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Margaret J
Auckland, New Zealand

wonderful Place to stay

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 Jul 2023
Our stay at Return to Paradise was even better than we hoped. The location is perfect the accommodation firstclass and the staff amazing- efficient, friendly and helpful. The Resort feels like one big family- which it is! Enjoyed the meals(would have liked a bit more Samoan food) the gea swimming and snorkelling were very good and the pools lovely. some seats and tables near the beach would be nice- hard to read on a lounger! Excellent tours and friendly knowledgable guides. Altogether a wonderful holiday experience.
Date of stay: June 2023
Trip type: Travelled with friends
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mel Toailoa, Other at Return to Paradise Resort & Spa, responded to this review
Responded 19 Aug 2023
Talofa Margaret,
Thank you for your feedback!
We have had a few comments that our guests would like to see some more Samoan food - which is great insight we have our kitchen team looking into now! starting off with specials and more dishes for buffets.
You are right - we no longer have any tables on the beach - this is defintely something we will look into again.
Once again, thank you Margaret :)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
The listings of booking offers for each property take into account the compensation paid to us by our partners. Prices shown may be for varying room types. Prices displayed are the lowest available, corresponding to the least expensive room type available, as provided from our partners as of the time of the user’s search.
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Reviewed 24 July 2023

The place was amazing with beautiful FiaFia nights on Wednesday & Saturday which had a buffet and performances to match. The Managers Mel & Tom were Amazing and the staff with their warm greetings every morning made the place even more welcoming. 🥥🌴

Me and my family will definetly be going back. 👌

Room tip: This place was well priced when we were looking for a place to stay. The activities, performances and views from the bar were👌
Date of stay: July 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Roving02174571106
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mel Toailoa, Other at Return to Paradise Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 28 July 2023

Talofa Roving02174571106
Thank you for your review - we are glad you enjoyed our shows on Wednesday & Saturday evenings - we are very proud of the groups! most guests say their performances are a highlight.
we look forward to seeing you all again soon!

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Reviewed 23 July 2023 via mobile

We have stayed in lots of beautiful places in Samoa over the years but Return to Paradise has to be our favourite beach. The long stretch of white sand and palm trees are exactly how you imagine a Pacific Island should be. There are lots of sun loungers along the beach, as well as plenty of trees if you need some shade. We can hang out here all day |sunbathing | snoozing |swimming | reading | snorkelling | repeat! The sea is crystal clear and so warm - you can stay in for hours. At high tide the waves come over the reef and into the lagoon for a bit of excitement, and at low tide the calm lagoon is back again with great snorkelling and fun rock pools you can wallow in.

We love this place and have stayed several times, most recently March 2023. Always found Ramona and the whole team super friendly and warm and helpful.

If you are coming to Samoa for the beach and to relax and to reset 😎 this is your place.

Room tip: Book the fale at the rock pool bar for pre-dinner drinks and a spectacular view of the sunset
Date of stay: March 2023
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Diane N Talauta M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mel Toailoa, Other at Return to Paradise Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 28 July 2023

Talofa Diane
Thank you for your feedback. You are right - we are so blessed to have our beautiful Return to Paradise beach.
We look forward to your return to paradise one day soon!
Kind regards

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Reviewed 21 July 2023 via mobile

Great people, great location, amazing snorkeling straight out front of the resort. An easy holiday to do with kids to relax and unwind. Our second time here and we’ll definitely be back. Thank you again for your amazing hospitality! A+++++

Room tip: Good strong insect repellent a must.
Date of stay: July 2023
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank Tutt_family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mel Toailoa, Other at Return to Paradise Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2023

Talofa Tutt family,

It was lovely having you back with us after 7 years!!!

We look forward to having you back again - hopefully in the not too distance future.

From the extended Return to Paradise Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2023

Travellers, PLEASE take heed of the negative feedback – there are common themes amongst these poor TripAdvisor feedback threads, which, despite the owner’s comments HAVE NOT BEEN RESOLVED. Unfortunately, we got caught in that trap, thinking that some travellers just have to moan, and that Return to Paradise (RTP) management had things under control – this was far from the truth in our experience.

We spoke to many other guests throughout our stay, and whilst our tales were not the same, we all had a terrible experience. I will, however, leave the following feedback based on our experience alone (not of our new-found friends). The following is based on a sea view room for a couple.

Highlights:

1. Beautiful beach location with stunning white sand, clear blue seas, and the shade of coconut trees.

2. Wonderfully friendly local staff and the fire dance performers were excellent.

Lowlights:

1. Entrance into the facility was not welcoming. Two sets of security with a manned guard. No welcoming signs. No pretty plantings. Nothing to entice you to ‘paradise’. Just some unkempt gardens and a potholed dirt track for the airport shuttle to traverse. This first impression certainly aligned with what followed…an uninviting facility falling victim to poor maintenance.

2. We arrived to a gloomy room, with barely any natural light (the pictures you see online must have been enhanced!). Artificial lighting was minimal. Bedside lamps didn’t work (power points were arcing, so we chose not to try again – and yes, we told a maintenance man twice (two different men), but nothing happened).

