Tahiti’s iconic over-water bungalows are 50 years old

Images of a quarrel of over-water bungalows gliding out over a cerulean blue of a pleasant firth have turn synonymous with a Polynesian island break, though did we know they were initial recognised half a century ago in a Islands of Tahiti?

The strange huts during a Bali Hai Hotel, Raiatea. Image ©HughKelley

The over-water bungalow was in fact invented by 3 Americans from California, who had changed to Tahiti in a 1960s. Hugh Kelley, Muk McCallum and Jay Carlisle had depressed in adore with French Polynesia and all that it had to offer. They non-stop hotels on both Moorea and Raiatea. Moorea was doing good due to a overwhelming location, pleasing beach and good snorkelling, though Raiatea had no sandy beach.

Hut interior with potion row in a building ©Hugh_Kelley

In hunt of a solution, Kelley had an suspicion that would change a country’s tourism for decades to come: building bungalows over a water, in sequence to give guest approach entrance to a lagoon. Kelley suspicion it would be singular to be means to demeanour by partial of a building into a lagoon, and a glass-bottom building was born. 

A complicated chronicle of a overwater villas
Over-water villas today. Image: Tahiti Tourisme

Today, there are 884 over-water bungalows widespread opposite 22 hotels in 7 of a country’s 118 islands. These iconic bungalows have come a prolonged approach given their initial designs, though a element stays a same: privacy, satisfaction and transparent clear Pacific water.

The initial 3 over-water bungalows were built during a Bali Hai Hotel on Raiatea. Originally built as normal pandanus root thatched-roof bungalows on stilts, behind in 1967 a novel glass-floor row was built-in to concede guest to admire a pleasant fish swimming next (fondly referred to as ‘Tahiti TV’ during a time).

Overwater huts from a sea
Over-water villas as they demeanour today. Image Tahiti Tourisme

Over a half-century later, Tahiti’s over-water bungalows have evolved: private terraces, forever pools, over-water hammocks, sauna baths and breakfast delivered by piragua dug-out are among a luxuries accessible today. And approbation in many a potion row building is still a feature.

For many travellers looking for a ideal South Pacific escape, staying in an over-water bungalow is a must-do experience. The bungalows enrich French Polynesia’s distinguished healthy beauty and have turn an idol around a world,” pronounced Mr Paul Sloan, CEO of Tahiti Tourisme.

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