In the 1950s, the movie South Pacific
put Polynesia on the international tourist map. If you put any credence in the story, as many do, the character Bloody Mary was loosely based on one of Samoa's most famous personalities Aggie Grey.
In 1942, Aggie borrowed a bit of money and opened up a hamburger joint that blossomed into a boarding house, and then a hotel. It is still operated by her family and is the biggest resort in Samoa. It has grown much bigger than Aggie had ever dreamed. Aggie's granddaughter, Tanya Grey, will be able to tell you stories about her famous family.
Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa is on Upolu Island, just 2km east of Faleolo airport and 35km from Apia, Samoa's capital.
The new-look, four-and-a-half-star resort opened in 2005 with a brilliant blue lagoon and white sand as its focal point. It is part of Sa Tooey Maloofi Loofi village, with 90 percent of the staff, who live in and around the resort, coming from the village.
Ceremonies are held in the traditional fale, conducted by village chiefs discussing community issues. Guests are welcome to sit in and share a cup of kava.
The resort has 140 rooms, all with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Savai'i, Manono and Apolima islands. Exterior architecture is very much in the South Pacific style, with extensive use of carved local timbers. There are high ceilings and wooden beams in general areas. Rooms have a modern European style with Polynesian touches.
The 128 Deluxe Ocean View rooms are spacious and have queen beds, exotic furnishings and linen. Eight interconnecting Deluxe Ocean View rooms are perfect for families. Two rooms provide larger space, comfort and privacy and each has ensuite facilities. Four Deluxe rooms have been adapted for the physically handicapped. There is easy access to all facilities and each room has a specially-built shower. They are on the ground floor of the resort.
Rooms are air-conditioned, there is 24-hour valet and room service and the resort's Dolphins Kids Club is popular.
Special features of the resort include traditional high-ceilinged Samoan architecture and carved wooden beams in foyers, restaurants, bar areas and the conference centre. Meanwhile, the Manaia Polynesian Spa offers massage, facials and a full range of treatments based on ancient Samoan and Polynesian traditions. Relax with a cleansing herbal steam bath, facial treatment, coconut aura or cooling cucumber wrap. The spa is set amongst tall swaying palms and tropical vegetation.
Guests may also choose to participate in traditional activities such as food preparation, woodcarving or visit the House of Weaving where women create fine mats while discussing issues important to the village.
Rare pottery recently discovered at the resort, emphasises its 90 hectares of tropical gardens and Polynesian settlements of around 3000 years ago. It is also a sanctuary for the native toloa bird. The 100-year-old coral church on the grounds is very popular for romantic South Pacific weddings and they will arrange everything right down to the dress.
There's so much to do at Aggie Grey's there is a freshwater pool and children's wading pool, two all-weather tennis courts, barbecues, bicycle rental, canoes and kayaks, games room and activities centre, and plenty of contact with nature.
There is an 18-hole golf course, water sports to enjoy, and two bars Bloody Mary's and the Solent.
South Pacific, the resort's fine-dining restaurant, is open from 6am to midnight. Dine on crab, mahi mahi and other delicious local seafood.
Poolside Café serves pizza, pasta and light meals from 11am to midnight.
Theme evenings, such as Fisherman's Catch and South Pacific Spices, are great fun. A wandering string band provides gentle music and the best show of all is Samoa's famous fia fia the fire dance.
Aggie Grey's, five minutes from Samoa's International Airport.
Talpacific Holidays has four-night, land-only packages to Aggie Grey's. They include meals, airport transfers and a massage at the Manaia Day Spa for $589 per person, twin share. Children 12 and younger stay, play and eat free. Use of non-motorised water-sport equipment and snorkelling gear is also free. On sale until December 31, 2008 and for stays until March 31, 2009.
Samoan Traditional Massage costs $80 for one-hour and foot treatments are $65 for 45 minutes. Golf is $45 for 18 holes, including use of a buggy.
Virgin Blue has flights to Apia.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney and Brisbane
- Melbourne $489
- Adelaide $508
- Perth $549
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person, per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at October 16, 2008 and are subject to change.
Prices correct at October 16, 2008.
For further information
Ph: 1300 665 737
Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa
Ph: (+685) 45611
Fax : (+685) 45626
Samoa Tourism Authority
Ph: (+685) 63500
Fax: (+685) 20886
Samoa Tourism Authority Office
PO Box 611
Ph/fax: (02) 4627 5926
Ph: 136 789
Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.