InterContinental Tahiti. Good product, but service can be improved

This time I’m in Tahiti, on a business trip to Polynesia. Some will say I’m lucky, others, who know, know how intense these trips are and don’t leave much time to enjoy the place.

Booking

On the reservation side, I didn’t have much choice: my client booked this hotel for me and I didn’t have the control. Obviously, this is the lowest room category that was booked for me.
The reservation was made directly with the central, with direct billing to my client. You will see at the end of this report the inconveniences it caused.

Arrival and check-in

I arrived in this hotel after 22 long hours of flight in economy class, so I was completely exhausted.
There is no desk Ambassador and it is at the counter of the all coming that I am registered, having waited less than 5 minutes.
L’eThe check-in was very simple.nregistrement a été très simple. My Ambassador status was recognized immediately and I was given an upgrade to a Panoramic room overlooking the lagoon for 20 nights.
I was not offered assistance to bring my luggage to the room, so I walked the 300 meters to the room with all my stuff.

The room

Although not renovated, the room is very pleasant, all wood trimmed, which gives it a very Polynesian atmosphere.
First, a virtual tour in video :


It measures approximately 40 m2 and has a large balcony and therefore a breathtaking view of the lagoon and the neighboring island of Moorea.
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A welcome gift of fruit (as is customary for Ambassador guests) was placed in my room, along with a small box of coconut cakes. Unfortunately, the fruit plate will not be renewed every day, contrary to the practice of many IC hotels.
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The bed is very comfortable. Unfortunately, the sheets will only be changed every 3 days, which seems to me to be quite little in a hotel of this standing with the heat of Tahiti.
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The bathroom is well equipped with shower and corner bath.
The towels will be renewed every day, but not the bathrobes, so I will only have them for the first 2 days!

The facilities

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The hotel has two beautiful swimming pools and a lagoonarium. One of the two pools is quite classic, although being an infinity pool. It is the closest to the main building.
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The other pool, much more pleasant, has a sandy bottom and a very nice wet bar. Going swimming at sunset is a little pleasure that you should not deny yourself.
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The lagoonarium is quite new to me. It is a part of the lagoon “privatized” for the hotel like a swimming pool, and which allows to swim in the middle of fishes! Quite sensational.
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The fitness room, open 24 hours a day, is adjacent to the hotel’s spa. Elle est bien équipée et bien climatisée.

Catering

The hotel has 2 restaurants and 3 bars.
The main restaurant, Tiare, is located in the same building as the reception and offers 3 meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The breakfast offers an American buffet every day and Tahitian on Sundays (many locals come for brunch).
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If it is diversified, quality is not always there, especially at the level of the hot offer.
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The lunch/dinner menu is not very extensive, and you get a bit bored if you stay 20 nights like me. Moreover, although done with kindness, the service in the restaurant is not worthy of a 4 star hotel and even less of the intercontinental chain. It’s simple, except for the manager, I had the impression that the waiters were making their first service, so much it was each time ment and clumsy (wine not at temperature and spilled on the table, errors on the order, etc)
On the wine list, many out-of-stock items.

The quality of execution of the dishes on the other hand was good, but the dishes remained simple in their conception.
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On the bar side, on the other hand, nothing to complain about: nice cocktail menu and good execution.
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However, prices are still very high, both on food and drinks.

Le Tiaré restaurant offers two special evenings per week, on Wednesday and Friday evenings, where a buffet of Marquesas specialties (on Wednesday) or Tahitian specialties (on Friday) is offered at a prohibitive price (between 70 and 95 €, excluding drinks). I advise you to stay with the normal menu and enjoy the show.
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The other restaurant, supposedly gastronomic, Le Lotus, disappointed us a lot, because of its very bad value for money. More than 100 € per person with wine, for a quality worthy of a good Parisian brasserie.
The table setting is good, even if the oil and salt tasting borders on snobbery.
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The appetizer, a crème brûlée with foie gras, was excellent.
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The starter, a pan-fried foie gras, was poorly executed, obviously by a beginner.
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The dish was very average, the sauce much too strong and the meat just correctly cooked but without any particular work, a pity to massacre a fillet of beef like that.
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The dessert was decent, but not worthy of a gourmet restaurant either.
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In short, if you really want to eat well, I recommend Le Coco‘s, 10 minutes away by car. For the same price, you will have only excellence, and nothing else, tested at lunch and dinner.

Miscellaneous services

The Business Center, located near the reception, is not always properly staffed. Nevertheless, PCs and printers are available to customers at no extra cost.
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The laundry service is quite efficient and at prices comparable to hotels of the same standing in Europe, but beware, no dry cleaning on Sunday.

Check-out

Due to our late takeoff for the return trip, we had booked an extra night to enjoy the room before our departure.
So I checked out around 8pm. There was no problem of overloading, everything had been accounted for correctly. Efficiency and speed in the process therefore.

Customer service

This unprecedented chapter on TravelGuys to point out the major problems I had in getting my IHG points credited. Contrary to what my reservation indicated (of which I still have a copy), the points for the nights were not credited.
So I went through a tunnel of e-mails with the parent company, which told me that the stay was non-qualifying because it was not paid for by me. Yes, but who gets the points then? Nobody!
They really don’t want to hear anything, despite the ten or so emails sent.
If anyone from IHG is reading this, please contact me, without quoting the Terms & Conditions.

Bottom line

A very nice stay, but ruined by the stinginess of the IHG program.
On the other hand, the quality-price ratio of this stay is rather low, because the prices in Polynesia are prohibitive, for an average quality of service (comparable to metropolitan France). Do not expect the same level of service as in Thailand or Mauritius, because you will be disappointed.

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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