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“A Multifaceted Jewel” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Secret Bay

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Secret Bay
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Maurertown, Virginia
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Multifaceted Jewel”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2012

My wife and I had the pleasure of staying at Secret Bay 8/18-8/25/12. The following is a copy of the letter that I sent to Gregor Naffies after our stay:

Now you have done it. You and your staff have set the bar so high that I don’t think that Kay and I will ever find a place to quite live up to your standards and hospitality again.
The beauty and serenity of Secret Bay speaks for itself. It is obvious that a great deal of planning and thought went into the placement of the bungalows and villas, to take full advantage of their surroundings. From the moment your guests drive through your gates they are transported into another world and the rest of the world and its problems tend to melt away.
Our bungalow, Ti-Fey, was a wonderful “tree house” with all of the amenities that one could wish for. From the moment that we walked in the door, with Norah Jones playing softly on the stereo, we knew that we were in for a special treat. Again, it is apparent that much thought went into the structure and its furnishings. It was comfortable and tastefully done without at all being ostentatious. Where will we ever find such a place again?
But what REALLY shines at Secret Bay is your staff. We were treated with kindness and respect by everyone, and we felt like we had been welcomed into an extended family. Every effort was made to accommodate our requests and wishes and yet we did not feel like we were being hovered over. On the contrary, it often it felt like no one else was about, other than us. Of course, we knew that all we had to do was to pick up the cell phone (a wonderful convenience) and call, if we needed anything. We will never forget sitting on our deck while enjoying a bottle of wine and one delicious dinner after another.
I feel like I have known Anna personally ever since we began corresponding by email last fall, and it was wonderful to finally get to meet her in person. She is as delightful as I had anticipated she would be. I am afraid to name other staff members, for fear of inadvertently leaving anyone out. Please rest assured though, that everyone was wonderful and they ALL deserve kudos for the work that they do. Please let them all know that we said so.
It was also a treat for us to meet you personally, Gregor. We truly appreciated you stopping by to say hello and to enquire if there was anything else we needed and also for stopping in to say goodbye and ask us about our stay. It is obvious that you take great pride in Secret Bay, and rightfully so. We wish you continued success, as Secret Bay expands and grows and becomes better known to the rest of the world. Right now we like to think of it as our secret.
Secret Bay is a multifaceted jewel and we feel very privileged to have experienced it.
Sincerely,
Mark Pierce & Kay Ely-Pierce
I hope that this letter speaks for itself. We were very pleased, and Secret Bay obviously exceeded our expectations. If you plan to visit Dominica and rent a car (as we did) I highly recommend that you rent as small a vehicle as possible. The roads are generally very narrow and there are many blind curves. Plan to drive slowly and nonaggressively and yield to other traffic freely. Be alert at all times and expect the unexpected. When I mentioned to Gregor how many new gray hairs I had acquired, he laughed and asked me how many I had given the other drivers! If you don’t rent a car, there are many small buses that travel all over the island, or the staff at Secret Bay can arrange various excursions for you. Dominica is a beautiful island with very warm and friendly people who, when engaged, are happy to give directions, etc. As tempting as it may be to totally relax at Secret Bay, I would urge you to get out and explore as much as you can. An EXCELLENT resource is the book Dominica, by Paul Crask. We had actually ordered it before our departure, but it did not arrive in time. There was, however, a copy of it included in the library of our bungalow at Secret Bay!

Room Tip: There are only four to choose from! Two bungalows and two villas.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mark P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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471 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (171)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2012

My husband and I spent 5 nights in the Ti Fey bungalow. It was the most amazing week ever!!! We couldn’t have dreamed up anything better for our honeymoon.

The bungalow itself was PERFECT. It felt like staying in a luxury treehouse, with a lovely view and the perfect amount of space—it wasn’t too small at all. It was actually the best place I’ve ever stayed. We only got a few mosquito bites around the bungalow, all outdoors….it wasn’t an issue at all! (But definitely bring bug spray for any excursions into the mountains or forest.) I noticed another reviewer stating that there wasn't much of a view, only trees--I completely disagree! We could see the ocean right from bed and hear the waves when we woke up the morning, and the vivid green treetops around us were beautiful, too.

The food at Secret Bay is just amazing. We requested the organic breakfast basket, which contained enough fresh, homemade food to last us all 5 mornings. When going to bed, I remember actually being excited to wake up in the morning so we could eat breakfast! For lunch and dinner, Roslyn and Maggie cooked up some DELICIOUS meals. This included a beautifully prepared steak garnished with breadfruit, yummy barbecued chicken, and a brunch including heart-shaped biscuits and chocolate-chip muffins! Mmm.

