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  • Lauren Wood

Why IC Le Moana Might Be Your Best Option in Bora Bora

If you're looking for the perfect balance between luxury and affordability, InterContinental Le Moana is your best bet.

The InterContinental hotel chain boasts not one, but two properties in Bora Bora: InterContinental Thalasso and InterContinental Le Moana. Being the more affordable resort of the two, it is only natural to assume that Le Moana resort might be lacking in luxury, service or amenities in comparison to its more expensive counterpart. But boy, that assumption could not be further from the truth.

With all the amenities and stellar service of a five star resort, InterContinental Le Moana offers a luxurious stay in Bora Bora without the usual sky-high price tag that will give you apoplexy. Put simply, it is the perfect balance between the opulent, luxurious getaway you are looking for and a nightly room rate that you can afford. I would stay at InterContinental Le Moana over and over again, and am pleased to recommend the property to my readers.

The Service

As with any luxury property, the small details are what truly elevates one from mid-level to five star. InterContinental Le Moana offers thoughtful details that ensure the guest experience is stellar from start to finish. Guests are immediately greeted upon landing at BOB airport in Bora Bora, where uniformed staff collect your bags, place a plumeria lei around your neck to welcome you, and escort you to the speedboat that will transport you to the hotel. You likely won’t have to touch your bags again—other than to unpack your suitcase, of course—until you leave Bora Bora. After landing and being greeted by IC Le Moana personnel, your bags are safely loaded onto the speedboat and later delivered to your room, only to be picked up again upon your departure. Overpackers rejoice! Find solace in the fact that you won’t actually have to lug that heavy bag yourself.

The outstanding level of service continues upon arrival. After arriving, guests are then escorted into the bar, where they’re asked to sit and relax while non-alcoholic welcome drinks are served. Check-in is completed right there in your cushioned seat in the lounge area, with no credit cards exchanged or registration desk to stand and wait at (you simply fill out your information on a clipboard while you sip your welcome cocktail in the lounge). Finally, once you’ve finished off your tropical cocktail and have completed your paperwork, you’ll be given a brief tour of the main grounds and then escorted to your room. Again, while most mid-level resorts will simply hand you a key and send you on your way, IC Le Moana assigns a team member to show you the property, take you directly to your room (even if it’s all the way on the end of the overwater bungalow pathway, like ours) and show you how everything works in your room.

The personal touches don’t stop there. We were delighted to find macarons waiting for us in our bungalow, with a note from management saying they hoped we would enjoy our stay. Then each night thereafter, when the staff arrived at our room for turn-down service, we were given a set of fresh towels and more treats—this time cookies and miniature muffins.

Our fourth day in French Polynesia—and therefore our time to take another Covid test—fell during the time we were staying at Le Moana. I have to admit, I feel a bit guilty for travelers to French Polynesia who aren’t staying at a hotel and have to drive their results to a testing center. We simply performed our tests in the comfort of our beautiful overwater bungalow and walked the test results over to the front desk, where they made a notation of receiving them and put our samples in an insulated, cooled bag to deliver to the French government. So easy!

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We also were able to exchange American dollars for CFP right there at the desk as well. The exchange process could not have been more reasonable and the exchange rate they gave us was as good as what my Bank gave me back home.

The InterContinental Le Moana also has a fully staffed concierge desk, open from about 8 am to 7 pm each day, where you can reserve everything from rental cars to excursions, scuba diving and sky diving and even photography shoots to commemorate a honeymoon, baby moon or any special occasion you might be celebrating.

How InterContinental Le Moana is protecting its guests from Covid-19

The measures InterContinental Le Moana has put into place to protect its guests from additional exposure to coronavirus are apparent immediately upon arrival. Guests are required to put on their mask before even entering the speedboat that takes them to the property, and are encouraged to physically distance themselves from other passengers when taking a seat. At check-in, the process is completed in the lounge—at socially distanced tables—rather than have guests stand in line and congregate at the reception area. No credit cards are exchanged and all key cards have been sanitized.

While on the property, all guests are required to wear their face coverings in all public places, except when seated at their table to eat in the dining room, at the pool or enjoying water activities. At breakfast, limited people were allowed in the buffet line at a time, and guests were encouraged to socially distance rather than wait in busy lines. Tables are socially distanced away from other diners and a squirt of hand sanitizer into your hands was required upon entry. Guests were also denied entry to the restaurant if they forgot their mask, but of course, there were surgical grade masks available as a courtesy if you did forget one.

In the rooms at InterContinental Le Moana, the usual items that require a lot of touching from guest to guest were either sterilized or removed. While linens and towels are obviously washed and treated, room fixtures are carefully wiped down and things like TV remotes and hair dryers are carefully sterilized. Paper menus have all been removed, and you can find all the room service menus directly on your TV. They even had a Covid channel on the TV, outlining all the rules for the property and explaining the myriad ways the hotel is trying to keep its guests safe from additional exposure to Covid-19. Overall, we felt very safe.

