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: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.lelagoto.ws www.falealupobeachfales.ws
Wild tranquillity: Savaii is a getaway location with a range of accommodation