If it was not for the folks at Aqua Samoa, this would have been an average and probably boring holiday. One can only hang by the pool or beach chewing coconut husks for so long.
Kat and Steve and the team at Aqua Samoa really made a difference. We have an 11 year old and a 14 year old and were able to all go scuba diving together!
You get put through a training session in the pool in the morning, to go on a supervised dive on the reef in the afternoon. Steve, the divemaster was ultra patient with the kids and clearly cared that they (and we) were having a great experience. The dive on the reef was great, with the whole family with tanks on and bubbling away at 3 meters exploring some amazing reef formations. Not quite as colorful as the barrier reef, but some really way out formations, like being in a science fiction movie on another planet.
We also dived again with Fiti who is Steve's number 2 and he was terrific also and we explored another location at 6 or so meters. This is a really cautious and safe operation. I have PADI dived elsewhere in the world, and been worried...Aqua Samoa were on top of everything.
Aqua Samoa was flexible, patient, cared about our needs, and also helped us enjoy Hobie Cats, Jet Ski, wake boarding, kayaking, snorkelling and had other sports available like kite surfing, knee boarding, water skiiing etc. Great folks.
Aggie Grey's Resort.......great location, beautiful grounds, great lagoon setting, we had a good time, relaxed too much, slept well though in a very simple and austere room (no mini bar - myabe that was a good thing) with a bathroom that fogged up and stayed damp till the afternoon, the kids loved the pool and making new friends....but clearly Aggie Greys is still learning how to run a good resort/hotel....2.5 years after opening. Purportedly it is built on the site of an old US Navy (WWII) and flying boat base. There are some relics hiding there. There is a nice 18 hole golf course (though some staff dont know it has gone beyond 9 yet), tenniz courts, kids club, internet cafe, etc.
They have invested a lot of money to ramp up to a world class resort and truly desire to be a world class resort in reality as well as in vision.
The staff are mostly friendly, try very hard, but could certainly benefit from training to provide a more consistent overall customer experience, awareness of service processes, a semblence of speed, smiling all the time (some appeared downright grumpy...frequently), and improved english. The likes of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, Carribean, are way ahead in these areas. An international operator for a couple years would create value.
There were 4 restaurants and they are adding a 5th. The food was good to very good, international chefs (the exec chef was very visible - spending time with the guests etc checking on things), excellent variety, excellent deserts, though was very expensive (unless you were spending Japanese Yen) and the service was very patchy. Apparently it is common for staff to simply not turn up for work which is not great for their colleagues that then carry the load. Faa Samoa they call this. The local culture is beautiful and yet to suffer much from western influences. Maybe we should all live like this in villages...antarctica would not be melting...great!
Amazingly the selection of fruit was very narrow. Difficult to get enough fruit. We have a broader selection of fruit on the table at home. Apparently a lot of this type of food is imported so apart from Oranges and tinned pineapple......the local fare is kinda limited.
The pool furniture was dead. Torn and/or moldy in many cases. The canopies falling off some of the umbrellas. Stunning that this is acceptable...especially when the general manager knew it was like that and did nothing about it.
Some staff were not aware of how to provide poolside service for snacks etc., sometimes declining to deliver to poolside...until straightened out by a supervisor who "got it".
Not that you go to a resort to watch TV...but satellite was advertised but did not exist. There was 8 or so DVD's that cycled all day, changed each day, for when it was raining. They were current release and kept the kids from getting bored when it was too hot or too wet outside.
The bill was all over the place. Things were charged for that should not have been there. 2 weeks later it is still to be sorted. Language challenges made it difficult many times to get things right. You need to sign a manual docket for everything and it must be a real challenge to reconcile dozens of these per guest.
Internet and mobile phone access. Not that you go to a resort to make phone calls, but, sometimes you need to communicate with the real world..Mobile phone roaming...AU$4 a minute outbound. (Singapore charges about 80c per minute out.) AU$1.50 per minute in bound. SMS almost 70c. Internet access is dial up only. No broadband or satellite. AU$10 for an hour, and it is so slow that it takes about an hour to get through 4 - 6 emails. Mobile phone data/email would not work.
One odd event was that we were there for new years day and it seemed that a lot of locals turned up and spent time with their relatives staying at the hotel, around the pool. They even seemed to bring their own food in esky's. The pool got overloaded. 50 - 70 people at one time. It is not a big pool. In fact they could do with another 1 or 2 pools. At the end of the day it had a sizable suncream slick at one end.
There were cats wandering around. The cats were funny, were entertaining when they brawled around on the floor, but should not have been allowed in a food area where they jump up on your lap when you are not looking. Also saw a couple take a crap 3m away in the garden, bury the doo doo and wander back into the restaurant. Not good. The waiters occasionally had to send them flying off the tables.
There you have it. Not a bad experience. Aqua Samoa were terrific. Aggie Greys is trying hard and will get there, though manyana is too fast. This could be a top/world class resort but it has a way to go. I wish them well. Would we return? Maybe. though I would be checking on a few things first (like...did you replace your pool chairs yet? Are the cats locked up? Do you have better value meals? Not AU$100-150 for 2A 2C no drinks) and looking for a better overall package deal...and would not be going when they do there changeover from left hand drive (US style, RHS of road) to right hand drive (NZ/UK style LHS of road). This is a big issue in Samoa. Would not want to be there on changeover time...both sides of the road in both directions?
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- Also Known As:
- Aggie Grey`s Lagoon, Beach Resort And Spa
- Aggie Grey`s Lagoon, Beach Hotel Apia
- Aggie Greys Lagoon Beach Resort
- Aggie Greys Lagoon Beach Hotel
- Aggie Grey's Lagoon, Beach Resort & Spa Samoa/Apia