Okay, let’s roll out the gushy descriptors: private paradise; tropical heaven; pampered luxury; romantic hideaway, etc.
But, in this case, all of these overworked superlatives play marvelously to describe this small resort on the northwest coast of Dominica.
Secret Bay, with its four seaside villas, had been open less than five months when we decided that it might be what we were looking for on Dominica. We were a little skeptical that not one critical review had appeared in print --all the comments on this site were five star, and the travel writers(Travel&Leisure, and New York Times) were equally enthusiastic.
Nevertheless, we decided to take a leap of faith and pay the sizeable amount required for a week's stay in their signature unit, the “Honeymoon” Zabuca villa.
And after soaking up the special ambience and guest pampering at Secret Bay for a week and a half,(we extended after our first hour on the property) my wife and I both add our voices to the chorus of praise for this special place.
The villas are discreetly arranged in a forested grove on a high bluff overlooking the Caribbean. All are finished impeccably and constructed of South American hardwood that should last well into the next century with ease.
Our unit ---more like a house at nearly 1700 square feet--sat on the promontory of the property like a luxury lighthouse; the view from the gigantic deck spanned 180 degrees, and you captured spectacular vistas of sail boats and nearby Portsmouth from anywhere in the structure--even from the master bedroom shower when you opened the sliding outer wall to gaze down upon the sheltered cove below.
Owners Gregor and Sandra have assembled a staff that defines personalized service. Upon arrival we were given a cell phone with all their private numbers(including the owners) and told to call anytime, day or night. Anna, the “concierge”, is probably the most attentive and warm human being to fill this job that I have come across --she truly is a marvel. She will arrange day trips, hikes --try the gruelling Boiling Lake trek if you’re fit-- restaurant bookings, car rentals or anything else you might dream up. Her favourite saying was “you have my undivided attention until you are happy.”
Privacy is a dominant theme of Secret Bay. You can access on-site chefs who will custom cook all your meals for you (including my wife's gluten-free diet) at whatever time you want, or stock your kitchen for self-catering(with no markup!) There was even a red flag on the side of our villa that could be lowered to indicate your desire for total privacy--evidently one couple left it down for nearly three straight days, causing some anxiety for staff who nevertheless honored the signal.
Gregor was born in Dominica, and brought his wife and family back after years abroad to fulfill his vision of building an “eco-luxury” property that merged high quality, environmentally-sensitive practices, and community engagement. He is passionate about his masterpiece, designed by his Venezuelan architect father-in-law, and will walk you around the entire property to describe its history and construction. So far, glowing reviews and media accolades have been plentiful enough that success should be guaranteed.(Gregor has plans to sell fractional ownership shares in future villas, so the current cabanas are technically show suites).
But he still has some risk: Dominica and the resort are somewhat removed from the typical Caribbean holiday circuit, and are geared toward privacy-seeking nature lovers who appreciate cultural authenticity and aren’t concerned about a lack of nightlife, white sand beaches and shopping opportunities.
Since we came looking for this type of natural island experience, Secret Bay turned out to be one of the most magical places we’ve stayed at in more than 30 years of global travel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tucked away on the unspoilt nature island of Dominica, Secret Bay offers sustainable luxury villas and bungalows and is the perfect place for a honeymoon, anniversary or the secluded holiday of a lifetime. Situated on a cliff-top overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Secret Bay is unique in its diversity: two beaches, the magical Cario River, a spectacular sea cave and two distinct micro-climates. Secret Bay is becoming known as one of the best boutique resorts in the Caribbean - and indeed the world - for honeymoons, anniversaries, small family escapes and adventure vacations. In 2013 Secret Bay was chosen as the number one luxury resort in Caribbean by Islands Magazine; and its Zabuco Honeymoon Villa was voted as having the 3rd sexiest bedroom in the world at the Smiths Awards. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, MrandMrsSmith, Priceline, Agoda and Jetsetter so you can book your Secret Bay reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Secret Bay Hotel Portsmouth
- Secret Bay Dominica/Portsmouth