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My first visit to the Samoan archipelago forced me to face an unfortunate truth: I wasn’t staying anywhere near long enough.
Four total days to sample only a little of both independent Samoa, a collection of ten volcanic islands, and American Samoa, another five islands to the immediate east (making up the only U.S. Territory south of the equator), seemed somewhat criminal shortly after I arrived in Pago Pago, the American Samoa capital on the South Pacific island of Tutuila.
Hiking through native rainforest, snorkeling in pristine coral reef marine preserves, soaking up the silence of an entirely deserted shoreline — all this and more had me wanting to extend my stay long past the scheduled end of my whirlwind media trip.
I heard similar stories from Tammy Lindsey and Allison Hogan, a pair of reservation agents for Down Under Answers (DUA), the Seattle-based wholesaler that offers Samoa vacation packages to U.S. travelers. Both women have traveled to Samoa for a combination of work-related research and relaxing vacation bliss.
“Samoa is one of my favorite spots in the South Pacific,” Hogan told me, “Untouched, serene, laidback, with the most beautiful blue waters I’ve ever seen.”
I collaborated with Hogan and Lindsey, two long-time travel pros, to come up with the following list of four stellar accommodations options in the Samoan Archipelago for travelers keen to immerse themselves in the destination’s unspoiled natural beauty.
Seabreeze Resort Completely destroyed by the devastating tsunami of 2009, this luxury boutique resort reopened to guests two years later with a lovely collection of beachfront and oceanview villas constructed with a heavy emphasis on outdoor living.
Excellent for couples, the villas are nestled along the coastline of a protected bay on the south shore of independent Samoa’s Upolu island, with a couple of show-stopping units perched on rocky outcroppings overlooking the Pacific. Seabreeze also features a terrific restaurant, an infinity-edged pool with ocean views and a swim-up bar and a number of activities available at the property’s private beach.
Coconuts Beach Club Resort and SpaThis resort offers impressive Treehouse Suites and a collection of beach “fale,” or houses, that open their doors right onto a white sand beach. There are also connectable, higher-end Royal Beach Villas that can sleep up to 10 and are excellent for multigenerational family getaways. Just a short boat trip from one of Samoa’s best surf breaks, Coconuts offers surf tours and scuba excursions along with traditional outrigger canoe outings, great snorkeling and a full-service spa.
“We love the relaxed atmosphere,” Hogan said of the property. “The food was extraordinarily good for a small resort and the staff was gentle and kind.”
Le Lagoto Beach Resort Located on the lesser-developed Samoan island of Savaii, Le Lagoto is for travelers who want a great deal of authenticity.
“This is for the client who really wants to immerse themselves in the local ambiance and culture,” Lindsey explained. “This property is small and run by local Samoans and their families. You won’t find 24-hour room service, but you will find friendly, genuine people who want to share their island with you.”
Le Lagoto is an excellent fit for honeymooners who want to truly escape, offering a selection of comfortably furnished beachfront and oceanview bungalows, spa services and a range of tour options that include swimming with sea turtles and exploring Savaii waterfalls.
Moana O Sina While you won’t find any sprawling beachfront resorts on the American Samoa island of Tutuila, you will find terrific hiking in the National Park’s native rainforest and splendid snorkeling at the Fagatele Bay marine preserve.
You’ll also find delightful accommodations at the small seaside Moana O Sina resort. An ideal location for an intimate destination wedding, the small property sits back a bit from a stunning collection of ocean cliffs. It offers travelers an included continental breakfast for stays in four high-end guestrooms, the master suite or a stand-alone bungalow, along with access to two freshwater pools, a guest lounge and full-service kitchen where folks can prepare meals.