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How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa
How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa


Advice on Choosing Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Samoa

Having a low impact when we travel is something more and more of us have on our minds, especially when travelling in the South Pacific, often dubbed as being on the frontline of climate change. Samoa might be a bit behind when it comes to sustainable stays, not just in the sense of “environmental initiatives” but also in the more positive sense of traditional accommodations having less of an impact than more modern infrastructure. Learn about how to choose an eco-resort, as well as alternative but sustainable accommodation choices, in this guide to choosing sustainable accommodation in Samoa.

3 Things You Need to Know About Eco-Accommodations in Samoa

  1. For once, staying in a more sustainable accommodation doesn’t come with an “eco-tax”! You’ll find that some of the cheapest stays in Samoa are a lot better for the environment than resorts and hotels. Therefore, you may want to consider beach fales and guesthouses as more sustainable options
  2. Consider how the accommodation is making the rest of your stay more sustainable, such as transport, food, etc. Otherwise, organise this yourself with the 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car
  3. Some resorts in Samoa may claim to be “eco-friendly” but might not necessarily promote a comprehensive environmental policy; check what resorts are actually doing for the environment before booking.

For more sustainable tips, check out the 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Samoa.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa©

Types of Sustainable Accommodations in Samoa

What type of accommodation can you stay in Samoa without making too much of an environmental impact? Eco-resorts are starting to crawl out of the sands of Samoa, providing a complete island getaway experience presented in a low-impact way. However, Samoa’s traditional infrastructures, like beach fales, are perhaps the most environmentally friendly of all…

Eco-Resorts in Samoa

Eco-resorts are resort-style accommodation which implements an eco-friendly policy through using renewable energy and other environmentally-friendly features like using solar power, encouraging a plastic-free environment, swapping chemical for saltwater pools, sourcing local ingredients, etc. Unfortunately, there are very few resorts in Samoa with these initiatives.

Check out all of the eco-resorts in Samoa and what sort of environmental initiatives they’re taking in the 5 Best Eco-Resorts in Samoa.

Eco-Lodges in Samoa

There are some accommodations in Samoa with the name “Eco Lodge”. The plus side to these lodges is that there are areas of the property that they have chosen not to develop, allowing for natural vegetation and forest to grow. What’s more, local food is often harvested in a sustainable fashion from the land on-site. On the other hand, environmental initiatives don’t tend to go any further than this. Therefore, be aware that “eco” is sometimes used to mean that you’re staying in a more natural environment; not necessarily an accommodation that promotes sustainability principles.

Check out some of the lodge-style accommodations in the 10 Best Lodges in Samoa.

Beach Fales

Beach fales are traditionally constructed huts raised on the beach, which use natural materials such as local timber and palm fronds (although, metal nails/screw and a tin joint at the top of the roof helps maintain fales for longer than traditional sennit ropes). There is usually only one modern building, which is typically a shared toilet and shower block with cold water. What’s more, beach fale accommodations are at a much smaller scale than resorts or hotels, taking up less space and having a lower impact on that space. In short, beach fales are arguably your most environmentally friendly accommodation in Samoa.

As for cultural preservation, beach fales help preserve a more traditional architecture type, while the food sourced is mostly local. All of Samoa’s beach fales are locally owned and run, with funds going back to local communities.

Check out some of the country’s best beach fales in the 20 Best Beach Fale Accommodations in Samoa to get started on choosing your ideal fale stay.

Guesthouses, B&Bs and Motels

When it comes to supporting local businesses, especially in Apia, staying at guesthouses, B&Bs and motels is a more ethical and environmentally friendly accommodation than a large resort or hotel. These small-scale accommodations are not only run by locals but tend to host a larger number of people per square metre. They also tend to use much fewer resources per guest, with shared bathrooms, set breakfasts/dinners for less food waste, and communal spaces like a lounge.

Learn more about Samoa’s smaller accommodations in the 10 Best Guesthouses & B&Bs in Samoa and 7 Best Motels in Samoa.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa©

How to Tell if an Accommodation is Sustainable

Unfortunately, there are quite a few hotels and resorts in Samoa that claim to be “green” and “environmentally friendly” yet only provide the bare minimum. We’ve seen quite a few resorts claim to be environmentally friendly when, in fact, all they do is leave a sign in the bathroom telling guests to hang their towels up if they don’t want housekeeping to wash them… That’s it!

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Practices to Look for When Choosing Accommodation in Samoa

If you want to make sure that an accommodation is more sustainable, look for a range of environmental and social initiatives that they do (not just one), such as:

  • Housekeeping uses non-toxic cleaning agents and laundry detergents
  • Uses renewable energy sources, like solar power – the more they rely on renewable energy than the grid, the better
  • Provide bulk biodegradable soaps, shampoos and conditioners rather than individual bottles
  • There’s a recycling program that both guests and staff can use
  • Rooms have composting toilets
  • The construction of the accommodation has been made with more sustainably sourced or local materials
  • They provide green transport options, such as electric vehicles, e-bikes or bicycles
  • Greywater recycling programs are in place, such as reusing water for landscaping, laundry, etc.
  • Treated and filtered water is available for guests
  • Reusable drinking bottles, shopping bags and takeaway coffee cups are provided for guests
  • They have airy room designs so there’s less need to use the air-conditioning
  • Swimming pools are saltwater or ocean water – no chlorine
  • Night lighting is minimal to not disrupt views of the night sky
  • Offer vegan and vegetarian options in their restaurant and/or use locally sourced ingredients.

The accommodations that use some of these initiatives can be found in the 5 Best Eco-Resorts in Samoa. Hopefully, more of Samoa’s current accommodations will take on more of these initiatives in the near future.

Other Facilities to Consider

Once you’ve ticked off the sustainable factors the accommodation provides, you’ll also want to make sure the accommodation offers the appropriate facilities that you are looking for to complete your holiday. For instance, use of kayaks or paddleboards, snorkelling gear, a swimming pool or babysitting services might be important factors to you.

Check out How to Choose the Best Resort in Samoa for You for more advice on the subject.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa©

Location, What is Nearby and How to Get There?

Once you know what sort of eco-stay you’re looking for, you should either pick a main destination that you’d like to visit (the relaxing option) or plan an itinerary around the islands to ensure more attractions and accommodations are hit (the adventurous option). Luckily, we have you prepared for both!

There are eco-friendly accommodations on both of Samoa’s main islands, as well as in the capital city. Compare the destinations using the following guides:

Note that getting between the islands and even travelling around the islands of Samoa is relatively inexpensive, perhaps with the exception of fuel prices. So, if you’re renting a car, look at reducing travel times (and your carbon emissions) by either staying close to attractions that you’re interested in visiting – see the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa – or consider staying in different accommodations as you travel around the islands. For the latter, take a look at these itinerary samples:

Each itinerary also has accommodation recommendations.

Note, also, that there are more environmentally friendly ways to travel around Samoa than by rental car. Check them out in the 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car in Samoa.

More About Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa

That’s it for our guide to finding and choosing sustainable accommodation in Samoa, but that’s by no means the end of our eco-advice! Check out our other guides to help you make more sustainable choices when holidaying:

Finally, if you haven’t yet found the perfect place to stay, start from square one with Where to Stay in Samoa: The 50 Best Accommodations in Samoa.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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