For our six night stay in Bora Bora, we spent the entire time at the Intercontinental Thalasso – all with points earned from credit card bonuses and purchased points (detailed here). Considering our room was retailing for over $1000/night the week we were there, we ended up saving a boat load of money. After checking in, it was time to see our Emerald Overwater suite. We were not disappointed.
The Difference Between Emerald, Sapphire, and Diamond Overwater Bungalows
One of the best things about the Intercontinental Thalasso is that they are currently booking award stays directly into Emerald Overwater bungalows. At most resorts in French Polynesia, you use your points to book a standard room and then pay a couple hundred dollars a night to upgrade to an overwater bungalow. For some reason, hopefully permanently, the Intercontinental Thalasso isn’t using it’s land based rooms (and there are only three), so a points or rewards night stay goes automatically into an Emerald Overwater bungalow.
There are four types of suites at the Thalasso – Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond, and Diamond Otemanu. As far as I can tell, the rooms are all the same – the only difference is your view. Emerald villas have a view of the beach (facing inland), Sapphire faces the lagoon, and Diamond villas face the main island. There are two types of Diamond villas, the most expensive ones face Mt. Otemanu directly. You can pay a standard upgrade charge to upgrade from Emerald to any of the higher ones, but I didn’t think it was worth it, since the rooms are pretty much the same. All rooms come with your own private dock from which you can jump straight into the water.
Emerald Overwater Villa #102 – Location
At first I was a little disappointed we were assigned to Villa #102. It is towards the front end of the pontoon and I thought it was going to be less private than others. In the end, I think my fears were a bit unfounded, the resort is very well designed and every bungalow feels pretty private. Sure, it would have been nice to have a direct view of Mt. Otemanu, but I didn’t think it was worth paying an extra $200/night – but you might. I actually didn’t mind having a view of the beach, it was kind of fun seeing what was going on at the resort. Also, since we were towards the beginning of the pontoon, we got to cut down on travel time when we needed to catch a ferry, which is nice because we are often late for things. One downside of being one of the first rooms is that if we had our do not disturb sign up, it would take housekeeping forever to double back to our room since the rooms are so far apart compared to a traditional hotel. I’ll touch on that more in another post about the service at the Thalasso.
Emerald Overwater Villa #102 – Living Room
Jess is the family photographer, so I had her take a bunch of pictures of the inside of our room. Like I said, all the rooms are the same, so all of them should look the same as ours did (though some are mirror images). Upon entering our room, the living room area was to the right and the bedroom and bathroom were to the left.
Upon checking in, we were given a plate of fruit and a complimentary bottle of water. I should have taken the bottle of water, because it was replaced each day but I’m pretty sure it was NOT complimentary after the first day. So beware of that if you care about such things. The complimentary bottle had a tag on it that said complimentary or something like that. Getting the fruit plate was nice, after the thirty three hour flight we needed some refreshment! Jess was a little disappointed because she expects better tropical fruit, though French Polynesia is pretty far from Taiwan and Hong Kong (which is where we get our view of tropical fruit from), so maybe that was why. We also received a bottle of red wine.
The living room has a television and a minibar. You can take food out of the minibar and put it on the shelf and housekeeping will take it away. Try to avoid eating the cookies by the coffee maker – also NOT free. So tricksy, these hotels. Anyway we cleared out our minibar and stored our drinks and snacks in there. About five to ten minutes after we had checked in we received a knock on the door – free champagne! I had told the hotel we were celebrating our five year anniversary and they gave us a nice bottle of bubbly.
My favorite feature of the entire room is the glass coffee table that looks down into the water. It even opens up so you can feed the nonexistent fish with fish food you can get from the pool house. But it’s really nice to look down at the water, especially at night. Plus, you can take neat-o camera shots.
Emerald Overwater Villa #102 – The Bedroom and Bathroom
The bedroom and bathroom are to the left of the front door and are very nicely appointed. The king sized bed is in front of a window which has a different view depending on whether you are in an Emerald, Sapphire, or Diamond room (see above). Honestly, I never sat on the bed admiring the view because when I was out in the water I could see inside other people’s rooms and I’d rather people not watch me on my bed!
There’s a night stand on each side of the bed and a table behind the bed as well. The alarm clock was placed in the middle between the two headboards, which was kind of weird because it was hard to find with all of the pillows. Speaking of which, Jess loves using Intercontinental’s pillow menu to order different pillows, but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that.
The bathroom was very nicely appointed with twin sinks, a shower, and a bathtub, all of which worked very nicely. We were also provided bathrobes – sometimes more than once a day. I swear there were times that there were like four bathrobes in our room.
I didn’t take a picture of the closet and toilet, but they were…nice? Haha. You aren’t missing much.
Emerald Overwater Villa #102 – Private Dock
The highlight of the room, of course, was that it was located directly above the water and provided direct access for swimming. There is a fresh water shower and a ladder going directly into the water. The water is warm, though it felt a bit cooler when it was cloudy. One thing to note, the water is super shallow and the bottom is sandy although there are some rocks. It was great being able to go straight into the water from our room, and the towels provided were more than enough. We even swam over to the main area of the resort a few times. “Swam”, since you could walk there in the waist deep water the whole way.
The Emerald Overwater Villa at the Intercontinental Thalasso was, quite frankly, amazing. It was a lovely room, with nice amenities, bed, living room, bathroom, and most importantly, a private dock for swimming. That it only cost us 50,000 IHG points really blows my mind. We signed up for the IHG Rewards cards solely for this stay – it was well worth it. If you’re interested in the card, this Flyertalk thread does a great job staying on top of the best current offer. I’ll talk about some of the other features of the hotel in later posts.
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