With crystal-clear Caribbean views from its six modern tree-house-style love nests, Secret Bay hotel – set on a lush hillside in rugged Dominica – is an unspoilt island secret that’s almost too good to share. Here, your days are spent lounging in a hammock in the private garden, swimming in your private pool and strolling the beach by moonlight. Start your day with a limbering yoga session in the open-air wellness pavilion, or head down to the beach for a spot of sea kayaking, snorkeling or paddle-boarding; for those who'd rather take it easy, there are Carribean cooking classes and a serene spa hut. When it comes to dining, book a private chef to whip up vibrant Carribean cuisine in the privacy of your villa, or have your personal villa attendant secure a table at beachfront restaurant Zing Zing, where the chefs have free reign to customise dishes based on the freshest produce available that day.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $601.50, excluding tax at 20 per cent.
Rates are room only. A breakfast basket with a three-day supply of tropical fruits, fresh-squeezed juices and homemade breads and local jams is available from $95 plus tax. A minimum stay of five nights is required.
As if the setting alone isn't romance-inspiring enough, Villa guests can arrange for a private jazz performance on their terrace for a sexy serenade beneath the stars.
At the hotel
Spa hut, yoga pavilion, concierge, outdoor gear to borrow (including GoPro cameras, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and snorkelling equipment), free WiFi throughout, a Kindle loaded with daily international newspapers, board games and a small library. In rooms: flatscreen TV with streaming services, iPhone 6s to use during your stay, Bluetooth sound system.
Our favourite rooms
Private and luxurious, the Zabuco Honeymoon Villa puts a refined-jungle spin on your romance. Zabuco, another name for the Bwa Bande tree, is well known in Dominica as an aphrodisiac. And, after luxuriating in this two-storey Guyanese Greenheart-wood tree house, we can confirm that there’s something in the name. Spy the sea right from the king-size bed… or from the soaking tub for two… or from your private infinity pool. Perhaps you’d prefer the angle from your hammock with a glass of wine in hand from your smartly-stocked wine fridge? The options, like the views, seem endless.
No need to lug snorkel kits or yoga mats. The resort has all sorts of adventuring gear at the ready for everything from snorkeling and paddle boarding to biking and yoga.
Green and sustainable practices are used whenever possible. The villas and bungalows were constructed with sustainably sourced Guyanese hardwood, a water-saving drip irrigation system is in place and low energy lighting and appliances are in use throughout the resort.
Catch the Technicolor sunset from your private terrace or lush garden.
Seek shade beneath a broad-brimmed hat and cover up with a tropical-print sarong when mid-day temperatures soar.
Free-spirited restaurant Zing Zing has done away with the trappings of a menu, allowing the chefs to make the most of the fresh local ingredients available each day (they’ll always tailor dishes to account for any allergies, of course). Perched above Tibay Beach, the open-sided eatery has sweeping sea views and a canopy-style roof, making dinners an inherently romantic affair. The open display kitchen lets diners watch the chefs as they slice and dice – but if it’s a more intimate experience you’re after, there’s also the option of a private dining room. Booking is essential for any table, and can be done by your villa attendant. If you want to keep things in-villa, you can request a personal cook to deliver up to two meals a day, such as fresh-squeezed mango juice and homemade baked breads for breakfast and just-snagged Mahi-Mahi, crisp salad and yam pie for dinner. You can forage for fresh herbs in the gardens and pluck guava, pineapples and coconuts from the surrounding trees, too.
Re-fuel with fruit smoothies and fresh-squeezed juice at the Souce Shack, a casual outdoor bar on the sandy shores of Tibay Beach, a five-minute saunter from the resort. Orders from the bar can also be delivered to your room.
Zing Zing is open for dinner from 6pm to 9pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Not as such, but you can order bountiful baskets with a three-day supply of fresh fruits and veggies, tropical juices, homemade Secret Bay granola, baked goods and local jams and jellies. Meals ordered from the chef will also be delivered to your room.
Located on the picturesque northwest coast of Dominica, this secluded resort is a 10-minute drive to the town of Portsmouth.
Douglas Charles International is the main aiport on the island and is about an hours drive from the hotel. There are no non-stop flights from the US or UK: fly to Antigua, St. Maarten, Barbados, Guadeloupe or Martinique, then catch a connection. Our Smith24 team can arrange your flights.
It’s necessary to have a car in order to explore the island beyond the resort. Roads are paved and smooth, but not brightly lit at night. If you’d rather leave the driving to someone else, the resort has a car with driver available for day excursions.
Worth getting out of bed for
Blanketed in lush jungle and diverse flora, marked by volcanic peaks and lava craters – including the second-largest thermally active lake in the world – and surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, Dominica is a nature-lover’s paradise. In fact, it’s known as ‘The Nature Island,’ making it a prime destination for hikers, birders, paddlers and divers. Glide along the Indian River in a traditional Caribe boat like a true islander or plunge into the colourful depths for some of the world’s most pristine scuba diving. The concierge will arrange trips with local guides for every outdoor pursuit from horseback riding to remote hiking on the over 300 miles of trails, deep-sea fishing and sailing excursions.
Island life and culture is all about slowing down to maximise time spent relaxing and enjoying the natural surroundings. This extends to the beachy, fish-shack-style restaurant scene as well. Just north of Portsmouth in the village of Picard is Comfortel De Champ, a colonial-style hotel with a bar deck that’s more about the happy hour cocktails and postcard-perfect views, but does have a standard bar menu of burgers and tacos to help balance out those potent fruity concoctions that seems to go down all too easily.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this eco-boutique hotel in Dominica and unpacked their coconuts and flavoured rum, a full account of their luxury island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Secret Bay in Dominica…
It’s not often that you deliberately lose your way and veer so far off regimented schedules and the beaten path that you can barely pinpoint your own location on a map. If we had our way, though, this would happen with greater frequency (especially if a few afternoon rounds of flavored rum punch are involved). And Secret Bay hotel – an eco-luxury resort tucked deep among groves of fruit trees and tropical, prehistoric-looking fronds in the lush jungle of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles – is the ultimate spot for dropping off the grid. The six airy bungalows and villas – modern, open-plan two-storey tree houses of rich, dark wood – each have hushed gardens, enticing hammocks and expansive Caribbean sea views... Talk about your very own, private slice of paradise.
Begin the day with a private yoga session or meditate on your private deck. Power up with a fresh fruit smoothie and stroll down to the beach to swim with the colourful native fish through caves and ethereal underwater realms. Paddle out in a kayak to follow clear, gently flowing rivers and claim empty white sand beaches for yourself. Saunter back for a massage on your secluded deck and slip into happy hour. With a daily routine like this, you'll come around to getting lost pretty quickly. If you decide not to find your way back, your secret’s safe with us…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Secret Bay’s Guestbook below.
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