Overwater Bungalows in Fiji

The overwater bungalow was invented in French Polynesia several decades ago by the famous "Bali Hai boys" who once ran a chain of hotels from Moorea to Huahine and Raiatea. The concept was to build tourist bungalows on stilts over the lagoon so guests could literally jump through their doors straight into the sea. Otherwise they could sit and peer through glass coffee table floors at the colorful fish swimming beneath their units. For many years, hotel owners on Moorea or Bora Bora have been raking in fat profits from people trying to live that dream

Strangely, it has taken a long time for the idea to spread to other Pacific countries, but the first Tahitian-style overwater bungalows are coming to Fiji soon. The JW Marriott Fiji Resort & Spa, currently under construction on the mainland southwest of Nadi, will include 22 overwater bungalows. On Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Group, Rosie Holidays is building the multimillion dollar Likuliku Lagoon Resort with 10 overwater bungalows.

Both projects have required serious dredging of the lagoons to allow swimming space for tourists and fish. And considering that Fiji is a lot more prone to hurricanes than French Polynesia, it can be safely assumed that the bungalows are being firmly attached to reinforced concrete pilings driven deep into the reef. Expect to pay $2,000 Fijian a night and up to experience this lifestyle when the Marriott and Likuliku Lagoon finally open sometime next year.

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