More about Sinalei Reef Resort
Nestled on a tranquil, coconut fringed lagoon, Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa must truly be one of the ultimate get-away spots in the Southern Pacific. It is hard to find adequate superlatives that describe the charm and grace of Sinalei's setting, amidst 13 hectares of lush tropical landscaped gardens on Upolu Island
We chose Sinalei in which to celebrate my 50th Birthday and it must be said that if you are celebrating any special event (popular with honeymooners etc) Sinalei pulls out all the stops to deliver an unforgettable experience!
Accomodation (Fales) are dotted around the resort and one can choose from private garden settings, Fales on the beach or for the discerning and well-heeled traveller, exquisite Presidential suites. We selected a Garden Fale and the bliss of showering in a secluded garden under the open, starry sky before heading off to exquisite dinners and wines is almost beyond compare.
Sinalei were also happy to provide tours around the Island and we chose a full day tour of the Eastern part of the Island. The coast around Lalomanu offers some truly spectacular snorkelling!
Sinalei's staff are an on-going and delightful surprise. In a jaded and often indifferent world, it was a sheer delight to meet with such committed and dedicated professionals within the hospitality industry. Giovanni (Restaurant and Beverage Manager) is a real find: Italian/Samoan and epitomising all that is dynamic, graceful and charming within his combined cultures. Esther, the Entertainments Manager, personally supervised a "well kept secret" Birthday celebration that charmed the pants of everyone at the resort.
In short, if you are looking for a relaxing vacation away from the cares of the world, Sinalei has a "WOW" factor that is never loud or brash. We failed to find any negative comment about Sinalei from our fellow guests. Situated mid-way between Auckland and Hawaii, Sinalei is popular with New Zealanders/Australians and
a fair smattering of Americans and Continental Europeans.
Five Stars for every aspect of the holiday....bear in mind however that being tropical, some (passing) rain is expected on the south coast each day. Apia, the capital city of Independent Samoa (and home to Aggie Grey's) tends to be hotter, less rainy but very humid. The south coast breezes can be strong, which may affect Scuba divers/snorkellers. Indulge yourself in Samoan Paradise (which is much less comercialised than Hawaii and Fiji). I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you might have. Do a search for Sinalei and hopefully this blog will help complete the pictures for you! Thanks Sinalei!! Magic!
I guess if you don't want to see a gecko cross your ceiling you should stay south of the tropic of capricorn. If an occassional flying cockroach bothers you then stay south of Albury Wodonga.
The tropics wouldn't be the tropics without all that wild life. That said, Sinalei offers the friendliest five star accomadation I have stayed in.
The food was the best we ate in Samoa. Giovanni and his staff at the superb restaurant on the end of the jetty made every eating experience relaxed and fun.
Every staff member gives you a big friendly smile, and happily help you without being obsiquious.
We'll be back
We have just returned from 6 nights at Sinalei. Despite opting for a less expensive garden fale we were very happy with our room which despite some very minor maintenance issues such as a broken tile and extendable clothline was very absolutely private and looked onto a delightful tropical garden.
The landscaping at Sinalei is really stunning with lush tropical planting everywhere and mown lawns that sweep down to the beach. Everywhere there are delightful glimpses of the sea and all public areas are carefully maintained.
The beach area is comparatively small but again very attractive even at low tide.
The nicest place is the jetty which is great for fish spotting and has an over water bar and restaurant where most evening meals are held. Food was generally very good though those on a diet may find the emphasis on coconut milk hard to avoid.This is a truely beautiful spot to enjoy a pre dinner drink and watch the sun set
The spa is to be upgraded but what a delicious experience to be pampered with the sound of the sea and the birds around you. The staff were gentle and charming.
Those expecting an internation 5 star retreat would possibly be better off elsewhere as this is no glitz and glam resort. Sinalei is undeniably pretty and set on a beautiful stretch of coast. We found the staff helpful though not particularly knowlegible but its subtle and natural charm makes it a wonderful place to relax for a few days.
