There was a downside to the illusion of solitude at 9 Beaches. The peaceful, easy feeling was interrupted by a noisy boat circling the island one night and by a fiercely arguing couple in the nearest overwater cabana on another. On my last night, nature woke me up with a majestic performance: the thunder and lightning of a tropical storm that shook the canvas roof and lit up the room for an hour as rain swept in through the open windows. But each time, I drifted back to sleep and awoke to the sound of waves and a lone whippoorwill.
The final morning, as I stretched and savored the view, I recalled a story Monty Brown had told me about two guests at Hotel Bora Bora who decided to ride out a tropical storm back in 1982. All the remaining guests were huddled together in the bar when one couple, after a few too many Cognacs, wandered back to their room and fell asleep. "At one a.m. I saw an overwater bungalow drifting out into the lagoon," said Brown. He ran back to the bar and realized that the two guests were missing. "I swam out and they were sound asleep in their bed. They were quite shocked when they woke up in a half-sunken room." That may be the biggest problem with an overwater room: even if it floats away, you might just want to stay where you are.