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Reviewed January 14, 2016

I don't usually write reviews but felt compelled to write this one because I wish I had known about these issues before I booked. Overall, I was fairly disappointed with our stay. My husband and I spent two weeks traveling around the Caribbean where we stopped at a number of other islands, stayed at some great resorts, but spent the longest time at Secret Bay. The pictures and reviews made Secret Bay sound like a dream. But that was not our experience so I wanted others to be aware.

First, the good:

The Food - was absolutely phenomenal. Best part about the trip. We are foodies and very particular, and I'm a pescatarian so typical resort food does not work for me. But this was some of the best food we've ever had, with unique flavors cooked to our particular tastes. The lobster in particular was fabulous. You should know there are no menus. You have discussions with your personal attendant each day and talk about the kinds of things you like and then they make you unique dishes just for you. That process was a little awkward at first, but turned out to be one of the best parts about Secret Bay. Top marks to the chef and staff.

The Views - are beautiful. It feels like you are in a jungle and can watch the ships passing by from your balcony.

The Staff - was great. Everyone really tried to make our stay enjoyable.

Now for the bad:

Location - What I didn't realize is that Secret Bay is located on the North part of the island, whereas most of the hiking and waterfalls ect. are in the South part, which means you have to travel on a very narrow winding road for an hour and a half (very bad if you get carsick, which I do) in order to do most activities. We had wanted to go to Dominica for the hiking and did one great hike but I got so sick on the car ride that we cancelled the second day. Also, although located on a more remote part of the island, the resort is actually across the bay from a town. While I thought the remoteness would be an asset and provide for a more relaxing environment, the closeness to town meant we were kept awake each night by techno music which traveled across the bay each night until like 4 or 5 in the morning. This meant we certainly couldn't keep our windows open (so no nice ocean sounds or breeze), and we could still hear the bass through closed windows so had multiple sleepness nights. After a few sleepless nights, I asked the staff for the sound conditioning machine referenced on the website. At first I was told they didn't have one. Then after I pointed out the website and called the manager, I was told another guest had it. Not sure which is the truth but I wouldn't believe the part of the website where they talk about guaranteeing a great night sleep.

Accommodations - we stayed in the Ti Fey Bungalow. Although the wood is very nice, the bungalow is very small and claustrophobic. It felt like we were staying on a small sailboat. I hit my head multiple times. Now, my husband and I are both over 6 feet tall so it may be ok for shorter folks, but I would strongly recommend against it for tall folks and anyone who is claustrophobic. The bed loft in particular is very small. You can barely walk around it and you can't have the bathroom door open and be able to walk around the bed. The bathroom is also very tiny. While there is a tub, it wasn't big enough for me to lay down. Also, the drain in the tub was broken. I asked to have it fixed but it never happened.

The Beach - is not nice, plain and simple. It is rocky and you can't go into the water without water shoes. The water itself doesn't feel very nice. There are a few lounge chairs but they are very uncomfortable and you wouldn't want to hang out down there. This was very disappointing. This just isn't the place for beach lounging.

Water sports - the kayaks and paddle boards were very worn. The paddle boards in particular were in bad shape. The paddles were stuck in the shortest position (looks like sand had gotten stuck and they were never cleaned out). This was very disappointing as we are avid boarders and were really looking forward to boarding but it was too difficult with the short paddles (and there was lots of wind). We did enjoy kayaking to the Secret Beach, which is a tiny beach around the corner from the resort that you see on the website, but it is open to everyone and there were party boats that came by each day so, again, not great for relaxing.

Construction - this was the biggest disappointment of the trip. We were on our balcony one day when we started to hear a tile saw below us. Turns out they were doing some work by the beach. So we went to the top part of the resort to get away from the noise and then started to hear hammering. Turns out they are expanding the resort and were doing construction on the new buildings. I was pretty shocked that they were doing loud construction during Christmas week when the resort was totally booked. I talked to the manager about this and he apologized and gave us a free dinner, but although he assured me the noise would cease, it didn't. I was really shocked that this kind of high end resort would do that. And I believe they will be doing construction for the upcoming future. Again, something I wished I had known before I booked.

