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Hotel Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso and Spa Hotel 5 star
Easyexperts
Bora Bora, French Polynesia -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

This superb and innovative hotel is one to remember, if only for its thalassotherapy centre, (known as a 'thalasso and spa'), which is a true haven of well-being, with water that has been drawn from a depth of 3,000 ft, off the coast of Bora Bora. As this seawater is pumped at very cold temperatures (5° C), it is also used for the hotel's air-conditioning system (communal areas and villas), and contributes to reducing the hotel's energy consumption and hence its environmental impact. The Intercontinental Thalasso also offers the luxury of accommodating its guests in villas a free shuttle is available which takes guests to Bora Bora's other Intercontinental hotel, the Moana. This trip gives you the opportunity to visit Pointe Matira peninsula, on Bora Bora's main island.

This hotel review is a translation from the French published on our French site Easyvoyage.com.

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    • Hotel Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso and Spa

      Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso and Spa   -   © Carlos Rodrigues / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso and Spa

      Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso and Spa   -   © Carlos Rodrigues / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 1.0 /10

    The Intercontinental Thalasso is on the seashore, on Motu Tape, 5 mi from Motu Mute, where the airport is. Direct (15 minute) boat transfers are organised by the hotel. Allow ?47 for a return fare per person.
    If you want to go to Vaitape, on the main island, you can take the hotel's free shuttle to the Moana, then a taxi; the whole trip (7 mi) is a 15-minute boat ride followed by a 15-minute taxi ride. From the Moana hotel to Vaitape, the taxi fare costs ?13.

    Accommodation 9.90 /10

    The villas are decorated in a contemporary style and their sheer size (1,100 sq ft) and amenities are what make them so luxurious. There are 83 lodgings in all: 3 villas on Motu Tape and 80 villas on stilts spread around 4 wooden footbridges. The 'diamond' villas, at the end of the pontoons, look out to Bora Bora's main island, on the side of Mount Otemanu. They have an unrestricted view of the lagoon and a splendid view of Bora Bora and its crenellated verdant peaks. As for the 'emerald' villas, which are also on stilts, they are directed towards the Motu - the reef islet on which the hotel is located. The hotel itself is a low building, of traditional architecture, with gardens all around it and a very attractive panoramic view. The most accessible category of stilt villas is the 'sapphire': they do not have as much privacy, as neighbours on the other pontoons are visible (although not too close). The three villas on the Motu are the most exclusive category, and they can be reserved for special occasions. All of the villas, however, have similar lay-outs and equipment of the latest kind. A very spacious lounge, a bedroom with a bed in the centre of the room, facing the lagoon, a large bathroom equipped with a bathtub, a separate shower, a double washbasin, dressing-gowns, a hair-dryer and a host of hospitality products. A bay window runs from the floor to the ceiling in the bedroom and the lounge and there is also a window in the bathroom near to the bathtub. All rooms have a vast wooden terrace, with teak deckchairs and armchairs offering direct access to the lagoon via a ladder. The seabed essentially consists of sand, corals can be found further away, by the reef slope. As for equipment, these villas have everything and more: eco-friendly air-conditioning (the cooling water system does not stop at night time unfortunately, unless we couldn't find the switch), a ceiling fan, a flat screen television (one in the bedroom and one in the lounge), a minibar, an espresso machine and kettle (coffee pods and tea bags are offered by the hotel), a safe and a telephone.

    Overview 9.70 /10

    Located on the same Motu as the Meridien hotel, the Intercontinental Thalasso stretches over 17 acres of land between the lagoon and the ocean. The ocean side isn't great for taking a stroll as the coral track there is used for the Motu's hotels and residences. The lagoon side makes up for it, however. Be aware that if your accommodation is at the far end of the pontoons, you will have to walk over 1,640 ft to get to the common areas, such as the bar, the restaurants and the pool, by the beach. On your way, you will walk past a lagoon full of lots of different types of fish (some bread is left in baskets on the footbridge so that you can feed them). At the far end of the lagoon, below the building housing the spa's massage booths, there is a coral farm: small multi-coloured polyps grow in the lagoon's crystal-clear water (linked to the ocean). It is surprising and especially environmentally friendly: coral preservation is becoming a priority in Polynesia because of developing economic activity (pollution) and global warming, two enemies of polyps (the other name given to live corals). While this hotel is eco-friendly, it is still luxurious and exotic. The massage booths are entirely covered in varnished wood and a window in the floor gives guests the possibility of observing the lagoon fish, which includes the metallic blue garfish. Around the square pool (65 ft sides), tiled with pale blue ceramic tiles, deckchairs are arranged under white canvas parasols on the solarium. A little further down, opposite the lagoon, you will find a host of beach beds, which are vacant more often than not. Indeed, every villa on stilts (80 of the total of 83 villas) has a furnished terrace with direct access to Bora Bora's lagoon (which remains one of Polynesia's most beautiful). Thanks to the guests' discretion here, you will often feel like you've got the hotel to yourself: what can be better than that?

