Return to Paradise Beach in Lefaga Samoa was named after the 1953 film starring Gary Cooper and Roberta Haynes. Samoans have regarded this beach as particularly special and it is nothing short of a spectacular beauty. It caught the attention of Hollywood location scouts who determined it to be the perfect setting for their film. The beach then became an iconic symbol of Samoa, deemed so valuable that traditional landowning families divided it amongst themselves. This ensured that everyone had customary ownership and guardianship over a part of the beach, thus preserving it forever.
For over forty years, the chiefs responsible for the beach were approached by business people and worldwide hotel chains requesting a lease to utilise it for various resorts. Despite the significant financial incentives offered in exchange for the beach, their petitions were all turned down. The chiefs saw that it was their responsibility to ensure that the beach would be protected and used only in ways that supported their values. This came to pass when they finally trusted their precious beach to Ramona Su’a Pale, a daughter of the village returning from New Zealand.
A group of Samoan business owners provided financial support for Ramona and in 2011, the work to build this dream began. The jungle which stretched down to the beach was cleared by hand, leading to the inception of the Return to Paradise Resort which is proudly 100% owned and operated by Samoans and staffed by the extended family.
AUTHENTIC SAMOAN CULTURE
Showcasing the Best of Our (Samoan) World
If there’s one unique thing that we ‘all’ have in common, it is our various cultural identities. No, that is not an oxymoron. Culture, in its most eclectic and beautiful ways, sets us apart from the rest of the world and helps to identify and shape each of us into who we are… and we are Samoan, proud and true.
At Return to Paradise Resort, you can expect to experience our Samoan way of life through activities such as basket weaving, umu (underground cooking), prayer sessions, island night bands, visits to nearby villages and even thrilling fire dances. While some of these are showpieces, we are far more than that, and we hope you see and learn, and most importantly, feel the real ‘Samoa’ in every personal conversation, smile and encounter while you stay with us.
Samoans take tremendous pride in the landscaping of our homes, properties and environment, and this is also evident all around the resort. It is manicured exactly as we manicure our homes and villages. It is not a resort to us, it is simply a bigger guest house. It has been created with Samoan architecture, carvings and gardens that are designed to make you, as our guests, feel special and invited into our very own homes. Our resort was designed with love and a Samoan touch. It has to be… for this is the Samoan thing to do.