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“We did not want to leave...”
Review of Joelan Beach Fales

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Joelan Beach Fales
Gisborne, New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“We did not want to leave...”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

I took my two children to Joelan's and had the pleasure and privilege of becoming a 'part of the family' for the 6 days we were there.
We travelled around both islands and yes, there are many beautiful beaches, lovely fales or lovely hosts - few have all three. Falesoa and Sione and wonderful hosts, the lovely girls, Moe, Joyce and Na'a - became firm and real friends... so gentle, kind and loving! It was school holidays when we were there, so there were always lots of lovely, cheeky, friendly children keen for a chat or kick around with a football - or a game of their all time favourite pass-time - volleyball!
The fales are simple, mattresses on the floor with sheets and mosquito netting. If you want an extra mattress, just ask, I did as I was a little uncomfortable the first night, and it was no problem!! I love that the fales are totally traditional (apart from a light bulb!) with thatched sides, unlike a lot of others you will find with tarps or heavier (ugly) coverings for the sides. The thatched sides give very welcome air flow in the fales at night, and are easily lifted to give as much privacy/openness that you want. We had one night of a fabulous tropical storm with lightening and torrential rain, the thatched sides were perfect (I had even kept one up a little and the cool rain was delicious!!!). The tide comes right up under the fales which is heaven - the only downside to that is during the day, you run out of beach in front of the fales. Seriously, not a big deal, it's too hot to be lying in the sun all day anyway, and the sea is always perfect!!
There is a shared toilet that flushes, and shower, of sorts, cold water, but that is all you need and an outdoor sink with tap for brushing teeth etc. (remember not to drink the water and I encouraged my kids to use bottled water to brush with, just in case).
The dining area is fantastic, incredibly simple, but super - the food is served buffet style, and there is always plenty. If you are fussy eaters, take crackers, as the food is very Samoan and traditional (which we absolutely LOVED!!) - altho they do serve lovely fresh bread, scrambled eggs etc as well.
Breakfast and Dinner is included in the price (WST$50 per night, if you can believe it!!!) - if you are around for lunch, you are always welcome to join, and one of the lovely ladies would even deliver it to us while we were lounging on the beach in the sun! Sometimes we were surprised with a chilled coconut, hole drilled and a straw, YUM!!! There are always plenty of DELICIOUS bananas and coconuts to eat - it really is just wonderful.
The family and friends were all working on the dining area while we were there, and I can't wait to go back and see the progress.
Buses run regularly from right outside and everyone is quick to offer a ride if they're heading in the same direction as you - I do insist that you experience the Samoan buses tho - they are just too cool!
We hired a car (very cheap) for a couple of days to leisurely check out the island and to hunt out the 'best' beaches and snorkelling spots. Everyone raves about Manase... I think it didn't hold a candle to Lano...way less people too. We would often be the only people in the water - which is where we spent most of out time!
Like I said before, there are definitely some gorgeous beaches on Savai'i depending on what you are looking for... but I loved Lano!!
The other thing that won me over too was the lack of 'tourists'. The other people who were staying there became part of the family also, so by the end, there were big hugs and teary farewells all round. I think Joelan's is unique and therefore entices like minded people. Do not stay here if you are looking for a 'resort' holiday, altho, I would recommend you try it if you are vaguely tempted by what you have read, as you may surprise yourself. It is the simplicity, the traditional, REAL everyday life (no put on smiles or serving flash cocktails) and everything given with love. I love this place and all the people and I can not wait to go back.
Must haves, sunblock - heaps of it in a mist sprayer that you can continually apply with no hassle, mosquito repellant, if you're like me and react badly to bites (altho this trip was fine!!)
your own snorkelling gear, including fins, you will enjoy your snorkelling much more and finally - take plenty of drinking water with you, the more the better! The process of having to boil and cool water was a pain. There is a shop a couple of minutes walk away, but they were sometimes out of water, and sometimes no one to be seen - which I loved as it was just so honest!!
If you love simplicity, no mirrors and want to totally relax in a healthy, happy environment - you have found the place. Enjoy and maybe I will see you there!

