Jetsetting at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa

When I first told us some of my friends in the Bay Area that I was going to Tahiti, a lot of them thought that it was in the middle of nowhere and it would take me so many hours to get there. But just like in any of my travels, I really want to inspire and add more knowledge even to the well-traveled.

Since late last year United and French Bee, a budget airline, started a direct flight from SFO to Papeete, Tahiti, which would only take eight decent hours. When you land in the capital of Papeete, a small city, you can find a mix of large resorts as well as Airbnbs.

Intercontinental hotel
Over-the-water bungalows at the Intercontinental Hotel in Papeete
Couples can head to Bora Bora because it is definitely a place for honeymooners for a romantic getaway, but it is also an extra flight away. Since my travel buddy and I only had 4 days to spare, we decided to make Papeete our home base at the Intercontinental Hotel and went on day trips to the sister island of Bora Bora called Moorea, a 45-minute ferry ride away.

I was grateful to be able to stay at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa in Fa'aa, which is only a stones throw away from the airport. The hospitality and the service at the InterContinental were just as expected of the brand. We did not have any problems with checking in very early at 4 AM in the morning.

What I was really hesitant about at first is booking the Intercontinental's Friday Polynesian show, Soirée Merveilleuse, since I was expecting that the food will not be as good. However I was really astounded with the array of offering from Tahitian raw seafood, such as tuna and salmon, to suckling pig plus multiple desserts and fruits, including the must not miss Tahitian mangoes that are hard to find in the US or in Asia. I was highly entertained with the Polynesian program and even got some surprising lessons on how to dance the Tahitian way up on stage.

polynesian show
Some of the dancers at the Intercontinental's Polynesian Friday show
Even though the island of Papeete is known for surfing, it does not fare well with beach goers especially with its black sand. Moorea, however, is a different story. The highlight of my short trip is snorkeling in the warm, crystal blue water of Moorea with stingrays and black tip sharks up close and personal.

Spot the shark?
On our third and last day,  we started with a half day, morning tour of the city of Papeete. Thanks to our tour guide, Fabrice, of Tahiti Eden Tours for imparting knowledge on the history of the island and its ancient traditions, specifically at the 'Ārahurahu Marae temple, which I enjoyed the most. We also bumped into a Tahitian family having a photoshoot during our short stop at the waterfall of Tiarei Faarumai. Since the family had a distinct East Asian look, Fabrice later told us that the Taiwanese were one of the first Asian settlers in French Polynesia.
A Tahitian family in their wacky pose! 
After the city tour and spending more time under the sun in the hotel, we were able to freshen up at the InterContinental's transit room, which is a huge benefit for any weary traveler, before departing later in the evening; note that most flights depart back to San Francisco around 9 PM.

Disclaimer: I was provided a media rate from the InterContinental Hotel and Tahiti Eden Tours. 

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