Firstly, I'd say beware of the negative reviews with people claiming that the staff at Tanu steal your belongings! Those are pretty strong accusations and my personal experience at Tanu would suggest that the family/staff wouldn't steal from you. Accusations of being "nearly raped" need to be referred to the police but have no place on TA. In an open resort like Tanu Beach, your personal security is always your own responsibility.
Tanu Beach is a family run Fale resort and I went there on recommendations from my brother and also from a friend, both loved Tanu Beach. You need to set your expectations before you go. I went with my partner who is really a 5-star girl, and normally goes to Fiji for holidays, well she LOVED it! Best holiday she has ever had, she says, and thinks it's much more enjoyable than Fiji. It's basic, but that's what we wanted! You aren't there for the culinary experience, the food will fill you up and give you the energy you need for the day, but it's not the reason you are there. There are some good places to eat in the area if you want more variety. The pizza next to Le Lagoto is superb! The showers and toilets are shared and basic, but they are clean and always well attended to. If you know this in advance and aren't expecting a 5 start resort, then you should love Tanu Beach.
We stayed for a week, just after the New Zealand School holidays, and found the family to be welcoming and warm, but not over the top. They just go about their lives and take care of your basic needs but they aren't falling over themselves to serve you. We found that to be the perfect balance because we were just left to relax and enjoy ourselves. I'd avoid school holidays again, as we heard it was really full and busy during the holidays and it wouldn't have been the same experience. The beach is exactly what you'd expect from the perfect tropical beach. It is just about as close to perfect as you can get! At the communal dinner table you can catch up with other guests and share stories of what to do and see. Most just relaxed and did nothing! That's the perfect way to experience Savai'i life. The joke around the dinner table became asking what someone did that day, and the answer was "nothing". Then you'd ask what they were doing tomorrow and the answer was again "nothing". It's simply the most relaxing place I have ever been.
The daily routine became, breakfast, swim, lounge in hammock (we brought our own to hang in the palm trees), snack, swim, read, lunch, order Vailima beer, swim, hammock, sleep. This was all a lead up to 4pm when Tanu's bar would open and we'd order our nightly Pina Coladas, oh so good! Then it was dinner and a night swim before bed. Life became a beautiful slow moving total relaxation experience. No decisions to make, not even what to eat for breakfast or dinner, because you had no choice, that was all part of the charm.
We chose to fly into Asau Airport at the north-west corner of Savai'i instead of the standard ferry/bus trip. What a great way to see the island! On a tiny plane. The Tanu staff even arranged to have someone pick us up at the airport, which is about a 40 minute drive. We weren't sure anyone was going to meet us at the tiny one-room airport, because the communication with Tanu's staff via email is so laid-back, but sure enough someone was there with a car to take us to Tanu Beach. Nothing is rushed or urgent on Savai'i, but it works. The other thing that struck me was that things are what they say they are. If they tell you a taxi will be 5 tala, it's 5 tala. Nobody seemed to be trying to take advantage of you, it just seemed honest and easy.
What would we do differently next time? (and there will be a next time!) We took our own pillows and we'd do that again, plus cotton sheets next time. Seems like an extravagance but the polyester sheets that they provide are a bit hot, so a couple of flat cotton sheets would make all the difference. Take more sunscreen, you can't seem to buy it anywhere! We took some snack food, (crackers, tins of tuna, etc) and we'd do that again, plus a little coffee plunger and coffee (do that again). Other than that, we wouldn't change much. We left cameras and phones in our fale and never had an issue, not in plain site but still not secured in any way. Lucky maybe, but we just didn't feel there was an issue and the people that recommended Tanu Beach to us said the same. We were never far from our fale anyway and none of the activity we saw around the place raised any suspicion. If it were full of guests and busy, I'd be more concerned about other travellers, rather than the staff. The bottom line is if something is really valuable, keep it with you and make sure your insurance will cover it for loss or theft before you leave home.
We can't wait to go back to Tanu Beach again and leave the world behind for a week or so.
- Also Known As:
- Tanu Beach Fales Hotel Savai`i
- Tanu Beach Fales Savai i
- Tanu Beach Fales Samoa