Date of stay: December 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank KatherinefromCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ayeola G, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Secret Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2016

Hi KatherinefromCal,

Thank you for your review and detailed feedback. We are deeply sorry that we did not meet expectations, especially as we feel we could have done more to make your experience better. Every guest at Secret Bay means the world to us and we are very saddened we let you down.

Regarding the night music coming from the town of Portsmouth which is a few miles away, this is rare but can occur during festive seasons like Christmas and Carnival, but once we know it is affecting guests, the venues are very corporative in reducing the volume or changes the angle of the speakers so it does not travel across the bay. We were not aware that it was affecting you this much. We are really sorry.

Regarding the bungalows, we know that most guests find them intimate and cozy, and regret that they were not more comfortable for you. It is certainly understandable that for very tall persons like yourselves they may feel small.

We try to ensure that the water adventure gear is always in good condition and we will check on this and replace/repair what is necessary. We were not aware that you had an issue with the Kayaks and Paddle Boards and certainly would have done what we could to respond.

Regarding the beaches, Tibay beach is more volcanic in nature, but Secret Beach and Coconut Beach are beautiful light sand beaches both very short distances by Kayak. Dominica’s green and volcanic topography means that our beaches are not the typical coral and white sand formations, but we consider them equally beautiful.

Regarding the construction, unfortunately we were dealing with some final repairs post Tropical Storm Erika near the beach and should have been more careful with the noise – this was a lapse on our part. And yes, we are building two additional villas which we have hoarded off to reduce the noise. You are the first guest to report to us that the noise was affecting you. We had it dealt with, checked back with you and you confirmed that it had been resolved. Again, we are truly sorry that it affected you.

In summary, we are all very saddened that you were disappointed and will work towards improving everything. Our only regret is that you did not communicate more with us on the issues, so we could have tried to make things better while you were still on property.

Finally, thanks for mentioning “the good”. Our aim is to always exceed guest expectations in every way possible. We did not achieve this in your case and it will make us work harder to do so with our future guests.

Thanks again KatherinefromCal, and we hope you will consider a return visit – this time in a villa – so we can make it up to you.

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Reviewed January 13, 2016

My husband and I went to Secret Bay for our 6 day honeymoon. This was our first time in Dominica and what a delight it was.

We live in the Caribbean so have been to most of the islands already. We chose Dominica because we are accustomed to the white sand beaches and all inclusive resorts of other islands and wanted to do some hiking and canyoning while also still enjoying a relaxing break in a beautiful boutique hotel. Parts of the island are almost untouched and, as you drive through, you get the strong feeling that Dominicans take great pride in their country, from the signs reminding you to keep Dominica clean, to the trees planted on the roadside by local communities. One of my favourite things about driving through Dominica was to keep the windows down and smell all the fruit and vegetation.

Secret Bay's exceptional service started a few days before our arrival when we received a questionnaire designed to help them create our first few meals and to stock our bungalow.

On arrival in Dominica, we were delighted to meet the gregarious and knowledgeable Gilbert who would be our trusty driver to and from the airport. He brought with him a selection of snacks, homemade plantain chips and hummus, dried fruit and homemade chocolate chip cookies which we gobbled up whilst listening to him describe Storm Erika and tell us about the island.

On arrival at Secret Bay we were thrilled to see that it was as beautiful as we hoped, with absolutely STUNNING views and friendly and attentive staff. The entire place had a calm, serene atmosphere which complemented the natural beauty and made us feel at peace.

All of our meals at Secret Bay were amazing, so much so that after two lunches at restaurants outside, we just decided to eat every breakfast and dinner there and to take snacks with us for lunch on our trips. The food was delicious and the portions were so large that I could never finish the main meal (despite having often not eaten lunch!). My husband didn't usually have a problem though.

