From sophisticated Scandinavian design hotels floating in the sea, to barefoot luxury beach-side villas on laidback islands, we know the world's finest luxury waterside holidays...
Whether you're a water babe, dive enthusiast or beach bum extraordinaire, this selection comprises of thatched cottages to slick hotels, all of which are within a stones throw of the sea, a lake, or pool - perfect for a refreshing dip.
Salt & Sill in Sweden
Salt & Sill, a floating hotel on a small island north of Gothenburg in Sweden, was built after the success of its popular restaurant. Now home to 23 rooms made from local granite and wood, the hotel cuts a striking modern line next to its traditional red fishing hut neighbours.
Salt & Sill even has a floating spa, in the form of a miniature replica of the hotel, and containing a sauna, dive platform, Jacuzzi and a chill-out zone. On dry land, the restaurant serves deliciously fresh seafood, with plenty of herring as this is 'Herring Island', where 40% of Sweden's herring comes from!
Kaya Mawa in Malawi
Situated on Likoma Island in the north of Lake Malawi on a perfect bay is Kaya Mawa Lodge, surrounded by mango trees and ancient baobabs. The ten thatched stone cottages that make up the resort all have king-sized four-poster beds, private terraces with direct access to the water, and fantastic views out over the water. The wonderfully clear waters here make it a top spot for water-skiing, wake-boarding, sailing, snorkelling and diving.
Eagle's Nest in New Zealand
The Eagles Nest hotel has a magnificent location on a private peninsula in the Bay of Islands. The Rahimoana villa has a gym, sauna, wine cellar, home cinema, private heli pad, 25 metre infinity pool and is set within 44 acres of private land including a private beach. Inside, the three metre sliding glass walls give 300 degree views out over the ocean and nearby islands, whilst inside the décor is ultra-cool and contemporary. There are outdoor activities galore here, and after a full-on day, relax while one of the resort's private chefs cooks you fresh seafood or have a cocktail delivered.
Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh in Egypt
Located on Egypt's Red Sea coastline, the Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh is set in 48 acres of palm-filled grounds. The resort's superior suites are spacious, with luxurious bathrooms, private courtyard-gardens and their own pools. If you can tear yourself away from your private garden and pool, the resort has a long stretch of private sandy beach and an in-house dive centre running snorkelling and diving trips to the world famous coral reefs of the Red Sea. If you fancy a pamper on the other hand, there's an excellent Banyan Tree spa offering massages, treatments and beauty therapies, sauna and steam room.
Mata Chica in Belize
A mere stone's throw away from the Great Barrier Reef, Mata Chica is slap bang on one of Belize's finest beaches, and backed by tropical rainforest. The beach front casitas are individual private air-conditioned cottages right on the sand with eclectic bohemian interiors, spacious bedrooms, and most importantly, right next to the beautiful turquoise sea water. Also on the beach is a bar lounge, with antique Guatemalan pillars, exotic lounge chairs, and a billiard table.
Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives
Set on an entire atoll (or tiny island), Gili Lankanfushi is a luxury hotel and spa in the shallow turquoise waters of the Maldives, surrounded by coral reefs. All of the accommodation here is built on stilts in the sea, reached either by boat or wooden walkways, creating the perfect island getaway.
The Maldives is one of the world's top destinations for diving, and the resort has its own PADI diving school staffed by professional instructors. Other water-sports are on offer too, such as windsurfing and sailing.
Privacy in India
For a real 'escape', Privacy, on the palm-fringed shores of Lake Vembanad in Kerala, is ideal. Simply two villas, the original suite has the most fabulous lake and sunset views from the long veranda, is tastefully and comfortably decked out with art, colourful fabrics and period furniture. The villas also come with a chef who prepares both Indian and Mediterranean meals, which can be enjoyed on the veranda overlooking the lake, the pool deck or in the private sitting/dining room.
Song Saa in Cambodia
Set over two pristine islands in crystal clear sea water, Song Saa in Cambodia's Koh Rong Archipelago has 27 luxury overwater, rainforest and beach villas. The luxurious and contemporary interiors have been created using sustainable materials to minimise the impact on the environment. Besides a first-rate restaurant, the hotel also offers rainforest walks, exploration of the islands' reefs, deserted islands to discover, and stunning beaches.
Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos
In a quiet corner of the Caribbean, Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos is a chic resort consisting of hotel rooms and, best of all, beach villas. The mile-long beach of powdered coral sand is lapped by warm blue seas; great for relaxing or discovering some exceptional diving sites. Island hopping visits to the nearby Iguana & Sand Dollar Islands and a variety of water-sports are also possible. The hotel's spa offers a range of treatments for the rejuvenation of body and mind, as well as yoga.
Vamizi Island in Mozambique
The paradise that is Vamizi Island is covered in jungle and framed with fine white sand beaches and fabulously clear sea. Thirteen large, elegant thatched beach villas have their own stretch of beach complete with Swahili day beds and private sun decks, plus the main lodge where a restaurant serving fresh seafood is found completes the resort. The barefoot luxury destination is wonderfully chilled, with opportunity to relax and unwind or go sea kayaking, dhow sailing, deep-sea fishing, snorkelling and diving the pristine coral reefs.
For more information on luxury beachside holidays, contact Original Travel.