I stayed at the Sinalei for a week with my mother last year. We had booked to stay at the new Aggie Greys Resort but as they had not completed their construction and overbooked the rooms that were finished, much to our delight we found ourselves at the Sinalei Reef Resort in an oceanview fale.
We throughly enjoyed ourselves. The pool area is great and the beach is lovely although swimming is only really possible at high tide. As our meals were included we only ate at the cafe. The food was good with a range of different items for all tastes. Breakfast in the main restaurant was a wonderful way to start the day.
We found the staff to be very friendly and helpful, even though we had to move rooms due to their other bookings. They also helped us deal with an Air NZ strike that played havoc with outgoing flights. We went into Apia on the shuttle bus once, played tennis and golf. I also had a 3 hour spa treatment which was so relaxing I almost fell asleep!
If I ever return to Samoa, I'd definitely stay here again!
Although we did not stay at Sinalei Resort we did enjoy several evening meals at their restaurants. Giovanni and team were professional and courteous at all times and the food was terrific.
John and Leonie McAdams,
Loved the People
After reading some rather unflattering reviews and considering the only real alternative for what we were looking for in Samoa (Coconuts was the only other choice) we decided upon a vacation at Sinalei but with some trepidation. However, we thoroughly enjoyed our week-long stay at Sinalei from the time we were picked up at the airport until we left Samoa. We have stayed at many resorts over the last 30 years in Fiji, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Australia, the Far East and elsewhere so have a wide base for comparison. One does not choose a resort in Samoa for the night life as it's true that everything settles down after 10pm. However if you consider the qualities of Sinalei with its very friendly staff, lovely grounds and gardens, swimming pool, 9 hole golf course, tennis courts, spa and other facilities it has a lot to offer. Yes, it's true that the food could be improved upon and whilst we were there the newly appointed Food & Beverage Manager was keen to consider suggestions. We are confident this aspect will be improved. We found that apart from the resort’s bus trip to Apia which is worth a short visit, the best means of getting around was to hire a local taxi - very cheap and plentiful. All drivers we encountered spoke good English so it's easier than hiring a car plus you get the benefit of local knowledge.
A highlight for us was a visit via the local village to nearby rugby grounds to watch two local teams play their club finals match. We sat next to the village chief and were entertained by the local kids who found us an endless source of interest. We also thoroughly enjoyed our visit on the Sunday to a local church where all the women and children were dressed up in white. Their innocent and infectious smiles combined with their lovely singing of hymns made this a memorable experience. This is what we most love about Samoa - the people.
In summary if one is looking for a very relaxed and laid-back holiday in beautiful surroundings then Sinalei is hard to beat.
Surf, massage, lovely views and Beautiful people
Where to begin?
If you are looking for surf, sun, relaxation, and pampering the Sinalei is the place for you!!
Giovanni and the rest of the team at the Sinalei really make you feel welcome and part of their fantstic, helpful and happy family. Of course it is what you make of it and if you want to kick back by the pool and keep to yourself you can. Or if you want to take in everything this beautiful place has to offer there is no end to the opportuntities. The chef is amazing and there is never shortage of beautiful, healthy and sumptious cuisine. From Kayaking, snorkling, deep sea diving and fishing, romantic glass bottom boat sunset cruises and many many more activities. Lets not forget the fantastic surf from which you can take your pick of breaks and simply lift your head from your pillow to check on the waves. Hey and if you're not a surfer don't worry about that while your partner is catching all the waves you can lounge around the pool or grab a massage, a facial or a manicure from the beautiful spa. Tom and the lovely ladies at the spa have velvet hands that relax every incheof your mind body and soul. It is truely luxurious unfortunately every massage treatment does come to an end. For those of you who are willing there are yoga classes available that ensure that you feel refreshed and revitalised already to go for another swim. Swimming can be had in the pool, in the fresh water spring off the jetty, or in any one of the various corners of the ocean that surround the resort.