    Food and drink 8.95 /10

    Depending on the time of day, there are two restaurants serving meals. The 'Reef' is open for breakfast and dinner. Set up in a high 'fare' (a building with visible framework) looking out to the lagoon beyond the swimming pool and green vegetation, it has very original chairs, carved out of solid tree trunks. A single line of tables stands on the terrace which runs all along the 'fare'. Most seats are therefore inside the restaurant hall. This is unfortunate for a luxury hotel, although the restaurant's large dimensions are reduced by low walls dividing the wide hall into several sections. A stone's throw away from the restaurant, you will soon spot a charming and quiet little place under a straw hut set above the lagoon - it is possible to have your dinner served there, but you will have to pay an extra charge for it... For breakfast, you will probably choose the terrace of the Reef, for its gourmet and varied buffet: tuna tartar, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. You can have the open-space kitchen prepare omelettes, waffles and pancakes for you. Otherwise, there is the Japanese corner which prepares dishes such as miso soup or rice, for its Far Eastern clientele, which is a good excuse to have a light breakfast. Other 'light' dishes include: yoghurts and freshly cut fruit. You will probably not be able to resist the pastries though, especially the homemade jams (mango, lime and paw paw). A buffet is laid out two evenings a week and on those same evenings Polynesian dances are organised. The rest of the time, the service is a la carte and the menu is the same for lunch and dinner. In a completely different setting, on the beach, there is another restaurant called 'Sands'. It has a wonderful panoramic view of the lagoon and a number of different areas which are distinguished by their furniture and lay-out. It is such a nice place that we wish it could be open in the morning for breakfast... At lunch time though, opt for the more affordable Tahitian raw fish (?17) pasta (same price) or pizza (?21). You can also have a club sandwich for ?12 but it would be a shame to have just a sandwich in such a beautiful place... If your budget is a little tight, remember that the Thalasso is linked (via a free shuttle) to the Moana hotel, on Bora Bora's main island. This hotel is on Pointe Matira where you can find several good value restaurants.

    Beach 9.20 /10

    The beach is vast (820x100 ft), and it is reserved for guests only, but it was originally a coral beach so the white sand is not quite as fine as Pointe Matira's beach. In order to overcome this problem, fine sand was added on top of the pounded coral. The beach is therefore superb apparently, but you mustn't dig too deep... You ought to wear plastic sandals when you go into the sea to avoid any accidents, as, although the seabed mainly consists of sand, there may be invisible corals or a possible stonefish lurking. The turquoise water deepens in colour as the gentle slope steepens and you almost have the impression that it is at the ideal temperature for a bath when you take a dip early in the morning or late afternoon. In reality, the temperature is not actually 37° C, but rather between 25° and 28° C, depending on the season. If you think swimming in the lagoon of Bora Bora is a delight, swimming to it from the hotel is an even greater luxury: no immediate neighbour and no boat traffic (beside the hotel's boats). You can relax on the nicely spaced-out deckchairs, under the Motu's straw huts, while watching palm trees swaying in the breeze... you will really feel quite privileged!

    To know

    The Intercontinental Thalasso has three particular features.
    The least visible one is the most environmentally-friendly one - the air-conditioning system, which runs on 5° C seawater, drawn off the coast of Bora Bora, at a depth of 3,000 ft. The water runs through the hotel's piping network and cools down all the communal areas as well as the villas. This system, unique in Polynesia, contributes to reducing energy consumption by 80%, as far as the air-conditioning system is concerned.
    Its second interesting feature: its thalassotherapy centre, known as the 'thalasso and spa' in order to avoid any medical connotations, but it is a genuine thalassotherapy centre that is supplied with a constant source of recycled seawater. Furthermore, in order to avoid wasting seawater, the water is used for the hotel's air-conditioning system before it is used for the spa. As it doesn't stagnate or come into contact with the outside, it doesn't lose any of its vital properties, and since the pumping point is at a depth of 3,000 ft, the water is very pure and it can even be tasted at one of the three fountains at the entrance to the thalassotherapy centre. It is cool (it gets to 13° C after it has been through the air-conditioning system) but salty, so you should only drink very small amounts at a time (tonic effect). It is also used for the cold-water pool and the outdoor phlebology course. Heated by the sun, it ends up in the counter-current lane and is later heated to be used for thalassotherapy treatments.
    The hotel's last special feature is its accommodation: 1,098 sq ft villas. With the exception of 3 of the villas, they are all on stilts. Only luxury hotel enthusiasts will really appreciate this very high-standard accommodation.
    Prices and bookings on www.intercontinental.com.

    Equipment

    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, sauna, hammam, thalassotherapy, spa, Turkish bath

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, gym, beach volley, jet ski, kayak, canoe, fitness

    • Whirlpool bath

    advantage

    • The thalassotherapy and spa centre, unique in Polynesia
    • The accommodation in 1,098 sq ft villas
    • A coral farm and fish lagoon

    disadvantages

    • The main restaurant does not reserve much privacy for guests
    • Some villas are far from the centre of the hotel

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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