Interview - SA’MOANA BEACH BUNGALOWS

Posted by Helen Townsend-Rupp on

LOCATION: SALAMUMU, UPOLU, SAMOA

OWNERS & MANAGERS: DANIEL MENDOLA & ALLY DODSON

This place is truly one of a kind. Owned and managed by a driven, inspiring young couple who place great importance on delivering a high quality sustainable tourism experience, it is set on the beachfront of a picture-postcard lush tropical paradise. The family friendly resort attracts active, independent, nature loving guests keen to make the most of the impressive marine environment and jungle wildlife.

Samoa Paper Straws

 

What did you want to be as a kid?

Ally – an archaeologist

Dan – a fighter pilot

What living person do you most admire, and why?

Ally – Serena Williams because she is strong, believes in her convictions and carries them through. She doesn’t let critics or negative press get in the way of her achievements on or off the court.

What is your favorite quote?

Dan - “Never look down on someone, unless you’re helping them back up.” (Jesse James)

What people say about our straws?

Most of our guests love that we have a no plastic rule at the resort.  It’s all about education, with staff and guests - not expecting a straw with every drink they buy. Hopefully, it will soon be the norm that plastic straws aren’t served by anyone, anywhere across the world.

What is your proudest moment?

It is so hard to isolate a single proud moment, however, living an authentic life without conforming to mainstream society or what is expected of us as people.  Also, working hard as employers and trying to help others, who may not be as fortunate as us.

What is your biggest work-related challenge?

Waste management and educating local staff about the need to be plastic free so that they look after our village and their country. Most guests are happy we have banned plastic from the resort but there are still some who automatically expect plastic bottled water.  We offer free filtered water and we encourage guests to bring a reusable flask with them.

Why should other cafes / people make the swap to paper straws?

Every little helps - slight changes worldwide will have a massive impact, especially for the coming generations. 

How do you relax?

If we have a couple of days off from the resort we love a jungle hike to explore less well known spots on the island.

What keeps you awake at night?

The sound of the ocean and the jungle - it’s super loud here in Samoa!

What will you do when you retire?

We would like to enjoy time traveling to new places and visiting new countries, but we have heaps of ideas so will be working for a few years yet!

What impact has swapping the straws made on your business?

It’s something we set as a business goal in 2016 and have achieved – it is awesome when a guest mentions they have noticed we have no plastic bottles or straws.  We are hoping for a plastic free Samoa soon.

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