More about InterContinental Thalasso-Spa Bora Bora
Bora Bora's crown jewel
We stayed in an over-water bungalow. It was outstanding and the service was great.
One thing we did not bring was a power adapter for our US-made camera. In less than 10 minutes after calling the front desk, someone brought an adapter and power converter. The lagoon underneath and around the bungalows is incredible. It seems like an aquarium without glass. So clear and so many different types of fish.
Relax at Bora Bora Thalasso Spa
Bora Bora is really expensive. If you cannot afford to stay at the top places give them at least a visit. Take a half day in the "Deep Ocean Spa" at the Hotel Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Boat from Intercontinental main island plus Spa costs less than simpel Taxi ride per boat, or less than a 2 hour boat rent.
A fantastic resort with just a few small issues to work out
The IC Thalasso is an absolutely beautiful resort. My wife and I spent five days of our two-week honeymoon there from October 24 to October 29. The facilities are top-notch, the pool and lagoon are picture perfect. Nearly every staff member we encountered (restaurants excluded) was professional and courteous.
Please do yourself a favor and book at least one spa treatment. The Deep Ocean Spa facilities are fabulous, the massage therapists are great, and by booking any treatment, you get free access for a half-day to all of their spa facilities, including sauna/steam rooms, experience showers (very cool), cold plunge pool, tea lounge and jacuzzis. The half-day access privileges are from 9-1 or 2-6 depending on the time of your treatment. The 50-minute couples' Monoi massage in a bungalow overlooking the lagoon with views of fish swimming below through glass panels was a highlight of our trip (approx. US$400).
Also, be sure to take the resort's free boat shuttle to the Intercontinental Le Moana resort on the main island. If you have a meal plan, you can choose to dine at the Le Moana. Also, from the Le Moana, several restaurants, including Bloody Mary's, offer free pick-up for dinner. Best of all, the concierge at the Thalasso will take care of all of the reservations and other arrangements for you. The shuttle boat takes about 15 minutes.
The overwater bungalows at the IC Thalasso are huge, fresh, and if you’re not into seeing all the bugs and geckos that are so common in the bungalows at many of the other resorts, you’ll love this place because our bungalow was 100% critter free for our entire stay. We stayed in a sapphire bungalow (#226), which was great because it was far out enough on the pontoon that we felt we had sufficient privacy and not as much foot and golf-cart traffic outside our door as the emerald units, but yet we saved over $100 a night versus the diamond bungalows and our view of Mt. Otemanu was nearly comparable (one of the diamond units was only two bungalows away). The main difference that we saw between the sapphire and diamond level is that from the diamond bungalows, you probably have a great view of the mountain from any room in your suite, whereas with the sapphire units, the good view is only from the deck/balcony.
The lounge chairs at the pool are definitely the place to be during the day, they are much more comfortable than the loungers at the beach. Plus, the pool is so incredibly close to the beach that you can easily grab a spot by the pool and then go back and forth between the two areas throughout the day.
Because this is a new resort (open only six months), there are very few fish in the lagoon near the property. I snorkeled for over an hour one day around the overwater bungalows and didn’t see one fish. The bungalows closer to shore seemed to attract more fish, especially at night.
If you sign up for the Ambassador program (US$150), you get early check in, late check out, upgrade privileges, so forth and so on at all Intercontinental properties worldwide for a full year. It is well worth it if you will be arriving at the resort before 2pm or if your return flight is in the late afternoon or evening. We did not have the Ambassador card when we arrived at about 1pm, so we had to wait until after 3pm to check into our room. We saw other couples with the Ambassador card go straight to their rooms. We decided to sign up on the spot so that we would have a late checkout on our last day, since our flight was not until 6pm. With no problem, they gave us a 4pm late check-out because we had the Ambassador card. Without it, you must check-out by 11am and they’ll only give you a day room for up to 45 minutes to shower and change. A couple we ran into didn’t have the Ambassador card and told us that the front desk called their room at 10:45am to tell them that if they weren’t out of the room by 11am, they would be charged for another day.