One of my favourite things about Secret Bay was that we could have breakfast and dinner in the comfort of our bathrobes, on our balcony, with the wine of our choice. No make up or getting ready necessary! This was an aspect of Secret Bay that I didn't know I would appreciate quite as much as I did - after a long day outdoors, it was a welcome relief to sit back and relax and just wait for our dinner to be served. Our bungalow attendant, Jess, took care of everything, setting the table, lighting candles, washing up, allowing us to relax completely.

Not to be missed, is the absolutely gorgeous Secret Beach. We actually only went there once, because we did so much exploring away from the hotel, but I wish we had taken the time to spend longer there and perhaps taken a little picnic. It is about 2 minutes kayaking from Secret Bay. Keep your camera at the ready to snap lots of pictures!

Finally, a note about the owners, Gregor and Sandra. My husband unfortunately slipped and broke his hand on our first day while hiking to a waterfall and we had to go to the hospital. We were so happy when Gregor, Sandra and the general manager Marvin appeared with water and snacks and waited with us until his cast was fitted. They took us to the pharmacy and then arranged a driver to take us back to Secret Bay. We could have managed on our own but in our first day in a foreign country it was a great comfort to have them there, speaking to the hospital staff to make sure that we were seen to as quickly as possible,

Room tip: The bungalows are super cozy and comfortable but, for taller people, if your finances permit, get a villa.
Date of stay: January 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Krista B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ayeola G, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Secret Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 18, 2016

Hi Krista, glad your memories of your first visit to Dominica are filled with such pleasurable moments. This island is nothing short of amaaaazing! Just waking up each day, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the sounds of birds chirping is a wonderful gift. We hope hubby’s hand is healing nicely and we look forward to having you back here in the near future!

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Reviewed December 31, 2015 via mobile

Visiting Secret Bay was one of the most relaxing vacations I have been on in a long time. The staff was so friendly and accommodating, making sure we had everything we needed every day of our stay.

Every meal was spectacular, and even though I have a few food allergies I felt I was in extremely capable hands. We tried several local dishes, which accentuated our experience of the island.

There are as many activities at your disposal as you would like, but I would highly recommend packing a few books, and taking in the beautiful surroundings at Secret Bay- either from the beach or the privacy of your villa. Such an amazing trip and I hope to be able to return some day!

Date of stay: December 2015
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank Annaliese B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ayeola G, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Secret Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 18, 2016

Hi Annaliese, we too hope you return again. Thanks for expressing your confidence in our staff, especially the Souce Shack Team. Reviews such as yours are always encouraging and I will pass on to the Team. They will love it!!!

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Reviewed December 31, 2015 via mobile

My wife and I have spent the last week with our family at Secret Bay in Dominicas. We wanted a place where we could be together as a family to just hang out and relax. We have had a fabulous time and have not been disappointed. The resort is beautiful and very private- situated on a cliff above two beaches. The views from our villa overlooking the bay are amazing. The staff has been terrific too--accommodating our every need. They all have been warm and gracious to us.The Event Coordinator Anthea has done an exceptional job as well, helping us to plan activities and meals as well as all of our transportation needs. She has definitely gone above and beyond for us! We would highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a special get away!

JLD

Date of stay: December 2015
Trip type: Traveled with family
1  Thank jldenooyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ayeola G, Sales & Marketing Manager at Secret Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 18, 2016

Thanks for sharing your family with us during the Holiday Season. Anthea says hi, and hopes to see all of you again!

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Reviewed December 31, 2015 via mobile

Wonderful resort with many modern amenities. The staff was outstanding and very accommodating. We were able to go on various excursions and explore the beauty of this Caribbean island and then return to a very gracious and restful place.The food was excellent-local fresh and the chef even catered to some food allergies in the group! Secret Bay is a hidden gem and would highly recommend!

Date of stay: December 2015
Trip type: Traveled with family
1  Thank Dede D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ayeola G, Sales & Marketing Manager at Secret Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 19, 2016

Thanks Dede! We appreciate the feedback. It was our pleasure to host your group. We really love our kitchen staff and the effort they make to cater to the unique food requests of each guest. I will be sure to pass on your words of praise to them.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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