The Secret is Out
You’ve got to be a local or one of Gregor Nassief’s guests to even know it’s hidden here. “It” is Secret Bay, a high-in-the-sky collection of eco-villas cantilevered off the emerald forest floor of Dominica’s rugged northwest coast.
Nassief’s lifelong dream is a tiny sustainable development perched on a biodiverse cliff-top promontory, overlooking the sparkling waters of Caribbean Sea. Wildly successful, even in its early months of operation, the four luxe treehouses are sequestered in a jungle-like setting with barely a terrain-marking footprint. Each home away from home is fully equipped for either a do-it-yourself experience or indulgent pampering. It’s a simple concept that is divinely comfortable.
“Give our exceedingly helpful staff your grocery list, hang up the red privacy flag and you and nature can be on your own for a few days,” says Nassief. “Or choose the five-star service and your personal housekeeper and cook, as well as the boating and nature guides, will be forever at your service. Carry the villa cellphone and you can call for anything from anywhere, anytime.”
Our private hideaway is named after the Zabuco tree, renowned throughout Dominica for its aphrodisiac qualities. It’s a favourite for honeymooners the first or second time around. The highest and (in our opinion) the most majestic of the four, it is similar to its two-bedroom big brother, Zing-Zing, and a grander version of its little sisters, bungalows Mapou and Ti-Fèy.
In Zabuco, the wall of our double rain-shower bathroom opens to a floating view of the bay below. Fine times in the bedroom’s contemporary soaker tub are eclipsed only by a dip in the cliff-side pool. It’s too much of an effort to leave the lower deck hammock and head out on a bike or into nearby Portsmouth, but we finally steal ourselves away to be rowed by “Fire” up the Indian River, where the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie was filmed. Dr. Birdy, a local professor who is full of vim, vigour and flora-lora, later has us hiking in search of endangered Sisserou parrots.
Each treehouse has been meticulously made of eco-chic Guyanese greenheart, with floor-to-ceiling windows and bifolding doors that open onto spacious decks and breezy sitting areas. The living areas are furnished in modern teak with white cushioning and draperies, and include a state-of-the-art kitchen (we could have hosted a party for 10), espresso machine and wine cooler. We even discover a library of books, music and films (all recommendations from friends of Nassief and his wife, Anne), ideal for guests who have booked a longer escape.
And who could blame them…it seems wise to explore Dominica now while it’s still relatively undiscovered. Something tells us it won’t be long before the secret’s out and the world comes calling.