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Book a fale holiday in Samoa for your off-island visitors

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — If your visitors from off-island plan to spend a few days in beautiful Samoa, swimming in waterfalls, hiking up mountains, kayaking the sea, surfing the waves and snorkeling the waters, they will need to find somewhere to lie down and refresh for the next day in paradise.

“Samoa has many beautiful resorts and hotels on offer, or they can experience the unique pleasure of staying in a fale,” says the Samoa Tourism Authority.

Staying in fale accommodation is the perfect way to experience fa’a Samoa — the Samoan way of life — as Samoans have for thousands of years.

“This laid-back style of accommodation gets you as close to the ocean as it is possible to lay down your head and means that the soundtrack to your sleep is the hush of the ocean and not only is a fale an experience that should not be missed, it’s more often than not a budget-friendly option, with reasonable prices and often dinner and breakfast included.”

There are many accommodation providers that offer fale or fale-style accommodation, from fully enclosed fales with windows in Manono Island of Litia Sini, or completely traditional structures with nothing between the visitor and the ocean view but a mosquito net and optional pull-down woven blinds, like the ones at Lalomanu or Namu’a.

Other resorts have taken the fale concept a bit further and added solid walls (on some, if not all, sides of the building) and air conditioning – not an unpleasant modern addition for those not used to Samoa’s warm climate – and a sturdy tin roof.

Give your visitors a copy of this handy reference compiled by the STA and be sure to tell them to pack their mosquito spray and sunscreen:

What is a fale?

Fale is the Samoan word for house of any size. Traditionally, a Samoan fale is an oval or circular shape, has a domed, thatched roof held up with wooden poles and has no permanent walls. Roll-down blinds, called pola, surrounded the structure.

Who builds fales?

Fales were traditionally constructed by tufuga fau fale, or master craftsmen, who were also the architects. The building of a fale was considered an art form and was a large task involving an entire family or village, from cutting the timber to preparing the foundations. 

Who lives in fales?

In Samoa, many locals still reside in traditional fales, which visitors will see when they enter any small village. Today’s fales are built using a range of materials, including sturdy tin roofs that replace coconut fibre thatching and concrete that replaced coral, sand and soil floors.

How big are fales?

There are many sizes of fales, depending on their purpose.

A fale tele, or big house, is used within a village as a meeting house for chiefs, for family gatherings and for ceremonies such as funerals. It's normally sited in a prominent position within the village. 

The afolau is a longer oval (also called a long house) that is normally used as a family home or guest house.

Another long fale is the faleo'o, or small house, which is traditionally located at  the back of the main house. Nowadays, a faleo'o is often used as a beach fale for tourists, but in times gone by they were used as an extra space to retire to during the hottest part of the day, or for guests to stay in. 

Finally the tunoa or umukuka is the all-important cook, or umu (oven) house. There's nothing grandiose about this building, often little more than a shelter on poles to protect the oven or a lean-to, but it serves an important role.


The Samoa Ports Authority (SPA) has confirmed that there will be 6 cruise ships scheduled to visit Matautu Wharf in January and February, with hundreds of visitors and tourists.

The Authority also expects to receive more cruise ships after February.