Advice on Choosing a Resort in Samoa
You don’t get many opportunities to organise the perfect tropical getaway, so you’ll want to do things right! That means choosing the perfect resort for your desired holiday vibe and budget. Luckily, here at Samoa Pocket Guide, we know a thing or two about the resorts across Upolu and Savai’i so we’ve put together a quick guide on how to choose the right resort in Samoa for you. For seasoned tropical travellers, some of the points might seem a little obvious, but we’ve taken the mantra that no question about the resorts in Samoa is too stupid. We’re covering it all!
5 Tips for Staying at a Resort in Samoa
- The high season is between June and August, as well as Easter and Christmas, so be sure to book early if visiting at these times to avoid disappointment – see the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Samoa for more advice
- Accommodation standards are a little lower than what you might be used to, especially for the price
- Is it your honeymoon? Mention this when booking to potentially receive a gift
- Pick a resort with the best deal, facilities and location for you; remember, you can always visit other resorts for lunch/dinner or “fiafia nights“
- There are very few dining options around Samoa’s resorts, meaning you’ll be stuck with the resort restaurant for your whole stay. Stay close to other resorts with restaurants or near Apia if dining is important to you.
What are the Resorts Like in Samoa?
In Samoa, travellers tend to use the term “resort” to describe any type of accommodation. But those accommodations with “resort” in the name, typically follow a formula of a few rooms/bungalows plus a swimming pool plus a restaurant and perhaps additional services like a spa, watersports equipment, nightly entertainment, etc. Think of resorts as offering a whole holiday experience complete with food and entertainment, rather than just a bed for the night.
Resort Standards in Samoa
It’s important to set a few expectations straight before checking into your resort in Samoa. Samoa is a developing country with far fewer resorts and, in turn, expertise than some of the more developed tourist hubs of the South Pacific. Many properties are a little overpriced for the quality offered and even the most “upscale” resorts may have a few hiccups like air-conditioning not working, ants in the bathroom, and not the full dinner menu being available.
That all being said, the location on pristine beaches and the unspoiled un-touristy vibe tend to make up for the lack of “luxury”.
Samoa resorts tend to follow the international standards for star ratings, ranging from three-star resorts to four-star resorts. Lower star ratings indicate perhaps more run-down or basic facilities while higher star ratings indicate more luxury or contemporary aesthetics, and perhaps higher-quality facilities and services.
A typical resort is made up of several tiers of bungalows. The lowest tiers have the amenities of a hotel, such as beds, tea/coffee-making facilities and an ensuite bathroom and/or an outdoor shower. Very few resorts also have a higher tier of bungalow/villa with perhaps self-catering facilities, multiple bedrooms and/or a private plunge pool.
Another way resorts are graded is by location within the property. Typically, the pool or garden-view rooms are the lowest grades, while the oceanview or beachfront rooms are the highest grades.
Resorts in Samoa have their own restaurant, usually just one per resort, that is also open to non-guests. In most circumstances, the resort restaurant is your only dining option, especially if you’re staying at a remote location. Note that if you’re staying close to other resorts, you can at least visit their restaurants too. Check out the 10 Best Resorts for Foodies in Samoa for the resorts with the best restaurants.
Note that self-catering facilities are very rare across Samoa’s resorts, but we do list a couple in the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Samoa should you want more control over your own meals. More self-catering advice is given in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa.
Resorts in Samoa offer a complete holiday experience including entertainment. Complimentary activities might include a swimming pool and (sometimes free) use of watersports equipment. Some resorts also have an activities schedule, for instance, cultural demonstrations once a week.
The Types of Resorts in Samoa
The other thing to note about Samoa’s resorts is that some specialise in an activity, such as spa treatments, or appeal more to a certain style of travel, whether it’s budget, luxury, family, couples or business travellers.
