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Salani Surf Resort

South Coast, Upolu Samoa
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Property amenities
Free parking
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room
Free breakfast
Airport transportation
Non-smoking hotel
Paid wifi
Bar / lounge
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52Reviews6Q+A10Room tips
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As far as surfing goes in Samoa this is the number 1 location to stay. Jess and his crew have their finger on the pulse and read the conditions in a way that only experienced local surfers can. The location of the resort is ideal with just a short boat ride to World class waves right out the front! The resort is well kept and has a homely feel with friendly local staff making amazing meals and keeping the place clean and tidy. I would definitely return and cant say a bad word about Samoa, Salani and the natural beauty that surrounds. Bring you big boy pants for some crazy waves and experience it while its still the most unspoilt, uncrowded place you may ever visit.
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ACCOMMODATION & PEOPLE Everyone at Salani is great - friendly and helpful. Local staff speak good enough English for most requests or information. The guest fales are great - air conditioning, fan, deck overlooking the river/Salani lefts, combined bathroom/toilet, clean and simple. The usual small hotel-style soap/shampoo/conditioner are supplied, and the water pressure in the shower was great. Towels are changed every few days, beds are tidied up every day. The beds were very comfortable! The rooms are very light (thin curtains), so bring an eye mask if you know that’s an issue for you. We didn’t have any noise issues, but always good to bring ear plugs just in case. FOOD The food was great - great variety, decent serving sizes, hot chips were great (potato not taro or kasava), extras for dinner (shared entreés and desserts). We were very happy with the quality and variety. Breakfast is a small buffet with toast, cereal, muffins, fresh fruit, tea, coffee, with pancakes or eggs (on request only). We had one meal at the nearby Saletoga Resort - a buffet meal for WST$55 which was nice for a change, but the Salani meals were better in my opinion. If you’re out and about in the Salani van, ask to stop at a local shop (they’re dotted around everywhere) to buy yourself any snack food if that’s what you need for in between meals. ALCOHOL If you do like your wine and spirits, make the most of your duty free allowances and BYO what you can (I believe there is a corkage fee, but a once-off for your stay). There are two main beers - Taula (nice soft lager) and Vailima (bit rougher)(both WST$8). Wine is WST$14/glass, drinkable but not great by the connoisseur’s palate. Spirits are $18/single shot, $20/double shot... you do the math! Soft drinks and bottled water also available. Our bar tab was just under WST$550 (two people, one a drinker, the other a light drinker) for the seven days. FOR THE SURFER Salani Lefts weren’t running at all while we were here, due to a larger longer swell required to make it work. Salani Rights was a punchy pitching wave with a nice almond-shaped barrel. Works on all tides, but best with an offshore breeze and long period swell. 0.8m swell delivers a head high plus face with a barrel section on the take off. Junior (local surf guide) and Jeff (Aussie guide for our time there) will run you out in the boats whenever you want, and give advice if required (cost of boats included with resort package). It's great that they have two boats so you can come and go when you're ready. We had trips to three other beach breaks while we were there (because Salani too small or it was Sunday) - some fun but small, and the others not much good at all, but that’s always in the lap of the gods for timing with your holiday. Because of the lack of swell, no lefts were running at any of the breaks we went to. SUNDAYS & when Salani’s not pumping As a Christian country, some villages forbid surfing on Sundays. Salani’s breaks fall under the rules of the associated village, but that’s not the case everywhere. We had a few days where the boys took us around, looking for other breaks that might be working, and it was great to see some more of the island and see how the locals live, and explore the other breaks. For this reason, flying in/out on a Sunday might be good if you don’t want to miss a good surf day because you’re tired from the flight (or leaving that day). Salani management take the time to ensure you get opportunities to find some surf, to help make it a good holiday. NON-SURFING activities For the non surfers, a lay day, or just to break it up a little there’s some other activities to do. A swimming pool, table tennis, darts, Jenga, small library of assorted books, kayaks (double and singles), and SUPs are all available to guests. They also have a small selection of snorkeling gear, so if you’ve got your own, you will get a better fit if you’re a non-standard size. If you wish to snorkel that’s more likely on one of the “travellin’ around” days, rather than Salani. The river to the side of the resort is perfect for having a quiet tranquil commune with nature, with the kayaks or SUPs, with only a gentle outgoing current. Saletoga Resort down the road does massages and other spa treatments, for a little bit more than standard AU$ prices. Jesse the manager is happy to help arrange taxis, a visit to the To Sua Ocean Trench, and spa bookings. The island is beautiful and lush - we were visiting in the rainy season of course, but apparently it rains a lot regardless - and each village takes a lot of care with their roadside landscaping, and each house takes a lot of pride in their personal gardens. TO SUA OCEAN TRENCH On one of the quiet afternoons, we had one of the village drivers and Jeff the surf guide take us to To Sua Ocean Trench - the beautiful sinkhole swimming pool, which was just magical. Entry fee is WST$20/person. For women, *please* observe the signs requesting no bikinis outside of the swimming hole area - if they’ve taken the time to put a sign up regarding cultural customs, then don’t ignore them. The ladder down to the trench is a lot more sturdy than a few years ago when it was just bamboo - now it’s solid timber slats, but you still need to keep a good grip on the moist and sandy rungs. Gorgeous spot and well worth the visit and the short climb. TRAVELLING AROUND You can hire the two scooters (WST$35/day) and venture off on your own. You can hire a taxi to go somewhere in particular (eg WST$10/each way to get to the nearby Saletoga Resort for their 5-7pm Happy Hour). There seems to be no real speed limit, but beep when overtaking seems to be the norm. Some ‘off the beaten track’ roads are a bit rough and definitely unsealed, but the main ones are good enough. I’d say don’t drive at night - there’s lots of people, cows, dogs and pigs to watch out for, and street lighting is very minimal. We pretty much saw cops on the road every time we ventured out, but only once doing a (non-scientific) check