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Reviewed March 11, 2009

We organized our wedding for just the two of us, over the internet, to take place on Feb. 14/09 at Vacation Beach Fales in Manase on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. We heard much praise about this particular fale from various websites and our communication over the internet in the months leading to our trip was good.

We spoke with one person from the fales who provided us with information on how to obtain a marriage licence once we arrived in Samoa and we agreed on a price of 300 Tala for the organization, decorations and food related to our wedding (this quote did not include the "gift" for the pastor to perform our ceremony - we paid that fee separately, 2 meals are also typically included in the accomodation cost, but we were factoring extra money for a special meal that night).

Once we arrived in Samoa on Feb. 1/09, we discovered that the licencing process is more complex than we were lead to believe, but we had a contact number for the fales. The lady we had been dealing with met us in the capital city of Apia to collect our paperwork, copies of our birth certificates and passports and 60 Tala for the associated processing fees. She was then to take all these items to the pastor in Manase who would take it through the proper channels to get us a licence to marry.

When we arrived at the fales in Manase on Feb. 10/09 we were shocked to discover that the lady who met us in Apia was no longer and employee of the fales and it was unclear as to when she left the company (potentially before she met us and took our documents and money). The other staff at the fales knew we were there to get married on the 14th (4 days away) but there were no preparations and no licence.

We sat down with the manager, our newly appointed contact person, the night of the 10th and described our vision for our wedding and the previously agreed upon price of 300 Tala. The price was okayed by the manager and he agreed to obtain our paperwork and money from the employee who took it, get us availability/quotes for local photographers (which we would pay separately), arrange flowers and other decorations and a meal (cost included in our accommodation fees) including a cake. After this conversation with the manager, we were upset at the events that had transpired, but our nerves were calmed by their promises.

We waited for 2 days to hear from them with an update on the marriage licence situation only to discover that in that time no one had contacted the ex-employee to obtain our documents. At that point, we took the matter into our own hands and called the ex-employee ourselves. We had the documents back within 24 hours; however, the money (60 Tala) that we gave her was never returned. Once we received the documents, they were given to the local pastor and we were able to get the marriage licence in time; however, we discovered that the manager forgot to obtain availability/quotes for any photographers. This meant that the day before the wedding we were running around to find a photographer, but luckily a local, amateur photographer agreed to take the pictures and we averted another problem.

At this point we sat down with the owner of the fales to discuss our frustration with the planning of our wedding and to negotiate a reduced cost for the wedding due to the stress of this situation and all the work we were forced to do on our own. The owner apologized and agreed to a lower cost - he quoted us a new price of 150-200 Tala for the wedding, down from 300 Tala.

The day of the wedding went well in spite of all the previous problems; however, the day after the manager approached us at dinner time in front of other guests and informed us that the cost of our wedding went up from the 150-200 Tala discussed 2 nights previous to 800 Tala. Not only had their ex-employee stole 60 Tala from us at the beginning, they were now attempting to steal 600 Tala from us after the fact. It is also important to mention that during the course of our stay, we also had a number of items stolen from inside our fale, including shoes and food. Considering everything, we decided to cut our losses and leave the fales 3 days early. With much argument from the manager (the owner was no where in sight), we paid the 300 Tala we originally agreed on and our accommodation fees for the nights we stayed and with tears of frustration we left Vacation Beach Fales. We received no apologies from them then or in the time since.

I would never recommend anyone to get married there, or even vacation there; it is quite clear to us that they are used to taking advantage of tourists. We felt that their treatment of us was abusive and close to criminal and it is very disappointing that a number of problems interfered with our plan to have a quiet, stress-free wedding in paradise.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank laurenzack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2009

