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Samoa Travel Guide


Upscale Beach Resorts at Siumu

Samoa's best known resort is the American-operated Coconuts Beach Club, which opened in 1992 at Maninoa on the south side of Upolu, a km west of Siumu. The 20 rooms are broken down into six categories, starting with a garden suite or tree house room and increasing in price to an overwater bungalow. The spacious "tree house" rooms in a two-story building are cleverly designed with good ventilation and large covered balconies. The newest additions are the three two-room garden suites—the entire complex has been built using local materials and finishes. There's a gecko-shaped swimming pool with a swim-up bar. The three meal deal with unlimited house wine and local beer at lunch and dinner is a bit cheaper when booked in advance. As a whole, Coconuts is not cheap and 15 percent tax is added to the quoted rates. The minimum stay is three nights. Snorkeling gear is loaned free.

During "Cultural Day" on Saturdays resort guests are introduced to Samoan culture with tree climbing and husking, an ava ceremony, and umu lunch. On Saturday night, Coconuts has a fia fia on the beach under the stars (free admission to nonguests who order something at the restaurant or bar).

Day visitors who patronize the beachside bar and seafood restaurant are welcome to use the facilities (except the pool), otherwise they'll be asked to leave. Day-trippers certainly aren't allowed to bring their own food or drink into the resort. Coconuts has a more idiosyncratic, quirky character than the slick Sinalei Reef Resort next door, and a more interesting mix of guests, but it's also a bit less exclusive and maybe even a little worn and tired. The housekeeping is erratic, and at times the atmosphere at Coconuts is unwelcoming and pretentious. A watersports operation offers snorkeling and scuba diving. Airport transfers are extra.

The expensive Sinalei Reef Resort, next to Coconuts at Siumu, opened in 1996. This attractive international resort owned by Apia businessman Joe Annandale and family has a cloistered country club feel and the gardens have matured beautifully. There are 16 air-conditioned bungalows and four oceanside suites. The neat rectangular bungalows have open bathrooms for showering under the stars, and the reception, restaurant, and bar are in the traditional Samoan style. The food and service are good.

Wednesday at 1900 there's a fia fia (S$60). Saturday nights at 1900 a fire-knife act is performed, followed by an island night dinner. Sunday lunch is an umu affair. The swimming pool is spectacular since the water is constantly replaced by a natural spring and it's strictly for house guests only. A 70-seat meeting room, nine-hole golf course, and two tennis courts are on the premises. Liquid Motion Ltd offers scuba diving and deep sea fishing from Sinalei. Rental cars must be ordered from Apia. Airport transfers are included in the price.

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