A new trend among beach resorts is overwater villas. Several of the top new resorts offer overwater lodgings, while others maintain tradition, like the rustic Tanzanian Bandas available at Thanda Island.
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, Morocco
The all-villa property was designed to reflect the region’s Andalusian-Moorish heritage, and places a large focus on its spa facilities. The spa includes six Deluxe Treatment rooms, two Royal Treatment Rooms, and a signature Rainforest Experience hydrothermal circuit. Other amenities include a Vitality Pool, Hamman, yoga room and gym, Banyan Tree Gallery, kid’s room, library, and meetings/events space. There are eight varieties of villas, each with their own distinct qualities, although all have a private pool. The Spa Sanctuary villas come with a designated treatment room and unlimited spa treatments. The Bliss Pool Villa and Garden Villa each have a private garden for turndowns.
Leeu Estates, South Africa
The five-star resort will have only 17 rooms and suites, and is located on a working wine farm. The Wine Studio is, obviously, at the top of the list of must-dos. A sommelier will guide guests in the nuances of Mullineux & Leeu Family wines, of which 11 have earned five-star ratings from Platter’s South African Wine Guide. There are three cottages on the property, which are the top lodging options: they each comprise an Executive Suite with terrace and a Deluxe Room with views of the vineyards. The Leeu Spa is inspired by holistic Asian treatments with wild-harvested organic ingredients in its products.
Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, Morocco
Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca opened in 2015 in the Anfa Place, a luxury mixed-used development. The hotel is comprised of 157 guest rooms, 29 suites, and four restaurants. The hotel courtyard is the focal point of the property with lush gardens, 69-foot-long swimming pool and private cabanas, and Latitude 33 pool lounge. La Spa has 10 treatment rooms, two of which being couple’s spa suites, and two balneo pools. Most guest rooms have a balcony, and all include marble bathrooms with a deep-soak tub, glass-walled shower, and a mirror with an integrated LCD TV. The Royal Suite includes an indoor/outdoor fireplace, living room for 10, dining room seating for eight, and walk-in closet.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, the Seychelles
Located on the private island Félicité, Six Senses Zil Pasyon will have no competition for beach space or privacy, allowing for more rest and relaxation. The resort will have 30 villas and 17 private residences (with seven varieties of villas, all of which include infinity pools and wine cellars). The Hideaway Pool Villas are set within the vegetation; the Panorama Pool Villas have elevated views of the islands; the Oceanfront Villas are closest to the water; Pasyon Pool Villas are the “ultimate lifestyle villas” with larger living rooms and private gardens with sunbeds and an outdoor shower.
The Six Senses Spa Zil Pasyon, however, is the top amenity. The 7,000-square-foot facility has five double treatment rooms, a saltwater pool, sundeck, and yoga and meditation pavilion. It will also offer Six Sense Yogic Program, which includes Discover Yoga, Yogic Detox, and Yogic Sleep, and Six Senses Integrated Wellness, a customizable health program.
Soneva Jani, Maldives
Located in the Medhufaru in the Noonu Atoll, Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of Water Villas (ranging from one to four bedrooms) and Island Sanctuaries. All villas include a retractable roof, private pool, open air bathrooms, and catamaran nets. All but the One Bedroom Water Retreat also have a water slide. Highlights of the resort include: an overwater observatory; Cinema Paradiso, an overwater silent cinema, where guests are provided Bluetooth headphones to leave the wildlife at peace; the gardens and labyrinth; a lifestyle-themed spa, where guests are encouraged to learn about health and wellness; as well as dozens of over- and underwater experiences in the lagoon, such as snorkeling, diving, dolphin cruises, speedboat rides, cooking classes, and beach dinners.
Thanda Island, Tanzania
The private island marine reserve was voted the World’s Leading Exclusive Private Island by the 2016 World Travel Awards. On the island are one five-suite luxury villa and two rustic Tanzanian Bandas. At the villa, guests will have access to a Steinway piano, indoor aquarium, wine collection, cigar humidor, pool, outdoor BBQ, cocktail bar, and pizza oven. Sustainability is a goal of the resort, and Thanda works with Tanzanian Marine Parks and leading NGO Sea Sense on a range of marine conservation and education programs. While snorkeling, guests can expect to see five species of turtle as well as whale sharks. The island is even available to rent in its entirety with a staff, personal chef, housekeeper, host, and boatman.