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InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
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Reviewed 4 March 2014

Six years ago, I travelled internationally for the first time on my honeymoon. Bora Bora spoiled me for all other locales. I didn’t think I would ever have an opportunity to return, but my husband made it happen. We waffled back and forth quite a bit on whether to return to the Thalasso, or try the St. Regis. Based on my exceptional experience at the Thalasso, we decided to return. I didn’t want to try a new hotel only to constantly compare it to the perfection that was my first trip.

We were at the Thalasso from Feb. 15, 2014 through Feb. 23, 2014. Below is my review/thoughts/tips:

• Ambassador membership: Worth it in the case of this hotel. Although we were told that an automatic upgrade does not necessarily mean a jump to the next level of rooms. It can simply mean an Emerald bungalow with a nicer view.

• Room choices: Bungalow 103 faced the lagoon and the water was the perfect level (3-4 feet.) Although it was one of the “lower end” rooms, we really liked 103. There were minimal corals in our spot and it faced the serene beach and spotless lagoon. The most recent trip we requested a series of lagoon facing Sapphire rooms on either side of the 100s and 200s (although I had a preference for the 200s since I already had been in the 100s.) Unfortunately, the room provided to us was exactly what I didn’t want. We were put into room 135 which is a Sapphire bungalow that faces the boat dock and Le Meridien. The water depth was over 6 ft. We asked to be moved and were told they would look into it since they were surprisingly packed considering it was their off season. A bit later, they let us know that there was one immediate room available, but it would cost us out-of-pocket as it was a Diamond pontoon room, one of their best in the resort. We decided to take the plunge and upgrade. Room 230 is a far walk, but has one of the best views of Otemanu. The water depth was at least 10 feet, so the color is a bit darker than closer to the beach.

• Resort Location: If you’re all about views, Thalasso has the best view of Otemanu and beautiful stretches of a clean lagoon.

Disappointments:

• Service: I hate to say it, but the service was lacking a bit more for this trip. Granted when we first went, they were only a few years old so the last several years must have taken a toll on them. With the exception of a handful of employees who were wonderful, most of the others seemed unhappier and just less genuine overall.

• Dinner reservations: For two nights in a row, I requested a different table upon arrival and there was always an uncomfortable or annoyed exchange between staff. Both times ended with them telling me that I could not switch seats as those were “reserved.” The second time I was told this, I asked if people requested specific tables when making reservations, and they said yes. If this is true, I don’t understand why this isn’t shared with guests during check-in.

• This brings me to a spotty dinner evening. The hotel was at "full capacity" so at dinner it was busy at Le Reef. I’m not sure who was in charge of taking dinner reservations and why they didn’t seem to have enough staff to take care of each table, but after 1 hour and 15 mins, we had only eaten our appetizer. It was brutal. Thankfully this was the only blip during our stay regarding dinner service.

• Activities: I never noticed or thought I would care about the size or lack of activities available. I was just happy sunbathing or swimming during the entire 6 nights of my honeymoon. But on this trip, we stayed 7 nights and combined with bad weather, we both wished there was more to do on the island. We did a jeep tour, went to Vaitape, walked along Thalasso’s trail 3-4 times, used the free gear to snorkel and kayak, etc. I have heard that the St. Regis has larger grounds, more restaurants and activities at their resort. I think if you’re the type of traveler looking for a combination of both fun activities as well as R&R, you might want to stay at the St. Regis. But don’t take my word for it since I have not been to that resort.

• Weather: Obviously not the hotel’s fault, but the two days of intense rain took a toll on us. There are very limited activities on Thalasso. Our choices were to stay locked up in our rooms, venture to the Sands restaurant, go to the spa or gym. There is only so much time you can spend in your room without going nuts. The Sands’ ambiance would not have been much better, especially if you don’t feel like eating or drinking. The spa was booked so that left the gym. I was on one of two treadmills as another couple walked into the small gym. I could feel the gentleman breathing down my back to finish up.

• Huh??: I’m not Japanese, and my husband’s last name would tell you that he isn’t either. As U.S. citizens that are ethnically Korean, we were greeted with hai or told to say sashimi when posing for a photo. Given that the hotel knows we are from the US, speak perfect English and are also checking in at the same time as another American family, it’s a bit offensive when the other family who are Caucasian are told to say cheese when posing for a picture whereas at our turn, they tell us to say sashimi. I know they did not mean to be offensive, but it is insensitive.

Extra tidbits:

• Bring an external hard-drive, laptop hook-up, anything, to connect to the TV and play movies or shows you have saved. Or just bring DVDs. The channels are few, especially English ones, so I was stuck watching CNN International or ESPN.

• I brought inner tubes and a lounger. Totally worth the space it took up in my luggage.

• I brought mosquito coils to burn while we watched movies on my laptop outside at sundown. Also a Jambox to pump up the sound and play music while you swim. We always kept the Jambox at a respectable volume as to not disturb other guests.

• WATER SHOES! Although most of the lagoon is beautiful, you need to wear water shoes due to the coral that is close to the beach.

