When my wife and I arrived here for our honeymoon, we were given a tour by the manager while our luggage was brought to our over-water bungalow. The gentleman asked us if this was our first trip to French Polynesia, and we said yes but we had spent a few days at the InterContinental in Moorea before arriving on Bora Bora. He gave us one of the those 'i know something you don't know' smirks and said "You will have a different experience here." He was right.
This place is near perfect. The bungalows were larger than most one bedroom apartments, and serviced twice daily. The lagoon is breathtaking, pictures just don't capture it. The colors of the water in the lagoon will have you transfixed for hours. The infinity pool, whose tiles match the shades of the lagoon water, leads your eyes across to a spectacular view of Mount Otemanu. The property is beautifully maintained, with flowers and well designed paths and bridges everywhere. All of our pillows and towels were adorned with fresh cut flowers after each service.
We ended up in a Sapphire class bungalow, which means we had only a partial view of the main island, when staring out of the 8' tall glass window that sat in front of the king sized bed. There were separate his and her's sinks, a large shower, multiple flat screen TVs (who is gonna watch TV in place like this?) and a tub big enough for two. There is also a glass topped coffee table which slides open so you can feed the fish that gather underneath your bungalow at night.
The Deep Ocean Spa is fantastic and well worth the price. When we arrived the manager gave us a 30% discount coupon for the spa which expired in two days, so we figured we would jump on the opportunity and were very glad we did. The "couples massage" was a bit more... thorough... then what I have experienced in the past, but not at all uncomfortable (With the exception of both my wife and I having to wear disposable thongs and nothing else). The spa offered a range of services using water they claim comes from 3000' down in the pacific, including a cold plunge which was just fantastic after a warm and humid morning. Unfortunately, the spa's facilities are only available to you for the day you book your treatment, but if they did not have this restriction place, guests would be hanging out there instead of at the beach or pool. We later found out that during the "off season", November through mid-April, it's pretty much always 30% off, so just ask if you are staying here during that time.
Speaking of the "off season", that's probably when you would want to visit this beautiful island. There are few crowds, tables are always available at restaurants, and the resorts are almost like private retreats. I do not think I would have enjoyed the InterContinental and the island quite as much if we had been there with the masses during the high season. There are only three issues that came up when visiting in the March/April time frame. The first is that the whales are not in Bora Bora during that time. The second is that it's likely you will get up to a total of 30 minutes a day of rain. The third, and the only one that really matters, is that coral reefs are not at their best until later in the year. They are still great, don't get me wrong, but they are not at their peak so if you are coming to Bora Bora for diving, you may want to try November.
One interesting thing about this resort, and this may just be false correlation on my part, it seemed to rain less here than on the main island. Clouds tended to hang around the top of mountains on the main island, so as the sparse clouds would roll in off of the ocean, they would pass over the Thalasso, giving us little five to ten minute showers, and then slow down when they encountered the clouds over the island, giving the people staying there different weather.
Please note that InterContinental has two properties on Bora Bora. The Moana on the main island, and the Thalasso on the largest Mutu. The less expensive Moana is targeted for families and more budget conscious couples. It's a very nice hotel as well, but it's not quite is the class as the Thalasso is in terms luxury bungalows and service. The one advantage it does have is that there are more activities available to guests than there are at the Thalasso. Thalasso guests can take a free water taxi ride between the resorts and enjoy the same comforts, but I highly recommend families consider the Moana if they have young kids who need something to do.
Some tips for Bora Bora:
- Walk along the paths between the bungalows at dusk, especially after a rain shower. That's when we got to see reef sharks, sting rays, spotted eagle rays, and a small manta swimming through the lagoon.
- The large mantas and turtles are gone from the Lagoon. Apparently construction has driven them out to the ocean side, which is not safe for snorkelers or inexperienced divers.
- Shark and Sting Ray feeding is a must. Make sure you select an excursion that takes you to the "Coral Gardens" for snorkeling as well.
- There is no place to dance/club in Bora Bora now that Club Med has shut down.
-There are no more helicopter rides on the island. The last one closed last year.
- Avoid the 4x4 trips, they are too long, expensive, and bumpy for too little pay-off in terms of scenery.
- 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