My wife and I just returned from our honeymoon in Bora Bora. We spent 8 nights in bungalow 122 at the InterContinental Thalasso Resort & Spa and it was the most amazing trip either of us have ever taken. Much of the credit is due to the incredible staff and the amazing resort itself. From the initial greeting until the final send-off, the staff never ceased to offer top-notch service. They truly make you feel like royalty at all times, and I can't imagine staying at another resort.
Let's start with the room. We stayed in Bungalow 122. Being a Diamond Overwater Junior Suite with Otemanu View, I think it's one of the more expensive room options, but it was well worth it. One of our main issues when booking was deciding where we wanted our bungalow to be. We originally thought that it would be nice to be at the end of the pontoon in order to have the most privacy and the best view of the mountain. But we did a TON of research online and even called the reception before booking to get their opinion. We were told that 121-123 (I believe?) had the best views of the mountain. They were correct. 122 was absolutely perfect for us. The back deck faces the mountain straight-on and you can stare at it while laying in bed. Even better, it's one of the first bungalows you get to when walking out onto the pontoon from the rest of the resort. The walk is extremely short, which can be a nice bonus when you take into account the sun and humidity. The room itself was very modernly furnished, the shower was huge, the bed was very comfortable, and everything was very clean. The housekeeping service did a great job. The bungalows are very large. We would have been fine with half the space.
The waitstaff was incredibly friendly, the concierge staff will spend as much time with you as you need in order to book all of your excursions, and even the GM spent time with us on the beach discussing photography. Despite what a previous review said, they are more than adequately staffed and there is always someone around to happily assist you with whatever you need. Service was never too slow. We had problems twice with our in-room safe, but a manager came out to our bungalow very quickly and resolved the issues both times. Enough can't be said about the staff. They were truly half the reason we had such an amazing time at Thalasso.
The food, for the most part, was wonderful. The breakfast buffet each morning was perfect. Lots of pastries and breads, plenty of fresh local fruit, crepes, pancakes, made-to-order omelets, etc. Lunch at the Sands was great too, although we sometimes didn't even have lunch because we filled up at breakfast, or were away on an excursion. For dinner, the Reef restaurant has a buffet every other night. Monday was French cuisine, Wednesday was Japanese, and Friday was "Around the World," although we unfortunately missed that night by accident. The Japanese buffet could use a little help. Being half-Japanese and a former sushi bar owner, some of the items could be a little more authentic, but then again... you're not in Japan, so it's really nothing to complain about. Yes, overall, the food is a little on the pricey side. But if you're going to fly to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific to a five-star resort in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth, and then complain about high prices.... well, maybe you should have gone to Florida. You can always leave the resort by boat, go to the InterContinental Le Moana, and have plenty of other options at more reasonable prices, but you'll still end up paying tourist prices. You're a tourist on a tourism-driven island. It's the nature of the beast. No complaints here.
Also, we ordered the canoe breakfast one morning, which is highly recommended! You'll choose what you want, just like normal room service, and at a chosen time the next morning, they'll send a canoe to your bungalow deck. While one server gets out and sets up your breakfast, you'll jump in the canoe with the other staff member and he'll take you around the lagoon for a few minutes on a quick tour. The breakfast itself is the same as the food you'll find at the buffet, but the experience makes it taste like the best breakfast you'll ever have. Highly, highly recommended!
The location of the resort was ideal, giving guests (what we think) is the best view of all the resorts of Bora Bora. The mountain (Otemanu) changes shape as you circle around it, offering a variety of views depending on your resort's location. Otemanu has a really distinct appearance from the location of Thalasso, and it's the one you see in many of the photos of Bora Bora. From Thalasso, Otemanu has a sharp point and is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect location for photos of Otemanu. It's also only 20 minutes by boat from the airport.
The concierge staff (specifically, Margaux) was absolutely amazing. She spent a lot of time helping us decide which excursions were best for us, and she always seemed to be available at her desk, even at 8 or 9PM. When she wasn't there, the other concierges were just as friendly and helpful. We booked three excursions during our stay: a 4x4 jeep safari on the mainland, a 30 minute helicopter tour, and a four hour private snorkeling trip. All three were amazing. They have a huge variety of excursions available to choose from. Some are obviously a lot pricier than others, but you definitely get what you pay for. The tour guides were all incredible and we had a blast on all three trips.
You have your choice of many activities. They have paddle boards, one and two-person kayaks, snorkeling equipment, ping pong, billiards, and even a trail around the resort with stops at various exercise stations. They have stingray feeding every day at 2PM, and they have cultural activities (I think also every day at 12PM), which includes things like making purses or hats out of local palm fronds. Mario is one of the main activities staff members and he'll take great care of you. Go see him! (TIP: They have fish food available, so be sure to ask for a cup so you can feed the fish in the lagoon.) In short, the activities are plentiful and there's always something to do.
I can't comment on the spa because we never visited it. We were just so busy doing other things and getting a massage was lower on our priority list than other activities, like snorkeling with sharks. But from what I could tell, it's a beautiful spa and if the service is on par with the rest of the resort, then it's probably a first class spa.
I could probably go on and on about how amazing this resort is. My wife and I are pretty well-traveled, so we've seen hotels/resorts on both ends of the spectrum from locations all over the world. This one is truly outstanding in all aspects and I'm incredibly glad we chose Thalasso over the other resorts in Bora Bora. We're not high maintenance people at all, so we usually ignore the small things that some people will complain about. But there really isn't one negative thing I can say about this resort. If I had to choose one thing, it would be the prices. But like I said before, if you can afford to fly to this tiny island and stay at one of the high-end resorts, then you should expect to pay high prices on everything from sun block lotion to cocktails to excursions. If budget is a huge concern, then you shouldn't be looking at these resorts, or maybe you should consider only staying two or three nights. Even that short of a stay at Thalasso would be worth it in my opinion. An absolutely perfect resort, and I'm 100% sure that we'll be coming back here in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is located between the two hearts of Motu Piti Aau, a coral island on the barrier reef. The Deep Ocean Spa is the centerpiece, but the resort offers lots of cultural and recreational activities to fill your days including canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, stargazing and handicraft demonstrations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Thalasso-Spa Bora Bora Hotel Bora Bora
- Intercontinental Thalasso Hotel Bora
- Intercontinental Thalasso Resort Bora
- Intercontinental Bora Bora