Bora Bora is quite simply heaven on Earth. Located in the Society Islands in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is an island of true beauty that will leave one speechless. This is Jennifer Krosp’s recent experience while staying at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.
This was my bucket list trip that I had been dreaming about for 35 years and it was well worth the wait. My fiancé and I traveled from Los Angeles in June to Tahiti and then took a flight over to the small island of Bora Bora.
How To Get There
The airport in Bora Bora is so small that it literally takes you less than a minute to walk from the tarmac to the podiums of the Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora Resort where they have their boats ready to whisk you away.
We were absolutely stunned at the crystal-clear water we saw right when we walked through the airport. We had chosen the InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora Resort and Spa for our 8-night stay. The check in at the hotel stand was simple and we were welcomed with leis made with gardenia flowers and iced cold waters.
The boat ride from the airport to the resort takes about 15 minutes. During the ride we were absolutely stunned by the scenery around us. Our boat captain gave us some fun tidbits about the island and pointed out the different resorts as we rode past them. We ultimately chose the IC Thalasso because of the location of the resort. It’s in the most central part of the island and the resort offers an unobstructed view of Mount Otemanu.
When you arrive at the resort dock, you’re greeted by a conch shell horn blower. The resort had a golf cart waiting to take our luggage and ourselves to the check in counter. We checked in at around 11:30 am and were informed that our room would not be ready until 3 pm which is what we had expected. Check in at the IC Thalassso is officially 3:00 pm and check out is 11:00 am.
We were offered a cold vanilla tea to enjoy and then we decided to go check out the lunch options. The Sands Restaurant is a casual beachfront venue and offers lunch and dinner daily with many options to choose from.
We both absolutely had to have a Polynesian cocktail to get our vacation started and the Poisson Cru for our first meals. Poisson Cru is a popular dish in Tahiti that consists of raw fish marinated in citrus juice and coconut milk.
While I knew Bora Bora was going to be steep in price in terms of excursions, I was not totally prepared for the cost of the drinks and food. The lunch was incredible, and we were both looking forward to many lunches and dinners to come during the week.
The room we booked for the InterContinental Bora Bora was an overwater villa Otemanu view room. I emailed the concierge right after booking to request a villa that was the furthest out on the pontoon. When the room was ready the staff took us to our room and we were very happy to find out that the resort had honored the request to be furthest out.
While it was initially said they couldn’t guarantee this, they did indeed honor the request. The villa was open and spacious. It was two separate rooms, one was the living room with a couch and tables with chairs and then the bedroom/bathroom. The staff provided us with glass bottles with cold water that are always replenished daily and sweet coconut cake.
The room had an unobstructed view of Mount Otemanu, and I could not wait to jump from our private deck into the lagoon. The deck had a table with chairs and two chaise lounges. Since we were very far out, the depth of the water was about 10 feet. The highlight of the room, besides the view, was the coffee table which was a see-through box with a top that could open to feed the fish below.
There was also a light that lit up the water below to see the fish at night. The room was of Polynesian style, the bed super soft, and everything was very clean. Zero complaints.
You can also book other overwater villas with views of the beach, lagoon, and Bora Bora. The resort was also included in the top overwater bungalows to stay in list.
Magic hour at the resort was spent at the Sands Bar and Sunset Theater. We ordered cocktails and we were offered two kinds of taro chips and an assortment of olives to nibble on before dinner. We also met two couples from earlier and decided to have drinks with them at Bubbles Bar and then we all went to dinner.
Dinner was Polynesian night at the resort and held at the Reef Restaurant. They offered traditional Polynesian food that was served buffet style. As a fish lover, I was in absolute heaven with the variety of cooked fish and sushi that was offered. We had fun watching the traditional Tahitian musicians and dancers and they liked to get the guests involved. We got to take pictures with the dancers at the end of their performance.
Another fun night the resort offers is the fire dancing event. This was held at the Sands Restaurant. The menu at the Sands Restaurant offers everything from salads, sushi, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, steaks, and vegetarian options. The resort also has a gourmet restaurant called Le Corail but we opted not to go there. One evening we opted to have room service which is perfect if you just want to relax in the villa.
