Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora – Hotel Review

intercontinental thalasso bora bora hotel review

Not only had Bora Bora been on our bucket list for years, but the Intercontinental Thalasso was a hotel at the very top of that list of places we wanted to stay. With so much anticipation, I was worried when we finally got the opportunity to stay here that dreams would be shattered. But not only were our expectations exceeded, but the Intercontinental Thalasso instantly became THE BEST hotel we’ve ever stayed at – and let me tell you why…

Location and How To Get There

French Polynesia is a beautiful archipelago of islands located in the South Pacific, just eight hours from San Francisco. International flights will land at the airport Papeete in Tahiti; and to get to Bora Bora you will have to get a small domestic flight to the island which is about an hour long – and probably one of the most beautiful views you will see out of a plane window. Air Tahiti is the only airline providing flights between the islands; they offer multi island passes which work out a lot more economical if you plan on island hopping a bit. Bear in mind if you choose to purchase one of the passes, there are certain requirements you must follow, for example the order you visit the islands and how long you can spend on each. You will need to check their flight schedule (which is updated every six months in April and October) to find out what days certain flights operate. There are multiple flights a day to Bora Bora from Tahiti, so that one isn’t too much of an issue, it’s if you want to visit some of the outer islands when there are only a couple of flights a week that you might have to be a bit more flexible with dates.

The airport in Bora Bora is on its own private island (motu) and access to the mainland and hotels is by boat only. The airline puts on a free ferry from the airport to Vaitape, the main town in Bora Bora free of charge however as the Intercontinental Thalasso is also on it’s own private motu it makes sense to book a direct boat transfer to the hotel. An alternative option would be to take the free ferry to Vaitape, and take a taxi (approximately $20-30) to the Intercontinental’s sister property, Le Moana and then take one of their shuttle boats for a small fee that frequents between the two hotels multiple times a day. However it’s up to you whether you want to save a few dollars and lose a bit of time transferring to the hotel or just pay for the direct transfer. 

When I visited the Intercontinental Thalasso I had previously been staying at Le Moana so it was pretty straight forward for me to just hop on the shuttle to the Thalasso. There are a few runs a day but it’s worth checking the times with reception before heading out to the dock. 

Pro tip – sit on the left side of the plane arriving into Bora Bora and on the right side when leaving. 

The Intercontinental Thalasso is located on a private motu (islet) and when you arrive it really is like walking into paradise. Secluded, but with all the amenities of a luxury resort, you can guarantee you’ll have the experience of a lifetime. 

Check in process 

We arrived from the sister hotel, the Intercontinental Le Moana using the hotel’s provided boat shuttle. Our check out was at 11am so we booked on to the next shuttle after that, meaning we would be arriving before check-in at the Thalasso. 

As the boat took off and sped towards the secluded motu where the hotel is situated, I was BLOWN AWAY. It really is like you see in the pictures. Staff were there to eagerly greet us with flower leis and ushered us to a golf cart where we were given a short tour of the property on the way to reception. 

As it was many hours before check-in we were brought to a beautiful table outside overlooking the lagoon, and offered a refreshing vanilla tea while we filled in paperwork and got the administrative side of things out of the way. We finalised our choices and times for the canoe breakfast and were given two more drink tokens that we could use at one of the bars while we waited for our room to be ready. We took advantage of this spare time and explored a bit of the grounds before arriving at the bar and ordering two island iced teas and enjoying them in a shaded waterfront Palapa. 

It wasn’t long before our room was ready, maybe 1pm which was a good few hours before the written check in time. As platinum IHG members, our status was recognized and we were upgraded three room categories to an overwater villas Otemanu View. Another golf cart took us to our room before showing us the lay of the land and where all the appropriate bars and restaurants could be found. It was a smooth and effortless check in process and we were incredibly grateful to be granted access to our room early. 


What’s unique about the Thalasso is that every suite is an overwater bungalow. It’s also part of IHG one rewards, which means you can redeem IHG points to stay in an overwater bungalow FOR FREE. Which, incidentally is what I did for my honeymoon, you can find out more about how I did it here.

There are various room categories at differing price points at the Thalasso, but to be honest you can’t go wrong with any of them. The higher the room category, the better the view, further along the pontoon and the biggest suites have private pools and multiple bedrooms. We were originally booked into the lowest category room, the King Overwater Villa Beach View, but being platinum elite IHG members (and visiting during low season) we were upgraded to the King Bed Overwater Villa Otemanu View and to put it lightly, it was STUNNING. At 95 square metres, this villa was enormous, with breathtaking views from every window. The spacious living room has two sofa beds, a mini bar and a clear table with a removable lid so you could feed the fish swimming under the bungalow! Fish food was available from reception – we loved doing this in the evening – there are also lights underneath the villa so you can watch the fish! 

The bedroom was in the middle of the suite, with an extra large bed, a flat screen television and an expansive window that offered unparalleled views of the lagoon and Mount Otemanu. There honestly was no better feeling waking up in the morning to this view, if only I could every day! 

