Getting to Samoa is relatively simple and cost-effective: it's a comfortable three hours and fifty minutes by air from Auckland. On arrival, the warm tropical breeze caresses your skin as you make your way into the new airport facility at Faleolo where you are greeted by the melodious sounds of a string band.
Four-star Taumeasina Island Resort, on the north coast of Upolu, was our resort of choice for our family trip to Samoa, and after clearing Customs and Immigration we were met by one of their drivers who transferred us in a comfortable, air-conditioned van on the 45-minute coastal journey to the resort, our senses heightened as we took in our surroundings. The welcome at the resort was warm and inviting, the smiles genuine and the ambience immediately relaxing.
After a refreshing drink of fruit juice at check-in, we were shown to the twobedroom villa that would be our home away from home during our stay. The resort offers 105 hotel rooms and two and three-bedroom self-contained villas with picturesque views of the ocean or the lush mountainside of Samoa. Our villa was kitted out with a good-sized kitchen, a modern bathroom, a lounge and a private patio where we spent much time relaxing and enjoying the beautiful lagoon views. Once our bags had been delivered by the friendly porters it wasn't long before we kicked off our shoes, swapped our clothes for swimsuits and headed down to the pool for a swim.
The welcome at the resort was warm and inviting, the smiles genuine and the ambience immediately relaxing.
We were spoilt for choice. There is a big lap pool extending out from the resort lobby and adjacent to it is the resort pool which is surrounded by a deck that provides shade with sun loungers and pool umbrellas. The kids soon spotted the activities desk and eyed up the list of fun things to do during our stay. Whether it be kayaking, beach volleyball, pool games, weaving or snorkelling, there was something for everyone. Beyond the pool area is a lovely beach and lagoon that offered hours of fun for our family. Snorkelling is a highlight here and we were pleased to see that life jackets were offered for use on the kayaks and catamarans.
Very early into our week-long stay we realised how much the charming and unaffected demeanour of the resort staff was an integral and rewarding part of our holiday experience. The pace may be a little slower than you are used to back home, but that’s what makes it so special. Service with a smile is a given and nothing is too much bother. Dining at Taumeasina Island Resort is a taste sensation and there are options aplenty.
A full buffet breakfast is included in your room rate and there is a great assortment of hot and cold dishes to fuel up your day, along with an egg station cooking exactly to your liking. There is also a selection of à la carte menu options and themed buffet dinners, plus kids’ meals and snack menus. Most dietary requirements are also catered for. For a good dose of Samoan culture, be sure to experience the Saturday night Fia Fia dinner and show which culminates in a spectacular display of fire-dancing on the beach. This is definitely a photo-op not to be missed!
Be sure to experience the Saturday night Fia Fia dinner and show which culminates in a spectacular display of fire-dancing on the beach.
The resort's Manu Bar is a central hub for enjoying a refreshing drink or delicious cocktail. It overlooks the pool and lagoon and features entertainment most nights. It’s the perfect place to meet fellow guests and chat about your holiday experiences and to have a nightcap after dinner.
For a little indulgence I headed off to the resort's Fofo Spa & Sauna for a relaxing massage where any remaining tension was expertly eased out of my back. There was also a range of facials on offer and on my way back to our villa I spotted some very keen people working out in the resort gym.
For parents who want some time out or would like to enjoy a romantic dinner, babysitting services are available at a nominal fee. These are prebooked with the reception staff 24 hours in advance.
We were sad to say goodbye to our new-found friends and the welcoming Polynesian hospitality at Taumeasina Island Resort. Like the rest of Samoa it is a magical place that we will be returning to. Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way) is intrinsic to every aspect of daily life and “Island Time” is a very real thing. Once you embrace it you find yourself unhurried and relaxed and able to really appreciate all that this magnificent island nation has to offer.