3. Bathroom was not as described – no twin sinks. No feature rock wall. Instead, we got mould with a doorframe completely rotten (but somehow still holding in place).

4. There was no space to put luggage nor put clothes away, so we ended up operating out of our luggage from the floor in the main room. Yes, there was a little hanging space available next to the fridge, which had a bench mostly taken up with the safe (ie not big enough to place a suitcase) and there was one small set of wicker drawers that were tatty and broken). This was certainly no ‘walk-in wardrobe’!

5. You cannot drink water from the tap. Fortunately, our bag porter told us of this on arrival and pointed out the drinking fountain. However, there was no written mention of this (nor any written material in the rooms regarding anything of the resort – no information pack regarding resort facilities, tours, restaurant opening hours, menus etc). Our neighbour had no idea the water wasn’t safe until we told her what we had been told.
Surely health and safety notices should be paramount??

6. Studio bedroom came equipped with a television that doesn’t work – first, there was no remote to operate the tv. We got the remote sorted, but then found the tv wasn’t wired to any aerial. Asked the front desk, and she said no (this is despite the travel agent’s notes claiming cable TV). Instead, we could borrow a flash drive at a refundable cost. Turns out there aren’t enough flash drives for each room. When one was available it was filled with kids cartoon movies only. Whilst we are not big on watching TV when we go on holiday, it would have been nice to receive what was advertised.

7. Private veranda was not private. The setup for beachfront rooms is that the standalone dwelling can be either single-use (multi-bedrooms in one house) or split into 2x single-bedroom units. Our neighbour’s ranch slider opened onto our ‘private’ veranda. Kindly our neighbour (who arrived later than us) saw that the space wasn’t private and left us to enjoy this space alone. It would otherwise be odd to have another family use this covered veranda always looking onto our bed. If we then had to close the curtains for privacy, then we’d have no natural light and no sea view!
The outdoor ceiling fan had clearly rusted out years ago, meaning mosquitoes were a problem (no fogging was carried out around the units. No mosquito repellents or repellers were made available for use around the accommodation).
The veranda roof leaked in the rain, above the outdoor table and chairs.
Guttering leaked too (specifically outside the entrance door – which wasn’t pleasant).
Initially wowed by an outdoor spa, we soon realised it wasn’t clean. It had no water or power connection either, so could not be used (many sea view units had these spa pools – none were in operation).

8. Air conditioning unit read 16 degrees Celsius but barely kept the room cool – this clearly wasn’t working.

9. The stench outside the room, of sewerage, indicated that the sewer system needs maintenance (there were a few areas around the resort that smelt bad).

10. If you get any moisture on the accommodation floor, be very careful because the bare marble floors become a slip hazard.

11. The small fridge stopped working on day 3 spilling water everywhere. A maintenance man arrived 1.5hrs later (having waited because of a stranger amongst our belongings) we were told it was ‘fixed’ and he left. It clearly wasn’t working. The next day we had to again enquire. Much later that day a new fridge arrived, but we were told we weren’t entitled to a new ‘complimentary’ milk (now out on the bench for 2 days) for the tea and coffee, because that would need approval by management.

12. The Mini bar was available (and appeared generous) but the wine was clearly off from being left in the heat. This was later replaced after enquiry at the front desk and a few hours of waiting.
No was coffee available in the room – until I asked for some (same long wait for a resolution).

13. Room servicing is basically non-existent. On day 2 someone turned up to see the room when we were in. She asked us to sign her form as ‘completed’ – she hadn’t even entered the unit! On another occasion someone had clearly been into the room, as a floor towel had been picked up and folded over the shower – no other towel had been re-set or replaced, the bedcover was ruffled but not made, there was no replenishment of tea/coffee, nothing wiped or cleaned, but our hairbrush now came equipped with tangled long dark hair (my hair is short and fair! Disgusting!!)

14. In our opinion the organised tours are massively overpriced but do get booked out quickly (perhaps not enough on offer?). The giant clam and turtle tour is ~110 WST per person (large group tour), whereas the reserve is only a 4km easy walk away, with a 20WST entrance fee – sure we don’t get a personalised tour or the experience of a tour guide – but our conversations around the resort proved to us that the excess cost was not deemed of value.

15. Complimentary breakfast was incredibly basic. Some dry bread was available with a toaster that could barely warm the bread. Butter, jam, and peanut butter. 2x kids (sweet) cereal options, some cornflakes and some Weetbix. Also, some seasonable fresh fruit. Cooked breakfast is an additional cost (but at times limited options). At times, cups, plates, bowls and/or cutlery was hard to find or not available without requesting it. I have certainly received much better breakfast options at much cheaper resorts.

16. Food in the ‘Paradise Kitchen’ and ‘Rock Pool Bar’ is very expensive. The menu appears to be the same at both locations. Lunch is the same as dinner (same price). The menu never changed. 48WST gives a very small serving of spaghetti bolognese, or fettuccine, or fish and chips (not fresh). Don’t be fooled by the lobster (as per online photos) nothing like that was on offer!
You may have been ‘award-winning’ in the past, but I doubt that award could be earned today.
Unfortunately our friends got sick with food poisoning - they'd only eaten at the restaurant. Fortunately, we didn’t get sick ourselves, but we did stop eating from the restaurants following day 3. Unfortunately, there are no other restaurant food options available within walking distance of the resort that we are aware of.