The only complaints I have about the Thalasso are in regards to the food service, and to be fair they are minor issues at that. As other reviewers have stated, the service in the restaurants is very inconsistent. We had great service at the Reef restaurant our first night there, but by the last night we were quite frustrated. We found the food at the Reef to be quite good for dinner, but the breakfast buffet was by far the worst of the four resorts where we stayed. There were runny eggs, a limited selection, lots of flies, and the omelet station chef would wander off for long periods of time, leaving a handful of frustrated guests standing around waiting for omelets and/or pancakes. Half the time when we asked for coffee, we wouldn't get it until after we asked for a third or fourth time. On one rainy night, they tried to seat us at an outdoor table that was completely soaked as the rain continued to pour down. When we protested, we were accommodated with an indoor table. Room service was good, but the menu was surprisingly limited except for breakfast. Expect to pay high prices for drinks (most cocktails US$15) at the bar and in the restaurants, but that’s pretty standard for the resorts in French Polynesia. Try to catch the daily happy hour from 5-6pm at the Bubbles bar, when most drinks are two for one. A bottle of water by the pool will set you back $5. Some of the wines were surprisingly reasonably priced.
Overall, you cannot go wrong with the Intercontinental Thalasso, as long as you have some patience and forgiveness with the food service. Otherwise, this resort truly is paradise.
Amazing resort in an amazing location!
I started the first half of my Bora Bora vacation by staying at the Intercontinental Le Moana and then at the IC Thalasso Spa. Both resorts are amazing. However, there are some great differences.
The IC Thalasso is ultra modern and luxurious while the Le Moana definitely feels more Polynesian. At the IC Thalasso, I stayed at room 225 Sapphire room. The view was amazing from my villa. All the rooms at this resort are over water bungalows. You will spend hours laying in bed, staring out of the room length windows, in to the lagoon and the island.
The check in experience was fast and smooth with no issues. I was given a tour of the resort and provided with all the information required for your stay. The staff was very helpful and tried to meet all my requests. If you are on your honeymoon, do mention it when you reserve your room. When I walked in to my room, I was surprised to see a bottle of champagne, assorted cookies and a bottle of red wine in my room.
The water outside of my bungalow was about 5 feet deep and it was great for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is just awesome. Snorkeling gear, canoes and parasailing equipments are provided at no charge. I didn’t spend too much time at the pool but the pool is amazing as well.
I did feel that the crowd at the Thalasso needs to loosen up a bit. Most of the guests seemed to be stuck up and isolated (unlike the Le Moana).
The food at the resort was excellent. I don’t know what all the other complaints are about the food was great! Do expect to pay an average of $225 per night for dinner.
Do bring DVD's, snacks and wine with you because these items can get pricy at the resort. I wanted to watch DVD in bed, but the only DVD player was located in the living room so, I simply unplugged it and moved it to the bedroom.
The spa is simply amazing and is highly recommended...again, it can get pricy.
If you need to use your shaver, batter chargers, etc, do bring a current converter and necessary adapters.
Once you visit, you will never forget this resort or the island of Bora Bora.
My new husband and I recently returned from a 2-week honeymoon in French Polynesia (Nov. 1-15, 2006). We stayed at Intercontinental Hotels in Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, the Te Tiare Beach Resort on Huahine, Le Taha’a Private Island Resort and The Manihi Pearl Beach Resort. I’m posting my review of each property under that hotel and also want to give some general comments about French Polynesia that you may find helpful at the end of this review.
The Intercontinental Resort and Thalasso Spa is the newest resort on Bora Bora, which is the most popular island in French Polynesia. And it’s easy to understand why. There are many beautiful islands in French Polynesia, but Bora Bora is magnificent. The lagoon is almost unbelievably stunning. And the Intercontinental, opened in May 2006, was built to take full advantage of the location. I also like that the resort was built with environmental conservation in mind. For example, the air conditioning system uses deep sea water as coolant.
