Perched nicely on the southern point of Bora Bora you’ll find the unassuming Intercontinental Le Moana. It consists of 64 total bungalows; 12 on the beach and 52 over-the-water (OTW). It’s a small, friendly resort with lots of privacy. For those seeking a Tahitian experience and don’t need, or want, a larger sprawling resort, the Le Moana might be the perfect fit. It’s a 30-year old property, but it’s age doesn’t show. Quaint, quiet, cozy, and romantic is how I’d sum up the experience at Le Moana.
The property is well laid out with all open-air common areas. You are greeted with a tiare scented cooled towel at check-in and provided your room key. Reception is open 24-hours for any needs you might have. Just across from the check-in desk is the small boutique for sundries and souvenirs. Continuing past those you arrive at the center of the resort – I said it was small! On your left is the restaurant, in front of you is where the WEEKLY Polynesian show is held, and on the right is the Concierge area. At the Concierge, you can pre-arrange spa treatments, reserve a water taxi, reserve tours, and also access the business center (one computer and printer). Behind the Concierge, is the bar where each evening there is a happy hour special for select drinks and cocktails. Make sure you check out the flavored rums they have steeping on top of the bar!
Continuing on beyond the bar, is the Le Moana’s pool, beach, and outdoor seating areas for dining. The beach connects to Matira Beach. Matira Beach is known for having the most beautiful unobstructed sunset. Matira is also a public beach as you leave the hotel grounds so you can walk along it and stop at any restaurants on the way. Bring a pair of water shoes since there is broken coral that could be rough on the feet. It’s a long stretch of beach, so you could spend easily half the day or more just walking the entire stretch and then coming back. (“Best sunset” in Bora Bora is, of course, subjective. The other famous sunset is when you’re facing Mt. Otemanu at the Intercontinental Thalasso.)
Instead of heading out to sprawling beachfront of Matira Beach (like we did on our visit), you can definitely just hang around the Le Moana’s beach of sugary white sand. There’s shade provided by the swaying palm trees and plenty of loungers. There’s even a hammock! Near the boardwalk to the over-the-water (OTW) bungalows is the watersports and craft hut. Stop by there to check out a kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP). Don’t forget to try your hand at some complimentary crafts, too, as souvenirs or attend a complimentary demonstration like coconut opening. Maybe you’ll have a knack at weaving a bag from pandanus leaves!
There is no spa facility at the Le Moana. Guests would arrange a treatment at the Intercontinental Thalasso on the other side of the lagoon. A complimentary water taxi is provided for those with reserved spa treatments. Booking a spa service also allows you access to the water therapies available at the Thalasso property all day, so take advantage! Book your preferred time so that you can enjoy the water therapies before AND after the treatment. Enjoy a leisurely lunch or snack at the Thalasso then ride back on your water taxi to the Le Moana. It really is a lovely day and the water taxi ride is only about 20-25 minutes one-way.
Speaking of the Thalasso property, you might be wondering if guests of Le Moana can spend a day at the Thalasso if they don’t have a spa treatment booked. The answer is YES. For a small sum of about $27 USD/2712 XPF roundtrip per person, guests of the Le Moana can spend the day at the Thalasso – sit by the pool, enjoy the restaurants, swim at the beach. The cost for the water taxi in the evening is slightly higher. You must pre-reserve your spot on the water taxi through the Concierge.
In touring the rooms, all are decorated the same across the categories. The beach bungalows do not have a coffee table that opens – those are unique to the OTW bungalows so you can feed the fish. Each bungalow can hold a maximum of two adults and one child; the king bed can separate into two twins. Have you seen those iconic pictures of an outrigger canoe delivering breakfast to an OTW bungalow? That was started by the Le Moana! What a special touch that would make for your stay, right?
The shallow waters around the bungalows show off the crystal-clear lagoon that Bora Bora is so famous for. As you gaze into the distance, you can see the differences in lagoon depth by the gradations of cerulean and turquoise blues. The most famous pearl garden in Bora Bora is snorkeling distance from the OTW bungalows boardwalk, too, if you are a good swimmer (not that there’s current per se, but it is a few hundred yards). With the shallow waters surrounding the bungalows, it would be ideal for those who want a little more safety versus open ocean for swimming from their bungalows. Jumping into the water isn’t recommended here, but the trade-off is gentle relaxing waves and picturesque beauty.
With the Le Moana being on the main island of Bora Bora, you also get easier access to town for shopping and restaurants so you are not beholden to the property. The hotel offers a shuttle into town twice per day for approximately $15 USD/1500 XPF per person roundtrip. A taxi would run approximately $20 USD/2000 XPF one-way for the same trip. A stop at Bloody Mary’s is usually a must-do for most visitors – and hey, you never know if you happen to see someone famous over there! And Bloody Mary’s offers a shuttle service to/from most hotels if you make a reservation, so plan ahead and you could save some cash (that you’ll likely spend on a t-shirt souvenir like we did!).