17. Happy hour at the bar was 4-6pm. We asked staff what this entailed. ‘Half-price drinks’ was the response. Check out the 6pm onwards menu and it’s not half-price at all.
We brought a sangria jug once and it tasted nothing like sangria. We had to return it as the wine tasted off, and tasted like it was mixed with apple juice (nothing resembling any sangria recipe I know of). This sangria issue was resolved with a white wine cocktail instead. Whilst resolved, this should never have happened to begin with.

18. To top it off we felt that staff were constantly angling for a further upsell or handout. Ie at breakfast we were asked daily if we wanted to order coffee or smoothies (not otherwise available with breakfast). At the Fiafia Dinner Show, before the show had even started, the owner reminded us of the custom to give money at the end of the show. Seems the entrance fee wasn’t enough already!

19. The owner Ramona, and her husband Jim Gilchrist, were on site for our stay but did little to show any hospitality to guests, nor resolve the issues clearly being experienced by other guests in front of our eyes – just another excuse followed by walking off without resolution.
To prospective guests… Do your own homework and research these people for your own comfort.

The items above are just a snippet of our 7-day stay.
Whilst we appreciate that Covid has taken its toll on hospitality and staff availability within Samoa, we do not believe that this is the reason for our poor experience (as told to us on several occasions by management – ie the NZ and Australian government poaching 60% of the English-speaking workforce to instead pick fruit for greater sums of money).
We feel that the poor experience is due to a lack of systems and processes within the resort (there is absolutely no consistency from day to day regarding service), and little to no maintenance being undertaken.
This resort is not 4-star luxury, we think 2-star is more accurate. We also think it’d be best to undersell and overdeliver, rather than provide inaccurate website descriptions and travel agency notes to unsuspecting victims. We certainly did not receive value for money and will not recommend this resort.

I see from all the other TripAdvisor reviews that a poor review is met with a retort from the owner or management, advising that it was either the guest’s fault for not following protocol, not raising the concern correctly, not advising staff in a timely manner, or, that RTP are in the process of, rectifying concerns.
What I can say to RTP management is this – please save your response time and effort … This was our experience, and we feel your TripAdvisor responses are nothing but disrespectful to the guests unfortunate enough to stay at your premises.

Room tip: Try somewhere else first!!
Date of stay: May 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
3  Thank Pioneer17902821550
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mel Toailoa, Other at Return to Paradise Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2023

Talofa Pioneer17902821550

Thank you for your feedback.

On behalf of our extended Resort family we apologise that your experience with us didn't meet your expectations, it also fell well short of the service we aim to deliver.

For our future guests we hope this information is also helpful:
We have 2 security points you must enter to access our site - very soon you will see our new road and a completely different entrance. In the meantime - the purpose of the 2 gates is so that we can monitor movements in and out - as our beach is very beautiful, but also a lot of responsibility. Also, with the number of day visitors we have - its also our intention that while you stay with us we can control the number of guests, and also keep the entire area clean;

And Samoan culture - our culture group who perform on Wednesday, and our Maeva Band who perform on Saturday end their events with a traditional Samoan dance. It is a universal practice "lafo" -- throw money onto the floor (or bowl) or into the air above the dancer—or place money on the dancer in acknowledgment of her skill and status. To give money at this time is always optional so never feel obliged to do so but also do not be offended. Here with us, all contributions given during our shows go directly back to the groups to use at their discretion;

And for tours options - research your tour options in advance knowing what you'd like to spend - Resort tours are always more expensive. To visit the giant clams in a taxi is simple enough. However we have a giant clam tour, with kayaks, turtle spotting, and some of the best tour guides in Samoa who are have a plethora of local knowledge, are trained in water safety and first aid. This is currently $110 Samoan Tala per adult.

We have many things that we need to work on, thank you again Pioneer17902821550 - although your review was disappointing, we will improve from this. Please feel free to reach out to me directly on gm@returntoparadiseresort.com,

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Reviewed 18 July 2023 via mobile

Great place / lovely staff. Rooms clean and tidy. Locally owned and run. Internet not great which is a blessing in part! Special shout out again after another visit here to Tia - best barrista in Samoa, uber great guy and always on the lookout for his guests. Love the beach too. Thank you!

Date of stay: July 2023
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank RossH1727
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Ramona Su'aPale, Owner at Return to Paradise Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 19 July 2023

Talofa and thank your kind review - yes Tia is the best barista in Samoa - he is a winner of the National Barista championships. We are working hard with a service provider to get a more consistent wifi reception, If the free wifi is not working, we have free modems available at reception on request. Our family have been guardians of this beach for over 1000 years and we love to share it with you
We hope to see you again when you Return to Paradise
Alofa tele atu
The Return to Paradise family

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