This is a very good hotel providing rest and relaxation within well kept and gardens where one can mingle with other guests around the small but more than adequate pool area or always find space away from others if need be. The description of the hotel, online and in brochures, make it clear that it is away from the beach and does not suggest that it is in the vicinity of shops, bars or other restaurants so those booking should be well aware that they will have to rely on the free shuttle to take them to the local town, Speightstown, where there is limited shopping and a few bars and restaurants, or to catch a bus to other parts of the island. Similarly, it is clear that the beach is a shuttle ride away or a fair walk. However, the hotel website or brochures could be clearer about other things and I will come back to this later.
Back to our holiday. Others have commented that the rooms were dated. We may have been lucky but we stayed in one of the bungalows overlooking the gully (where we could watch the Green Monkeys playing morning and evening) and I would say the furniture was traditional Caribbean rather than dated. The rooms are very large providing an air-conditioned bedroom with a very comfortable bed, bathroom, separate living area with TV/DVD player, a full kitchen and a terrace. Cleaned daily, they are kept spotless by the friendly housekeeping staff. Maintenance appears to be a priority. we had a plumbing problem on the first night which was resolved within a half hour by the replacement of the shower mix control.
We were on the all-inclusive package and we were not disappointed. Breakfast was buffet style with fresh fruit and yoghurt, cereals, a selection of pastries and well cooked items to make up a hearty hot breakfast including an egg station to provide freshly prepared fried eggs or omelettes. Poached eggs would also be prepared on request. There were two slight disappointments with the breakfast; the fruit juice was a very weak squash type drink, why when fresh fruit was in abundance? Even a proprietary concentrate would have been better. Secondly the two toasters were extremely slow and not really fit for purpose. Lunch could either be taken at the poolside,where fresh fish, ribs, chicken and burgers were provided, or in the restaurant freshly prepared, from a perfectly adequate menu selection and daily chef's specials. If one was away from the hotel at lunchtime a packed lunch of a sandwich, fruit salad and a couple of drinks each, could be ordered. Evening dinner was a la carte except for a differently themed buffet on 3 nights of the week, which was presented around the pool when weather permitted. All food was freshly prepared and of very good quality. The nightly chef's specials helped to increase the variety on offer. Dinner could also be taken at Sandy's Chattel Bar 3 times a week. This restaurant attempted to replicate a rum shack and the limited menu of very good meals reflected typical Bajan cuisine. Service in the restaurants throughout the holiday was very friendly and efficient except for the last couple of nights when it resembled Fawlty Towers on occasion with the food and drink being served to the wrong tables. We couldn't fathom out why this was the case, but it was a hiccup rather than typical. Bar service could be erratic whenever Roy wasn't on. Roy was a fabulous character who seemed to be able to turn his hand to anything. The mainly locally sourced drinks were of generally good quality, but it would have been good to have some decent coffee (only a rather bitter black coffee with milk was available). There was also a pool bar during the day.
This is a small hotel so facilities are limited but the small pool area never felt crowded; the small gym was equipped with well maintained equipment and there was a squash court and table tennis. The spa provided a wide range of treatments and the art gallery and small shop added more interest. The free twice weekly glass bottomed boat trip to swim with the Turtles was a treat not to be missed and "the General" was the perfect host.
Whilst I have made specific mention of Roy all but a couple of staff were extremely friendly and efficient. A couple of the female staff would benefit with some customer service training, but they were the exception.
All is not perfect, however. The hotel website, in-house literature and holiday company brochures indicate that there are facilities on the local beach. Basically there aren't any; no beds, no umbrellas, and no catering facilities are provided by the hotel or anyone else, although the hotel will lend you a small beach umbrella to take to the beach if you wish. The hotel literature eludes to kayaks being available, they aren't. For an all-inclusive hotel the lack of facilities on the beach is a disappointment. The manager, Peter Charles, explained that the hotel once leased a storage facility on the beach from which they provided beach beds and umbrellas but the lease had not been renewed. Even so, it cannot be beyond the wit of the hotel management to take a number of beds and umbrellas, together with a large catering size cool box for limited drinks (which could be regularly replenished) the 1km or so to the beach to be manned for a period of time, say 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
This was our second visit to Barbados which is a beautiful island with friendly outgoing people and it is well worth utilising the cheap bus services or hiring a car to get around and experience the many and varied sights and tourist attractions it has to offer.
As regards the hotel we will definitely return to the Sugar Cane, if we decide to return to Barbados in the future, as we had a fabulously relaxing time helped in no small part by Peter Charles who was very hands on, the staff and some lovely guests we met whilst there. The hotel is very good but it could be excellent if the owners invested a little more resource into providing proper beach facilities.
We were very happy with our room, room 119, a bungalow overlooking the gully.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.