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The Savaiian Hotel(Salelologa)(Great Value!)
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Reviewed 12 November 2008

I recently spent a month in Samoa.

After a week in a fale' in Manase, I was ready to go home. Howling onshore winds, lagoons too shallow for swimming at low tide and too dangerous to swim in near reefs at high tide, narrow beaches, heavy stodgy food, gettoblaster music and all-night traffic noise were not my idea of an island retreat.

I drove right around Savai'i (and later Upolu) to see if there was anything better. I only decided to stay in Samoa when I found Lusia's. The resort is tucked into a bay on the south eastern side of the island with the lagoon protected from head on winds by an outer coral reef several hundred metres from the shore. It more than lived to its reputation as Lonely Planet's "Authors Choice" for resorts on Savai'i.

Lusia’s is walking distance from the inter-island ferry or a short 2 tala taxi ride to banks and the market. I loved watching the ferries come and go, purring their way in the channel to and from Upolu. There are also interesting walks around the coast from the hotel where you walk through native forest with beautiful trees and see the farming of local produce. It is also possible to bike around the coast or ride out on many other quiet roads.

Most significantly, in a country where heavy clearing is the rule, the owners of Lusia's have taken environmentally responsible route and blended their resort into the forest. More than this, they actively support conservation and the protection of Samoa's natural heritage and traditions. Refreshing to have no concrete and lovely wooden walkways, bridges and bungalows. There are pretty lamps that light up the way through the bush to your fale’ at night. The restaurant is a large open room made of natural materials and it was easy to forget the outside world, especially at night when you could feel secluded in this green oasis of natural beauty. The gardens of the resort are beautifully kept with hundreds of indigenous plants, shrubs and flowers. The resort also has an excellent library.

One of my criteria for this trip was all day swimming. At Lusia’s it is possible to swim (train as opposed to getting wet) at high and low tides. It was even safe to swim when the surf was quite rough. I am a competent swimmer but am always wary of the open sea. I did not find, or hear of rips or pulls anywhere in the bay. The lagoon is full of fish especially on the incoming tide as huge shoals of game fish come over the reef to feed. The inner coral reef is relatively unspoiled because of the deep water and has masses of colourful rock-feeder fish and flora. I had many hours of snorkelling fun.

Close to the shore the water feels cooler on the surface than half a metre under the surface. Through my goggles it looked like there was an oily layer on the sea. Apparently this is from the fresh water spring which runs into the rock pool at the resort. Once you swim through and mix the waters the water is crystal clear and you can see through many metres to the sandy seabed.

I went out several times on my own in a kayak and paddled around the lagoon, the reef and surrounding bays. The ferry channel lights make it possible to stay within the confines of the larger bay and not venture into open sea unless you specifically chose to. The early mornings were especially quiet and rewarding. It was wonderful to see the abundant birdlife and the odd sea turtle feeding in the shallows.

I was delighted to discover a menu that offered rice, salads, sushi, panzit, fruit salad and other light meals. I was told by a resort owner at Manase not to miss the grilled tuna and chips at Lusia’s - it was as good as it gets. Nice to have deserts too. The coffee ice cream is to die for.

The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They went out of their way to see that I got what I needed. I was recovering from a badly broken ankle and felt that all the staff looked out for me and helped make moving about easy and safe. They lowered kayaks from the deck into the water, made useful suggestions about shopping, walks and touring. I found them on hand but particularly respectful of my privacy. They gave me a discount for a long stay, arranged special meals on the deck and adjusted the TV aerial to get a better reception. When I asked for a cloth, a broom, a bucket they were delivered to my room promptly. There was always someone on duty at or near the reception desk and they happily answered questions or called for taxi rides. They tuned and retuned the lounge TV so we could watch the Olympics and an All-Black rugby match. The sound system played back-ground music that was not invasive – unusual in Samoa. They did accept my credit card. Nothing was too much trouble for any of them.

I had a self-contained fale over the water which had a large sliding door out to the deck in front of the bedroom and it was private enough to keep the curtains open and watch as well as hear the ocean 24/7. There is a ladder from this deck straight into the water below so I had my own access when I chose not to use the public ladder or the jumping deck. There was air-con in the room but it was not hot enough to use it. I did use the hot water though :-). The room was serviced twice a week and used cups and plates were collected daily.

I did not miss a beach after having been sand-blasted at all the other beaches I visited and I loved the wooden deck over the water. There are tables on the deck under the sun as well as under a roof so you can have meals or sunbathe, laze or read as you fancy. The resort has locals drop in daily for meals and drinks – to my mind always a sign of endorsement.

