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Reviewed January 11, 2017

Edit: We are editing our review and increasing the number of stars from 3 to 4. The reason for doing that is we were contacted by Secret Bay after our initial review. The owner Gregor and manager Christian both wrote to us and Christian called us as well. To make up for our sub par stay Secret Bay has offered us 5 night complimentary room only stay vouchers for the same villa that we initially stayed in (Zabuco III). Although nothing can solve for the time gone by we truly appreciate this gesture on part of Secret Bay. The property is trying to make up for our not so stellar initial experience and this gesture showed that guest satisfaction does matter to them. Should we choose to take up their complimentary stay offer – which is applicable for summer months in 2017 and 2018 – we will review the property afresh.

Our original review:

We visited this beautiful place in August’16 and stayed in Zabuco III. We opted for Zabuco III because it is newly built and some reviews had mentioned how Zabuco I was tiring a bit. The villa didn't disappoint at all and was beautiful in every aspect. The pool below it, the living room, the kitchen and views from the deck - everything was great. Kudos to the owner for designing such a beautiful and well appointed space. We already knew that Zabuco III is close to the road and the noise from vehicles passing by wasn't a big concern for us. We didn't think it was excessive but for light sleepers it can be an issue.

Our main issue at the property was food. The property made a hash of it all through our stay and in our opinion it is a big improvement area for them. We are vegetarians - something that was communicated well in advance and our food struggles are all the more surprising when both their main chef and owner admitted to being vegetarians themselves.

Our first dinner was pretty decent. However from the second day onwards our struggles started - we were told that their main chef Eric was out. Considering they have no standard menu and no dining place as such no one at the resort had a clue how to handle guest meals. Our housekeeper - a lady called Megan - sent us to souce shack to sort out our food for the day. When we went down the lady at souce shack told us to get in touch with our housekeeper for our food. We came back up to find her and she said she will go talk to souce shack. Bear in mind that the walk from Zabuco III to souce shack is physically taxing and we felt we were being tossed around unnecessarily. Miffed we just asked for pasta with vegetables for our dinner - something we thought is probably simple enough for them to make. Not so - the pasta and vegetables arrived separately and we had to send our dinner back. The housekeeper obviously didnt like carrying food all the way from souce shack to our villa and then back. Next day dinner was even worse. Their main chef still wasn't back so we opted for another safe choice - pizza. Now they pride themselves on using local ingredients and advertised the dasheen crust pizza. In the spirit of going with local produce we opted for it. When the pizza came it had a dasheen base that was almost an inch thick. All you could taste in it was dasheen - and let me tell you that it wasn't pleasant to eat at all. We scraped the vegetables from the pizza and ate whatever we could and threw the rest away. Now next day the main chef arrives and pays us a visit. We tell him how has the food situation been and he admits to have seen our pizza last night and how the dasheen crust was too thick. We were surprised because that meant we were served substandard food knowingly! The owner also paid us a visit that day and apologized for the food situation. Now both the chef and the owner as well as the manager Marvin are personable guys who sound very genuine. The problem is their personalities didn't solve for our food issues and we really had a miserable time as far as food is concerned. Also since the food is primarily served at your villa you may end up doing dishes on your holiday. Our housekeeper didn't like us leaving dishes in the sink and we felt we were expected to do them ourselves. In my opinion all aspects of the food situation here can be improved.

The food - coupled with the erratic attitude of our housekeeper - is the reason why we are rating this as three stars. The property charges a 10% gratuity but staff still expects to be tipped so do keep that in mind. The 300 usd gratuity we paid with our bill along with over 100 usd we tipped the staff ourselves hardly got us good service. 80% of the guest service is done by the housekeeper so your experiences on that front can vary greatly depending on who is assigned as your housekeeper. We had a different lady for the day we were checking out and she was really nice.

The watersport facilities are nice and staff down there is really helpful. I snorkeled at the secret bay beach 3 days straight and it was a nice experience. The security staff even brought me a go pro cam to record my snorkeling experiences.

The first day we arrived at this place we were already thinking about our next visit here. Sitting at our dinner table the third night of our stay with that pizza in front of us and the prospect of doing dishes post dinner we had absolutely abandoned that idea. At 700 usd a night there might be other options in the Caribbean that are worth exploring.

