Stayed at IC Le Moana from May 22-25 as part of our 12 day honeymoon to French Polynesia (5 days at Hilton Moorea, 4 days at IC Le Moana Bora Bora and 3 days at IC Thalaso Spa Bora Bora). After much thought and considering the fact that we were staying in overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea and IC Thalasso, we decided on a beach bungalow at IC Le Moana and were definitely not disappointed. After snorkelling in thigh to waist deep water all the way out to the end of the overwater bungalows and barely seeing any fish, we were most happy that we choose the beach bungalows. Readers, please listen to me and do the overwater bungalows elsewhere such as Hilton Moorea or IC Thalasso. Who wants to stay in an overwater bungalow where you can’t even jump or dive into the water off your dock because the water is so shallow? Not only is the water only thigh to waist deep but there is no coral or reef anywhere, which means no fish, which means poor snorkelling and no fish viewing through your glass bottom floor. Let me say it again, I do not recommend the overwater bungalows here. Try the beach bungalow here as it really is a gorgeous little hotel and do overwater someplace else.
To be fair, there were a few stingrays in the lagoon that we saw however, which was very cool because they were not there because they were being fed, which is why you see them at most other places (IC Thalasso)and on all the tours. You could also take a kayak for free from the resort and paddle about 15 minutes to a reef where there was excellent snorkelling. Don’t pay for a snorkelling tour as you will likely just end up at this place.
Our beach bungalow was perfect. It was spacious with a king size bed, separate living area and separate bathroom with a very cool open concept floor to ceiling tiled shower, well organized closet and mini bar (which we quickly emptied so we could fill it with our own booze and mix). There was a huge picture window that looked out of the bedroom onto the most turquoise blue water and white sand beach you will have ever seen. The best part about it was that one step off of the large deck and you were on that gorgeous white sandy beach with hardly a soul around. I recommend bringing water shoes as there is a lot of tiny coral on the lagoon bottom here which would make walking through the water tough.
The only blemish on our beach bungalow was that one day it seemed as though there was an all day rave or something going on as the music was quite loud all day from right next door (severely impacted our normal 5-7pm nap time).
If you don’t mind the hooligan-esque looking teenagers staring menacingly at you (you’d think they’d never seen a tourist before), you can walk to the well equipped store (about 10-15 min leisurely walk out of the alleyway entrance into the hotel and to the right) to pick up essentials such as beer, excellent French wine for a bargain, mix, food munchies and bottled water. You can even rent bicycles from a couple of places very close to the hotel (right across the street and a couple of doors down) to use to go to the store or to go touring into the town (Vaitappe - to the left coming out of alleyway entrance). Riding the bikes to town is ambitious as it felt like about a 6-8km ride one way. Save the work and use the bikes just to go to the store as they have racks on them to put your groceries and liquids on. Rent a car for 4 hours to drive around the island and stop in the town to do some shopping. Also stop at the WWII ruins as they are very cool to see and provide an excellent view of the lagoon from high up. Get good directions from car rental person as it is tough to find.
The food at IC Le Moana was average to good. I do not recommend the Polynesian show and buffet. I found the show to be very amateurish (part of this could be because they had my wife up and dancing for bit) and the food was not bad but nothing special. I definitely recommend the place right next door – Faire Manuia (out of the alleyway and to the right). Great food and very friendly service for a fraction of what you pay at Le Moana (we actually went there twice a few days apart and the waitress remembered us). There are more than a few restaurants within walking distance of Le Moana so I would not recommend the meal plan for dinners. I recommend the breakfast meal plan as the breakfast buffet was solid. We also did lunch at Bloody Mary’s, (possibly the islands most famous establishment). If you don’t actually eat there you should at least stop by for a drink as it is very cool inside and the list of famous people who have been there on the sign outside is impressive.
Booze is one place where you can save money in Bora Bora. The drinks at the hotel are ridiculously expensive, even the two for one drinks during happy hour are stupid expensive. Listen to me. Bring a couple of good sized insulated travel mugs. Buy your hard booze at the duty free at LAX and then go to the aforementioned store to get bottled water, mix, beer and wine (and food munchies). They have a great variety of fruit juices as well as local beer, Corona, Bud and Bud light and even Red Bull. You can also pick up excellent French wines for dirt cheap at the store here as well. Empty your mini bar fridge and load it up with your own goodies (let hotel staff know this as they may try and charge you for it all). Ice is plentiful from the machines to chill your beer in the sinks and to make frozen foofoo drinks. The hotel staff does not at all mind you bringing your own drink with you wherever you go. A reasonable corkage fee was charged to us for bringing our own wine in (this was still way cheaper than buying from the menu).
We did our touring in Moorea. I already mentioned the bike and car rentals. We also heard that you can possibly see the Manta rays (the really really big ones) if you are a diver certified for something like more than 50 ft.
Unfortunately, our experience has shown us that quick and attentive service is one of the things that is seldom found in all of French Polynesia (Moorea, and Bora Bora) no matter how high end of a hotel you stay at. I am sure there are one-offs where people get excellent service, and we did receive excellent service occasionally too, mostly from the non native workers. In general we found the service from the native Tahitians to be slow and inattentive. Maybe this is a cultural thing (island time) or maybe the people of Bora Bora are still adjusting to the whole tourism industry.
We also found the people in Bora Bora to be a little less friendly than the people in Moorea (maybe it was just the teenagers on their BMX’s trying to intimidate me or maybe it was just me). Either way, this resort was still fantastic and we had the time of our lives. Remember, do the beach bungalow here, overwater someplace else.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- L'InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort is located to the south side of the main island, at the famous Matira point, considered as one of the most beautiful beach in the world. The hotel situated only 8kms away from the main city of Vaitape, offers you a breathtaking view on the lagoon, but also on the impressive Mt OTEMANU and PAHIA. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Bora Bora Le Moana Hotel Bora Bora
- Intercontinental Le Moana Bora