Unbeatable Views From InterContinental Resort Tahiti

Hotels in Tahiti have a long tradition of providing respite for weary travelers—oftentimes on their way to a destination far beyond the reaches of this remote corner of the Pacific administered by France.

In the earliest days of Trans-pacific commercial air travel, Tahiti served as a stopover for routings between North America and Australia. Today, it is often the pause point for those bound for luscious resorts elsewhere in the Society Islands.

While the InterContinental Resort Tahiti serves equally well as an ideal introduction to the islands of Tahiti or as a place to say farewell for an evening or two before a return journey, travelers who limit the resort to a mere waypoint are perhaps missing the very best of what this charming island and unbeatable property have to offer.

The resort is located on the side of a rocky cliff just minutes from the International Airport at Fa’a’a, easy for quick enroute overnights. The lobby is perhaps one of the most bustling anywhere on the island, with airline crews, guests and Tahitian bellmen often clad in just floral skirts offering an unforgettable welcome to arriving travelers.

One can’t lean on scantily clad staff for distraction for too long, however, for one of the most breathtaking views of the neighboring island of Moorea lies on the terrace just beyond the lobby. There the island’s mysterious mountain valleys are visible just beyond the sparkling aqua swimming pool, lagoonarium and Pacific Ocean.

Sunsets over Moorea can be downright lurid, and there’s a feeling of exotic wanderlust as the brilliant hues of orange, pink and goldenrod are interrupted only by surf, smiling waitstaff dropping off marinated olives to enjoy with aperitifs and the buzz of Air Tahiti flights arriving from other islands.

The hotel certainly imparts an international character, with a heritage design that evokes vacation snaps of yesteryear but with amenities and services still relevant to the contemporary traveler.

Guests with late evening or early morning departures will find benefit in the 24-hour coffee shop and plenty of options for early check-in and late checkout. Those wishing to pick up some easily accessible souvenirs can shop in the onsite boutique, and pearl shoppers will find a branch of the noted local pearl institution Robert Wan—with Tahitian pearls to suit most tastes and budgets.

Rooms and suites vary from traditional, perfunctory rooms well-suited for short layovers, to beach and overwater bungalows perfect for long, languid stays. In-room amenities are consistent with an upper upscale standard. With wonderful sunset views, a fine selection of restaurants, a popular weekly Tahitian dance show and Polynesian buffet, it’s easy to see why many guests spend their entire time on property.

The Polynesian show is certainly a sight to behold. The sumptuous buffet offers Polynesian cuisines of all types, with heavy emphasis on fresh-caught seafood and fresh local fruit. The show itself is presented with much enthusiasm by a professional troupe of dancers, who even danced in the midst of a deluge on the evening I visited, with exuberance no less diminished by the rainy blessing.

While convenient to the airport, the hotel is also minutes from the residential-feeling resort area of Punaauia—where there are plenty of seaside restaurants for long, luxuriant evening meals—and Papeete, where the excitement of the urban center and relaxed-yet-brisk pace of the daily public market provides plenty of opportunity to glimpse into Polynesian city life.

Chances for relaxation are varied and plentiful, with a main pool and man-made lagoon near the main building, plenty of entrances to the Pacific itself, and a graded entry infinity pool with a swim-up bar available in a quiet corner of the resort near the overwater bungalow accommodations.

Even transitory moments, however, are tranquil and charming, with exterior corridors leading to accommodations winding through groves of fragrant plumeria trees, interrupted only by room attendants’ cheerful calls of Ia Orana.

The Takeaway

While most excellent for a short stopover—travelers have been stopping over here for decades—there is plenty else to recommend this sumptuous resort on Tahiti’s West Coast: From cosmopolitan flavor, world-class amenities and convenient location, InterContinental Tahiti is a superb choice for visitors to Tahiti for stays long or short.

The Math

Rates start around $320 USD per night in the low season.

Instagrammable Moment

My posts of views from the lobby terrace garnered much comment and engagement.


InterContinental is a member of the IHG Rewards program.

Good To Know

The Lobby Bar Terrace is open 24 hours a day offering beverages, coffees and light snacks and meals.

Cocktails are expensive in French Polynesia—they’ll run around $20 USD at the hotel’s bars—but beer is comparably priced to similar hotels in North America. Highballs are served with a shot of alcohol and a mixer with a separate charge for each, though not significantly higher than any similarly rated hotel anywhere else in the world.

Free parking is abundant at the hotel; there is a dedicated key-access lot for guests.

As with most French-speaking countries, it’s advisable to trade greetings with staff (Bonjour/Bonsoir or Ia Orana) before starting your business.

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