ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Vailima, Samoa: Robert Louis Stevenson's Final Home and Resting Place

Updated on April 18, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

Robert Louis Stevenson portrait that hangs in his Samoan home of Vailima
Robert Louis Stevenson portrait that hangs in his Samoan home of Vailima | Source


Robert Louis Stevenson was an author born in Scotland in 1850. Stevenson is famous for writing such adventure stories as, "Treasure Island," "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and "Kidnapped" he also wrote, "A Child's Garden of Verses" for children. For most of his forty-four years, he was frail and sickly and searched for the best climate for his health. Unfortunately, that climate was not to be found in his native damp and wet Scotland. He lived for a time in different parts of America, including New York state and California. During a trip to Hawaii, he heard wonderful stories about the area of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific. A visit there with his family proved the stories to be true. And he found a wonderful camaraderie with the native Samoan people who likewise adored him. The natives nicknamed Stevenson "Tusitala" which means "teller of tales" in the Samoan language. He settled in an area three miles south of the city of Apia. He built a mansion on this property, and named it, "Vailima" which means, " five waters." This name was chosen due to the five streams which crossed Stevenson's property. Stevenson spent the last years of his life at Vailima and enjoyed his best health as an adult there, and was quite productive as a writer while living there with his wife, step daughter, and mother. He died on the porch of Vailima after suffering what is now believed to be a brain hemorrhage at the young age of 44.

Recently I was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful home and the gardens surrounding it. Tourists are asked to remove their shoes before entering so as not to damage the beautiful wooden floors and grass mats.The mansion consists of five bedrooms, a large combination great room and dining room, a kitchen and an infirmary, which seems quite an odd room to be added to a mansion. Tour guides in native Samoan dress are quite well informed about this home. They entertain guests with tales of Stevenson and his family. One of the tales I found most interesting was that Stevenson and his wife Fanny did not sleep in the same bedroom. Instead, he had a bedroom that included his writing desk so he could get up and write at all hours of the day or night. His bed was placed against a wall, that had an open window into another bedroom, where his wife Fanny slept, with her bed against the same wall, under said window. That way they could talk to each other easily if they both happened to be in bed at the same time, but he wouldn't wake her when he arose to write when the urge hit him. The native Samoan tour guides were all quite respectful of Stevenson and his home. The home is filled with many of his portraits, as well as pictures of him posing with native Samoans on his front porch.

At the end of the tour, visitors are free to visit the small gift shop in the front of the home or go around to the side of the home where they are given refreshments of coconut chunks and whole coconuts with straws inserted in them with which to drink the coconut milk inside. While enjoying these refreshments, visitors to Vailima are treated to dances performed by a troupe of native Samoan dancers. The show lasts approximately thirty minutes and is quite enlightening to those interested in Samoan customs.

The ability to see Robert Louis Stevenson's home and view photos of him living there, as well as tasting tropical treats, and hear and see Samoan music and dancers bring the experience of a tour of his home to life. If tourists happen to be in the city of Apia, Samoa, a trip to Vailima is definitely worth the price of six U.S. dollars for adults and five U.S. dollars for children. And if one is quite energetic and not too hot during their visit, a brisk thirty-minute walk will reveal Stevenson's tomb at the top of a hill overlooking Vailima.

Vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson's final home
Vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson's final home | Source
Gardens at Vailima
Gardens at Vailima | Source
The only fireplace on Samoa at the time Robert Louis Stevenson's home was built.
The only fireplace on Samoa at the time Robert Louis Stevenson's home was built. | Source
Bedroom in Vailima with a tour guide in native Samoan dress.
Bedroom in Vailima with a tour guide in native Samoan dress. | Source
A bedroom in Vailima.
A bedroom in Vailima. | Source
The "infirmary" for sick household members at Vailima.
The "infirmary" for sick household members at Vailima. | Source
Tour guide in a bedroom of Vailima
Tour guide in a bedroom of Vailima | Source
Tour guide at Vailima speaking in the great room. Notice the beautiful natural grass mats on the floors.
Tour guide at Vailima speaking in the great room. Notice the beautiful natural grass mats on the floors. | Source
Gorgeous wooden table in the Vailima dining room.
Gorgeous wooden table in the Vailima dining room. | Source
Refreshments at the end of the tour were bites of coconut and a drink of coconut milk.
Refreshments at the end of the tour were bites of coconut and a drink of coconut milk. | Source
Entertainment at the Vailima tour is provided by native Samoan dancers.
Entertainment at the Vailima tour is provided by native Samoan dancers. | Source
The beautiful porch outside of Vailima
The beautiful porch outside of Vailima | Source

Robert Louis Stevenson

Do you like the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson?

See results

© 2013 Karen Hellier

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      teaches12345,

      While the coconut milk drink was quite interesting and festive, it wasn't very good! Should have been served cold to get the maximum taste! He did have a beautiful home and it seems as though the last few years of his life were full of happiness.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Seems like he had a wonderful home life and his writings may have been influenced by the beauty of his surroundings. I would have enjoyed the coconut milk treat. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      LCDWriter,

      Well, if you ever go to this island, you and your boys should take this tour. The home is beautiful and the dancers were great. Very festive.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      jlpark,

      Good idea on the taxi. It was so hot when we were there we opted not to take the walk to see the tomb. But a taxi is a good idea. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      wetnosedogs,

      Oh, thank you so much for the writing compliment. It means a lot coming from you, my hub challenge friend. Yes, I tried the coconut milk but neither my husband or I liked it. It might taste better if it was cold, but it was served from freshly picked coconuts so it was warm. Yuck!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Vickiw,

      I never knew that about him either till I went on the tour. It was so hot there...we went in October. I was actually wondering if it wasn't the heat that had something to do with his death. Upon reading more about it, I realized he had been in poor health UNTIL he went there. You're welcome for the tour.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 

      6 years ago

      Karen, this was a really interesting tour, made even more so by your photos. I had no idea that Robert Louis Stevenson spent his days on that beautiful island. Thanks for the tour!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 

      6 years ago from Alabama

      Very beautiful writing on a talented writer. So glad you included those wonderful pictures.

      Did you try the coconut milk? Is it good? I'd have to squirt in some chocolate syrup.

      If I ever get to traveling, I would love to see this.

    • jlpark profile image

      Jacqui 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I've been here, and thankfully, being where it is, I don't think it was damaged in the tsunami.

      It is an interesting tour, and hot climb up the road to get to it - TAKE A TAXI. We made the mistake of walking up to it, and getting a taxi back.

      Thank you for sharing this - brought back fond memories of Apia, and Samoa.

    • LCDWriter profile image

      L C David 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I want to go here! How interesting. I had no idea this existed. Treasure Island is an annual favorite at our house. My boys love it! Thanks for this piece of history that I didn't know about!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)