You can tell that IHG as a company takes pride in the cleaning measures they have put into place at their properties. Since long before this pandemic began, IHG developed a partnership with leading industry experts Ecolab and Diversey to develop top of the line hygiene and cleaning technologies and services at all of their properties. Since July of this year, all IHG properties have also instituted procedures requiring face coverings to be worn in all public spaces at all hotels in the Americas. In most cases, that also extends to other IHG properties across the globe.

The Amenities

Our overwater bungalow had everything we could have wanted or needed in a room. With a super spacious master bedroom (with a king bed, of course)—complete with a TV and incredible view of the water—and separate living room with a couch, see-through glass table, desk, minibar and TV, we had more space than we needed. The master bathroom was also quite large—spanning the entire length of the bungalow—starting with a large closet, separate seating area and vanity, dual sinks, bathtub, open air shower and separate toilet. We of course had all the amenities that you would expect in a high-end property: fragrant, high quality soaps and shampoos, a coffee maker (with coffee and tea) in the room, tea kettle, multiple charging ports throughout, including USB ports so you don’t need to use a converter, an ironing board, life vest, safe and so much more. The room—and the bed!—were so comfortable that we rarely wanted to leave.

The food at the resort absolutely blew us away and tremendously exceeded our expectations! Though we didn’t dine in the main dining room for dinner, we did oft for room service for dinner twice during our stay and could not have been happier! The food was exemplary—the best that we had since being in French Polynesia. Our first night, we ordered a Greek salad to share, pasta carbonara, poisson cru, and a chocolate mousse dessert. Those dishes were so good that we ordered the Greek salad and chocolate mousse again on our third night, this time also choosing a Polynesian-inspired chicken dish and pasta bolognese.

One of my favorite things about staying at Le Moana is that because you are on the main island, you don’t feel “stuck” like you do at the other resorts. Sitting on the southernmost tip of Bora Bora, you can walk out of the resort and immediately find a small food truck (great for snacks and lunch) and another full size restaurant (allowing you to have the option to diversify your food options and eat off property). Because you’re on the main island, you can also drive, scoot or cycle around and explore—which is not something you can do at the other properties.

Not more than 5 minutes outside of the resort, you will also find an Avis counter, where you can rent everything from small cars to off-road vehicles and scooters to bicycles. On our first full day at the resort, we rented bicycles and biked into town, which is what led us to decide to dine at nearby Bloody Mary’s that evening. We biked past the most beautiful public beach, Matira beach, then stopped by Bloody Mary’s restaurant to read the list of famous guests they have outside on the sign, and finally road into town to go to the market and pick up some snacks and beverages.

On our second full day, we rented a car and drove the island. Thankfully, after hemming and hawing about how long we wanted the car (should we rent for the full day? 4 hours? 8 hours?) we decided on four hours (mostly because of the price—renting cars in Bora Bora is expensive—over $100 USD for a small manual car for the day). Well, four hours ended up being plenty of time, since it only took us 45 minutes to drive the circumference of the island, including all our stops at small beaches, to take in the scenery, to take photos, stop for snacks and drinks, etc. After driving the entirety of the island and stopping at Matira beach to eat the small sandwiches we had packed (we picked up a baguette, cured meats and some French cheese the day before, and then made sandwiches in our room before we left), we were bored after 2 hours and ended up returning the car early. So the moral of the story is: you don’t need to rent for more than 4 hours. Trust me.

Staying at InterContinental Le Moana also affords you the ability to easily eat off property, if you choose. Though the food at Le Moana is excellent, if you are staying for more than a few days, it’s only natural to want the option to eat off property. There is a super cute smoothie truck directly outside the resort (less than a 2 minute walk), as well as another restaurant with great dinner options within short walking distance as well. And of course, you can’t make a trip to Bora Bora main island without stopping for dinner or drinks at the infamous Bloody Mary’s, which is just down the street from Le Moana by about 10 minutes. Be sure to ask the concierge to make a reservation for you though—they are so popular that reservations often fill up quickly.

The resort is also chalk-full of options for water sports. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT have to just sit and sunbathe or lay on the beach (although that is a perfectly acceptable option). With snorkel masks and fins available—free of charge—for guests to use at their leisure, you can snorkel right from the comfort of your overwater bungalow. Since the overwater bungalow decks all have ladders that lead into the ocean, getting in and out for a quick dip or swim is so easy.

The resort is also chalk-full of options for water sports. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT have to just sit and sunbathe or lay on the beach (although that is a perfectly acceptable option). With snorkel masks and fins available—free of charge—for guests to use at their leisure, you can snorkel right from the comfort of your overwater bungalow. Since the overwater bungalow decks all have ladders that lead into the ocean, getting in and out for a quick dip or swim is so easy.

If you are the active type, the resort also has kayaks, paddle boards, Hobie Cats and Polynesian outrigger canoes available for use, complimentary. And if that’s not enough, you can always head over to the concierge desk and schedule an excursion to swim with sharks and sting rays, take a sunset cruise, do a guided hike or ATV tour, or even go skydiving or take a helicopter around the island. The possibilities are endless!

Everything you need to know about your next stay at the InterContinental Le Moana in French Polynesia
Hotel Highlight: InterContinental Le Moana

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