• My husband read someone else’s suggestion to buy your own alcohol at Duty Free and bring it to your hotel. It’ll save you a bit on drink costs given that most of our cocktails were about $20 each.

• Got a cold? Well the hotel can’t provide you any Nyquil so your only other option is to take a boat to IC Le Moana, take the bus to Vaitape and go to the one pharmacy in town which basically is a CVS/Walgreens.

• Want to try the special of the day at dinner, but you wanted another dish more? It’s okay, as I saw a few times last night’s appetizer served at breakfast the next morning.

• Review your itemized bill. We were charged for a $200 bottle of champagne from our mini bar which we did not drink.

So long story short, I think this was my last trip to the IC Thalasso. The grounds looked less manicured/spotless and service was not the same. It was definitely disappointing compared to my previous visit so I am now ready to try the St. Regis or Four Seasons on my next trip to Bora Bora.

Room Tip: Read review for details regarding room picks.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
23  Thank keyser_soosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guillaume E, General Manager at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 March 2014

Dear Guest, Ia Orana from Bora Bora,

Thank you very much for having taken some of your valuable time to post your comment on TripAdvisor and to make us aware of your second experience among us.

I am glad the front office team responded well to your room move request and has succeed to please you with the Diamond Bungalow n°230 which has indeed an amazing view on the Mount Otemanu. The matters you have raised regarding the photo at the check-in have been discussed with the team in order to avoid repetition.

I am sorry to read that your second stay was not as wonderful as the first one. Providing the best services mean a lot to the hotel staff. Please contact us at gmoffice.boraboraspa@ihg.com so we can obtain additional details regarding your stay. Again, we regret that this impacted your experience at our hotel and we really hope to have another possibility to take care of you in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Guillaume EPINETTE
General Manager
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

I don't even know where to start....Is Bora Bora amazing? Yes; Is the Intercontinental Thalasso the best resort in Bora Bora? Yes; Was it worth the money? Yes; Would I go back again? Yes.

My wife and I traveled to Bora Bora on our honeymoon and all of our expectations were overwhelmingly surpassed. From the moment we arrived at the airport on Bora Bora, we were being catered for with a lei and transport to the Intercontinental. The customer service around the resort was outstanding. We don't generally like being waited on because it can be a bit annoying; however, the staff that the IC are so attentive yet never overbearing, it makes for a very pleasant stay.

We stayed in the emerald over-water bungalow! This bungalow was the most luxurious room you could ever imagine. Some of the highlights were a his and hers sink, a walk-in closet, a glass coffee table to admire your marine friends below, a two-tier deck for reading or sunbathing, and most importantly an incredibly comfortable bed....with a pillow menu whereby you can pick from a selection of 4 pillows based on sleeping preference!

The IC has a buffet restaurant - Reef, a pub style dining restaurant - Sands Bar, and a fancy a la carte restaurant - La Corail. The breakfast buffet was always served at Reef and extremely delightful every morning. All you can eat pancakes, bacon, eggs, omelettes, fruit, juice, sushi, you name it! We generally would then share a lunch at Sands Bar because 1) we were still full from the breakfast buffet and 2) it was quite expensive, but none the less the food was excellent and it tidied us over until dinner! The Reed hosted themed buffets 3 nights a week which were the best value! One night was Japanese night and the other was French night! Excellent, delicate, fresh food! Unfortunately, we never tried Corail because we chose to head to the main island a couple nights to try the fine dining of Villa Mahana and Bloody Mary's; both we would highly recommend for their seafood and steaks!

We bought a day pass to the spa. This was not a treatment, but for those who check out early on your last day, you are offered the option of buying a day pass to just relax in the spa and have full use of the relaxation room, showers, hot tubs, and steam rooms! A very relaxing experience if you want to use the amenities of the spa, but aren't interested in a massage.

Other little amenities - bars and service was great, internet and TV was provided in your rooms, pool was very nice and refreshing. There is an on-site dive center called Bathy's and we dove with them one day! The dive may have been one of the best of our lives as we got to dive with Manta Rays in the lagoon!

Only bad comment about the entire resort is the tiles are coming off the floor in the pool which aesthetically does not look too nice, but didn't bother us one bit.

Lastly, I'd just like to recommend PACIFIC FOR LESS as a travel agent! They helped us plan out our entire honeymoon and also helped us secure great deals at the IC and on our activities!

Room Tip: Rooms facing inward between the two wishbones are best because it's very convenient to swim/snorkel into the beach. Also, if you become an Intercontinental Ambassador member, you get a free upgrade in bungalow, completely worth it!
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank cjpodbregar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guillaume E, General Manager at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 March 2014

Dear Guest, Ia Orana from Bora Bora,

What a wonderful way to start the day! Thank you very much for your comment! Your global appreciation is detailed and will help for sure the TripAdvisor community. Also, thank you for chosing our resort to spend your honeymoon.

