How to Plan a Luxury Trip to Savai’i
If you find luxury in visiting a place so unapologetically authentic, where immersing in the culture is effortless and the breathtaking surroundings even more so, then Savai’i is for you. If five-star InterContinentals and Hiltons with helicopter transfers and degustation menus were on your mind, however… Well…
Welcome to Savai’i, one of Polynesia’s ancient islands where village customs and traditions have gone unchanged for centuries. You won’t find a spoiled touristy vibe here, even in the higher-end resorts (3/4 stars) where everyone is made to feel incredibly welcome. Tours aren’t super polished but that’s kind of the point; you’ll experience Samoa in all its genuineness and most have a blast doing just that. As long as you keep an open mind, you can still experience an alternative type of luxury while still enjoying Western comforts. We go over the most lavish accommodation offerings, experiences, dining and how to get to Samoa’s largest island in this luxury guide to Savai’i.
And if you plan to spend some time on Upolu, don’t miss The Luxury Guide to Upolu.
5 Top Luxury Experiences on Savai’i
If all you need is an overview of what a luxury getaway to Savai’i looks like, here are some of the tours and activities you could be experiencing:
- Dive among the turtles and nudibranchs on the John Williams V wreck dive with Dive Savai’i
- Explore Savai’i with ease on a private island tour with Savai’i Tours or Amoa Resort
- Treat yourself to a private fishing charter at the Amoa Resort or Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge
- Get unique cultural insight on a private or small-group experience at the Siapo Demonstration, Amoa Resort or Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge
- Indulge in a beachfront massage at Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge.
Dive deeper into these activities in the 5 Best Luxury Experiences on Savai’i, or simply continue reading…
How to Get to Savai’i
Savai’i lies a mere 17 km (10.6 mi) west of Samoa’s main island, Upolu, and the country’s international airport. There are no flights to Savai’i so your introduction to the island is as authentic as it gets by taking the ferry across the Apolima Strait. Luckily, Malifanua Wharf is a 5-minute drive from Faleolo International Airport, making it an easy transition from your flight (providing flight times are favourable; if not, the Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort provides a lavish stay nearby).
The ferry crossing passing the glorious islands of Manono and Apolima takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes. Upgrade your sailing with a pass to the VIP Lounge of the Lady Samoa III for extra comfort and refreshments served throughout your journey. For more information, check out our Samoa Ferry Guide.
How to Get Around Savai’i
Savai’i has a well-maintained sealed road of roughly 176km (109 mi) around the perimeter of the island. There are limited car rentals available on the island or you can bring your rental vehicle on the ferry from Upolu. Alternatively, taxis are readily available or some accommodations can arrange transfers from the ferry terminal. Find out more about your transport options in our Savai’i Transport Guide.
Luxury Tours and Activities on Savai’i
If you’re looking for those “treat yourself” experiences, Savai’i can certainly provide. What the island’s experiences lack in flashy presentation and polished schedules they more than make up for in genuine care and hospitality – this is luxury not as you might know it. For a full list, see the 5 Best Luxury Experiences on Savai’i.
Private Island Tours
Explore Savai’i’s natural and historical wonders with the expertise of a local guide (not to mention without the hassle of finding the attractions yourself) on a private island tour. Get in touch with Nu’u from Savai’i Tours for a personalised tour of the island, or he can suggest a fun-filled itinerary. Otherwise, Amoa Resort offers a variety of full-day private island tours, either along the south coast or northeast coast or catered to your desired itinerary.
From lagoon snorkelling among the turtles, eagle rays, clownfish and nudibranchs to a shallow wreck dive of the John Williams V, there are some interesting dive sites around Savai’i for new and seasoned divers alike. Dive Savai’i is a PADI-affiliated operation offering a range of recreational dives, courses and snorkelling tours. Note that they operate seasonally, so check out the Dive Savai’i website for dates. Additionally, see The Top 10 Places to Scuba Dive in Samoa for more on the subject.
Head out on the azure waters to catch Pacific pelagics, such as mahimahi, yellowfin tuna, sailfish, trevally and more. Enjoy a day of snorkelling, fishing and lunch with Amoa Resort‘s own 30ft boat exclusively for your group of up to five guests (minimum age 18 years old). Alternatively, get in touch with Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge in Asau Bay for a personalised fishing experience of either a half- or full-day charter on one of their two fishing boats. For more on getting “hooked” in Samoa, head to The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Samoa.
And, again, more of the island’s most indulgent activities can be found in the 5 Best Luxury Experiences on Savai’i.
More Things to Do on Savai’i
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to experience Savai’i that might not necessarily fall under the “luxury” category but are still well worth pursuing. A self-drive tour to the Afu Aau Waterfall, Saleaula Lava Field and the Alofaaga Blowholes is a treat, while a private or small-group Siapo Demonstration or a resort’s village walk provides an authentic insight into the Samoan culture. Find out more about these alternative experiences in the 50 Best Things to Do on Savai’i.
Fine Dining on Savai’i
It may come as no surprise that dining on Savai’i is more of a shorts-and-flipflops kind of affair, but if you’re looking for a culinary experience beyond “chicken and chips”, these are the most high-end dining experiences available on the island.
In the airy dining fale of the Amoa Resort, enjoy an internationally inspired menu with pleasingly local ingredients at the Amoa Restaurant. It’s your chance to try a refreshing Samoan oka, taro nachos garnished with seagrapes or stick with the classics such as local pan-fried fish or New Zealand striploin beefsteak. Top it all off with one of the many cocktail options (happy hour is 5-7 pm daily) or a refreshing vai tipolo.
Vailili Restaurant and Leilina’s Pizzeria
Locals love it for the “best thin-crust pizzas on Savai’i”, while those feeling more adventurous will find an eclectic menu of meats and seafood. Join in at the Vailili Restaurant of the Le Lagoto Resort for Thursday fiafia nights and the Sunday Polynesia barbecue with a string bad (both events depend on resort occupancy so be sure to book ahead).
Alternative Dining on Savai’i
If you see yourself relaxing in a quirky cafe or a relaxed restaurant on the edge of Salelologa, check out more dining options in The Best Places to Eat on Savai’i, while more upmarket establishments can be found in the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Samoa.
More About Luxury on Savai’i
That’s it for our complete luxury guide to Savai’i but by no means is the end of the advice we can offer to help you plan the perfect trip. Check out other guides from Samoa’s largest travel guide:
- The Complete Travel Guide to Savai’i
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences on Savai’i
- The Romantic Getaway Guide to Savai’i
Finally, you might also be interested in The Complete Luxury Guide to Samoa in case there’s anything you’re missing in your vacation plan.