Before I left, we were all treated to traditional Samoan community ceremony and fiafia by a very professional dance company from Upolu. I had the opportunity to meet the owners at this ceremony and to hear their vision and passion for the resort and the protection of the island's heritage. They personally asked the guests about their comfort and for feedback on their experience at Lusia's.

I loved my time at Lusia’s and am planning to go back. I would also unequivocally recommend it to anyone.

Definitely my idea of an island style holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank tuitoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2008

We stayed for THREE WEEKS at Lusia's and loved it. They have the BEST FOOD on Savai'i (we tried lots of places and the European car rental guy also said the same thing) by a Philippino chef. We recommend the starters (see below), grilled fish, and the stir-frys, noodles and lots more.

We left another beachfront fale resort after a few days (meat, taro and 2 veg every night, windy, sand in everything, noisy). At Lusia's we stayed in the waterfront suite with its own deck, great shower, air con, and small fridge. The dawns were beautiful. It was quiet.

We swam twice a day (one of the reasons we stayed there) and the sheltered lagoon is excellent for swimming and snorkelling (occasionally murky but only in places where it mixes with the freshwater spring and when it is extra windy - but just go down about a meter underneath the top layer that gets stirred up by the wind and its much clearer). Kayak or an easy 50m swim out to the reef, which is less than most other resorts, but you can also swim around by the shore all the way which is not too much further, great diving and jumping off the large deck where you can have lunch.

Lusia's staff served us a superb romantic birthday dinner on the deck with lobster, good white wine, and our favourite starters - the yellowtail in lime juice and ginger and the fresh tuna in soya and garlic.

No beach but not a problem as all of the dozen beaches we went to were hard to enjoy because of the constant strong wind (almost every day for the 25 days we were in Samoa) and sand got into everything.

Easy 10-15 minute stroll into town.

Some of the other reviews leave us wondering if they stayed at the same place! They DO take credit cards, the rooms and the linen were clean, the bikes worked, and the staff were friendly.

We toured both islands and visited all the budget and mid-range places on Upolu and Savai'i and for our needs (quiet for writing, good food, and good swimming) Lusia's was the best by far.

BTW watch out for "Henry," a little black fish about 2 inches long whose home territory is the bottom step of the ladder to the big deck. Very harmless and fun to watch but just try to catch him!

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Michael-Kaitemako
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2008

This place had a great ambience about it. We had a beautiful meal on the deck and enjoyed a lovely red wine. The food was great value for money. Staff was friendly but need more training.
Accomodation was good not too pricy, however need some more flair to it.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled with friends
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Thank activegrasshopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2008

We booked from a seperate website, when we arived they wernt
exspecting us (8 people in total). Thay then found our booking.
Thay were gonna make us share with other guests!, we refused.

Nothing was available to use, ie bikes etc, thay said thay were broken, thay wernt!. No info on local activities.

We had no greeting, was treated pretty bad as soon as we arived!,

Could not get our dinner orders right, the food was average.
We booked for a week, we stayed 1 night then walked out, one of our fales had blood on the sheets, another had no mossy net, my friend got attacked.

Even the taxi drivers at the wharf warned us not to stay there.

We then stayed at Tanus and Janes and had the best time.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with friends
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1  Thank nodrogs8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 2 December 2011

Dear Sir,

We are very sorry to hear about your unpleasant stay. We can assure you that our online booking system and agent communication is much improved since 2008, and our bikes are here for rent with local activites posted on our front board.

Of course a taxi driver would encourage you to go to some other place because they would make a lot more money off of you by taking you to resorts farther from town.

We do offer our sincerest apologies for your unpleasant stay and can assure that you would have a different experience if you were ever to stay here again.

Cheers,
Lusia's Lagoon Chalets

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2008

We stayed three nights at Lusia's with very mixed results. We had booked an over the water Fala, but when we entered we discovered that all the bedding was soaked from a recent heavy rain. We moved to the next over water, and discovered that the netting was full of holes and none of the lights worked. We ended up in the honeymoon cottage, which was ok but not worth the price. The area is very pretty, but the snorkling was not so good. you need to swim a long way across the lagoon to reach the reef. Food was mixed, fish very good, chicken not so much. The whole place seemed to be run by children, with only one adult showing up from time to time. Be aware that they do not take credit cards. We did not know and had to make a mad dash into town to a cash machine to settle up, almost missing our ferry.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank buoybell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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