The key things about a water bungalow are the veranda and the lagoon.
Assuming the interior is good for the money you have paid, it is the veranda that delights or disappoints in a water bungalow. This is where you hope to spend a lot of time. So, critically, how long does it have the sun on it and how secluded are you from your neighbours?
What makes the ideal veranda?
South-facing gets you the sun for most of the day, west-facing gets you the sunset. East-facing is fine for early-ish risers and those who won’t be sunbathing in the heat of the day, north-facing verandas don’t get the sun, but have the best view because of the sun behind them (silver lining).
Most water bungalows are in staggered lines, so that you don’t see more than one neighbour either side of you, and sometimes it is well done enough not to see anyone. Other water bungalows are joined together or in straight lines with very little dividing them. These can be okay but they are not ideal.
The width of the veranda is important and then it is a matter of what those steps down take you into. Actually, some water bungalows don’t have steps down but the only good reason for this that is because you would be stepping straight down onto a coral garden (Embudhu Village for example).
The perfect lagoon
Like the ideal island for snorkelling, the ideal lagoon for a water bungalow is not that common. But, once again, whatever you do end up with almost always gives you great pleasure.
Ideally you walk down the wooden steps from your veranda into a sunlit lagoon that is a good depth for swimming and standing around in, say waist to chest deep. The bottom is softest sand but coral blocks are here and there delighting with their colour and activity. A short swim then takes you to the reef drop-off, either over the corals at high tide or down a cut through.
What can happen is the lagoon never gets above knee height, or the floor is covered with broken pieces of staghorn coral, or it is featureless and lifeless. Sometimes the drop-off is miles away or the current is worryingly strong when the tides turn. Any one resort is unlikely to have all these disadvantages, but one or two of these things could affect your holiday experience.