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The Authentic Grenada: Discovering the True Essence of Secret Harbour

Photo Credit:Secret Harbour

Once the thriving jewel of Lance Aux Epines, sleepy Secret Harbour is finally getting a much-needed rebirth with the relaunch of Secret Harbour Boutique Hotel & Marina.

Since its heyday in the 1990s, the beloved waterfront complex has long been one of Grenada’s best kept secrets. Visiting yachts and locals alike have always admired the sweeping views of the intimate marina, despite being left neglected in recent years.

Now the views are just the starting point of this exciting real estate transformation that spans nearly seven acres, and includes 20 upscale resort cottages, full service marina, upscale restaurant and bar, tennis courts, pool house, and special events venue, known as the Manor House. Future phases of the resort project will add on more accommodations and multiple retail establishments.

The revival of Secret Harbour is a celebration of local culture, cuisine and commerce. It’s also a story of resilience that began 15 years ago. In 2003, one year before Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada, the property was purchased by the European family who own nearby Calivigny Island, one of the world’s most exclusive private islands.
When Ivan unleashed its fury in 2004, the Spice Island suffered a rare direct hit, destroying the marina. A natural conclusion could easily have been to abandon the project after an already significant investment. But these benefactors to our island community had no intention of giving up on the vision.

Adopting Grenada’s new hurricane standards, they set about to design an enduring legacy for all to enjoy. Infrastructure of the highest means was put in place. Services such as electricity, water, and internet became consistent and unfailing.

BG interviewed management to see the past, present and future direction of the project.
Secret Harbours’chief financial officer says, “I like to look back at how far we’ve come. When Ivan happened, the whole system was down and unworkable. “Ivan” had destroyed most of the property. All of the cottages were unoccupied and abandoned including the Manor House. Nothing was in use – until now.”

Photo Credit: Secret Harbour


EARLY RENOVATIONS

Upgrades to the property began in 2007, under the guidance of the owners. The heavier part of the construction took place in 2015. The financial officer says that the project to date has been a significant private investment. He is confident that it’s money well spent.
Ongoing renovations to the complex have been structured in stages to avoid disrupting the day-to-day operations. Both the 53-slip marina and restaurant have been kept open to serve the community and visiting yachts. With 24-hour security, the marina maintains its reputation as one of the safest in the Caribbean.

The financial officer adds, “We’re especially proud of Secret Harbour Restaurant, where you’ll see the biggest strides in development. Originally it was a very small area below the existing office. We only had a tiny staff working and the menu offered peanuts, biscuits, cigarettes and bottled beverages.”

Photo Credit: Secret Harbour


SECRET HARBOUR RESTAURANT & BAR


Today the new Secret Harbour Restaurant and Bar will redefine Grenada’s culinary scene. It has been transformed into a spacious all-day dining destination, helmed by an executive chef from France, who infuses classic French and Caribbean flavors into his locally sourced menu. Daily specials include the freshest catch, an impressive wine list, and signature craft cocktails.
Architects have reconfigured the design to create a space that could be a comfortable gathering spot for all. The tennis court was relocated to expand the kitchen and upgrade the storage area. The dining area was extended, nearly tripling the covers.
Interiors have been fitted with all new tile flooring. Massive electric louvered windows keep inclement weather and heat out, whilst keeping the breeze and views in. The kitchen is now equipped with imported high-end equipment and appliances.
The airy new dining room accommodates up to 120 guests. The lively central bar is well stocked and fully staffed. A relaxing lounge area during the day, buzzy at night. Opposite to the Bar, one sees the state of the art venue for companies very own “Secret Radio Station” broadcasting daily on 92.7FM.
Small touches like the daily French pastry cart piled with fresh croissants and delectable breads will tempt your taste buds. The new menu also features local Grenada favorites to allow diners to savor the best of both cuisines.
At the heart of this hospitality venture is its focus on blending local and European cuisines and staff to provide the finest guest experience. The team is international, with the majority being Grenadians. The experienced staff has a keen understanding of the product and how to provide the best customer service possible.
The manager explains, “The owners have great vision and passion for the property. They are investing a lot of resources so we can offer the best for our guests.”
She adds, “We have a fantastic spot here, a real local gem. The chef works with seasonal fruits and vegetables grown on the island. We serve our diners local fresh products first and import the finest delicacies.”
From a business standpoint, this strategy is proving to be a success. Secret Harbour has become very well known for its flawless ability to host private events, weddings, and meetings. Probably the best example of this is the collaboration with the Grenada Sailing Week’s (GSW) annual Regatta.
In 2019, Secret Harbour hosted three special party nights for Grenada Sailing Week: The “Pirate Party”, a Seahawk Paints-sponsored night, the “Mount Gay Rum” sponsored night, and the events grand finale “Prize Giving Ceremony”.The parties are always lively, fully catered, well attended and a great time for all!
The CFO adds “Upgrading the restaurant and cuisine has given us access to a new clientele – it’s a perfect place for business professionals to meet and enjoy meals, from breakfast to dinners, with non-stop service. Since the restaurant’s renovation, we have increased our business by 40%.”

