Intercontinental Moorea. The landscape is no excuse for mediocrity

During my recent trip to French Polynesia, which I mentioned in an article about Air Tahiti Nui and theIntercontinental Papeete Resort, I spent a weekend on the beautiful island of Moorea, a 40 minute ferry ride from Papeete or a 15 minute flight from Faa’a, the airport of Tahiti.

Booking

The reservation was made by contacting the IHG Pacific reservation center directly. The response time is low (more than 24 hours), but the service is friendly. No credit card was requested for the reservation.
I booked a Garden Bungalow with individual pool. Upon check-in, an upgrade to a Bungalow on stilts was confirmed.

Check-in

I arrived by car around 1pm at the hotel. The lobby is superb, completely open to the outside.
The receptionist welcomed me but told me that my room would not be available immediately. A welcome drink was served to me.
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About an hour later, my room was finally ready, even though I had to ask several times to speed things up. The key was encoded directly until 4 pm, benefiting from the Ambassador status. However, this was not mentioned to me, and I had to get it confirmed (not without difficulty) during the day.

Room

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In order to get to my bungalow, I took a buggy driven by a baggage handler. There, the baggage handler was of no assistance. Not only did he not help me with my luggage (I had to load it and unload it myself in his buggy, we are far from a Premium Experience) and he didn’t say a word during the trip, in spite of my different attempts to start a conversation. His only word, a sexist remark towards the vehicles of the maids (“Woman at the wheel, Death at the turn”).
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The assigned bungalow is not completely on stilts. Only the terrace is, the rest is on land. Little disappointment.
The interior is pretty, with a Polynesian decoration, but we can see that it is not very young and that a good renovation is necessary.
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A short virtual visit to illustrate my point:

I admit to being a bit harsh on my assessment, but considering the price paid (over 350 € for the night), I think my remarks are legitimate.
The fact that you can access the lagoon directly from your bungalow is something extraordinary that I recommend to everyone. However, the place is not very fishy.
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The air conditioning is provided by “old-fashioned” devices, so it is very noisy, I advise you not to activate it to sleep.
The bed is very comfortable, as usual in the chain.
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The bathroom is the most dated room in the bungalow, and the shower splashes everywhere.
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The wifi is of good quality.
But overall, life in the bungalow is quite pleasant.
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A quick look at the water under the bungalow at night:

Facilities and services of the property

The facilities of the establishment are very nice, but the surroundings have a lot to do with it. Nevertheless, I find that the pathways deserve a stronger lighting, because it is difficult to walk at night.
The hotel has two swimming pools located near the lobby: during the day, they are very busy, and it is difficult to put your towel on a free deckchair.

The beach is very pleasant, but is small and seats are also limited during the day.
My advice: relax on your bungalow terrace during the day, and go there at sunset. The place is deserted, and the view is sublime.
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The sea turtle conservatory is very disappointing.

Only 2 or 3 big turtles are present, and, I must say, they are not in good shape. There are activities on the signs, but I didn’t really see any.
The dolphin pool also disappoints a lot, not by its quality, but rather by the price of the activities which, at this level, is not even prohibitive but simply outrageous. How dare they propose 30 minutes activities at more than 250 € per person? Get away from it all, and do these activities in the Dominican Republic or Mexico, for 5 times less money and the same quality.
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The concierge service was also of poor quality: in addition to the fact that the activities proposed by the hotel were almost all full, the concierge did not tell us that the activity booked for us required special equipment, nor that payment in cash was compulsory, which created great embarrassment at the end of the activity.

The fitness room is very nice, but the signage is a bit strange.
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Restaurants

The service at the poolside bar is very good: quality cocktails, great flexibility in the use of drink coupons given at check-in. Very attentive service.
The dinner service at the restaurant was quite poor. In addition to the rather weak menu, the waiters were not very attentive to the customers’ requests, the champagne was served hot (sic!) and the bill was very expensive.
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The hotel offers dinner shows, but the prices are prohibitive.
The breakfast is of rather average quality, the buffet offering a rather poor quality of ingredients.

Departure

The departure formalities were carried out without any particular hitch, the invoice was perfectly correct.

Conclusion

An overall average performance. The hotel is lucky to have such a location, otherwise it would clearly not be worthy of its 4 stars. Other hotels on the island have better reputations, including PPT the Hilton and the Sofitel, which I would gladly test on a future stay.

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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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