Date of stay: August 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank PravsB
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 30, 2017

Hi PravsB
Thanks so much for your updated review. As you have stated, meeting guest expectations is important to us and we want to do our best to ensure that all our guests have a positive guest experience and you are no exception.
As our many, many reviews speak to, Secret Bay’s food experience is usually one of the highlights for our guests. We therefore fully understand your disappointment and know that we definitely could have done much better! We are are really sorry we did not meet expectations, and as offered, we plan to make it up to you on your next visit!
Thank you for your wonderful words on all other aspects of your experience and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2016 via mobile

Secret Bay sits in an idyllic slice of the verdant Dominica. The staff goes out of its way to make sure you come first. Our villa Zabuco III has a commanding view of the Caribbean. It is the most private of the villas in that it is at the top of the resort. The villa is even nicer than the photos on the web site. However the strength of Secret Bay is its service. The staff is so nice and well trained from your personal attendant to the staff caring for the grounds (Clint pointed out a great hummingbird for me to photograph). The excursions are designed to give you a sense of the island. Our favorite trip was the hike to Middleham Falls. It was a steep hike to the falls but to experience the rainforest was well worth it.

Date of stay: December 2016
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank Jim H
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 6, 2017

Hi Jim. Thanks for your review. Your acknowledgement of our service makesp us feel so special. I will be sure to tell Clint you remembered his helpful tip. The hike to Middleham Falls is a great and exhilarating hike, and the fall itself is so picturesque. We are happy to share our special island with you anytime. Do come again.

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Reviewed December 31, 2016

We spent 5 nights in the Mapuo tree house and it's difficult to describe the combination of nature, relaxation and luxury Secret Bay provide. The staff are lovely, happy to advise or source anything you want but most importantly they also leave you to your own devices giving you your own space to immerse yourself in the surroundings. If you can go.

Date of stay: December 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Alex P
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 6, 2017

Hi Alex, our tree house bungalows are a great way to experience “nature, relaxation and luxury.” We’re glad you enjoyed your stay in Mapou. Thanks for the review. If you can return- please do ;-)

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Reviewed December 31, 2016

it's an ideal place to spend vacation, it might be a family stay or a honeymoon getaway, clean beach and warm sea , fully equipped bungalow , food made according to your needs, everything - just for you, for enjoying the time

Date of stay: December 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Service
Thank olga339
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 6, 2017

Hi Olga. Thanks for the review. Our pleasure each day is to make your stay with us enjoyable, relaxing and serene. We are happy to know we're the “perfect” choice for you. Hope we see you again.

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Reviewed December 30, 2016 via mobile


We’re already counting the days until we return to Dominica and stay at Secret Bay. My husband, daughter and I have been fortunate to travel to many beautiful places around the world this year and Dominica takes top prize for its natural beauty, friendly people, rich culture, adventurous activities and “off the grid” getaway appeal. There just aren’t many places like this left in the world… mostly untouched and untainted. No stop lights on the island. Hardly any chain restaurants (we saw one), no big brand hotels. Just pure and true throughout; distinctly Dominica.

Secret Bay has 8 total villas and we stayed in Zing Zing, which had two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a living area, kitchen and large patio plus a large terrace below the villa and a hot tub. It is very spacious and primarily for families or I imagine two couples traveling together. We were there for a week and we were pampered with stellar accommodations and service. Secret Bay is carefree luxury at its finest. Whatever you need is a text or call away via the complimentary iPhone they give you that is preloaded with all the numbers and info you need. Want to paddle board? Done. A board and paddle will be waiting for you down at the beach. Need extra towels? Done. Want to go to Trafalgar Falls? It’s taken care of.

The villa itself felt like home and we were treated as such. They pre-stocked our kitchen before our arrival with food we had requested and we enjoyed making breakfast each morning along with slicing up the fresh pineapples and grapefruits during the day and snacking on the house made granola bars and yogurt. As our daughter was missing school and my husband had work to do, we even set aside time each day to do homework and respond to emails and such, and the wifi worked great, which isn’t always the case when you travel to small boutique hotels around the world. For dinner, we had dinner on the patio every night prepared by the Chef Eric and his team, and every meal was well worth the splurge.

All in all, I can’t recommend Secret Bay and Dominica enough for families. It was an experience my family will long remember and is looking forward to experience again.

Date of stay: December 2016
Trip type: Traveled with family
1  Thank kccools
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 6, 2017

Hi Kccools, this is such a great description of Dominica- we love it! At Secret Bay, Zing Zing is a favourite for families and we’re happy to know it met your needs. We want all our guests to be able to retreat into luxury but at the same time not be too far of the grid than they’d like, hence the 24/7 WiFi, the complimentary iPhone, apple TV and more... It really warms our hearts to know you felt at home at Secret Bay. How you got the kids to do homework on vacation still amazes me. Kudos to you. We really look forward to your return. The entire Team says “hi.”


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