The bathroom was modern, chic and functional with a shower, double vanity, enclosed toilet and a bathtub overlooking the ocean. 

But perhaps the best part was the outdoor deck. When I first stepped out, it completely did take my breath away and I just stood there in silence, completely in awe. It really does look like the desktop backgrounds, the posters and posts you see plastered over Pinterest and Instagram. The deck has two levels, with a table and chairs and two loungers on the upper floor and a swimming platform from the lower level with steps directly into the water. I felt like a kid again when I saw the platform, I spent hours jumping and diving off on our first night! The water is deep enough to jump and dive which can sometimes not be the case with other water bungalows. 

Food and drinks 

There are three restaurants onsite, and while we did not have the opportunity to sample all of them, they all have rave reviews from fellow travellers. 

On our last night, we chose to order from the in room dining menu so we could enjoy our final night in paradise from the beauty of our overwater deck. This really was a special experience and one night I will remember forever. We both ordered a steak along with a nice bottle of sparkling wine and it did not disappoint. The steaks were cooked to perfection and perfectly seasoned. 

My favourite part of my stay at the Thalasso is the Canoe Breakfast that you can set up ahead of time – essentially your breakfast will be delivered to your villa deck by traditional canoe. It is a bit pricey, but in my opinion, it is 110% worth it. The time slots book up fast so book as early as you can, especially if you only have a short stay. We booked the first slot in the morning and it was just as magical as it sounds. Two staff members, dressed in traditional attire come paddling over to your villa with a huge breakfast spread. They will blow the horn to announce their arrival and while one of the staff sets up and prepares your breakfast on your villa deck, the other member of staff will take you on a tour of the lagoon while singing Tahitian songs on his ukulele. It was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments that I will never forget. 

When we returned back from our lagoon tour in a traditional outrigger canoe, we climbed up to our deck to enjoy the delicious and beautifully presented breakfast, with the most awe inspiring view I’ve ever seen in my life. We spent a lot of time on our villa deck; which is also the primary reason we chose to eat dinner out there on our final night on the island. There just didn’t seem to be a better backdrop; and this villa being bigger than our house made the choice pretty simple. We made our order for room service over the phone, along with a bottle of wine and within thirty minutes it had already arrived. The food was absolutely exceptional, especially the steak and poisson cru (a must try on your visit to French Polynesia – it is a traditional ceviche style dish made with fresh raw fish marinated in coconut milk and citrus juice). As a side note, poisson cru is the only raw fish dish I will ever eat – so if that’s not reason enough to try it I don’t know what is! 

There is no shortage of bars at the Thalasso, and nor is their variety of cocktails and drinks offered. When we first arrived, we were offered  a refreshing glass of vanilla tea, a concoction I still dream of recreating at home. Our first cocktail we ordered from Le Coral, a “Bora Bora Iced Tea” served delectably in a freshly prepared coconut. Prices are higher than on the mainland, as to be expected given the remote location and nature of it being part of French Polynesia; it’s all worth it though so just plan ahead and prepare to spend a little extra on food and drinks during your stay. 

Hotel Facilities 

There is a Secret Garden of Love in the grounds of the Thalasso whereby lovers can seal their relationship with a padlock onto one of the four themed rings on different palm trees in the garden, all representing different elements of the Polynesian culture. 

Locks can be bought in the gift shop or if you are super organized, you can order a custom one beforehand from somewhere like Etsy and bring it with you. Once attached to the rings, the keys are thrown into the mouth of the Tiki which represents eternal love.  

There is a large heated infinity pool that sweeps along the beach with panoramic views of the turquoise blue water and Mount Otemanu accompanied by various sun loungers, palapas and areas to relax. 

The Deep Ocean Spa is a popular attraction at the property and for good reason – not only do they have fantastic massage therapists but the spa is built with glass bottomed floors perched over the lagoon so you can watch the marine life during your treatments. 

There is a 24/7 fitness centre onsite for those wanting to keep fit on vacation in addition to an outside running track that weaves it’s way in between the tropical gardens on the resort. 

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the Thalasso is the picturesque lagoonarium which boats a thrilling array of marine life and a protected coral garden. The cherry on top is the stunning overwater wedding chapel with glass bottomed floor that peaks out over the lagoon, along with unparalleled views of Mount Otemanu.


We were incredibly impressed with the service we received during our stay at the Intercontinental Thalasso. From the check in process, to the canoe breakfast and room service, it was all exceptional. Every member of staff were incredibly polite, attentive and eager to help. 

Closing Remarks 

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Intercontinental Thalasso has been the most incredible hotel I’ve ever set foot in. From the impeccable service to the jaw dropping views and to-die for overwater villas, I have been dreaming to go back every day since I left. If this hotel wasn’t on your ultimate hotels to visit before you die list, it needs to. When you think of paradise, this is it. 

Ready to book Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora? Click here!

You can find out more about my stay on my “Bora Bora” Highlights on Instagram @chase.the.rainbows.

Disclosure: participates in affiliate advertising programs as a way to earn revenue. Some links to products and services are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you click an affiliate link and finalize a purchase. Thank you for your support.

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