It is so nice to read you two slept well in your Emerald bungalow. It is so delightful to wake up and to stare at the turquoise lagoon. I can see you had the pleasure to take your breakfast every morning at Le Reef Restaurant. I am happy you liked all the diversity of the food we offer.

About the pool's tiles, I am glad to inform you that since your check-out, we have made some renovation, and the tiles are all back so it is even more beautiful now.

We hope to see you soon, so you can relax once again and try the gastronomic restaurant "Le Corail". And thank you for naming the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa the best resort in Bora.

Best wishes & Sunny regards,

Guillaume EPINETTE
General Manager
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

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Reviewed 2 March 2014

We arrived today following a fabulous Paul Gauguin cruise of the Society Islands, where we were truly pampered with extraordinary service. So granted, the bar was set very high prior to our arrival at the Intercontinental. It had been a very tough decision of whether to stay at the Four Seasons or the IC and I did a fair amount of research, but clearly not enough. Our travel agent steered us to the IC, with the biggest selling point being the free Internet. Upon arrival at the airport, friends we met on the cruise who were staying at the Four Seasons were immediately picked up by boat, while we had to wait 20-25 minutes for our rather unfriendly boat driver. After a lengthy check-in process, we were shown to our over the water bungalow. While it was lovely, we had paid for a Diamond mountain view location and clearly we were lacking the most primo view that numerous other bungalows enjoyed. When we expressed our disappointment, we were told that they could try to find us another bungalow, but that 20 people were checking in today, so it may be difficult. We received absolutely no follow-up and the resort seems nearly empty as it is low season. We were told it was at 50% occupancy but it doesn't appear to be. Difficult to understand why they couldn't come up with a better location for us. My husband tried to get snorkel equipment 3 times, but the desk for that was continuously unattended. After having a very positive experience touring the spa and booking an excursion, we went to the 2 for 1 Happy Hour we had read about. However, when the bill came, I was charged for both glasses of Chardonnay. We were then informed that HH didn't cover wine and beer. What?? We then went to dinner at the only restaurant that serves dinner and service was very sub-par, expensive and not very good. We feel pretty trapped here with only one dinner restaurant and it will cost $80 round trip to get to the island to dine elsewhere at night. (Water shuttle is free during the day). I called our friends at the Four Seasons and they are very happy campers. Wish we had made the same decision and won't make the same mistake next time. (The location is spectacular and I know I probably sound like a spoiled brat, but when you pay good money for a high end resort, I think it's acceptable to expect exceptional service.) Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Service
10  Thank Mary K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IHGCare, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 17 March 2014

Dear Mary K,

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your stay. It is unfortunate your interactions with the staff prevented you from fully enjoying your time at the hotel. We are confident the necessary adjustments will be made, in order to achieve complete guest satisfaction.

Thank you again for your comments, we look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincerely,

Ben J
Case Manager
IHGCare

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Reviewed 27 February 2014

We spent our anniversary in Bora Bora. The resort is amazing, absolutely gorgeous. Very private, relaxing, with plenty of activities. The food served in the Hotel restaurants is excellent. I felt like we had a 5 star meal every night. Breakfast and dinner were included in our package, which I highly recommend.
We had a private dinner, the staff was great, extremely helpful and friendly. We had a few snafu's on arrival, and had to ask several times for our complimentary champagne, but in the end the trip was heavenly and I would love to go back.

Room Tip: We used our hotel points to upgrade our room, a little better view, further out from the beach. Almost any room would be great.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Donna T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guillaume E, General Manager at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2014

Ia Orana Donna, Greetings from Bora Bora,

Thank you for your comment and for choosing the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa to celebrate your 30th Anniversary.

The whole F&B team is rewarded by your comment and I will personnally congratulate them. It is really pleasing to read you had "a 5 star meal every night".

We are looking forward to welcoming you again in our resort.

Sunny regards,

Guillaume EPINETTE
General Manager
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

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Reviewed 26 February 2014

We absolutely loved staying at the InterContinental Thalasso for our Christmas honeymoon.Everyone was very warm and hospitable! The breakfast buffet was heavenly and we enjoyed lunch at the cafe as well as our dinners, except for one bad night at their international buffet. Our bungalow was lovely, especially the bath. We enjoyed massages at the spa and just wished we had come earlier to enjoy the rest of the facilities. We stayed at the resort except for our trip to Villa Mahana, which was definitely the highlight of our stay! We were surprised at how many families and children were there, but with the holidays, we shouldn't have been. We are grateful to Jackie at Custom Tahiti Travel for recommending such a wonderful hotel!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Vanessa J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guillaume E, General Manager at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 27 February 2014

Ia Orana Vanessa, Greetings from Bora Bora,

What an amazing review Vanessa! Thank you very much for sharing your honeymoon experience here.

A Honeymoon is always a special moment. That is why we are proud we have met your expectations as you felt in "paradise" during your stay. Bora Bora is the perfect place for romance!

Do not hesitate to come back so you can enjoy the rest of the facilities.

Best wishes and warm regards,

Guillaume EPINETTE
General Manager
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

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