InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review (Overwater Bungalow)
After years of spending many nights in luxury (and many not so luxury) hotels, I find it hard to get excited about 'just another hotel'. However, the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora delivered - it is one of the best hotels I ever stayed at! Read this InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora review to find out why!
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review - Transportation
We took a direct Air Tahiti flight from Moorea after our stay at the InterContinental Moorea and after landing we made our way to the free shuttle that the airline provides. We assumed this would be a tiny boat going over a small lagoon. How wrong we were; this shuttle service is operated by a new catamaran that speeds its way through the Bora Bora lagoon - and it was so scenic. There are few things more uplifting than arriving at Bora Bora in the late afternoon - the yellow light, the wind, the incredible colors. I was impressed, I have to admit!
After this 'shuttle treat' we walked along the pier and asked the sole taxi driver for the price to the InterContinental Le Moana, which he quoted in perfect English at CFP 2,000 for the ride. We asked inside Tourist Information and got the same price. Off we went and a quick 10 minutes later we arrived at the InterContinental Le Moana, Bora Bora.
You can also use the hotel transfer service which gets you to the hotel by private boat, but this will set you back CFP 5,000 per person one-way. You can't miss them in the Bora Bora Airport arrivals hall.
While other reports state that the hotel is pushy about the transfer service, we didn't experience this. We always had a choice and we walked right by the InterContinental Hotels arrival booth at Bora Bora Airport. At the hotel we stated that we were using the taxi to arrive and depart and that was it; we were never charged for their transport.
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review - Check-In
Check-in can be a bit odd since you are greeted in the front desk area (which has a ton of mosquitoes) and on to the bar area with a drink. This is where check-in happens, but the friendly agent had to constantly go back to the front desk for papers and photocopies. Everyone was friendly and really relaxed. I liked that the staff presented a knowledgeable, amiable attitude but did not drown us with service as it often is with luxury resorts.
I had redeemed free nights for my stay at the property and to my surprise again my IHG Platinum status (from the Chase credit card) got me an upgrade for the first night! And an upgrade here means an overwater bungalow, since it only has beach and overwater bungalows. I did not see that coming!
The friendly agent escorted us all the way out to Bungalow 32, which is a solid 10-minute walk in the sun.
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review - Overwater Bungalow
The bungalow clearly wasn't the newest and showed some wear and tear, especially on the outside, but it was still in great shape.
The sofa table in the living room is made out of glass and you can open it to feed the fish (which they weren't unhappy about). The area under the bungalow has superbly clear water and a few corals are left (one under each glass table pane) so it gives you the illusion that you are looking onto a coral reef. OMG!
The deck area is fabulous too, with lots of privacy and direct water access.
The bungalow felt spacious and came with a king-size bed and a large bathroom.
The AC took some time to cool the bungalow down, but after 30 minutes it had a firm grip on it.
I'm not sure if it is a common thing with overwater bungalows (as this was my first time!) but it was pretty noisy - the wind and the water compounded into noticeable noise, especially when I wanted to sleep.
The internet here is fast and is really fast at times; 10 Mbit to servers in the US was not an issue. Every bungalow has its own router.
For our second night we headed to the beach bungalow, which has the same configuration as the overwater bungalow. The interior is identical, but instead of a deck you get your own 'private beach'. I must say I liked that arrangement even more, as it felt more spacious than the deck. Plus the view is even prettier from the beach bungalow out to the private island for the Sofitel.
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review - Grounds
The hotel is built on a tiny sliver of land and there is not much of a common grounds area to speak of. The pool is tiny and not worth it. The bar and restaurant area is small as well. The hotel scores highly, nevertheless, for its beautiful beach and the incredible lagoon. The water quality is better than at most pools I usually swim at. The water is about 3 to 4 feet deep until you reach the buoys and even then would only slowly deepen.
There were some fish, corals, shells and the occasional sea urchin; fortunately I was unable to detect anything bigger. Clearly the best activity in the resort is to hang out in and around the lagoon. Floating in the warm, super-clear water by your deck (wearing reef shoes) will be the activity you came here for and it's picture-perfect!
The hotel provides free sea kayaks and stand up paddle equipment, which were all well-used by the guests.
Next to the hotel is the only (!) public beach on Bora Bora. Note that it is not the crowded affair of sun lovers that you may expect; it's not directly visible from the hotel and while just a hundred yards away, you could be in another world.
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review - Food
We expected high prices for food and while the InterContinental Moorea was expensive, Le Moana Bora Bora added another 20% to 30% more for the same things. However, we had accepted the 50% pre-pay offer for breakfast for IHG Rewards Club members, which came to CFP 2,025 per person per night instead. That gives you a solid (albeit not stellar) breakfast buffet with good espresso, pancakes, bread and cheese (and many more options that I tend to ignore in case of peril to my own health).
The dining area would go upscale at night and most entrees would price around $50 per person before tax and service. We chose to stop by the pizzeria and grocery store right outside (but are not affiliated with the hotel) instead. The pizza was delicious (get a tomato base!) and was just $12 and the grocery store made it easy to fill up on water and alcohol supplies.
There weren't any other options in that village area that we liked; we bypassed a suspicious-looking burger place and snack bar. Vaitape town likely has more options (although we did not try there) and the hotel offers a return shuttle for CFP 1,800 per person. The main town also has a bigger grocery store with a wider selection.
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Review - Conclusion
In conclusion, this is certainly one of my favorite hotels in the world! The down-to-earth and friendly staff, the overwater bungalows and fast internet all provide the 'groundwork' for the incredible natural wonder that you have pretty much all to yourself. I could have spent days just hanging around the lagoon and dabbling in the water during the day and stargazing at night. It's really that beautiful that I want to go back already!
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