for DUI and licence checks. PACKING TIPS BYO your own water bottle so you can refill from the water bubbler in the dining fale. We lived in thongs, and even at the two other (more upmarket) resorts we visited, thongs were as dressy as it gets! Bring your own beach towel - if you use your fale bathroom towel, you’ll feel like it’s damp all the time. Bring at least two pairs of togs, rashies, board shorts, so you can alternate between damp and dry. Hanging things out to dry when it rains every night makes it a bit harder to dry things! Bring your mossie repellent and plenty of zinc/sunscreen of course. If you’re a fisherman, do bring your gear as you can try out the river and the sandbar at the river mouth, or get one of the boatmen to take you to outside the reef for better chances. TECHNOLOGY If you need to keep contact with the outside world you can get SIMs at any of the little shops, and pay for a data package online (eg WST$50 for 15gb data), or Jesse will help you connect to the Salani wifi with an online-arranged Digicell data package (a few options available but I went for the seven days/WST$200, unlimited data, three devices (but could only get it working on two), enter credit card details online). Keep in mind that the internet is quite spotty - works well at the dining fale but can be a bit dodgier in your guest fale - and doesn’t work everywhere you go around the island. Pre-download any videos you might want to watch before you leave home. Or just enjoy being off the grid! MONEY We changed money at the airport money changers (yes, open at 5.30am!) on the way in. There’s one before going through passport checks and one on the other side near baggage pickup. BUT arriving back at the airport to leave, there were no money changers open, on either side of the immigration checkpoint - so you may have to change your WST back at home. There’s ATMs in Apia apparently, but that might be a trek if you intended to stay local. We paid for our Saletoga dinner by credit card, but the bar tab in cash. Visits to village-owned roads or beaches cost a few tala (eg WST$10-20 tala), so if you’re venturing off on your own take some small notes to pay your way (payable to the person in the fale at the road entrance it seems). A side note here - as a heavily Christian-influenced culture, if you give money to locals (eg tips) they will mostly donate it directly to their church on Sunday... and the wealth and power of the church is *not* spread back to their people. Consider donating goods if you want to feel like you want to help.
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Salani is a small resort surrounded by an epic scenery. The fales are spacious, clean and all have a balcony overlooking the river. The photos really don’t do it justice and everything exceeded our expectations. The staff is always nice and ready to help with anything you might need. As it is not a big resort, you really get more personnal service and attention and get to know all the staff. After spending 3 days at a different resort, a lot of things stood out from the epic service at Salani. They make it really easy to get to the surf with the 2 boats commuting to the reef out the front everyday, all day (except Sunday as it is the day of the lord, but they will take you to another spot). Some agents will offer you a surf package where you pre pay $42 per person per day of your stay to include your surf transfers but the wave could be good at the front all week and the boat transfer there is free. If they take you to another spot, you will be charged something around 30 wst which turns out to be much cheaper than taking a package. In fact, I would simply book everything directly with Salani through their website and ask all your questions via email as they are really quick to answer enquiries. You will never go hungry and their meals are always really good. I definitely would suggest taking their meal package. The wifi isn’t free but it worked good enough for Netflix in our fale (the Tehuapoo one). The resort is really all about surfing so it might not be ideal for people who don’t surf unless you enjoy relaxing with a pina colada around the pool while your partner or friends are surfing. I personally wasn’t comfortable surfing over the reef with my level of surfing so I often just sat on the boat and took photos or read a book, taking all the epic scenery in while my partner was surfing. When there was no surf, We had different activities in the afternoon such as short hikes, waterfalls, snorkeling, so even if you do not surf, they will fit some land activities in most days. What made the difference is the incredible people working there, from management to kitchen workers and drivers. Everyone makes the effort to remember and call you by your first name, and give excellent friendly service. We spent most time with Moni and Pusa, our drivers, and Junior our surf/tour guide. They are so easy to get along with, have great local knowledge and you certainly won’t get bored with them. Moni and Pusa also give a great traditional music and dance show that I hope you will get to witness. The managers Jess and Emma have also been awesome and I could keep writing this review going into more details but I’ll just stop here and say I highly recommend Salani and I will go back there if I am back in Samoa! Fa’afetai!
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Surfers and surf widows alike will love Salani Surf Resort. The staff were so friendly and went above and beyond to ensure we had a fantastic stay. The waves were awesome . I am a photographer so went out in the boat with everyone and took pics of everyone getting barrelled . When it got too hot I’d jump in to the water and have a swim . The resort great The grounds are beautifully landscaped. Beds are the comfiest I have ever slept on . Be sure to visit the To-Sua trench while you’re there . It’s 20 Tala entry but an experience you’ll never forget .
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Awesome set up and great vibe. Samoan hospitality at its finest. Fantastic food and management which really knocks the whole surf trip experience ‘out the park’ can’t wait to come back. Massive thank you to Jess, Em & Bub for being so accommodating and helping us get some great waves, not forgetting the boatman for hauling me back in the boat after being completely surfed out😃
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Frequently Asked Questions about Salani Surf Resort
Which popular attractions are close to Salani Surf Resort?
Nearby attractions include To Sua Ocean Trench (3.3 miles), Sopoaga Falls (2.4 miles), and Fuipisia Waterfall (4.1 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Salani Surf Resort?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Salani Surf Resort?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Salani Surf Resort?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Salani Surf Resort?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Does Salani Surf Resort have an airport shuttle?
Yes, Salani Surf Resort offers an airport shuttle for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.