaway

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

By AYESHA KHAN for Architectural Digest.

Around since antiquity, stilt houses have been found by archaeologists in almost every part of the world, from arctic climes to Fijian waters. Built up off the ground, these ingenious homes serve a variety of practical purposes, such as keeping out floods, vermin, and ice. Today the world's luxury waterfront hotels count stilt houses among their finest accommodations, offering easy access to placid seas and teeming marine life. From the warm waters of Belize to the islands of Polynesia, these stunning overwater villas are certainly prime choices for the bucket list.

Photo: Courtesy of the Four Seasons Bora Bora

Four Seasons Bora Bora
Each of the resort's 100 overwater villas employs the sustainable thatched-roof architecture of Polynesia, woven from the leaves of the indigenous pandanus tree by local craftsmen. Interiors by San Francisco-based firm Bamo incorporate volcanic stone masonry walls and merbau timber columns. Local inspirations include traditional body tattoos stylized into textile patterns as well as mother-of-pearl accents on walls and light fixtures. From $1,117/night;

Photo: Courtesy of Laucala Island

Laucala Island, Fiji
For the two-level, two-bedroom overwater villa, interior designer Lynne Hunt was challenged to create a dwelling that appeared to be hewn from its surroundings. The result: a space anchored by a private pool carved from the cliffside and decorated with driftwood lamps, root cocktail tables, rain tree vanities, coral and sand walls, and Pacific Island-inspired fabrics. A series of watercolors depicts the island's flowers, and a whimsical "jellyfish" chandelier, made with the local magi magi coconut thread, floats from the airy thatched ceilings above. Carpets were custom created for every space and draw inspiration from the coral, sand, and water that dominate the island. From $8,800/night;

Photo: Courtesy of Per Aquum

Per Aquum, Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
The 44 overwater villas at this Maldivian resort are a veritable gallery of some of the world's most noted modern designers: Lighting is by Artemide and furnishings include signed Frank Gehry bentwood chairs. Perhaps the most jaw-dropping retreat here is the 3,500-square-foot, two-bedroom Ocean Pavilion, complete with a fiber-optic-lit infinity pool that begins in the living room and flows out to the terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean. And if that isn't enough, the master bedroom features a Kohler infinity-edge bath that fills from the ceiling. From $2,108/night;

Photo: Courtesy of Angsana Velavaru

Angsana Velavaru, Maldives
True to their name, the 34 InOcean villas are located at the edge of a reef, half a mile out to sea from the main island. They range in size from 1,900 to 3,000 square feet and feature living spaces that pour onto terraces complete with private infinity pools. The colorful thatched-roof dwellings even have their own areas for private spa treatments (after all, the Thai brand is renowned for its stunning spas). From $1,555/night;

Photo: Courtesy of Song Saa Private Island

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
Song Saa owner Melita Hunter made the most of the sustainable resources on this quiet island in Cambodia. Boards from old fishing boats, driftwood from nearby beaches, and salvaged wood from factories and warehouses were all used in the construction of the resort. Furnishings and artifacts were created in conjunction with local craftsmen, supporting the economy of a once-desolate corner of the country. But this conscientious design doesn't for a moment skimp on luxury--beds are oversize, and villas come with their own pool decks and outdoor showers. From $840/night;

Photo: Courtesy of Cocoa Island by Como

Cocoa Island by Como, Maldives
Designed to resemble the traditional dhoni boats used by local fishermen, the island's bi-level villas, made of New Zealand pine and Kajan thatch, have interiors that resemble the colonial houseboats of nearby Kerala, India. Eschewing a more traditional rustic feel, Singapore-based designer Cheong Yew Kuan used glossy teak floors, clean lines, and a minimalist blue-and-white color palette to decorate the modern structures. Bedrooms on the second floor offer elevated views of the lagoon through gauzy drapes, while baths feature double-ended tubs backed by mirrored walls. From $1,000/night;

Photo: Courtesy of Cayo Espanto

Cayo Espanto, Belize
Devised by Los Angeles-based Darrell Schmitt Design Associates, this overwater villa offers a most enchanting feature: a glass floor that gives guests views of the marine life below. Windows can retract into walls to create an open-air pavilion from which to enjoy Caribbean breezes. All furniture was designed by Schmitt, and the coastal-cool all-white color scheme features bed linens from Yves Delorme. From $1,495/night;

More from Architectural Digest:

Also on HuffPost:

Stunning Images From Around The World