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“Gorgeous Beach. Average accommodation. Be at all times wary.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Faofao Beach Fales

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Faofao Beach Fales
Faofao Beach Fales | main south coast rd, private bag, Saleapaga Lepa, Saleapaga, Upolu 685, Samoa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Saleapaga B&B and Inns
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Gorgeous Beach. Average accommodation. Be at all times wary.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

Sadly, I was there when shawnyb84 had her dreadful experience, and every word of her account of events is true. That aside, being a third time visitor to Saleapaga, I found Korosetta and Tapu to be great hosts, as was Tina (the girlfriend of the inappropriate man), Tina has since left for obvious reasons. Saleapaga is truly a gorgeous place, one of the very special places I have ever been too. From the tourist's point of view the location and beauty is perfect for a true simple island get-away, it is just a shame that some of the people in the village have subsided into behaviours of harrassment for tala, lack of respect of the tourist's need for privacy, and it's clear that social drunkenness is rife at any hour of the day. In general I found my one month stay to be quite uncomfortable because of the invasiveness of the general populous, and I'm not mistaking their conduct for good old fashioned Fa'a Samoa, that in it's true form seems to have died. Rick and Dawn of Fao Fao Scooter Hire are indeed great folk, genuinely friendly Kiwis. They also run a taxi service. Fao Fao Beach Fales now have thirteen very good fales, and for those wanting more comfort, their building of twelve modern motel style units is almost complete. If the tourism authority could only firmly educate the local people on how to conduct themselves then tourism at Saleapaga will be a success. I would still recommend Fao Fao Beach Fales, especially during the busier season May to August when one wouldn't feel and be so isolated. Also, they seem to think that modern rap/techno Samoan music is the ultimate, it's booming out of every vehicle and entertainment spot. What happened to the traditional music in it's original form? Rap/techno is not part of the tropical island dream.

Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
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60 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Queenstown, New Zealand
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2010

I'm sorry to say I had a horrible experience with extreme sexual harassment at Faofao. As a woman traveling alone I was careful to select a resort with a good reputation, family run and popular. I was greeted with warmth by the entire family and had an enjoyable first day there. The proprietors' son seemed to be running the show and I went to him for help with planning my days. I asked him if there were tours that went through the area for me to take part in. He claimed that Faofao ran its own tours, that he was a fully certified tour guide and that he would gladly take me around to the local sites of interest. I was hesitant to trust him oddly enough and should have gone with my instincts. On the day of the tour I was not surprised to be the only one in the bus as there were few other guests staying at the resort. As soon as we got out of site of the resort things became uncomfortable. His manner changed from professional to completely inappropriate. He began by telling me how beautiful and attractive I was to him. I mentioned my boyfriend and began to speak of him so to be discouraging of his behavior, but it only made things worse. He started asking me horribly inappropriate questions about my sex life, about pornography and prostitution and not with a hint of joking in his voice. We were in the middle of nowhere and I was alone with him. I worried that to respond with anger would put me in danger. For the rest of the "tour" he kept trying to get me to drink alcohol, kept trying to get me into very secluded places, asked me if I would kiss him, would teach him how to french kiss, and told me he he always dreamed of kissing a white girl. He asked if I wanted a "samoan massage" and I said no, flat out. He put his hands on my shoulders and I said "time to go back." The whole thing was torture for me and only got worse when we got back to the resort.
Very late at night he came to my fale. I lay reading and he stood outside staring in at me. When I asked him what he was doing he did not respond only kept looking in. He asked what I was doing, I said "reading and going to sleep soon so goodnight." He finally left but I felt uncomfortable all night. The next morning to my horror, all other guests had left the resort. Having prepaid, I was unsure what to do and how I could leave. It's very isolated there, and the only person I could go to for a refund of my money and to call a car for me was the exact person I wanted to get away from.
There is a Kiwi couple living at the resort running a scooter business. At breakfast that morning they pulled me aside with worry and asked if the man had made a move on me during our tour. I told them what had happened. They told me that IN THE MONTH THEY HAD BEEN STAYING THERE THIS HAD HAPPENED TO 4 OR 5 OTHER WOMEN STAYING THERE ALONE! They asked me if I would feel comfortable informing this man's family of what he had been doing, ensuring me that I would have the support of everyone at the resort, that this behavior would not be tolerated. So I told his parents my story. They were shocked and extremely apologetic, ensured me that it would stop and that I should stay knowing that I would be made to feel safe the rest of my time there. I took them for their word, yet that night after dinner the man stormed up to me in front of everyone and handed me a bill for 160 tale and said "you have to pay this for the tour" and he was very angry. I looked around me for support and got none. I told him I would not pay. He said "why what happened?" he proceeded to berate me for lying telling people he had come to my fale three times the night before when he had only come once and that I had better pay him the money. Finally someone spoke up and told him to walk away. I was horrified, started crying, it was late at night and felt completely alone and unsafe. Every instinct in my body told me to leave immediately but there was no way. Then the women began to look after me, offered to stay in my fale with me, told me not to be afraid I would be safe and protected....... I was a paying guest feeling the need to have a strange woman share my fale with me so that no one would hurt me????? He was obviously told off for his behavior because he came back to me with a grinning apology saying I had only misunderstood his humor. He hadn't been serious with anything he'd said on the tour, that he came to my fale (near midnight!) only to ask me for payment for the tour. I left the next day after having to work quite hard to get my money refunded for the nights I would not be staying. In the end they claimed not to have the total amount of cash, which is surprising since they only accept cash, and I ended up paying for a night I did not stay there. I can only express my gratitude to the kiwi couple who looked after me, and supported me and helped me to leave the resort, Dawn and Rick, I'm so glad they were there.
I vowed not to let this man ruin my holiday, but the truth is I never felt safe for the rest of time in Samoa, in spite of moving to the very well run Outrigger Hotel in Apia. I have heard many stories of similar things happening to women traveling all over Samoa, and am very sorry to have experienced it for myself. It is a beautiful country full of kind, warm hearted people. It's a shame that behavior like this is allowed to continue.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2010

