The magic of a natural Samoan rock pool

December 19, 2011
The Samoana pool built into the lava rock

This Samoan pool has the whole ocean as a balance tank.

The pocket-sized, 28-bed Samoana Resort – co-owned and run by Aussie surfer Paul Robertson – is built right on the beach by the small village of Salamumu.

The village and resort are intrinsically linked – the resort land is leased from one of the village families, and all the friendly local workers are Salamumuans. One thing that helped persuade the village to allow Robinson to build here is the natural way the resort blends with the landscape.

The Aussie-designed fales rise straight from the sand, surrounded by coconut palms and hammocks.

While the fales are integrated with the landscape, the pool in blended visually and physically with the sea. Carved out of the lava-rock on the shoreline, the pool is totally natural. It is fed straight from the ocean by a single pump, and flows over a spill-over wall in to the biggest balance tank of them all – the Pacific Ocean.

To overcome the build up of algae, the pool is drained every Wednesday and scrubbed.

The pool has the whole ocean as a balance tank

“We can’t have people slipping and falling,” says Robinson. “And because it’s built into that black lava rock, it holds and generates a massive amount of heat, so it keeps the water temperature high the whole time, stimulating growth. It’s probably fractionally warmer than the natural lagoon. There wouldn’t be much in it. It’s still cool enough to be refreshing.”

But the guests wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve asked literally hundreds of guests if we should negate the weekly cleaning by concreting the pool, marblesheening it and chlorinating it. Not a single person over the past twelve years has said, why don’t you build a proper pool. But plenty have said, ‘Ahh, that’s magic’.”


The Wednesday scrub








Paul Robertson outside the fales


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