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Bora Bora InterContinental Resort & Thalasso Spa – hotel review

Experience the tropical Tahitian paradise in a secluded setting with panoramic views and crystal-clear waters.

Where is it? In the azure­-blue paradise that is Bora Bora, the jewel of the French Polynesian islands. Accessible only by boat, the resort is positioned directly in front of the majestic Mount Otemanu, providing the most picturesque views in the region. On one side lies the wild open ocean, and on the other (where the resort faces), is a tranquil lagoon that is so bright it looks as though it’s lit from below.

Style? Contemporary island-­chic. Each of the 80 overwater bungalows is beautifully appointed with luxe interiors and sleek architecture. Traditional Polynesian aesthetics feature throughout, complementing the stunning natural landscape.

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The bungalows are more spacious than most urban apartments, with five distinct areas: bedroom, living room, walk-in wardrobe, bathroom, and a double-level sundeck, leading right into the lagoon. Large windows feature in every room, framing the heavenly, postcard–like scenery. The coffee tables are also made entirely from glass and have removable tops, so guests are able to feed the fish from the comfort of their own lounges. The hut­‐style bungalows are designed to suit all weather conditions: they can open right up, allowing easy access to the water, but can also be made to feel plush and inviting if the rain sets in. Spending the day in the large modern bathtub overlooking the lagoon ‐ or watching movies on one of the two flat-screen televisions  wouldn’t be all that bad.

Facilities: The Thalasso Spa is one of the resort’s key attractions and is considered to be the best in all of Bora Bora. The resort also features three restaurants, a cocktail bar, a 24-hour fitness centre, a spa and pool, tennis courts, an overwater chapel, and the recently opened ‘Secret Garden of Love’ – reminiscent of Paris’s Pont des Arts, where guests can seal their love with a lock – an appropriate feature for such a romantic destination.

Extra-­curricular: Many people (primarily couples) visit Bora Bora to relax in the sun and recharge; however, those seeking a more adventurous itinerary have a vast array of options available.

The concierge offers glass bottom boat cruises, aquabiking, aqua safaris, submarine tours, Jeep safaris, mountain trekking, ATV riding, parasailing, helicopter sightseeing rides, kite surfing, fishing trips, catamaran excursions and private boat rentals. There are also various complementary activities, including paddle-boarding, kayaking and stingray feeding each afternoon.

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Food and Drink: The resort has three restaurants: Sands, Reef, and Le Corail and a cocktail bar, Bubbles. The menus have clearly been designed to cater to all tastes (you’ll find typical Western cuisine alongside more exotic options), though the star items are the local dishes that incorporate fresh seafood and produce from the region. Breakfast is served in a traditional buffet style, though a chef is on hand to whip up fresh waffles, omelettes, pancakes, and Nutella crepes. This is where the vacation anti-­diet begins… The cocktail menu is extensive and inventive at Bubbles, and Happy Hour is always a hit. The bartenders offer the usual umbrella-­topped holiday cocktails and potent (yet delicious) mixes. My personal favourites were the lychee martinis and spicy margaritas.

Which room? Unlike other resorts in the area, every room is positioned over the water; so all guests can enjoy the novelty of diving into the lagoon straight from their bungalow balcony. The best room category would have to be the Sapphire Room (unless you’re willing to splash out on the Diamond Suite, which is the top of the line). Opt for a bungalow with a view of the iconic Mount Otemanu, ideally a few back from the end, where speedboats transport tourists to and from the airport at all hours.

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Best for: Couples and honeymooners – there really isn’t anywhere else on earth that is more suitable for a romantic escapade. Families were there, but the area as a whole is generally tailored towards couples -­ the ‘just married’ and ‘wifey’ tee shirts being worn at the airport made that clear from the get-­go.

When should you go? Between April and November is known to be the safest weather-­wise. December through until March can be quite erratic; sometimes there will be clear skies and sunshine, but on the flipside, there can be long periods of rain (as in bucketing down for two weeks straight – not ideal for a summer holiday). It’s definitely a gamble visiting during ‘off season,’ but the benefits are lower prices and fewer crowds.

We visited in March and there was sun all day, every day, but the weeks prior were apparently overcast and wet. We would recommend going at either the beginning or end of high season.

Price: Around £950; though this fluctuates from high to low season.

Details: thalasso.intercontinental.com

Note: Flights from Papeete (mainland Tahiti), where most international flights arrive, don’t always arrive in time for an internal connection to Bora Bora. The InterContinental Tahiti is a good option for an overnight stay before a morning flight; tahiti.intercontinental.com.

Amy Harris is a fashion, travel and lifestyle editor. Follow her on Instagram @amylouise_bailey or Twitter @ALB_editor.

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