Luxury Without Pretentiousness.
My husband and I have just spent a month being pampered in Secret Bay, the creative work of Gregor Nassief, a remarkably talented, kind and generous host. We stayed in Mapou, a beautifully designed efficiently appointed small cottage completely built by hand of handsome lustrous hard wood. It was snuggled into the hillside preserving as many trees as possible so that it seemed organically connected with the environment. The cottage was a work of art which provided “luxury without pretentiousness”… world class kitchen appliances, a small library with well selected books, fine binoculars, Bose speakers, a kindle with the daily New York Times or your choice of other newspapers, DVD’s, an extremely comfortable queen sized bed, piles of fluffy towels, beach blankets, etc, etc. and a gorgeous view. We were also provided with an iPhone so we could reach any of the staff who were always available and responded to any of our requests with “no problem”
Even more important than the incredible facility were the kind, competent and generous staff led by Marvin, the manager, who seemed to be everywhere and was always ready to serve us. He, like the rest of the staff, seemed to want nothing more than to make us comfortable and happy. We felt we were being held by a loving family.
Merlinda who greeted us and helped us choose and plan a “bespoke holiday” was more than her title of Concierge implies…she was available 24/7 to answer questions, and fulfil requests. She was extremely sensitive to my physical limitations and advanced age when helping us plan our days, respecting our wish to blend restful time on the property with tours of this “nature island”. We particularly liked to swim from the white sand Coconut Beach about a 6 minute drive from the property, and Gilbert, the driver and man of many services, was always available to provide the ride.
During our stay we were assigned an attendant, a young woman who really took care of us…cleaned our quarters, did our laundry, delivered our meals, made suggestions as to what we might order from the unique cooking service, arranged flowers etc. During the month Bianca and Megan did a wonderful job providing this service for a few days each. The majority of our stay we were taken care of by Shemima, a warm delightful young woman who seemed to anticipate our needs and to provide care over and above what was required.
As for meals, we really enjoyed the unique cooking service in which we had the option of preparing our own meals or having them prepared and delivered to our cottage by our attendant. We do not eat meat and there was always fresh fish and a large variety of fruits and vegetables, beautifully prepared and delicious.
Although the taxi driver and tour guide Ryan was not an employee of Secret Bay, they made a point of being sure he was the one called for us. He had an incredible knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island, and its history. I could not have seen the wonders of the rain forest without his help in navigating the trails. While not an actual employee, he had the spirit of the folks at Secret Bay.
The island itself is absolutely gorgeous with its rain forest, waterfalls, sulphur baths, volcanos, mountains, etc. but the bottom line of what is bringing us back for a month next year is the service and the people, unmatched by anything my husband and I have experienced in our 45 years of world travel.
Stayed on: February 2015