Samoa offers a stunning natural escape from your everyday life in the south Pacific. And the best way for travellers to enjoy this experience is by choosing accommodation that provides a sustainable stay while enjoying the beauty of Samoa.
In this article, we will cover the best green stays we experienced while travelling to the different regions in Samoa. We will also provide tips on how you can make the most out of your Samoan experience while contributing positively to local communities.
What is sustainable accommodation in Samoa?
Sustainable accommodation in Samoa focuses on minimising environmental impact and promoting conservation of natural resources. These green stays also prioritise renewable energy sources, contributing to a greener future. By choosing eco-friendly accommodation, you can support local communities and play a part in building a sustainable tourism industry in Samoa.
Understanding the different types of sustainable accommodation options available will help you make an informed choice for your green stay in this beautiful island paradise.
The most unique type of accommodation in Samoa is a fale, which is their traditional style of home. Staying in a fale is an adventure in itself. These traditional wooden bungalows have no walls, and usually only feature a mattress on the floor, mosquito net, and power outlets for your electronics. The roof is made of banana leaves. Most of them are located right on the beach, offering the luxury of waking up to the sound of waves and breathtaking sunrises.
Not only are fales the best value compared to resorts, but they also often include meals. Most fales are run by families who are more than happy to share their way of life with their guests. You can learn how to weave baskets and mats, cook traditional meals, and participate in cultural dances. Choosing to stay in fales supports local families and their communities. The food served at most fales is sourced from local farmers, meaning the money you spend on your stay directly helps these communities.
It's important to note that fales are not for everyone. If you're looking for luxury amenities and air conditioning, you might want to consider a resort, hotel or even motel instead. However, if you're willing to embrace a more rustic and adventurous experience, staying in a fale can be an unforgettable experience. Just make sure to bring bug spray and a sense of adventure!
Where to stay in Apia
Apia is the capital of Samoa. The Faleolo International Airport is located 40 kilometres west of Apia, so this will likely be the first place you stay on your Samoan itinerary.
Below is where we stayed and recommend when you're in Apia.
Dave Parker Eco Lodge Hotel
Host: Dave Parker
Location: 20 min drive from the centre of Apia
Cost: 120 WST per night
Description: Dave Parker’s Eco Lodge is a unique hotel nestled on a tropical hillside above Apia. The rooms themselves are basic but come with a small kitchenette and your own bathroom. The standard rooms come with a standing fan, or you can pay a little more for air-conditioning.
The hosts are very friendly, with Dave Parker's family making sure we were comfortable and giving us recommendations on what to do and where to eat in Apia. There is a swimming pool and a common area for guests to use. There was also a grassed area that we could use for yoga.
There is a restaurant that serves meals on the balcony overlooking Apia and the coast line below. They had a few vegetarian options for lunch and dinner, but we definitely recommend breakfast there. They serve fresh fruit, local pancakes and suafa'i (tapioca pudding with banana and coconut milk).
You will like: It’s surrounded by natural habitat and has plenty of flora and fauna to discover. It has beautiful views over the rainforest below out to Apia, the coastline and the Pacific Ocean.
You may not like: It’s a little far from town, but they do have a free shuttle that you can take there from Monday to Saturday at around 8AM. You can also return with the shuttle at 2:30PM (when we were there) or take a taxi back for 30 - 40 WST.
Where to stay on the south coast of Upolu
Upolu is the main island of Samoa, with Apia located on its northern coast.
We definitely recommend travelling to the other side of the island to experience the beauty of the south coast of Upolu. Below we list the best accommodation options in the area, and one to avoid.
Maninoa Beach Fales
Host: Alexandria (Airbnb host)
Location: Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa Entrance, Siumi Villange, South Coast of Upolu
Cost: 130 WST per night (fale); 200 WST per night (cabin); breakfast included for both
Contact: Search 'Ocean Club Maninoa' on Airbnb for fale and beach front hut (cabin) options
Description: Stay in one of their open beach fales or beach cabins, both of which are available for overnight stays. The open beach fales are also available for use during the day.