The rooms are well maintained and have fantastic showers set in such natural surroundings and make you wish you could have the same at home. If only it was that warm in NZ. If you're in to shopping Apia is not far from the resort and tours from the resort are a regular feature so you can check out the City and all the local merchandise that is so affordable thanks to the Tala that you don't have to feel so guilty about buying all that lovely jewellery. The watefalls around the island are unforgetable and tones of fun, the rainforest is breathtaking. In fact there was soo much to do in Samosa, that our two week trip just wasn't long enough.
You must also make sometime to spend with the locals and help out with preparing and cooknig the umu. You will get a world class feast straight off the hot rocks and you will always remember the day you spent with the beaitiful people of Upolu and the wonderful food and hospitatlity. Top that off with the resort fiafia night and you will gain a great respect for why Samoa is such a beaitful and untouched part of the south pactific.
We will defintely be returning to the Sinalei and will also rememeber the magical honeeymoon/anniversary that Giovanni and the Sinalei familiy shared with us. It was a priviledge and a dream experience for both of us. If you are in to relaxing, having fun and taking timeout for yourself and your partner then this is the place for you. If you go around getting to know the staff and appreciate all the wonderful service and hardwork they put in to making your time there fantastic you will receive the greatest of all gifts. Lasting memories and great friendships.
It saddens me to have to read such negative feedback about the Sinalei. However I ask myself did these people sit around with an arrogant "jump for me now" attitude. Unlike the rest of us who kicked back on island time and enjoyed ourselves and took the time to get to know each other and the wonderful people that make your stay more beautiful than you would ever have dreamed.
Thank you Sinalei we will be returning to see all of your beautiful smiles...Laura and Marshall xx
Average to below for a 5 Star Resort
My husband and I stayed at Sinalei for our honeymoon and were advised by our local travel agent that this would be or was the best Resort in Samoa to honeymoon at, we were promised a bottle of champagne and fruit bowl upon arrival which we never got until we complained two days later. An upgarde to an Ocean Villa never came as promised and allot of other little things such as drink orders, food orders etc taken by the young staff were constantly muddlled up which added to confusion and on some days chaos for us.
The Resort is pretty but in our opinion lacks ooomff and there is absolutely no direction comming from management to the staff who are at the end of the day unfairly blamed by us for making silly mistakes!
There is a serious ant issue in our room and on days the toilet leaked continuously and after numerous requests for it to be fixed it never got done as was the case with the fridge which never worked, everything was also quite rund down as was the case with the watersports and snorkelling equipment on offer to us!
Samoa was absolutely gorgeous thou and our only disappointment was the money we paid for 5 star Service, 5 Star Food and Rooms which we never received at Sinalei, disappoiting to ay the very least!
We enjoyed our recent holiday at Sinalei immensely-the staff were terrific-I single out Kone, Simi, Esther and Giovanni, these are not the only ones but I remember their names.
We enjoyed snorkelling, kayaking, swimming, golfing, , the restfulness of the resort and the massage at the spa.
My feeling is that the guests not only want to see the resort but as much of the island as possible. The walk with Kone through his village was excellent and showed us a little of island life.
The trip to Apia was inexpensive and we had a pleasant few hours in the town, but I feel that the driver could have stopped and shown us the Baha'i Temple and the Papapapai Tai falls as these are right near the road.
The only other tour is the day trip to the eastern beaches which at $180 per head is far too expensive.
Ifeel that reception did not give us enough information on transportation. We were told that hire cars were $180 per day plus $120 for delivery and pickup to this side of the island.
"Is this to discourage persons doing their own thing or to divert guests to the resort tour ?."
We arranged our own tour by taxi which was much cheaper and more flexible. One of the other guests hired a car for $150 per day.
We feel that Sinalei Resort could come to an arrangement with a hire car business and have a car on site. As there are 25 feles on site the car would be hired out on most days.
Taxi drivers with a good knowledge of the interesting places on the island could be encouraged to offer their services.( with some arrangement with Sinalei). As it stands with the lack of transport guests feel a little captive to the resort.