Start diving into the “types” of resorts in Samoa in the following articles:
- The Best Adults-Only Resorts in Samoa
- 25 Best Family Resorts in Samoa
- 20 Most Romantic Honeymoon Resorts in Samoa
- 25 Best Budget Accommodations in Samoa
- 10 Best Luxury Resorts in Samoa
- 5 Best Eco-Resorts in Samoa
- 7 Best Spa Resorts in Samoa
- 7 Best Surf Resorts in Samoa
- 7 Best Fishing Resorts in Samoa
- 10 Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Samoa
- 5 Best Yoga Resorts in Samoa
- 10 Best Resorts for Conferences in Samoa
- 10 Best Resorts for Foodies in Samoa
- 5 Best Overwater Bungalows in Samoa.
Or if you’re not nitpicking and just want to check out how they all rank, take a look at The Top 25 Resorts in Samoa.
Location, What is Nearby and How to Get There?
Once you know what sort of resort 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 resorts on both of Samoa’s main islands, while a limited choice can also be found in the capital city. Compare the destinations using the following guides:
- The Complete Travel Guide to Upolu
- The Complete Travel Guide to Savai’i
- The Complete Travel Guide to Apia
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 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:
- The Best Samoa Itineraries for 2 Weeks
- The Best Samoa Itineraries for 10 Days
- The Best Samoa Itineraries for 1 Week
- The Best Samoa Itineraries for 5 Days
- The Best Samoa Itineraries for a Weekend
Each itinerary also has resort recommendations.
Resort Prices and Inclusions
The final major comparison you’ll need to make between resorts is the value of the resort, which can be measured through its nightly rate, inclusions and facilities.
Any savvy traveller knows that it’s not a good idea to just go for the cheapest resort you can find, which typically means it has only the basic facilities and you might end up having to pay for extras to make the most of your holiday. If you’re looking for a complete holiday experience, then it might be worth paying a little extra. Then again, you don’t want to be paying a higher nightly rate for inclusions you’re not interested in, so it’s a fine balance.
The Cost of Resorts in Samoa
The typical price for resorts in Samoa are as follows:
- Budget double private ensuite bungalow/night – ST$190-$320
- Mid-range double private ensuite bungalow/night – ST$340-$670
- Luxury double private ensuite bungalow/night – ST$690-$1,700
- Family bungalows/night – ST$265-$1,500.
For more costs, see our guide, Samoa Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Samoa Cost?
Inclusions and Facilities
To really understand the worth of your nightly rate, it’s best to compare the facilities and services of a resort. Some inclusions to compare include some of the following:
- Restaurant – See the 10 Best Resorts for Foodies
- Free breakfast
- Free watersports rental (note this isn’t always free)
- Other free activities like crafting lessons, etc.
- Swimming pool
- Private pools
- Spa – See the 10 Best Spa Resorts
- Kids’ clubs – See The Best Kids Clubs
- Babysitting services – See the Top Babysitting
- Travel desk
- Gift shop
- Wedding venue – See the 10 Best Wedding Venues in Samoa
- Conference venue – See the 10 Best Conference Venues
- Wedding or honeymoon packages – See the 10 Best Wedding Packages and 10 Best Honeymoon Packages
- Car parking
- Fans or air-conditioning
- Mosquito screens or mosquito nets
- Eco-friendly facilities – See 5 Best Eco Resorts
- WiFi – See 8 Accommodations with Free WiFi
- Laundry facilities or services
- In-room tea/coffee-making facilities.
More About Choosing the Best Resort in Samoa
That’s it for our tips on choosing the best resort in Samoa for you. If you need more advice, how about tips from our other accommodation selection guides?
- How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Samoa
- How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in Samoa
- How to Pick the Best Wedding & Honeymoon Accommodation in Samoa
- How to Find Cheap Accommodation in Samoa
- Essential Tips for Staying in a Beach Fale in Samoa
Now with a bit of research behind you, you can start selecting the perfect resort for you with Where to Stay in Samoa: The 50 Best Accommodations in Samoa.