We’d booked the open beach fale originally and stayed there for two nights. The fale's proximity to the ocean is unmatched, providing a truly unique experience. They provide you with bedding and a mosquito net. It’s quite nice hearing the ocean as you drift to sleep and it’s a beautiful view to wake up to in the morning.
It can get quite busy during the day with visitors, particularly on weekends. Although there are curtains to provide privacy, the amount of people around is something to be mindful of.
We were in the first open beach fale (out of six), which was also closest to the village. This meant we could hear their music, dogs and roosters during the night and early morning.
There’s no fan either and although most of the time the sea breeze cools us down, it was still quite hot at times. There was a powerpoint available, so we could charge our electronic devices.
There was an outdoor shower that we used to rinse off although an indoor shower was available in a nearby house that we could have used if we wanted to.
It was definitely worthwhile to experience the traditional Samoan beach fale. But we moved to their beach cabin for our third night.
This cabin was further up the beach away from the open beach fales used by their day visitors. It was fully enclosed with a fridge and our own bathroom. The front porch with table and chairs was also a nice place to observe the sun rise and set.
There are three beach cabins available and they are quite close to each other. We could hear people in the other cabins clearly, so just be mindful of the noises you’re making if you end up staying there!
They have a restaurant on location at the Maninoa Beach Club. Breakfast is included in the accommodation price. They also have meals available for lunch and dinner. These were a mix of local food, Western dishes and Filipino dishes. They had vegetarian nachos and spring rolls available. They were also happy to make us some vegetarian dishes not on the menu when we asked.
You will like: The proximity to the ocean is hard to beat. It's literally under ten steps to enter the ocean from your fale or cabin.
The included breakfast can be brought to your fale or cabin. The servings were very generous and we had a variety of dishes over the three days we were there, including fresh local fruit, pancakes and toast. We were served coffee, tea, lemonade and a great smoothie on our final morning.
Voyage Green tip: Don’t be afraid to check the menu and ask for new vegetarian dishes based on the ingredients they have. You can also provide some extra ingredients to help them make the dish for you.
You may not like: Not having an air conditioner or fan if you stay in a fale. There is also a lack of privacy when day guests arrive and use the fales.
During low tides, the beach gets really shallow and not very good for swimming. If you're looking for a more luxury stay, this isn’t your place. But there are two resorts just next door to choose from.
Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa
Location: Siumi Villange, South Coast of Upolu
Cost: From 745 WST per night
Description: If you're looking for a more luxurious experience with a low impact on our environment, this 4-star resort is your place. Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa is the perfect location to unwind and immerse yourself in the beauty of Samoa.
The resort's villas are spacious and tastefully decorated, with traditional Samoan accents that add a touch of authenticity to your stay. Each villa is equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, a minibar, and a TV, so you can stay comfortable throughout your stay.
One of the highlights of Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa is the lagoon-style pool. It's the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun while sipping on a cocktail from the poolside bar. If you're feeling more active, you can take part in water sports such as snorkelling, kayaking, and paddle boarding, which are all available at the resort.
Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa shares the beach with Maninoa Beach Club, so you can walk over and try their restaurant for a change. Whether you want to relax on the beach, go for a swim, or try your hand at surfing, you'll have plenty of options to choose from.
Sustainability practices: Sianlei Reef Resort & Spa has implemented eco-friendly initiatives such as the use of energy-saving light bulbs, solar panels, bamboo straws, sustainable waste disposal systems, and recycling procedures to protect the environment. They also buy most of their food from local farmers, supporting the local communities and reducing their carbon footprint.
With the resort's assistance, Poutasi Village has established a Marine Protected Area to protect the reef and marine life that has been vital to the island's survival.
The resort participated in other initiatives that directly supported the communities, like helping local hospitals with beds and linen, and building a cultural fale for the younger generation. You can see a full list of their activities to support local communities and their environmental impact here.
Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a luxurious and sustainable Samoan experience.
You will like: On Wednesday evenings, the resort hosts a cultural night where you can learn more about Samoan culture and traditions. You'll be treated to a traditional dance performance and a delicious buffet dinner featuring local cuisine.
You may not like: The cost!
Coconut Beach Club Resort & Spa
Another resort close by, Coconut Beach Club Resort & Spa is renowned for its water bungalows, which resemble those in the Maldives.
However, we feel that the bungalows are overpriced and outdated. We also visited the restaurant, but it didn't quite align with our taste.
It's worth noting that the resort is managed by Americans and has been the subject of criticism from other guests. If you prefer to support local businesses, we suggest seeking accommodation elsewhere.
Where to stay on the south-east coast of Upolu
This is by far our favourite part of the island. The landscape here is absolutely incredible. You will see beautiful lush hills leading to a turquoise blue lagoon protected by the reef. It's an amazing place for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxation.
The most popular attractions of the island are also located here, making it a great area to plan day trips. You can see the swim hole Sua Ocean Trench, picturesque Vavau Beach ,and stunning Lalomanu Beach.
We list below our top three sustainable places we recommend when you're in the area.
Faofao Beach Fales
Hosts: Sina and her family
Location: Lepa, South East Coast of Upolu
Cost: 120 WST per night (fale) (including breakfast and dinner)
Contact: You can book it here
Description: Looking for a unique stay? Check out Faofao's open beach fales, available for day or overnight use. Overnight guests can expect bedding and a mosquito net, along with traditional drop-down blinds to ensure privacy and security.
They also have rooms available with air-conditioning (or fan if requested) and a private bathroom.
This was by far the best snorkelling experience, just a few metres from the beach there is a beautiful coral where we also spotted a stingray.
The meals are served buffet style, either in the bar overlooking the beach or in the main hall depending on the number of guests. The food is great here with Samoan food cooked fresh for each meal. You can also pay for lunch separately if required.
They were accommodating to our vegan or vegetarian diet. They provided additional vegetables and also egg-based dishes when we needed more protein instead of meat or fish.
It’s also close to Aga Reef resort, a popular place to have lunch.
You will like: The most traditional fales in Samoa with coconut leaf woven walls instead of plastic at the other fales we stayed at.
We’d arrived on a Sunday, so we chose to have their traditional lunch cooked umu style. Plus, don't miss their weekly faifai show!
You may not like: The rooms are very basic and quite small. The beach fales are also smaller than the most fales we experienced elsewhere. Note the shower has cold water only.
Host: Sili Apelu
Location: Lalomanu Beach, South East Coast of Upolu
Cost: 220 WST per open beach fale for 2 people, including breakfast and dinner; an extra 30 WST for an enclosed fale; for one person 120 WST for an open fale and 130 WST for an enclosed fale.
Description: Taufua Beach Fales operates in two distinct locations.
The primary location is situated on Lalomanu Beach. Here you'll find the reservation office, the beach accommodations, the villas, and the restaurant. Our cheerful staff at the reservation office can check you in and out, while the beach restaurant serves all meals.
The second location, known as Ocean View, is not located on the beach. It is roughly 900 metres above sea level and approximately a 7-minute drive from the beach accommodations. Although they offer transportation between Ocean View and the beach, having your transport would be more convenient.
The rooms vary from open beach fales to air-conditioned villas where you can stay with your family.
Since we stayed in Faofao, we did an amazing walk to Lalomanu Beach and stayed there for lunch and enjoyed the beautiful white sand beach. We had a curry with locally sourced vegetables that was very nice.
You will like: This area is considered to be one of the most stunning areas on the islands and is rated as the most beautiful beach of Samoa.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, have a blast with their fiafia nights – an evening of traditional entertainment that follows a scrumptious dinner. On Wednesdays, they offer traditional Samoan performances, while Saturdays showcase the music and dance of their Polynesian ancestors. Admission to both shows is free of charge, with donations to the performing group being highly valued and appreciated.
