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7 unforgettable aquatic escapes

Water, water everywhere. Whether above or below the surface, humble H2O is at the heart of many people’s ideal getaway. Sunseekers can find bliss in beachfront bungalows, just a stone’s throw from the waves, while floating resorts put crystal-clear lagoons and coral reefs right on your doorstep. Back on dry land, aquarium hotels let you unleash your inner mermaid – without even getting your feet wet.

Huvafen Fushi – Male City, Maldives

The pool meets the sea at Huvafen Fushi

The pool meets the sea at Huvafen Fushi

Huvafen Fushi’s beachfront and overwater bungalows are located on tiny Nakatchafushi island, within the sheltered waters of North Mali Atoll. Each secluded unit has its own plunge pool, BOSE sound system and fully equipped bar. After a day spent snorkelling or stretching out on the powder-soft sand, tuck into fresh seafood at the pavilion restaurant, with just the Indian Ocean for company.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa – Papetoai, French Polynesia

A underwater world at your doorstep

A underwater world at your doorstep

This intimate Polynesian resort has a dream location on the vivid blue lagoon of Papetoai. Guests can snorkel or kayak straight from the deck of its overwater bungalows, some of which also have plunge pools or glass panels revealing the water below. Nature-conscious travellers will love that the Hilton Moorea is known for taking great care of its delicate ecosystem.

Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort – Maharepa, French Polynesia

Crystal-clear waters surround the private bungalow

Crystal-clear waters surround the private bungalow

Step right off your private deck and into crystal-clear waters at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora. Made with natural local materials, its thatched overwater bungalows are built above the ocean, while garden rooms are surrounded by tropical vegetation. The beachfront restaurant serves French-Polynesian fusion cuisine in a spectacular setting, with the jagged green outline of Tahiti on the horizon.

The Float House River Kwai – Ban Kaeng Raboet, Thailand

Private sunbeds by the River Kwai

Private sunbeds by the River Kwai

This secluded jungle resort is steeped in Thai tradition, from the long-tail boats that transport guests, to the rustic teak and bamboo furnishings in its floating villas. Each Float House villa is packed with modern amenities, including flat-screen TVs and rain showers. Outside, private sundecks survey the River Kwai and the lush backdrop of the Sai Yok mountains.

One&Only Reethi Rah – Reethi Rah, Maldives

Watch the sunset from your private bed

Watch the sunset from your private bed

At One&Only Reethi Rah, residences are tucked away in tropical gardens next to a stretch of beach, or perched on stilts above a turquoise lagoon. The infinity pool is the ideal spot to cool off, while Japanese, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants cater for all tastes. Each secluded villa and bungalow ensures maximum privacy, making it seem like you have this Maldives idyll all to yourself.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – Mandhoo, Maldives

Dining with the sharks on Rangali Island

Dining with the sharks on Rangali Island

Occupying two remote islands linked by a bridge, this upscale Maldives resort is beyond secluded. At the Conrad Maldives Rangali, overwater villas extend out over the Indian Ocean, with glass floor panels giving visitors a glimpse of the sea life below. Plunge in from the private deck to snorkel amid pristine coral reefs, before dining underwater in the astonishing glass-walled Ithaa restaurant.

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Your in-room entertainment

Your in-room entertainment

This larger-than-life resort is located on the manmade Palm Jumeirah island. In its opulent underwater suites, floor-to-ceiling windows look onto a lagoon that’s home to thousands of colourful sea creatures. Atlantis The Palm also dazzles guests with Dubai’s largest waterpark, the Lost Chambers Aquarium, and an astonishing 23 restaurants – including Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street gastropub and legendary Japanese eatery, Nobu.