This eco-hideaway of treehouse style villas is not only one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts, but it’s also one of its most sustainable. Belong spoke to its creator, Gregor Nassief, to find out more about Secret Bay and its plans for the future.
Secret Bay is located in an idyllic setting in Dominica, the Caribbean’s so-called nature island. It has two swimming beaches on its doorstep and the Syndicate Nature Reserve and Cabrits National Park are just a 15-minute drive away. The town of Portsmouth with its market, rum bars, and restaurants are 10 minutes away by car, while the capital Roseau and the airport are about an hour’s drive.
Unlike most other resorts, there is no reception or even a communal swimming pool. Instead, everything is designed to take place in the privacy of the guests’ villas and bungalows; although a bar and restaurant were added when Secret Bay reopened in 2018. You can also relax on the communal decks or watch the chefs prepare food at the Souce Shack.
Secret Bay was designed to be one of the most exclusive resorts in the region.
“We are the first five-star luxury property on the island. We endeavoured to create Dominica’s first luxury experience,” Nassief told Belong.
Sustainability as Important as Luxury
Secret Bay was also created to be as sustainable as possible and is one of Caribbean’s only eco-luxury properties.
The villas and bungalows are made from sustainably sourced Guyanese hardwood and the lush gardens are home to native fruit trees, colourful flowering plants, wild herbs and an abundance of bird life.
“We consider the location and site [of Secret Bay] very special and we wanted to keep it exactly as we found it, so for example, we didn’t cut any trees down,” explained Nassief.
As well as offering a completely natural environment, Secret Bay hasn’t forgotten any tech comforts that guests paying 5-star prices take for granted. Each villa is equipped with iPod docking stations, Apple TV with Netflix, Kindles and the kitchens boast hi-spec Siemens appliances.
Nassief is no ordinary entrepreneur and has a strong sense of responsibility to Dominica.
“It’s very critical to Dominica’s economic expansion to grow the tourism sector. One of the very special aspects of the island is that it’s extremely green, it’s a very sustainable country and from a tourism experience it provides a very unique experience versus the rest of the region,” he said.
Secret Bay has been open since 2011 but was badly damaged in Hurricane Maria in 2017. It reopened in November 2018 with a new bar and restaurant and is now offering the Residences at Secret Bay, which will allow investors to own their own luxury villa inside the secluded and gated community of Secret Bay.
The first stage of Secret Bay was built with finance which Nassief raised from private investors, but the second stage will be funded by Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment programme.
“With the introduction of the CBI option in the real estate programme in 2014, we thought that would be an excellent opportunity to also grow and fund the expansion. So, at this stage, CBI is a key part of Secret Bay’s expansion plans,” said Nassief.