The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

SAVAII has ad­e­quate tourist in­fra­struc­ture but is still rel­a­tively un­so­phis­ti­cated, with a choice of bou­tique re­sorts and ho­tels and sim­ple beach fale ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The tourist strip, if it can be de­scribed as such, is at Manase on the north­east sec­tion of the is­land fac­ing the la­goon. It com­prises a half-dozen small re­sorts and a cou­ple of shops (in­clud­ing a dive shop) and restau­rants.

Le Lagoto Re­sort (‘‘sun­set’’ in Samoan, be­cause Savaii is the last place in the world to see the sun set each day) is the most up-mar­ket ac­com­mo­da­tion, of­fer­ing beach­side bun­ga­lows with most of the mod­cons for about $250-$300 a night, in­clud­ing break­fast and din­ner.

Va­ca­tions Re­sort, which is highly rec­om­mended by the lo­cals, of­fers tra­di­tional thatch-roof open-sided beach fales on the same stretch of beach for only $45 a per­son a night, in­clud­ing break­fast and din­ner. The fales have mat­tresses and mos­quito nets, and wo­ven blinds pro­vide pri­vacy.

For com­plete im­mer­sion in the Samoan cul­ture, Falealupo beach fales (at the far-west­ern point of the is­land) and Joe­lan’s beach fales (at Lano) are set on the beach in tra­di­tional Samoan vil­lages ($25 a per­son a night).

If you are more in­ter­ested in the his­tory and cul­ture of Savaii than the stan­dard beach hol­i­day caters for, the Sa­fua Ho­tel ($50-$80 a per­son a night) is a good op­tion. It is set back from the beach in the vil­lage of Sa­fua, 6km from the ferry wharf at Salelologa, and spe­cialises in cul­tural and nat­u­ral his­tory tours of the is­land. The host, Moe­lagi Jack­son, is a high-rank­ing chief who has gained in­ter­na­tional renown for her knowl­edge of the is­land cul­ture. Her eldest son, Chris Solomona, who sports the rit­ual waist-to-knee tat­too, is equally en­thu­si­as­tic about pre­serv­ing Samoan cul­ture and is ea­ger to ex­plain its in­tri­ca­cies to vis­i­tors.

Guide War­ren Jo­pling’s tours op­er­ate from the Sa­fua Ho­tel and are tai­lored to in­di­vid­ual re­quests: sa­fua­ho­tel@ya­ www.falealupobeach­

Wild tran­quil­lity: Savaii is a get­away lo­ca­tion with a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion

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