Hey y’all, listen up. I think I might have discovered paradise or, at least, a super close approximation of the ideal tropical island getaway. I’m talking about Samoa, where I spent a magical, wet and wild week back at the beginning of November.
Over the next few days, I’ll recount my time exploring Samoa – a small island nation in the South Pacific considered to be the geographic and cultural heart of Polynesia – with Talofa Samoa, a series of posts with tips on hotels and resorts, food and drink, activities, outings and more.
Depending on how you look at it, the best/worst aspect about going to Samoa is that it’s so very far away. As when travelling to Australia or New Zealand from the UK, it takes about a day to fly between London and Apia (Samoa’s capital city and location of its international airport). On the way out you cross the International Date Line, thus losing a day.
Without doubt, I found my time there to be well worth the journey. I’m fairly well travelled in the South Pacific and having a good understanding of Polynesia, but I still had no idea how much fun I was in for or how awed I would be by Samoa’s unique natural beauty. I was touched by the warmth and sincere hospitality of the people I met during my adventures there as well. If Samoa’s not on your bucket list, consider giving your list a revision and wedging Samoa in near the top.
Air New Zealand
For my trip, I flew with Air New Zealand. My outbound flight was Heathrow-Vancouver-Auckland-Apia. Return was Apia-Auckland-Los Angeles-Heathrow. I flew economy heading over and Premium Economy coming back. Obviously, Premium Economy was a much more pleasant experience than cattle class. But honestly, I didn’t mind flying economy too much. I’d do it again for another chance to see Samoa.
Air New Zealand Premium Economy
Air New Zealand Premium Economy seating offers ample space and privacy with its Spaceseat fixed shell design featuring up to 42” seat pitch plus in-seat power, USB and iPod connections. Flying Premium Economy means you eat from the Business Premiere menu created by consultant chef, Peter Gordon paired with quality New Zealand wines and that you can choose from over 580 hours of in-flight entertainment to watch in widescreen format on a 10.6” personal touch screen.
Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge
What I loved most about Premium Economy was having access to the airline’s Auckland International Lounge during my layover between Apia and LA. Opened September 2015, the flagship international lounge at Auckland International Airport features an ultra-modern design and has tailored seating zones to meet the changing needs of travellers whether they’re flying for work or leisure. The 2,000sqm lounge comfortably seats more than 375 customers and overlooks the runway with large floor-to-ceiling windows and a covered outdoor terrace with fireplace. There are 24 different styles of seating, a food theatre with dishes cooked to order, a central bar area offering barista-made coffee that customers can pre-order directly from the Air New Zealand mobile app as well as New Zealand wines and signature cocktails. A separate children’s area modelled on a Kiwi tree house has plenty to keep the little ones busy (and out of the hair of those of us without kids).
For routes, prices and more information, check out airnewzealand.co.uk.
Assisting with my itinerary was Austravel. With 40 years experience, Austravel is the leading UK-based travel specialist for creating tailor-made holidays to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
For details go to austravel.com.
To start planning your own adventure in the South Pacific paradise of beautiful Samoa, have a look at samoa.travel.
FYI: Talofa is a basic Samoan greeting. It simply means “hi” and comes from the phrase Si o ta alofa atu or “I am happy and delighted to give you my love.” Nice! I’m happy to share my thoughts about Samoa with you and hope you’ll be delighted to read about my visit. Faafetai (thanks)!