Photo Credit: Secret Harbour


SECRET HARBOUR RESORT COTTAGES

The resort’s most dramatic changes can be seen in the unveiling of 20 new luxury waterfront cottages overlooking Mt. Hartman Bay. The refurbishment of these former rental units began in 2017. With an eye for style and quality, the owners elevated the original structures with elegant detail and well thought out modern interiors.
Each deluxe cottage holds two one-bedroom units, ideal for family stays. All boast sea-facing balconies with private entrance, plush king-size beds, fully-equipped kitchens, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Oversized verandas extend the outdoor space and the spectacular views of the bay and marina.
A gorgeous stone wall runs the length of each spacious unit. Much of the original charm and ambiance – circular windows and stone settees facing the sea — remain.
The two largest cottages interconnect to create a two-bedroom suite, including one with its own outdoor private Jacuzzi.

THE MANOR HOUSE
Stretching high above the gorgeous hillside, the affectionately named Manor House isn’t a house, per se, but a grand events venue that looks like a medieval Hollywood castle.
The entire manor was in a rough state after “Ivan” hit, but the owners restored it while saving the integrity of the design. Upgrades in the reception area, two large dining areas and a large new catering kitchen are now completed, allowing the Manor House to easily serve fine dining menus and full bar for up to 800 people.
Fully staffed rentals include weddings, cocktail parties, and party nights for regattas. Parties here are epic. When it’s not being rented for a special occasion, guests can take a yoga class on the long-tiled verandah with the sea breezes blowing. A swimming pool and private beach nearby make it a well-rounded resort property.

Photo Credit: Secret Harbour


LOOK AHEAD

Phase 3 of Secret Harbour will focus on adding retail therapy to the guest experience. Along the palm lined drive past the marina and restaurant, commercial spaces will be added beneath the cottages. Each 400-square-foot unit will be available for rent to upscale boutiques and businesses that fit the property vision.

Over the years, despite economic downturns, the hurricane crisis, political uncertainty, nothing has curtailed the owners’ investment in the project. Their unyielding faith has had a tremendous economic impact on the community.
Their financial officer explains, “Many people depend on the success of Secret Harbour for their livelihood. We continue to add staff on every level including reception, housekeeping, security, maintenance, dockmasters, bartenders and servers. The revival impacts not only our employees but vendors as well.”
The team is investing in advertising and promotion too. “We are extremely excited to make an impact in the boutique luxury hotel market with our hidden oasis. We feel that the combination of a resort destination with fine dining in an idyllic marina is unbeatable.”
Secret Harbours’ manager agrees. “Calivigny Island has raised Grenada’s international profile in the ultra-luxury market. Now we’re focused on restoring Secret Harbour to its former glory with the same personalized service.”
More information on Secret Harbour Boutique Hotel & Marina can be found at www.secretharbourgrenada.com or call +1 473-444-4449.

Copyright Bussiness Grenada 

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