Considered one of the finest islands of the French Polynesian chain, Bora Bora is characterized by its central island and outlying atolls which are known locally as motus. Startlingly beautiful white beaches and water as clear as the air itself charm visitors and promise a memorable vacation that centers around relaxation and enjoyment of the natural beauty of the island. So, the five-star Intercontinental Bora Bora is a stunning resort offering its guest private access to exquisite beaches and views over the lagoon from its overwater bungalows.
Accommodation type: 5-star
No. of Rooms & Suites: 80
Pricing: starts at $952 for overwater bungalows
High season: May through October
Nearest airport: Bora Bora Airport (BOB)
Suitable for: couples, honeymooners
• TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice, 2017
• Australasia’s Leading Green Hotel, 2017
• Travel + Leisure’s World Best Awards “#4 Best Resort Hotel in the South Pacific,” 2016
The Intercontinental Bora Bora lies on its own private motu, or outlying island, across the lagoon from the main island. This allows for a feeling of exquisite privacy and exclusive beach and lagoon access for guests. Built in 2007, the resort features overwater bungalows as accommodation. These self-contained residences offer more than 1,000 square feet of living space. That comprise a sitting room with glass-bottomed area allowing visitors to view the fish swimming in the water below. There’s also an outdoor terrace with beautiful views. Bedrooms are comfortably furnished in Polynesian style with generously sized beds, ceiling fans, state-of-the-art electronics and large bathrooms. There are also private outdoor showers in each bungalow for guests to refresh after a dip in the lagoon.
In addition to several restaurants and bars, the resort also offers special activities like breakfast in a Polynesian-style canoe and theme nights. Moreover, an extensive list of recreational activities will keep guests amused from dawn to dusk. Including ocean excursions, traditional handicraft demonstrations, and classes on how to prepare traditional Polynesian meals.
• Reef and Le Corail Restaurants — Al fresco views and local specialties characterize the experience at Reef, the resort’s buffet-style restaurant. Coupled with the French-Tahitian fare is a variety of dance performances showcasing Polynesian culture. Its more formal counterpart is Le Corail, a swanky French restaurant with an extensive wine cellar.
• Deep Ocean Spa and Fitness Centre — the centerpiece of the resort, the 43,000-square-foot spa space embraces the ocean theme with signature treatments taking inspiration from the flawless water surrounding the resort. Therefore, enjoy a range of procedures that include seawater therapy, the healing wisdom of the ancient inhabitants of the islands. And also products that utilize local minerals, flowers, and healing plants. The Fitness Centre is just off the lobby and includes cardio equipment and free weights. There’s also an outdoor jogging track through the jungle.
• Sands Bar and Restaurant — serving up casual bites to eat and excellent cocktails, this bar is named for its advantageous location right on the beach facing the lagoon. Perfect for a quick meal or drink before heading off to the pool or lounging on a chair by the water.
Guests have complete use of the Intercontinental Bora Bora’s sister property, Le Moana, including use of the free water shuttle to get there. Guests of the resort also have free use of water toys, such as kayaks, snorkel gear, paddle boards and canoes. There are also beach volleyball areas and ping pong tables set up near the lagoon.
After visitors exit their plane at the airport, resort staff from the Intercontinental Bora Bora greet them with fresh flower leis. Then they escort them immediately to the resort’s private ferry for the 35-minute ride to the resort. Upon arriving at the resort’s private dock, both visitors and luggage are transferred to the golf carts which will carry them to the resort’s check-in area. Guests receive ice tea and get the chance to refresh themselves with cold towels during check-in. The resort maintains day rooms with luggage storage for those who need to arrive or leave outside of regular hours.
Main Attractions Around Intercontinental Bora Bora
Bora Bora Lagoonarium
Far more authentic than a mere aquarium, the Lagoonarium is a naturally enclosed body of water housing many varieties of fish and sea life. Several tour companies on the island provide a variety of different experiences in the lagoon, from snorkeling to scuba diving. Daily feedings of the fish ensure visitors have prime opportunities to see and interact with different species. There are sea turtles, parrot fish, stingrays, and sharks. Also, guides prepare visitors for interacting with the species and provide advice on the best spots to locate them.
Bora Bora’s principle city boasts just 4,900 residents, roughly half of the island’s total population. The city lies at the foot of breathtaking Mount Otemanu, which rises a dramatic 2,181 feet from Vaitape‘s sea level altitude. Sprawling in the shadow of the volcano, the city boasts palapa-roofed shops, and galleries featuring the works of local artists. As well as casual pubs, and spots to try the local cuisine. Also, strolling the streets makes for a diverting afternoon. And the glimpses over the lagoon combined with views of the volcano make the city an unforgettable aspect of any visit to the island.
Avid hikers and photographers alike will enjoy scaling this distinctive volcano, either by foot or by way of jungle jeep tours. The legend says it was the original point from which the Polynesian islands were formed, its iconic silhouette looms over Bora Bora. Moreover, the views from its heights are superb, encompassing much of the island and its incomparable lagoon. Visitors can snap photographs, hike the trails and enjoy the scenery. There are also helicopter companies offering a unique way to enjoy the volcano from above.
In conclusion, an almost dreamlike and haunting beauty makes Bora Bora a trip to remember. Its turquoise water, soaring volcano and white sand providing an iconic backdrop for a fascinating Polynesian culture rich in history and mystique. Have you ever visited Bora Bora? Perhaps you’ve even had a chance to stay at the Intercontinental Bora Bora hotel and enjoy some of its many amenities? Let us know all about your experiences in the comments below.