The Best Hotel in the Caribbean Has Private Clifftop Plunge Pools and a Stunning Secret Beach

Dominica's Secret Bay, an all-villa rain forest resort, offers privacy and panoramic views.

Secret Bay luxury resort in Dominica
Photo: Courtesy of Secret Bay

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

What does it take to be the best hotel in the Caribbean? Clifftop villas with private plunge pools and outdoor rain showers; terraces with 180-degree sea, rain forest, and mountain views; a secret beach only accessible by paddle, kayak, or swim; and access to bespoke cooking classes, private concerts, rain forest yoga, and night snorkeling.

Travel + Leisure readers were not taking the honor lightly when they voted Secret Bay, a Relais & Chateaux property, into the regions's No. 1 spot in the 2020 World's Best Awards.

Secret Bay luxury resort in Dominica
Courtesy of Secret Bay

Secret Bay's sustainably sourced villas are made of tropical hardwood and offer airy indoor and outdoor living spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows. Each villa has a gourmet kitchen for use by guests or their private chefs, and villa hosts and a concierge are on call.

Secret Bay luxury resort in Dominica
Courtesy of Secret Bay

"This is a unique experience that I have never experienced at any hotel," wrote one T+L reader. "They cater to your every need and you leave feeling pampered, refreshed, and planning the next getaway."

Staff member outside of a villa at Secret Bay
Noe DeWitt

Dominica calls itself "the nature island," and there are plenty of ways to explore its natural beauty from Secret Bay, including swimming in a sea cave, kayaking, snorkeling, or bird-watching from nature trails that extend from rain forest to beach.

The experience is completely customizable — think meditation, yoga, and water sports for a wellness retreat, or massages, sunset sails, and wine tastings with live jazz for a romantic getaway — and expert guides are on hand to help every step of the way.

T+L readers love Zing Zing Restaurant, where fresh, local food meets beach views and there's no set menu to limit your cravings. A French sommelier has stocked the wine cellar (and each villa's personal wine cooler) with options from all over the world, and guests are also welcome to dine in their villas or even order a picnic basket to take to one of three secluded beaches.

Whether you opt for romance, adventure, relaxation, or all three, chances are you'll leave Dominica with a deep understanding of why travelers call Secret Bay "a rare gem, truly one of a kind."

To book your stay, visit

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.

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