Since we were getting such great food, including rum, champagne, and a seemingly endless supply of fresh juice (SO GOOD!), we worried a little bit about what the food bill would look like. We absolutely shouldn’t have been concerned—we were shocked by how reasonable and low-priced the bill was.

One day, Anna arranged for us to take a romantic boat ride up the Indian River, with a picnic lunch provided by Secret Bay. This was wonderful—Fire, our guide, was knowledgeable and so much fun. And we almost had the river to ourselves—we only passed two other boats the whole way. I’m sure it gets crowded during tourist season, but we loved the relaxed feeling of the “off-season.” Some scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed on this river, and we stopped at the bar where some of the crew used to have lunch—so cool!

Anna also organized a full day of excursions for us. She made it so easy to figure out what to do! We hiked to Middleham Falls and Trafalgar Falls, snorkeled at Champagne Beach, and then soaked in the hot sulfur springs at Soufriere. I would recommend this to anyone! The first hike to Middleham Falls (a “moderate” level hike) definitely gave us a workout, and you should definitely bring tennis shoes or hiking shoes with decent grip on the bottom. But it was so worth the hike—swimming at the falls was a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hot springs weren’t as exciting as the other three destinations, but it was definitely the perfect way to relax and unwind after an incredible, busy day.

Like others have said, the people are truly what make Secret Bay so amazing. Anna was amazing at checking in with us and helping us organize excursions. She made everything on my wishlist come true! She’s such a sweet, caring person and is doing an amazing job. During the week, my mom sneakily called Secret Bay (from Michigan, USA) because she wanted to surprise my husband and I with something special. Anna talked with her and arranged a romantic, delicious brunch to be served on our balcony. It was so sweet and definitely surprised us!

Our “bungalow attendants,” Roslyn and Maggie, were both just so sweet and gifted. We enjoyed talking with them, and they are superb cooks! I will never forget the desserts: banana brownies, pineapple cheesecake, fresh fruit tarts, and more. Just, oh my gosh. Since returning home, I have googled recipes for banana brownies and pineapple cheesecake, but it's not the same—I would recommend paying the little bit extra (at least, I THINK it costs extra, but I’m not sure) to have a meal cooked right there in your bungalow, as opposed to having the meal brought from the Souce Shack and served. We didn’t think of doing this, and we still loved the whole experience, but it would’ve been awesome to see how some of that delicious food was prepared.

We’re so thankful we got to spend the first week of our marriage at Secret Bay. It was a dream come true—thank you SO much to Anna, Roslyn, Maggie, Vincent, Ryan, and everyone else who allowed us to have the best honeymoon ever! You are all doing a wonderful job, and we really, really hope we'll be able to come back some day! Blessings to you all :)
-Lindy and Phil

Room Tip: The Ti Fey bungalow is perfect....luxurious and cozy at the same time! I honestly think the big hone...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lindy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2012

I see that most Secret Bay guests are North American, so it's time for a British perspective.

An overdue review since we stayed at Zing Zing Villa the second week in July but we've been busy watching Team GB win lots of medals. Actually, the real reason is that life back at home is hectic which leads me neatly into describing my most lasting impression of our stay at Secret Bay: it has an incredibly calming effect.

The location is stunning and tranquil; as others have remarked in their reviews, the villas are private and are designed so that sitting on the verandah means one is amid the tree canopy as well as having views of the sea. All the staff were friendly, sincere, and calm - which had a very positive effect on our metropolitan mindset. The service to guests was the best I have ever experienced. The owners, Gregor and Sandra are lovely people and Anna of course is deservedly singled out for high praise by other reviewers. In organising our excursions she really thought about what we might like and effectively put herself in our shoes in making the choices.

We required a doctor for one of our party while we were there due to a minor illness and Anna excelled herself - a doctor's visit to the villa was organised within a couple of hours, medicines ordered and delivered, and there was genuine concern from Gregor and Anna. It was an entirely hassle free holiday.

My two teenage children (aged 17 and 16) had a great time - scuba diving, hiking, sulphur baths, waterfalls, kayaking, the bat cave, horse-riding, dolphin viewing - all organised for us by Anna.

The excursion with Dr Birdy was brilliant and in the space of a week, I saw over 17 different species of birds - the island is nature at its most beautiful, the idyllic picture of every tourist's dream.

