Photo Source: Flickr Roderick Eime
Visiting the South Pacific island of Mo'orea while on our honeymoon, my wife and I checked into our hotel and asked about an upgrade. Proving that sometimes it really does pay to ask, they offered us an overwater cabana, otherwise known as an overwater bungalow.
These rooms that fuel the travel dreams of millions around the world are low houses with a broad, front porch that, magnificently, stand perched above the perfectly blue waters of the South Pacific. It was a dream, but there was a catch.
We could have the room for only one night. But wait… Was it worth it? How often does the typical person have to stay in an overwater bungalow? My mind began to calculate the effort to unpack, then repack, and schlep our affairs to another cabin the following day. I barely turned my head to look at my wife but could already tell by her face that we were taking the upgrade.
Within 30 minutes, we were clad in fins and snorkel masks, duck walking and flopping across the back deck, almost tripping over ourselves to go down our private ladder into the lagoon. An hour later, we were laying out on deck chairs, waterlogged and drying off in the afternoon sun. It was perfection.
Later that evening, as we were lying on the floor and looking through the built-in glass viewing square, we watched as the flood light underneath our bungalow illuminated the schools of various fish that floated by, unaware that their every movement was being scrutinized from above.
In the morning – getting up earlier than I would have liked to while on vacation – we enjoyed an uninterrupted and priceless view of the sun rising across the water. We skipped breakfast without a word, opting instead for a morning swim, snorkeling in the lagoon followed by a silent, mutual agreement to steal a few extra moments in the overwater bungalow by just lounging on the deck until checkout.
Like an ominous, unwanted guest, the checkout time approached. We reluctantly packed our bags, glancing at each other with a look of abject sadness that is akin to the moment when you realize that the puppy you were going to adopt had already found a new home. We could hear the porter arrive in his golf cart; the only sound that signaled his approach was the rhythmic thump thump thump as the cart passed over the logs on the pier.
Describing our feelings as we left the bungalow is the strongest proof I can offer to convince you that the experience, however brief, was absolutely worth it if you have the opportunity.
Now, don't feel sorry for us; we still had a cabin on the beach facing the ocean, and we spent the next several days lying on the beach, swimming and snorkeling in the lagoon, whale watching and scoot-scooting around the island together on a Vespa.
For as wonderful as that overwater bungalow was though, there is a downside – the cost. Would we have booked it at its face value? We might have, knowing what we know now. The only thing I can say is it was one of the most memorable nights of the entire honeymoon.
Not sure if an overwater bungalow could be part of your next vacation? For a comprehensive listing of overwater bungalows, visit Overwater Bungalows . Fun fact: According to Travel Associates, the inspiration for the overwater bungalow (or overwater villa) was the 1958 movie, South Pacific. That’s right – this symbol of island paradise luxury did not exist until a creative trio built the first example on the isle of Mo’orea for the film.
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Former travel disaster, now a serial traveler, travel safety advisor, and author of The Travel Safety Handbook. Poster boy for learning from others mistakes. Now I provide travelers with the tools to focus on their travel goals; I advise business travelers,prepare study-abroad students and equip families with the knowledge to return home successful with memories that will last a lifetime, not horror stories. Follow JC on his blog at Travel-Safer.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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