High on the hill at Fasito’o-uta at Ifiele’ele Plantation, I’m overlooking an expansive forest which blends into the sea. You could be forgiven for thinking you are the only person on earth here, it’s paradise, but I’m actually not alone,
I’m lounging on the deck, sipping a niu and chatting with Joan, whilst Paul, her very fun and talented husband whips us up a feast, something he’s playing with for the new menu that they’re featuring in one of the two holiday packages they’re offering from the plantation.
Ifiele’ele Plantation has been running as a boutique, self catering, Eco-Retreat, holiday accommodation for 2 ½ years. Paul and Joan have lived in Samoa since 2009, and what they have built here, is nothing short of amazing. The holiday packages we’re discussing were brought about by their respect for the environment, their love of food, a passion for health and well-being and wanting to help international visitors experience and discover the best things about Samoa.
Two holiday packages are offered: a ‘Yoga and Wellness Escape’ and a ‘Taste of Samoa - Cuisine and Culture’. Both include four nights accommodation at Ifiele’ele, all meals, airport transfers and guided activities to local attractions.
As the name suggests, the ‘Taste of Samoa’ holiday package is all about food. Food is at the heart of Samoan culture. Today some of Samoa’s best chefs are creating exciting new dishes using local organic ingredients.
The “Taste of Samoa” package gives you the opportunity to sample the best of both traditional and modern Samoan cuisine. You’ll begin by helping to gather foods from the plantation and prepare for an umu. The master chef will explain how the umu is made and you can help in the preparation of the feast.
Also in the package you’ll visit markets and taste local coffees and koko Samoa and choose fresh fish for your dinner. Modern Samoan cuisine is also showcased with a contemporary food tour through Apia with Nanise Tolovae. Nanise will take guests to visit some of her favourite restaurants and cafes. “We’re really happy to show people what is happening here in Samoa with food; places like Palusami, Legends and Scalinis have such delicious meals!”.
Ifiele’ele’s philosophy is to use fresh, locally grown, organic ingredients, which are sourced from the plantation or from farmers in and around the village. This is a four night retreat and will have you blown away by what Samoa has to offer up on your plate ... an epicurean’s dream!
I am lucky enough to be teaching yoga and meditation for the other holiday package, the “Yoga and Wellness Escape”– also, to be held once a month. Ifiele’ele plantation is the perfect location to unwind and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Samoa, vast landscaped gardens with a breathtakingly, dramatic backdrop make this place perfect for finding your inner Zen Monk.
The retreat is for four nights and three days, includes all food, local, organic and ‘ah-mayzing’. Yoga and meditation are practiced twice a day at various spots across the property. My favourite place is in the yoga glade, a cleared circle in the rainforest with a canopy of lush green above and surrounding.
We access this glade via a meandering path through the forest, it’s absolute heaven! All yoga classes are taught from a beginners’ level, right through to advanced. You’ll be learning yin yoga, kundalini and Hatha. Each Yoga and Wellness Escape can host up to eight people and the yoga can be tailored to your requirements. The Yoga and Wellness Escape includes optional spa treatments, massage and general body pampering.
Ifiele’ele is conveniently located close to the airport and offers transfers for international guests as well as tours to some of the wonderful local points of interest for activities such as swimming with the Giant Clams at Savaia and a walk around Manono Island.
Ifiele’ele also hosts one-night yoga retreats which are designed for people living locally. These short ‘Yoga Treats’ are a great way to unwind at the end of the working week. Starting on Friday afternoon, the mini retreat includes a 90 minute yoga class and two course vegetarian dinner, a discussion on yoga and an optional yoga film or documentary. Saturday morning starts with an early meditation session, followed by another 90 minute yoga set.
A noon checkout allows guests to have a leisurely breakfast and relax before heading off to enjoy the rest of the weekend. The next ‘Yoga Treat’ is scheduled for Friday 4th of March. This will be a very fun overnighter. Only 10 spots are available and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
If you’d like more information about any of the packages go to www.ifieleele.com or to book for the local mini-treat or one of the longer Taste of Samoa or Yoga and Wellness Escapes, you can contact Joan and Paul through email@example.com