Breakfast at the resort was probably one of the best breakfast buffets we ever had. The staff greets you by name which makes you feel like royalty. There were breakfast omelets cooked to order, eggs benedicts, pancakes, waffles, fruits, bread, yogurts, and traditional English breakfast is also available. My absolute favorite was the sushi and Poisson Cru! Every morning started with hot cappuccinos and fresh juices.
Deep Ocean Spa
The Deep Ocean Spa, which is part of the Thalasso, was one of the best spas I have ever been to. I chose to have the Chill Out in Bora Bora treatment which lasts 2.5 hours. It includes a body scrub, massage and facial. If you book a treatment, you have full access to the Thalasso spa which has steam baths and showers, tea lounge, a mediation room, and outdoor spas with views of Otemanu.
The best part of the massage was laying down on the massage table while the floor was see-through, so you can watch the fish swimming in the water below. My fiancé and I also used the fitness center attached to the spa a handful of times during our stay.
For our first full day in Bora Bora we decided to go on a stingray and shark full day tour with a lunch adventure with Lagoon Services. The company picked us up from our resort and we got to swim with the stingrays and black-tipped reef sharks, and snorkel in the coral gardens before having lunch on a private motu.
It was an amazing experience, and I would do this excursion again. For dinner that night we went back to the Sands Restaurant to enjoy the sunset and drinks with our new friends.
The other fun adventure we booked was with Moana Adventure Tours. We went on the full day combo jeep safari and lunch at Bloody Mary’s jet ski tour. They pick you up at the resort and take you over to the mainland.
We hopped on an open-aired jeep and the driver took us to the summit of Bora Bora, viewed historical sights such as the WW2 bunkers and cannons, and to the town of Vaitape. We stopped for lunch at the famous Bloody Mary’s restaurant and then off to jet ski. The jet ski tour around the island was a blast. The tour guide also had us stop at a private motu to take pictures, open coconuts and just revel in the beauty that surrounds Bora Bora.
Proximity to mainland Bora Bora
We also took the boat shuttle over to the main island of Bora Bora to go shopping in Vaitape. We were dropped off at the sister property Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort and from there it was about a 15-minute taxi ride to town.
It’s easy to spend three hours wandering around through the shops and exploring. We saw a lot of hand painted art, and my fiancé bought me a painting by Bora Bora Artist Jean-Pierre Frey. It’s such a perfect size that I was able to bring it home with me in my suitcase. It’s hanging in our living room now and every day we get a reminder of our trip.
There were lots of shops with souvenirs and art galleries and the pearl shops were nice there. We then took a taxi back to Le Moana and had lunch at the open aired restaurant. We had also walked around the property to see what it was like. While the Le Moana Resort was very nice, it does not have a full view of the famous mountain which was the main reason why we chose the IC Thalasso over Le Moana.
Days that weren’t spent off property were spent at the beach and pool at the resort. We spent one morning using the resorts complimentary kayaks and stand-up paddle board. You can also go snorkeling in the lagoonarium, swim off your own deck, and relax by the pool.
You can spend lunch by the pool with a fun cocktail (or a few) in hand and it’s a great way to meet new friends. You can also get married here as they have a beautiful chapel overlooking the lagoonarium.
The resort also has a secret garden. One romantic activity is to bring a lock with you (the resort sells locks too) and attach the lock to the many different tiki gods. It’s a very romantic place to stay in Bora Bora that never feels crowded.
We have no complaints at all about the Intercontinental Thalasso. The lighting is beautiful at night and you can see the fish under the lights and feed them food. The weather was great and there was only one-half day with rain and other days with maybe a drizzle, but mostly all sun.
The resort has decent Wi-Fi and could have used more tv stations, but we didn’t miss that too much. If you really want tv it’s best to bring a fire stick. We are counting down the days until we can go back to this beautiful resort. It was the absolute trip of a lifetime!
For more accommodation options, check out our all-inclusive resorts in Bora Bora guide.