Overwater bungalows have long been as long a unique part of the South Pacific experience as black pearl gift shops and swim-with-the-sting-ray experiences.
Pro: Overwater bungalows are awesome.
Con: French Polynesia is a long, expensive haul from most of the U.S., and the ability to stare at fish through a porthole in your floor is the province of the one-percent-style traveler.
Well, a new hotel in Jamaica's Montego Bay solves one, if not all of those problems.
As USA Today points out, there are reasons why hotel developers haven't previously entered this hugely enticing market: primarily, that the South Seas and the Caribbean are very different bodies of water: "Tides, hurricanes, rough water and environmental regulations are impediments." The brand-new Sandals Royal Caribbean, though, takes advantage of a natural breakwater that creates a big lagoon, with turquoise water of minimal (two to six five) depth.
If the bungalows aren't a natural fit for their setting, Sandals seems to work hard to distract its guests with other amenities, like a private butler, equally private deck, plunge pool, "Tahiti-style" bungalow and glass floor panels.
It's all pretty nice — but it's a small part of Sandalss much, much bigger resort. And though you'll save on the flights, you won't on the rates: It's $1,435 per person, per night.
Question now is, would you pay a premium for a Caribbean take on a Polynesian specialty? Or would you rather just suck it up and get on the Air Tahiti Nui flight?