This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As anyone who’s ever traveled to the Maldives or Bora Bora knows, staying in an overwater bungalow can really make the trip special. After all, few things are more luxurious than stepping directly from your private accommodations into the warm, tropical water.
While overwater rooms are typically found in these far-flung destinations, you’ll soon be able to book similar digs in two much more reachable locales: the Caribbean and Mexico.
Sandals Resorts in Jamaica
You can now book one of five overwater villas at the Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, for travel starting on November 15. These accommodations have been in the works for about two years, and they include a glass floor, private infinity pool, a jacuzzi with an outdoor shower, floating water hammocks and butler service.
Based on the photos, these villas definitely offer the opulence you’d expect — though they do come with quite the price tag: more than $4,000 a night, depending on your dates and available discounts. Availability is already scarce through summer of 2017, though you’ll find a few open dates here and there, with the schedule opening up in late July and August.
Though the five villas do look pretty fantastic, several thousand per night is a lot to pay — and Sandals doesn’t exactly offer the most compelling rewards program. Its Sandals Select Rewards Club awards points on paid stays and Sandals and Beaches properties, and you can redeem points to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of a stay, but only for up to 25% of the actual room cost. Though a $4,000 nightly rate certainly presents an amazing opportunity to take advantage of 4th Night Free with Citi Prestige.
El Dorado Maroma – Riviera Maya, Mexico
Karisma Hotels & Resorts is also adding overwater bungalows — or palafitos, as it calls them — at its El Dorado Maroma property in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The 30 new accommodations will open for business on September 1, 2016, and you can currently book them starting at about $665.
The palafitos offer all the overwater bungalow hallmarks, including glass-bottom floors, an infinity pool, an indoor jacuzzi and direct ladder access to the ocean. Note that you can only book these rooms by going through a vacation consultant, which you can find through the Karisma website.
While the nightly rate for these bungalows is relatively affordable — at least compared to the thousands you’d pay at the Sandals Resort in Jamaica — it’s still unfortunate that Karisma Hotels doesn’t offer a points program. Instead, it rewards loyalty by giving repeat guests a variety of food and beverage freebies.
More overwater bungalows — in more accessible destinations — are definitely a good thing, but it’s too bad you can’t redeem points to cover the full cost of a stay at either property. Still, the Sandals Resort in Montego Bay and the El Dorado Maroma could be worth it if you want to enjoy the luxurious setups and can afford the out-of-pocket rates. For everyone else, shelling out for an award stay at a points property like the Conrad Maldives could be worth it — though it’s usually a better value to book a base room with points and then pay cash to upgrade to a water villa.
Featured image courtesy of the Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards