Derek Galon

Beach: Secret Bay, Dominica

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Dominica, with its volcano-sculpted terrain and black-sand coves, is unlike any other destination in the Caribbean. The large, interchangeable resorts of nearby islands are absent; instead, small inns are tucked into overgrown hillsides and along windswept beaches. Secret Bay, near the northwestern town of Portsmouth, perfectly fits the island aesthetic but gives Dominica an infusion of luxury and style. Cantilevered like tree houses, the four villas are smartly designed, and spacious kitchens are stocked with everything from house-made yogurt to watermelon sorbet. Right on cue, a personal chef will stop by to grill lobster tails—and do all the dishes afterward. You can easily lose a week here, lounging on a hammock, or keep occupied with a kayaking excursion or a picnic of all-local ingredients—one of many reminders of Dominica’s eco-friendly vibe. secretbay.dm. $$$

It List: The Best New Hotels 2012

Beach: Secret Bay, Dominica

Dominica, with its volcano-sculpted terrain and black-sand coves, is unlike any other destination in the Caribbean. The large, interchangeable resorts of nearby islands are absent; instead, small inns are tucked into overgrown hillsides and along windswept beaches. Secret Bay, near the northwestern town of Portsmouth, perfectly fits the island aesthetic but gives Dominica an infusion of luxury and style. Cantilevered like tree houses, the four villas are smartly designed, and spacious kitchens are stocked with everything from house-made yogurt to watermelon sorbet. Right on cue, a personal chef will stop by to grill lobster tails—and do all the dishes afterward. You can easily lose a week here, lounging on a hammock, or keep occupied with a kayaking excursion or a picnic of all-local ingredients—one of many reminders of Dominica’s eco-friendly vibe. secretbay.dm. $$$

Derek Galon

It List: The Best New Hotels 2012

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