There is another resort nearby, Litia Sini Beach Resort. It features a restaurant with an amazing view over the beach with highly rated reviews, so you may want to check it out.
You may not like: This is the very end of the island, and the local buses do not go all the way to Lalomanu. If you don't have your own transportation, you may feel isolated and will have to rely on taxis or transfers from your accommodation.
Salani Surf Resort
Hosts: Drew and Nik
Location: Salani, South East Coast of Upolu
Cost: Price on application
Contact: Call +685 772 6162 or email them directly at email@example.com
Description: For surfers seeking the perfect waves in Samoa, Salani Surf Resort is the perfect destination.
The eight elevated units offer breathtaking views of the estuary that can be enjoyed from your own private deck. Each unit is equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with waterfall showers.
Salani Surf Resort offers surf boats and experienced guides to ensure that your wave-riding adventure is unforgettable.
Sustainability practices: Salani Surf Resort is committed to protecting the environment by implementing eco-friendly initiatives such as a saltwater pool, a restaurant that exclusively serves responsibly sourced food, solar-powered hot water, filtered drinking water, and a plastic-free environment.
You will like: If you are seeking an environmentally friendly stay, then you'll be pleased to know that the resort hosts yoga retreats that prioritise vegan meals, meditation, and yoga classes.
You can enjoy uncrowded waves all day long. They also have kayaks, snorkel gear and offer eco tours.They also have a Faifai cultural show on Wednesday.
The staff are also very friendly and helpful.
You may not like: The rooms are quite basic.
Where to stay in Savai'i
Savai’i's north coast is home to stunning white-sand beaches with crystal-clear turquoise waters. The area boasts an abundance of coral, making it the best place for snorkelling in shallow waters. With no surprise, that’s where most of Savai'i's accommodation is located.
Below we list where we stayed and recommend when you're travelling in Savai'i.
Lauiula Beach Fales
Hosts: Richard and Maria
Location: North Eest Coast of Savai’i, next to Asaga River Pool
Cost: 110 WST per person per night for the bungalow; fales slightly cheaper 90 WST per person per night; included breakfast and dinner, with lunch also available for only 15 WST per person
Contact: Call + 685 7759 743
Description: Take your pick between an open-style or enclosed beach fale. Lauiula Beach Fales is our top pick for budget-friendly accommodation on Savai’i.
The enclosed bungalow and traditional fales are spacious and comfortable. Wake up to the soothing sound of crashing waves and bask in the serenity of this tropical paradise.
We opted for an enclosed one, which came with a large double bed, mosquito net, table and chairs, pedestal fan and fridge. It also had a small porch at the front.
There is a large fale where meals are served with drinks available at the bar. They also had some store items, including mosquito coils.
You will like: You will stay at the most stunning beach on the island, and all you have to do is step down from your fale or bungalow to enjoy it. There is good snorkeling where you will see all kinds of tropical fish including turtles if you are lucky.
Richard and Maria are amazing hosts who are happy to share their local knowledge. Maria was an amazing cook who went out of her way to prepare us a variety of tasty vegetarian and plant based meals during our stay.
We recommend you to stay here for at least a few nights to enjoy the beach and explore the surroundings and have a true Samoan experience.
You may not like: The fales are located close to the road. Unfortunately that's the case for most of the fales on this side of the island, as the main road goes along the beach. Good news though, Savaii is still a quiet island so you won't experience too much noise during the night.
Another downside of our stay was the limitation of choices when it comes to food. While we enjoyed the cooking provided by Maria, it would be nice to go elsewhere for a change. Unfortunately you will need a car if you want to eat in other places.
Travel itinerary for Samoa
If you haven't already, read our comprehensive 14-day suggested travel itinerary to make the most of your trip to beautiful Samoa.