We’ve stayed at a lot of 4 and 5 star “chain” properties over the years, but not at as many InterContinentals as other brands for some reason. And so, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to be guests at the InterContinental Mo’orea Resort & Spa during a recent press trip to Tahiti and Mo’orea.
There’s actually an InterContinental in Tahiti as well and although we didn’t stay there, our group attended a cocktail soiree on-site one evening. See our write-up on where we did stay and other hotel suggestions for Tahiti when you first land in French Polynesia.
The InterContinental Mo’orea location is about as idyllic as it gets. Imagine a sheltered bay, a clear, turquoise lagoon, and a stunning serene setting between the mountains and the sea.
Set on the northwest coast of the island of Mo’orea, amid 18 hectares of lush, unspoiled tropical terrain, the InterContinental Mo’orea location boasts a whole lot of solitude if that’s what you’re looking for — it certainly is a key consideration for us when we do hotel picks.
Nature, Wellness & the Environment
The InterContinental Mo’orea property is set on 11 hectares of beachfront gardens, is only 15 or so minutes from Belvedere Lookout and only 24 kilometers from Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course.
This place is ideal for nature lovers since the resort is nestled in a tranquil cove, with jagged volcanic peaks behind and the great expanse of the South Pacific in front. The beach is protected from the elements, the waters teem with sea life and the gardens bloom with more than 200 species of tropical plants and trees. Yes, really.
If you’re a turtle lover, you’ll love their Turtle Center on the property, which is really great if you’re traveling with children. The Turtle Center is a rehabilitation centre which was established in February 2004 by the Te Mana o Te Moana Association, in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment in an effort to protect the French Polynesian sea turtles.
On the five sea turtle species found in the French Polynesian waters, the Clinic has welcomed four different species in 11 years : the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead sea turtle and the Olive turtle. Most of the time, you will encounter the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle, which are the ones we saw during our stay there. Read more about the foundation here.
If you love turtles, chances are you have a soft spot for water and marine life. If this is the case, you’ll be thrilled to learn that they also have a Dolphin Center right on the premises. So cool, right? We thought so.
The Moorea Dolphin Center is a marine mammal’s education center which houses three bottlenose dolphins: two males, Lokahi and Kuokoa born in a Hawaiian facility, and one female, Hina, a San Diego US Navy retiree.
They offer educational and interactive programs, and you can register to experience a dolphin up close and I mean, really up close. You can swim with them in one of their programs, or in the one we did, give them a kiss, pat their tummy, hug them around the center and feel their fins. At the same time, you learn about marine mammals and their ecosystem which is an incredible opportunity for kids if you’re heading there for a family getaway.
Even if you don’t do one of the programs, you can walk at the vicinity of the center, observe the dolphins in their lagoon, and chat with the trainers. Apparently, 5% of their gross income supports diverse local programs and foundations, like the non-profit organization Te Mana O Te Moana and La Saga, dedicated to disadvantaged children.
Kayaker or Paddleborder?
Want a l’il meditation and wellness time? They’ve got you covered. The InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa is home to the first spa in French Polynesia: Hélène Spa. See our write-up on our spa experience with them in our Spas & Retreats section.
Food & Wine
They have other restaurant options outside the Buffet however the Buffet nights are wonderful because you can sit outside on the beach and there’s no shortage of options to choose from. The great thing about Tahiti and Mo’orea is that fresh raw fish is in abundance so you can eat sashimi every night and it won’t break the bank.
Below are some of the items on the buffet – there was also a massive chilled crab plate, fresh raw oysters, shrimp and a meat carving station as well. We paired our dinner with a French Chardonnay — because of the French influence, you find a lot of French wine on nearly every restaurant menu.
On certain nights of the week (Wednesday is one of them), they have themed nights and live entertainment. The show consists of French Polynesian dancers and performers who create magic for you while you dine. It starts at around 8 pm and goes for roughly an hour or so.
You can even get your photo taken with the performers if you wish to ham it up with them. I happened to also get up and dance with one of them — why not?
Walking through the grounds, you’ll also find other eateries, bars, a dive centre, water sports facilities and several boutiques. You can walk, hitch a ride on one of the carts or who knows, borrow a bike.
They have a couple of pool options to swim in and they are both directly facing the stunning ocean on one side and the breathtaking mountains on the other.
The rooms are warm in ambiance and filled with wood and wicker furnishings. There’s plenty of modern infusion as well with their large flat-screen TV’s and Wi-Fi, as well as minibars, tea and coffeemakers. Some bungalows add plunge pools or direct beach access, while others are set on piers over the ocean.
Below is a shot of my bed upon arrival.
Although many of these photos were taken on my Canon 7D, the sunset and food shots were shot on my iPhone. Go figure. Stunning South Pacific skies right?