Another small thing could be a list of events provided in the rooms. We arrived at nighttime and did not know what time breakfast was in next morning.
I reiterate that these are constructive criticisms and we enjoyed our holiday immensely..
From the Wilderness into the Capital
They do not only have the low waterfalls with the nice pools in Samoa you can see in my first travelogue. They also have some that drop down more than 100 metres. This one is the Papapapa-tai Waterfall, located at the central Cross Island Road which leads from Apia in the north to Siumu in the south.
Here we also watched some interesting birds. There were so many birds that looked familiar to us. There were flightless rails they call we'a - Weka in New Zealand. And there were greenish birds feeding on nectar like the NZ bellbird, and a kind of kingfisher, and...
On the south coast we had visited a beautiful beach at the Sinalei Resort. There are creamy sand beaches and black sand beaches. Our driver had also stopped at a fruit and vegetable stall, and we bought coconuts for next to nothing, and the boy at the stall had to run and get a machete, so we could open them and drink the delicious coconut water.
When you drive on the Cross Island Road you automatically pass at Vailima. There you find the former residence of the famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Perhaps you know that he wrote Treasure Island and about Jekyll and Hyde. He spent the last four years of his life in this beautiful estate and is buried nearby at Mt. Vaea.
The name of the house is Vailima, named after the valley where it is located. It is a museum now, and sometimes you can watch dancers perform traditional Samoan dances. We arrived just in time for a show that was held for some tour groups... ;-)
I inspected the house and the garden and the show group. But I did not find anything to eat :-(
We walked along the waterfront, and I had a little rest and watched the Samoan buses which are very colourful in Apia, and look like Le Truck in French Polynesia.
If you walk to the left in the background, you would get back to the wharf where our ship was docked.
Here you see our ship in the background.
We had to sit down every now and then because the air was veeeery humid, and we sweated a lot.
Although we drank a lot of water the only thing that really helped against the thirst was a cold beer. We had it in a nice pub named Paddles near the wharf. The staff were very friendly there and shook our hands when we left. This was much better and nicer than at the famous Aggie Grey's Hotel where the lazy waitress did not serve us, not even after we had ordered cocktails at the bar. We left. What a silly cow! You know, there were a lot of people from the ship, and there was only one slooooow waitress who had to do the service in several lounges. The other staff, for example the guy who opened the door, were impeccable - but just a lot less needed than staff at the bars and lounges. And then this woman discussed and stood around at the bar, walked back and forth - just not to our table. So we good a very bad impression of this absolutely beautiful hotel - and will surely not go back if we travel back to Samoa.
The whole affair had one good side: I did not only get a beer at Paddles but also some souvenirs - as we saved a lot of money by not spending our last Samoan money (Tala) on expensive drinks at Aggie Grey's ;-)
Anyone have information/experience diving Samoa? When & where should I go? Thanks!
RE: Diving Samoa
There are not many facilities in Samoa to dive.
One is on Upolu on Lalomanu Beach at Taufau Beachfales there is a dive instructor.
On Savaii there is also one dive instructor, I think he is based in Falelalogo
but he drives around the island. For his location just ask at any accomodation you are staying in, they will know him.
RE: RE: Diving Samoa
And please let us know how your trip goes...
RE: RE: Diving Samoa
Thank you; I'll try to let the forum know how it goes come October...
RE: Diving Samoa
You may want to call over to Sinalei and speak with Joe or Tui Annandale.. (the owners) The may be able to set up a dive for you. I am pretty sure they have a glass bottem boat.. and take people out..
his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe is one of the kindest men you will ever meet.
His resort.. is amazing.
He is also a very highly respected chief.. and can give you advice on where to go.
Tell him Kristin asked you to write.. this will expedite things. God bless... Kristin Taylor
Re: Diving Samoa
Sure wish I had found your postings before my trip last Septmeber! You've posted beautiful pictures and I like your descriptions.