Possibly the most lusted-after holiday accommodation, the overwater bungalow, turns 50 this year.
The Islands of Tahiti and French Polynesia were the first places you could find these luxury cabins back in 1967.
According to Tahiti Tourisme, they were devised by three Californians, Hugh Kelley, Muk McCallum and Jay Carlisle, who fell in love with French Polynesia and opened hotels on both Moorea and Raiatea.
Moorea was a popular spot for tourists thanks to the beautiful beaches and great snorkelling spots, but Raiatea struggled because of the lack of sandy beaches.
Looking for a solution, Kelley thought to build bungalows on stilts over the water to give guests direct access to the lagoon. They added a glass bottom so residents could gaze into the water below.
The first three were built in 1967 on Raiatea and now there are 884 across the islands.
To celebrate 50 years of the overwater bungalow, we rounded up six of our favourites from French Polynesia and beyond.
This luxurious Mexican resort offers a chicer take on the traditionally rustic overwater bungalow.
Rather than being perched over the sea, surround yourself in lush emerald jungle.
Back to the birthplace of the overwater bungalow, French Polynesia, where the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora boasts 100 bungalows ready for guests to stay in.
The bungalows boast views of majestic Mount Otemanu and a handful even have a private plunge pool.
This Sandals resort boasts the first overwater accommodation in the Caribbean.
Stay in these all-inclusive villas and you’ll have your very own water-taxi to your accommodation, a glass floor to see the azure waters below, a hammock to lounge over the tranquil sea in, a private infinity pool, and your very own butler.
Overwater villas are the signature feature of this five-star private island resort.
Your villa in the middle of this tropical rainforest also features a shower that opens out onto the sea.
Thanks to its casual dress code and your very own Mr Friday catering to your beck and call, you’ll be sure to have a thoroughly relaxing break at this Maldives resort.
Once voted best hotel in the world at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, even the spa is set over the water with glass viewing panels underneath the massage tables.
Snorkel in the lagoon with the resident marine biologist or arrange a private movie screening at the jungle cinema.
Some of the most charming and romantic places to stay in Tahiti, the private terraces of the bungalows over the lagoon at Intercontinental Tahiti make for an ideal spot to admire the sunset.
Where better to try an overwater bungalow than their birthplace?
Would you ever stay in overwater accommodation? Let us know in the Comments section below.