We (Logan and I) stayed at Lava hotel for 12 nights. My sister and her 3 children also stayed at Lava hotel for 12 nights. My brother and his wife stayed there for 10 nights. While the length of stay and the room numbers differed, we all had one thing in common in our review of our stays and that was that Lava Hotel was inconsistent with everything. Let’s tell you the truth about Lava Hotel.
Each of our check-in experiences were so different. Logan and I got free orange juice on arrival but were told to sit and wait a good 30 minutes, while they separated the beds in our room. We purposely arrived for check in closer to 3pm to avoid this wait. We received no information on the hotel or what to expect just told to go with the staff who helped with our bags to our room.
My sister got apple juice on arrival and was given information on the hotel, where to get pool towels, internet etc. My brother and sister-in-law got no welcome drink or even an information talk. The fact that we all received such different service on check-in shows their inconsistency from the beginning.
This is what Lava’s website says about their rooms. “Opened in 2020, Lava Hotel is Samoa’s newest accommodation boasting luxury resort style quality rooms. Our rooms are arguably the most comfortable on island. Each room is fully air-conditioned with its own unique character with breathtaking views of either the ocean, mountains, or the pool. Our guests can work and rest at their best with all essentials and amenities available on site including automatic safe, free wi-fi with reliable internet access and 45” smart TV with Chromecast.”
Here is what we experienced in our rooms. Logan and I chose the two-bed option, that meant the beds were a single, not a king single but a single. We understood that when we booked, but there was no mountain or pool view. We could see the building next door. We were lucky that when we arrived our air conditioning was set to 18 and we were extremely happy with this as we were able to escape the heat. However, part way through my sister touched the air conditioning setting and it would not go back down to 18. We tried to sleep with it on the setting of 20 but the room was so stuffy we barely slept. I had to go down to reception to ask for it to be fixed several times. Finally, maintenance said it was set on that temperature as the air conditioner leaks any lower temperature. I am thankful they reduced it to 18 for us as I would not have been able to sleep.
Our wi-fi was on and off, inconsistent, and patchy depending on where you were. We also had to go down to the reception to have it fixed. Our telephone never worked the whole time we were there. That meant on the day when I was sick and needed to eat, I had to walk downstairs to order my food and come back upstairs. The whole purpose of having room service is so that you don’t have to leave your room. A working telephone is an essential for any hotel room.
We had soap and bottled water the first day we arrived. Neither were restocked the whole 12 day stay we were there. I didn’t think anything of it until the receptionist said that soap should have been replenished daily as well as the water. Not very luxury in my opinion.
My sister had two adjoining rooms with her children. The first day they arrived their TV didn’t work. This was promptly fixed. They asked to have separate beds in one room, and they got sick of asking so spent the whole time with two of her children sharing a bed. They were getting soaps replenished daily for a few days then it stopped. My sister’s rooms air conditioning was set to 20 and blowing out cold air.
My brother’s room smelled like urine the first day they arrived. The mirror had what looked like white ejaculate smeared on it which was not cleaned the whole stay. His air conditioning was set to 20 but not cold and even after several times going to reception and asking for it to be fixed it never was. They didn’t even have water bottles in their room on arrival. The temperature in their room was so uncomfortable they also found it difficult to sleep. While some would say “so what?”, the fact they are advertising as “the best 4-star hotel in Samoa” means that this kind of service is not acceptable.
Where to begin? Towels. I have stayed at several hotels, even 3-star ones. When my room has been cleaned and the towels taken to be washed the towels were replaced with clean towels as they cleaned. For some weird reason at Lava Hotel when the dirty towels were taken nothing was left to replace it. So sometimes we were left with no towels in the rooms for hours or until we went and asked for towels because we needed them. Then some days we had our towels hanging up because we didn’t need new ones and they would take them and replace them with clean towels. It was all very confusing and none of it was consistent. We had to put a do not disturb sign on the door sometimes because we wanted to make sure we had clean towels and didn’t want them to come in and take them and be left with no towels.
Please purchase more towels and hire more housekeeping staff to clean them more than once a day. Hotels should have at least twice as many towels as they have in each room. Why? Because towels get lost, towels get dirty, and guests should never have to wait for a towel or ask for one in the first place.
Cleaning was not always done in the mornings either. Sometimes it was mornings other times it was afternoons. This made it difficult to plan things like online meetings for work as I needed my room cleaned but they came in the afternoon instead of the morning and my meeting was in the afternoon. This also affected my sister who was taking a nap and thinking cleaning was finished and then she had housekeeping wake her up in the afternoon wanting to clean her room. It was again, inconsistent.
As a part of staying at Lava Hotel you get free breakfast. They had a great selection to choose from. There was porridge, fresh fruit, pancakes, French toast, omelettes and eggs with sausage and vegetables. It was good food for breakfast. But it was inconsistent. One day we order an omelette and it is huge, half the size of the plate. The next day we order the same omelette, and it was half the size it was the day before. The toast would come with two portions of butter one day, another it would come with one portion of butter and other days there was no butter, so inconsistent. I usually ordered the eggs with vegetables, and it doesn’t mention onion in the menu, so it was great for my allergy. Some days it had no onion, other days it did. How can the same dish be so different?
The service during breakfast was also inconsistent. Some days we would arrive order within 5 minutes and have our food in a reasonable amount of time. Other days we would be sitting for a good 20 minutes before any service staff even looked at us. Orders were often incorrect. Sometimes we order and then other family members join and order after us but get their food before us. Several times we had to ask for our food as our order was forgotten. One day my brother and his wife had to leave before the order arrived as they had waited so long but had things planned for the day.
One day I had breakfast with some friends. They left and had not paid their bill. Even though there were other guests eating with us the waiter remembered me and came to my room to ask me to pay the bill. So, because the wait staff did not get the bill to those who were eating, I was then expected to pay? That is weird but also puts pressure on me when it was not my fault. What if I refused would they still have added it to my room? Inconsistent.
What was consistent is the decrease in service time and quality whenever you held a conference in your hotel. Make sure that you have enough staff so that quality is upheld for your guests as well as your functions.
The pool is beautiful. I was looking forward to using it especially on a Sunday afternoon when I would not be able to go to the beach. However, on the first day we arrived a child pooped in the pool (not any of our children). Just an inside note to guests if your child poops in a pool clean the poop up don’t just see it then do a runner. The hotel did not cordon off the pool so they could clean it. They removed the faeces and chucked in some powder stuff. This put me off swimming in the pool for days until I saw maintenance cleaning it with tools etc. When I did finally swim in the pool there was debris all through it which made swimming not fun. I saw maintenance cleaning the pool twice in my whole stay. It could have been done when I wasn’t there, but at a 4-star hotel you shouldn’t have any debris at any time. The location of the pool is right next to the restaurant so when people are eating, they are also watching you in the pool which is not always great.
Lava Hotel do not have 24-hour reception. If your flight is at 5am, you need to check out before 11pm the night before. This is what happened to my brother and sister. They got take away breakfast packs which was sweet. Check out was simple and easy for them.
I checked out the next morning. All I have to say is check your bill. There were charges to my room that I never made. Receipts signed by some stranger to my room. As with any hotel check your bill, they are not always correct. The television that tells you about the hotel services says the hotel accepts American Express cards, this is incorrect.
Lava Hotel has so much potential and so much goodness, but the inconsistency of service, maintenance and quality brings them down. Please stop advertising yourself as a 4-star hotel, you are a 3-star hotel. You are also not equipped for family vacationers, please stick with your business patrons. That is where your marketing should be targeted.