All of the 80 bungalows are over the water, but there are three categories with varying views.: “Emerald Villas” (from $1,000/night) have a view of the beach and resort, “Sapphire Villas” (from $1,200/night) offer views of the lagoon and island of Bora Bora and “Diamond Villas” (from $1,400/night) provide the best view of spectacular Mount Otemanu and the Bora Bora lagoon. And all the bungalows are suites with separate bedroom and living room with European-style modern furnishings, including a safe, coffee maker, hair dryers, bathrobes and in-suite internet access (not as fast as home, but not too bad). Although I did not see any American plugs. I also thought the chic décor abandoned some of the traditional Tahitian feel that other resorts, such as Le Taha’a, embrace. However, the bungalows have a wonderful big porch with covered dining area and steps to separate swim platform to take advantage of the most wonderful amenity: the lagoon.
Being brand new, the resort has many modern facilities, including an extensive spa with nice gym, and lots of activities. Guests of the Intercontinental Resort and Thalasso Spa may also take the transfer boat to the Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora (which is built on the actual island of Bora Bora instead of a “motu”, meaning the outlaying islands, like the Intercontinental Resort and Thalasso Spa) and use the facilities there as well. That is also how guests get into town, explore Bora Bora, and are met for some excursions.
The Intercontinental Resort and Thalasso Spa has two restaurants and two bars, although some of them are open only limited hours. Room service is available 24 hours a day. One night of the week they offer a traditional Tahitian show with a dinner buffet (I believe it cost about $80 each, which is typical of the Tahitian dinner/shows). However, I feel the restaurant is not designed well to watch the show and that only a few tables had a good view, ours looked at the show from the side and over a small wall. For a brand-new resort I thought it would have been designed better.
Pros: lots of activities on Bora Bora, spectacular lagoon, amazing snorkeling
Cons: décor did not feel Tahitian
My general comments on French Polynesia:
French Polynesia is an amazingly beautiful and amazingly expensive destination. For example, when we ran out of sunscreen (we live in South Florida but were not prepared for the strength of the sun in French Polynesia and needed sunblock even in the shade!), a small bottle of sunscreen cost $25. A typical hotel’s breakfast buffet is $30 per person. They say it’s only safe to drink the water on Tahiti and Bora Bora (although on the other islands we brushed our teeth in the tap water, drank iced beverages and were fine). And bottled water costs about $5 per liter.
French and Tahitian are the official languages, but some English is spoken at all the major hotels and tourist attractions. The currency is the Polynesian French Franc (CFP), and the exchange rate is about $1 US = 93 CFP. Everything is quoted in CFP (our rule of thumb was to drop the last 2 digits and add a bit to estimate the price in dollars, for example if an excursion cost 5000 that’s about $54), except hotel bills are usually in euros. US money and credit cards were accepted everywhere we went and we did not find it necessary to exchange any money.
The electric is 127 volts/ 60 hz and the plugs are French, with 2 round plugs and a ground. Some of the top-end hotels are equipped with American plugs as well, but not all so if you need an American plug you should bring an adapter. Internet availability is unreliable and costly, often limited to a dial-up connection even at 5-star properties that can cost $15 for 15 minutes (even when it takes nearly a minute for a page to load).
Most resorts offer half-board (which includes breakfast and dinner) or full-board (all meals) at $75-$100 per person per day. We didn’t do this but if you eat every meal it will probably save you money since a continental breakfast alone is usually $25 and an American buffet close to $30. Dinners average $25-$40 per entrée. When getting ready to eat, keep in mind the pace in French Polynesia is much slower than in the U.S. and it can take an hour for your meal to be served, so don’t wait until you’re hungry to sit down.
Most resorts provide guests complimentary snorkel gear, kayaks and Tahitian canoes but do not have a fitness center (there are some exceptions, but if it’s important to you, be sure to find out what facilities the fitness center has).
And all the resorts greet guest with a tropical flower lei and see you off with a shell lei. Enjoy! :-)
My husband and i returned from our Honeymoon to Tahiti over 1 month ago and are still depressed that we are home. Out of all the islands we visited, Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, the Thalasso Resort stood like a shining jewel above all the rest. Aside from the island being beyond postcard perfect, the resort was unbelievable!! Only 88 bungalows and barely any children made us feel like we were practically alone on our own private island. Our bungalow was almost as big as our first home and had all the creature comforts you could imagine. We especially enjoyed the floor to ceiling windows in the master bedroom and the bathtub surrounded by ocean views.