I had stayed here previously and the fales and service was great - with the bakery just across the road to cater for cheap lunches.
The owners have split leaving the husband to run the accommodation. The owners wife, receptionist and baker have left - leaving the nephew in charge. I had booked and paid for 6 days in advance. When I arrived the nephew had no idea i was coming so our room was not ready - honesly there were only 2 other couples there - how long would it take to throw a couple of mattress in a fale with mosquito nettings - their pace was snail pace. he nephew asked me to show proof of my booking - which luckily I had bought email copies with me. The water in the showers were constantly turned off, toilet paper kept running out and the shower tap was a metal tool hanging off where the knob should have been. The staff only did what they needed to do - serve food, socialising with visitors didnt seem to be part of their job. By 8.30am everything was shut down, all staff gone for the day so you had to just hang out in your fale. New people kept coming but would only stay one night and be unhappy and leave the next day and move down the road to Tanu Beach Fales - which I discovered later was a happening place with happy guests and staff - when our 6 days were up we moved down the road for our final 2 days. The most people that would be there at any one time would be 6 guests. The nephew would also overcharge people - we had new friends come in and check with us the price of the accommodation and he would have overcharged. You couldnt use the phone without the nephew sitting there right in front of you - i dont think he knows the word privacy.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank Craigs7424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2008

One of my best friends whom is a very big fan of Vacations recommended this location to us as were planning our little family getaway. She mentioned how they place was so inviting, not only with beautiful cheerful staff but she would also go on about the beautiful fresh food. My husband read Mandz345 comment about this place and was reluctant to go stay there and worse still, to have our 1 year old daughter stay there also. After looking online at all the other beachside locations and receiving more positive feedback about vacations that of negative, we thought we'd give it a go anyway. On arrival we were greeted with lovely cheerful faces. We were escorted to our rooms by the owner himself and also had our luggage carried in for us also. The view of the beach from our beach fale was just amazing, absolutely beautiful and relaxing, my daughter loved it! The bathroom facility so "flash" and I was especially stunned at the effort the staff took to maintain its cleanliness. As the place was packed it was really good to see the actual owner even taking the liberty of serving customers also, which is quite unlikely for some places. The food was served fresh every day and in big "island" portions as they would say (which was particularly good as my husband and I are big eaters..) My husband was also very happy with the bar and as it was the Christmas period it was nice to hear christmas carols playing as well. Overall our experience with vacations was an awesome one and we would very much recommend this location to anyone travelling to Samoa, Savai'i.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank southie08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2008

We stayed in the only 'room' as we wern't wanting a fale. It looked newly built and nice from the outside, although the fridge smelled like something died and was decomposing inside. We had a kitchen with no cups, cutlery, plates ect...

There was a lot of lizard poo in the cupboards, and when we asked the staff about it, they acknowledged it - but never came to clean it out.

From 7 am until late at night the 'boom box' was on high with the bass turned up until it distorded. This may not have been so bad if we were listening to traditional samoan music, however the same r 'n' b, hip hop crap was played over and over and over ....

I've heard Vacations used to be quiet a nice place to stay, however our stay was not a pleasent one, there were a lot of things that could be improved for a more enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed: September 2008
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4  Thank Mandz345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2008

Hi,

On the 21st of October we arrived at Vacations for a four night stay. Our initial reaction was a good one. The facilities were clean and the fale was too and very bit compared with others we had been to.
Our problem's started at dinner, the food was awful and there was no choice we were served dinner. Next morning went to take a shower and there was no water, had to ask the manager to turn it on. The drinks were warm and when we asked why we were told the fridge was broken. We later saw staff running across to the petrol station across the road to get their own supply of beer which was cold! We asked the manager if they did any tours and he asked what we wanted to see. He told us they did Island tours and then never organised one. The bar didn't do cocktails so in the end everynight we went to the resort in teh next village or to Jane's bar to get a cocktail. We ended up going to another resort for lunch and to do a tour. The manager at Vacations never organised a tour for us an he was generally totally disinterested in us. I ended up booking a can to get us to the Island ferry on time as I new we couldn't rely on him.
We found the major issue with Vacations was the present manager who was not the person we booked with and is new we later learned. The owner lives in a different plasce and doesn't know what is going on. All in all its a great shame as the place was obviously good at one stage and the location and fales are awesome. On our final night the manager got so drunk we tried to tell us we were leaving one night early and he got a shock when we showed him our booking form ( done by the previous woman manager) clearly showing how many nights we had booked for.

Peter & Heather

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank elopeisbest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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