Amazing!! We'd go back in an instant! A review of InterContinental Thalasso-Spa Bora Bora
My husband and I just returned from a long stay at the Thalasso. It is an amazing resort - serene and beautiful - more than can be conveyed in pictures.
I will start by saying that my husband and I are quite picky, and this resort was beyond our expectations. The rooms are breathtaking, with gorgeous views. We stayed in a diamond room, with a view that made us eager to wake up every morning. Very comfortable bed; spacious walk in closet; a bathroom, straight out of a home magazine. The walk from the diamond rooms is a few minutes, but we found it relaxing (given the view); and, carts pick you up, if you don't feel like taking the walk. (We did not hear the carts from our room; good soundproofing).
The staff go beyond the call of duty. Everyone is friendly and accomodating. I agree with other reviews that the restaurant service was variable, in that some waiters/waitresses seemed to take very long. However, we avoided this by seeking out the waiters/waitresses we knew were prompt and responsive. Alternatively, we would point to the item, or ask them to write it down, if language was a problem. I also have to add that the slower restaruant service is similar to experiences I've had in the Caribbean and Mexico, reflecting the slower pace of life in these regions.
The food was amazing - breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I have to stress, though, that this is not a North American destination - hence, you should not expect the food and drinks to be identical to the ones you get at your local restaurant. The food has a Polynesian and French flare. There were some meals that I would not have chosen again, but not because it was prepared poorly, but rather that it wasn't my taste. Also, I would suggest reading the menu quite literally, which has been my experience in Europe as well. The language of the menu is precise, to reflect the content of the meal (and not dressed up like most North American restaurants); do not expect it to be same as you would get at home.
The concierege service and activities were wonderful. The concierge service was responsive to all of our requests (which at times were many and very specific), and they modified activities and tailored things to our needs. For example, my husband planned a special dinner, which both the restaurant manager and concierge tailored to his requests, ordering things from off the island to accomodate us (which is extremely challenging in the remote South Pacific). I have never had this type of service anywhere else. Any request was usually met with the response of, "we'll look into it and see what we can find." More often than not, our request was granted.
The spa is not completed yet, but they do offer spa services in two large huts by reception. The spa services were amazing - the estheticians were very gentle and the products were not overwhelming (i.e., smell, texture) - I would definitely recommend the volcanic massage (extremely relaxing) and one of their facials. I don't usually go for spa services at hotels, but this was worth it.
Some tips: I think that it's worthwhile considering that the South Pacific is a prime destination for Europeans, and by their dollar value (Euro), Bora Bora is not as expensive as North Americans feel. If you think about it more like a trip to Europe (rather than Mexico or the Caribbean), it's much easier to understand the pricing (not to mention the added cost, given the remoteness of the island). We got package pricing to include our breakfast and dinner, and the pricing usually allowed us to get a bottle of wine with dinner. The only thing I'd suggest is buying water (and other snacks you may want) on the mainland at the grocery store in Vaitape.
Also, the sand is covered with shells and coral, so bring appropriate footware. We found the sand to be like this in most places in Bora Bora, reflecting the extensive sea life in the water. (i.e., these are not the white sands of Negril, Jamaica). The water was exceptionally clear and we did see many fish; however, you will not find extensive fish life, unless you stay at a hotel by a coral garden (i.e., the darkly coloured water you see in pictures is corals; clear water is not). If you are looking for corals and fish - this may not be the resort for you. If you are looking for peace and tranquility - this is the place.
We found that almost everyone spoke a bit of English at the resort. However, considering the main languages are Tahitian and French, the level of English spoken by everyone was beyond my expectation.
I honestly can say that I have no regrets in staying at this resort. Our trip was worth every penny, and I would go back in an instant.