We highly recommend visitng the Spa for SEVERAL visits. Aside from the couple massage rooms with glass bottom floors over the lagoon, there are a variety of experiences not to miss. we especially enjoyed the "Rain Showers" . Just press a button and different temperatures and water pressures delight you with an array of scents. The Carribbean Mist was Awesome!!
This resort was not without its faults. They are certainly working out the kinks of a new high end facility. Dinner often took over an hour to receive your entree, the concierge was a waste of time other than booking excursions and the dinner show was the WORST We had ever seen!!! Oh, and BRING YOUR CREDIT CARD!!!! Breakfast will run you about $35.00 per person.
Despite the above, we are already planning to book our anniversary trip here. It was magical and we would scrimp for years just to spend another week there.
Luxury lacking the personal touch
My husband and I stayed at the IC Thalasso resort as part of our 3-stop honeymoon in French Polynesia. Our first impressions weren't great as they directed us to the wrong boat at the airport (the one going to the sister resort, the Moana) and when we eventually arrived at the resort having realised we were on the wrong boat before it left the jetty, we discovered another couple who were headed for the Moana had been put on to our boat. Other than this, check-in was very slick and we were offered a room upgrade for a very reasonable price, which we took up. The room we were given had a magnificent view of Mt Otemanu and, like all the other rooms at the ICT, was impressively spacious, well furnished and spotlessly clean inside. We were both thrilled with the room. We had three problems with the ICT - firstly the very corporate feel - i.e. the cheesy video playing on the flat screen TV when we arrived, the golf carts continually ferrying things up and down the pontoons, the 'slick' yet cold and impersonal service. The second was the poor service in the restaurants. Both lunch and dinner took a good 30 minutes longer than they needed to due to the time we spent waiting for menus to be brought to us and then for our order to be taken. Lastly, a hotel which bills itself as 5* luxury and charges you for the privilege, really should pay more attention to the little things. Our bath plug broke the first time we used the bath, but it wasn't fixed for the rest of our stay, also the toilet flush button was sticking every time we pushed it and this wasn't fixed either. The wonderful views from the room would be better enjoyed through clean windows. And that restaurant service really has to improve, to do justice to the considerable effort they've clearly taken to make the restaurants look amazing. (In the meantime, eat at the Moana - there's a regular free shuttle boat and the cost of meals there should be included in your mealplan). A lot of reviews have said that this place will be better in a year's time, once the service has improved, the vegetation has grown and the beach has 'settled in' and I would agree with this, however I'm not so sure it will ever lose that corporate feel - luxury should come with a more personal touch. Incidentally we didn't get the flowers and champage honeymooners are supposed to get either!
Hotel Intercontinental Thalasso and Deep Ocean Spa
A beautiful sunset at the Hotel Bora Bora
Which of these 3 Hotels is best for OWB Honeymoon?
Can anyone recommend which is best?
1- InterContinental Resort and Thalasso-Spa Bora Bora (Issue I've heard - No fish/snorkeling?)
2- Pearl Beach Resort (Issue I've heard - Lots of cockroaches!?)
3- Le Meridien (Issue I've heard- same cockroach problem and maybe not good snorkeling.)
Thank you so much!
Re: Which of these 3 Hotels is best for OWB Honeymoon?
Both InterContinental Resort/Thalasso-Spa and Pearl Beach Resort are very good resort in a good positon, Thalasso-Spa is relative new.
I do not know what you mean about not good snorkeling, you probably intend all the fish have to come to you? if so you'd better not to go to any OWB with concrete stuck at the botton of the sea and you should avoid all OWB then.
For my own experience, and I also a diver, I had one of the best esperience of snorkeling in Bora-Bora lagoon which it is considered one of (if not the) best on earth, do not miss the full day boat trip.
this is borabora underwater inside the lagoon
enjoy your honeymoon in bora-bora.
p.s. do not forget mosquito repellent, mosquitoes are also in paradise.