So in conclusion: luxury, relaxation, beauty and fun. Last message to all at Secret Bay: please just keep doing what you're doing - at least until we can return!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JayneM255
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2012

My husband and I spent unfortunately only 4 nights at the ZingZing villa. We could have stayed for a month! Anna and the entire staff went out of their way to make sure our stay was fantastic. We did numerous tours and each guide and place was more special than the next. The food was delicious and it was so relaxing not having to go out and be able enjoy the sights and sounds from our balcony. Everything we asked for was taken care of and Anna had great ideas to make the stay special -- from a private concert to massages on the veranda to a tour of the Indigo Art Gallery. I agree with the other reviewers saying that if shopping and eating at five-star restaurants are part of your vacation Dominica isn't for you. HOWEVER, if beautiful nature, special people; and a gorgeous hotel is -- then Secret Bay is for you.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Linda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2012

Our family went to Secret Bay with another family. Four adults and 4 teens. It was perfect! The kids shared a Villa and each set of parents had a bungalow. We ate our dinners on the awesome Villa terrace overlooking the ocean. The chefs prepared what ever we asked for and introduced us to some wonderful local cuisine.

There was so much to do on the island that we wished we had stayed more than the 5 days because we would have liked a little down time. Secret Bay has many wonderful lounge areas to sit and read a book or just enjoy the view and you can kayak to a stunning private beach just 5 minutes away.

Anna helped find the best adventures and guides and took care of all of our needs. When we needed more white wine or snacks, she made it magically appear. Some how, she always knew when we needed more beach towels. Gregor and Sandra, the owners of Secret Bay, dropped by discretely but often to ensure all was well. They are so delightful and interesting that we asked them to join us with their young children for dinner on "our" Villa terrace.

The contemporary but welcoming architecture is very special and makes the experience even more worthwhile. Every little detail was considered. There are little flaws in the construction, which is typical of an island that doesn't usually cater to high-end design, but the flaws made it more charming.

Although we were happy with everything we did and saw on Dominica, I would like to warn people who want high end food that this is not the island for you. The food was fresh and well prepared but the island isn't highly developed so there aren't places to eat fine meals. But if you want adventure, wonderful people, beautiful design and good service, you will not be disappointed.

All 8 of us want to go back.

Room Tip: Our family had both the Bungalows and Villa. All are amazingly beautiful, have outstanding views an...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank OrganicModern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2012

What can I say? I'm furthering every other Trip Advisor's comment noting that I'm semi-bummed that this property might not be a "secret" much longer.

My wife and I just stayed 5 days at the Zabucco Honeymoon Villa. It was AMAZING. The near-360 degree view from the deck and beautiful property were immaculately represented online. We felt as if we were kings and queens of the waters below us (without a negative colonial connotation obviously). During one of our excursions on the water as we took the boat back, all you could see was Secret Bay's properties overhanging the gorgeous cliffs and we knew that we were home.

The staff there was incredibly helpful. Anna is a gem of a host, explaining to us the island, making and organizing detailed itineraries, adding special touches to each and every request, etc. Delo was greatly accommodating and took care of us the entire time. Also need to give a shout out to our man Ergell from the security crew who was appropriately tasked to making us different types of delicious rum punches each day. Love that the staff noticed we were drinkers and put the right man on the job for us. His "wickedness" got us through the beginnings of Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Learned alot about the island and the guides that Anna assigned to our excursions were well picked. My wife sometimes gets car sick and Bertrand professionally maneuvered the hills and windy roads to minimize any discomfort. Fyre took us up the Indian River and was very knowledgeable about the wildlife, flora, and fauna. And Don took us on a snorkeling expedition north of Portsmouth Bay and on the way back we were treated to some very cool sights including many of his family and friends co-opting a large fish netting operation. Some stuff that you just wouldn't see in other places.

My wife had an amazing massage on the deck. We checked out Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, and toured Roseau.

Secret Bay allows you the opportunity to stay completely relaxed and private (all of the units were booked and we didn't see anyone until the taxi home at the end of the week), but also allows you to be active and soak up the glory of this relatively untouched island.

We can't wait to make it back.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank piddonkadonk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2012

My husband and I stayed in Secret Bay's Zabuco villa for five nights, and we could not have imagined a more special time. Aside from being incredibly picturesque and beautiful, the resort's staff is really first-class. Whatever we needed or wanted was available to us, and we were treated courteously throughout our stay. Everyone was warm and welcoming and did everything they could to make sure we had a nice time at Secret Bay. It's really a magical place, and we hope to return one day in the future.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SR T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secret Bay

Property: Secret Bay
Address: | Tibay, Portsmouth 00109-8000, Dominica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominica > Saint John Parish > Portsmouth
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Portsmouth
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Secret Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 9
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, MrandMrsSmith, Hotels.com, 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

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