Room Tip: Unfortunately, there are dogs - which didn't bother anyone else, but their night time barking (p...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Debbzand2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
N.E. Victoria
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2012

Very basic, great location, nice beach, fantastic food, fantastic food... 40 SAT per night, and you get what you pay for. Clean water, but toilet block amenities filthy. Staff were excellent and fia fia night was very funny and interesting. Ask for an extra matress, take your own snorkelling gear, take a plastic sealed container to keep the mice etc off your own food. Lovely villiage and walks nearby.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank petebron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sydney
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2012

I stayed here for a week and had a really wonderful stay. Fales and facilities are clean and basic. Right on the beach with the ocean lapping underneath you which was the perfect lullaby to get you to sleep (although others there complained it was too loud and that they needed ear plugs!). The beach is short for walks but there are good sandy parts amongst the coral making it perfect for swimming.

Apart from a sight seeing trip around the island there isn't much to do which makes it perfect for zoning out from your own every day crazy life with swimming, sleeping, reading etc... People staying here were either basing themselves there for a week or so or stayed a night or two as they drove around the island.

Food is good - they mix it up a bit brekkie is fruit and bread or pancakes or eggs. If I had a sleep in they bought the food to the fale! They throw in lunch as well - usually soup and dinner was a mix of local dishes and Chinese. Other guests had dietary issues and they were very obliging with their requests. Bring your wine and beer (stop at supermarket near the ferry) and they'll pop it in the fridge. There are small shops in each direction from the property for snacks if you need them. Food in fales needs to be in sealed containers or you'll attract animals. The breeze off the ocean meant the mozzies weren't really an issue but I used the spray a few times and slept under the net.

We were treated like family and were very well cared for. We were invited to attend the grandfather's 80th birthday which was very special.

I'd recommend Joelan Beach Fales to anyone. I'll head back next year fore sure to say. Brilliant spot to do nothing but relax.

Room Tip: All rooms are good - and quiet. The ones near the big eating fale are quiet - it's a low key qui...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank annelouisedavis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012 via mobile

What wonderfully friendly and eager to please hosts. Beautifully situated Fales right over the ocean with great snorkeling at your feet. Generous fresh and tasty food included in the very reasonable price of 50Sat per person. Take your own snorkeling gear because they dont have any for rent. Load up at duty free before you get to Samoa and you can stash your mixers in the fridge or go to the bar nextdoor because the bar is currently under construction. If you want a relaxing place that's not crowded with tourists then its a great spot with amazing people. Loved it.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank macpeanuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Joelan's is great value for money and a wonderful opportunity to experience the real Samoa. You really are treated like one of the family. There are three meals a day, which are pretty much made up with what the locals eat. Make sure you try the coconut jam. There are are two choices of fales, with walls or without. For the extra $30tala a head the walls are worth it. The swimming is great, with a huge area inside the reef. Lots fish and coral and turtles on the full tide. By the time you get there the dining area will be finished and things should be a bit quieter, but you'll miss out on observing the local building styles which includes starting the day with 'ava and a chat. If you're looking for five stars keep driving. If you want a great camping style holiday surrounded by locals who really look after you, some of the best snorkelling in Savaii, and fantastic value, drop into Joelan's

Room Tip: Go for the fales with walls.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank glencuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
38 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2012

I was really looking forward to staying at Joelans after reading the great reviews. We were there 2 nights. I think our stay was at a bad time as they were in the middle of building the dining area. This meant lots of noise and headaches for our hosts. We had some wind and rain and our fale blinds needed repairs so we had a rough night. The beach is lovely to swim in and the fales are good value as far as generous meals go. The papaya soup for breakfast was yum. I wasn't able to get a cup of tea outside of meals but this may have been because of the construction and perhaps a difference in culture. Also once dinner was over we had to leave area by about 730pm and there was no where to go except your fale, so a long night. I must mention the lovely young ladies who work there and prepared our food etc. They were so warm and gracious and a pleasure to be arround. I do want to return to Joelans when we come back to Samoa and see the girls and how the fales have developed with the dining area up and running.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Erin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Mackay, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2012

This is not for the 5 star crowd, but if staying in an authentic Samoan fale with woven palm frond walls, with an amazing view from your mattress on the floor, falling asleep/ waking up to the lapping waves and genuine hospitality appeals Joelans is worth a visit. All fales are right on the top of the beach and Lano Beach rivals the more well known Lalomanu Beach for white sand and safe swimming. The communal eating area, where you can always make yourself tea and coffee, provides a easy opportunity to meet fellow travelers. A bargain at 50T per night!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank 1never2late
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Joelan Beach Fales

Property: Joelan Beach Fales
Address: Lano Beach, Savai'i, Samoa
Location: Samoa > Savai'i
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Savai'i
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Joelan Beach Fales Samoa

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