The owners and staff treated you like family and made you feel welcome and at home. Offered a discount for extended stays. Only take Samoan cash at this time.
Fale was incredible, right on the sand, water lapping gently onto shore underneath, coconut shutters could be rolled up or down and always allowed a breeze to keep it cool, comfortable and bugs away. Mattresses are a bit outdated, placed on floor, mosquito nets overbed, light. Unobstructed ocean front.
Location was well worth the journey from the airport. Take a taxi or arrange pickup. Bus is unreliable and crowded. Car rental is a nice option too as there is a lot of things around there to do. Family goes into town often, almost everyday and offered to take guests when there is room in van.
Amenities are basic. dining area/bar very nice, turns into nightclub when fully booked with music, and dancing. Shared/public shower block with 4 toilets, 2 sinks, 4 cold water showers. (upgrading in progress). The food was very good, and there was plenty of it, a little something for everyone. Usually served family style, eggs and toast and fruit for breakfast and for dinner 3 different main dishes like fish cooked in coconut, chicken curry, pork stirfry, and different starches, salad and fruit. Special diets might be accomodated, and should talk to staff for alternatives. I didnt drink the water although they say it's safe, from a spring out of the mountain.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
88 hotel reviews
Reviews in 90 cities Reviews in 90 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2010

It was the smallest, most basic, cheapest and quietest place I stayed in Samoa, but probably my favourite. My fale had waves coming under it at high tide, the beach was great, the fellow visitors (mostly Kiwis) and staff were really friendly. The food was mostly good, plentiful, and definitely more varied than anywhere else I stayed (not that that says a lot). The snorkeling wasn't especially good. My fale didn't look like it would fare too well in the rain, but the others seemed a little better constructed. Make sure you go to the nearby To Sua Ocean Trench.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Wellington, New Zealand
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2010

In my 7 trips to Samoa, I never had a chance to stay at FaoFao beach fale and now I know what I was missing.
They have rebuilt, and although their new operation may not have the same stunning appeal as I had heard about before, I was really pleased with not only the rebuilt fale, but also with my hosts... Tapu, Rosa, Koriseta and everyone were just lovely and I enjoyed myself very much here... even though many times I was the only guest.
There is alot of rebuilding going on here, so it is important to be patient and understanding.
The 7 new fale are on the beach... They were fortunate here that the tsunami did not totally eliminate the vegetation on the beach and there are still many coconut and futu trees left for beauty and shade. The coral here did not sustain nearly as much damage as at Lalomanu so the snorkelling post tsunami is superior to there.
There is still lots of reconstruction and rehabilition going on of buildings, the beach and other infrastructure.
Va'a (the son) is trying very hard to make the bar a very welcoming place and he is succeeding in the highest degree.
Rosa and Tina are turning out wonderful food... I had heard about Rosa's Ginger tuna
on previous visits through the Samoan backpacker grapevine but finally had the opportunity to try it personally... yum.
Rates at 80Tala including 2 meals.
Tapu and his family are just the best... I can't say enough about this long standing beach fale institution.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2009

this it the place to stay to relax, get to know the Samoan life and if you like enjoy the time with the owner's family. The Fale is basic but clean. The location is closed to Apia, get the local bus this is an adventure. The beach is wild, specialy at rainy days.

  • Stayed June 2006, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2009

This was our second trip to Samoa and our stay at Faofao was the first time we stayed in open fales - we loved it! We thought the beach was really spectacular and just as nice if not nicer than Lalomanu and snorkelling was good (see my pics). Snorkelling was best at low tide as visibility was excellent then. At high tide there is a bit of a current, but I'm not a great swimmer and still felt reasonably comfortable although visibility for snorkelling not as good. There was a really relaxed atmosphere there - it really felt you were away from everything and most of our time was spent lying in the hammock we brought with us and snorkelling or swimming in the sea.

We specifically chose Faofao as it seemed a bit more off the beaten track (as compared to Lalomanu). Faofao's are the only "tourist" fales on that beach with far fewer day trippers. (Although Aggie Gray's does do a day tour for a handful of people for a few hours around lunch time, we hardly noticed them.)

The fales appear to be close together, however there is no issue of privacy as there is the constant soothing crash of waves from the reef in the background, so you can't really hear what anyone else it saying in the other fales. The open fales have the traditional woven coconut leaf blinds which breathe well. The ones towar the back have a balcony but stil have the view of the sea. There is an electric bulb but no ceiling fan - but you don't need it. If anything in the early hours of the morning, we tended to find it a little cold! We slept with the front of the fale open and had no problems with it.

Faofao's is a family run establishment and we were told by a local Samoan staying there for the weekend that we wouldn't have any issues with security because of that - and we didn't. They are really friendly and helpful. The mother appears to run the place and she is often around if you need to talk to her about extending your stay or anything. They offered fresh sheets after 3 days. Va'a (her son) runs the cocktail bar and was really helpful organising a taxi for us to do a day tour to Namua Island. The dining/cocktail bar area is built up above the beach and extends outward. The views from that area are really spectacular!

The food was basic but good and hearty, and reasonably varied. I'd recommend spending a Saturday and Sunday there. They have a fia fia on Saturday night and on Sunday, you get 3 meals which including the traditional To'onai (Sunday lunch) which includes many dishes prepared in the traditional 'umu. You can even watch them preparing it (if you are up on time!) The palusami was wonderful, so was the baked fish and octopus in coconut milk. There's a shop across the road if you want to buy supplies for lunch. Or you can ask them to prepare a tuna salad sandwich for you. One day we asked the Aggie Gray's tour operator if we could buy lunch from them as they didn't seem to have a full group - it was great - for 15 tala each we had barbecued chicken, fish cooked in coconut milk and sausage with salad, fruit and lemonade!

When we were there they were just putting the finishing touches on the new women's toilet block, so that was relatively clean (apart from the sand and dust that blows in). The old toilet/shower block wasn't the greatest but I wouldn't exactly say dirty either. However, they have fresh water showers on the beach, which is great because you can rinse off each time you come out of the sea and you probably can get away with not using the shower block if you're not inclined to.

It's pretty good value at 70 tala per person per night including breakfast and dinner, plus Sunday lunch if you are there then. Also no formal "checkout time". They are pretty relaxed with when you leave.

We've got great memories of our time there and wouldn't hesitate going back!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Faofao Beach Fales

Address: Faofao Beach Fales | main south coast rd, private bag, Saleapaga Lepa, Saleapaga, Upolu 685, Samoa
Location: Samoa > Upolu > Saleapaga
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Saleapaga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are having 18 beach fales directly at the beach - you could easily go for a swim after waking up - and 12 rooms with basic facilities. We are also offering a breakfast and traditional samoan food for dinner. Twice a week we are having a show called Fiafia which includes some of the most famous polynesian dances including the impressive firedance. On request we will arrange a bonfire at night for your amusement. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Faofao Beach Fales Hotel Saleapaga
Faofao Beach Fales Samoa/Saleapaga

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