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“The little hotel that could, and sometimes couldn't....” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sugar Ridge

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Sugar Ridge
4.0 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   PO Box 153, Jolly Harbour, Antigua   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Jolly Harbour
Bracebridge, Canada
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“The little hotel that could, and sometimes couldn't....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

This hotel is difficult to rate because the main problem here is INCONSISTENCY: Some staff made you feel valuable, while others were so surly in their attitude that you wondered if Antigua is becoming spoiled by all the eager tourists so willing to visit and spend their hard-earned dollars! For example, meal service at both restaurants could be quite good to downright dismal; room service was generally prompt, but one service didn't even speak to my husband when he said hello, while another service amazed us with his dedication, appearing at our door, with huge platter in hand, after walking up (and on a rainy night) from the Sugar Club (since no carts were available) Amazing work, Glaive!; shuttle service was often abysmally slow (we would call and frequently receive no pick-up, and at times the drivers were curt and reckless; service at the front-desk was often slow and of poor quality - requests we made for various excursions were completely ignored at times. On the other hand, kudos to Janine who was always warm and concerned with our needs, asking us if everything was alright. The greatest inconsistency was in the beach shuttle service: a times this was ok, but there were several occasions where we were left waiting at various beaches for upwards of an hour, and at the end of the day, in wet bathing, suits, tired and cold. When we were in the shuttle, the driver often ferried us to our respctive destinations at breakneck speed. My husband happened to notice that the speedometer read 80km (in a 40 zone) at one point. No doubt the driver was pressured to deal with all the passengers, but really whose fault is this? We actually watched the sunset at one beach waiting to be retrieved. We had to push back our dinner reservations as we were so late returning to our room.
The good side of this last experience was that the general mananger, Keith listened respectfully to our complaints. In fact, it is largely because of Keith's intervention in this and other matters relating to our stay and our being, that I am giving the hotel the rating that I am. Thank you, again, Keith!
I echo some of the complaints of other reviewers who indicate that at these prices the hotel service should be better, and I absolutely concur. And another concern (and which we discussed with Keith, who was very amenable in dealing with this) are all the extra fees. Yes, we understand the nominal fee for room service, but we were taken aback by all the dishes on the Carmichaels' menu for which a supplement must be paid (we were all incluvsive). Lobster is a standard "extra", but scallops, and steak as well?! In addition, for Christmas dinner, we had no choice but to pay of supplement of either 25 or 30 U.S. per person at either restaurant..and the irony was that the food wasn't that special nor that plentiful.
Overall, the food was fresh and tasty, but there was a dearth of variety in the dishes if one was eating mostly at the hotel, and staying for longer a week....two weeks or more and the choices were repetitive.
The hotel itself is in a beautiful location, with gorgeous landscaping, some nice facilities (didn't use much), and generally stunning views. The steep incline meant that walking was awkward (can do a number on your joints), and waiting around for golf carts can drive you around the proverbial bend toward which you're heading...plus one is always telephoning for service....rather than just walking out the door. We were constantly asking for something, such as ice, which should have been readily available but was not.
The pools are conveniently varied in size and purpose, but do take note that the infinity pool is barely larger than a plunge. Another concern, perhaps becuase of the location, and certainly not the hotel's fault, is the mosquitos....lots of them. The bed netting was useful.
Some reviewers raved about the bed, but I found it terribly hard and uncomfortable; however, I don't fault the hotel for this, as it is a personal choice. They did try very hard to accommodate my needs (Keith again) to make me happy.
The room itself was somewhat Spartan with only the most basic of furniture, and without a seating area or desk. Reading in bed was problematic, as the two table lamps did not throw adequate lighting. Plus they were covered by large, light-diffusing shades...nice for ambience, but not terribly functional. The mini fridge was useless for keeping any items adquately cold. A staff told us that it was really just a "cooler". The bathroom was small, and a little pokey without a lot of room for a couple to leave their respective toiletries. A "high" point to the rooms is the spacious verandah, with fabulous views of Jolly Harbour. We spent many hours simply watching sunsets and spotting wildlife.
The proximity to some brilliant beaches, and the ability to choose which location we wished to visit was a great option. Unfortunately, one of the beach service and lunch providers, Jaquie O's pulled out of the arrangement with the hotel, for a portion of our trip. We were offered no explanation or comparable substitute (other than the other two choices which were already existing). We found Frys beach to be a great alternative, but our all inclusive fee did not cover sun lounger or drinks' costs.
The mosquitos/sand flies were dreadful at all the beaches; we had to purchase bug spray at the hotel gift shop. I was a bit taken off guard, as our last Antigua stay was on the south-east side where we received hardly any bites at all. The hotel did fog for insects thrice weekly, so attempts were made to control infestation within the hotel grounds.
Overall, some great points about this resort, and if the "bugs" are worked out, could be deserving of full marks.

Room Tip: Try to book a room closest to the main building (lower numbers) for ease of mobility. Quieter, most...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (207)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

Good points
>>> Staff excellent nothing to much trouble. Swimming pools and area by it very roomy
>>> Bedrooms good size with king size beds and
>>> soft pillows Only drawback only showers no baths .
Bad points
rooms have air conditioning but very noisy.

we took half board and took this to mean you could have either lunch or dinner. this was not the case - hotel said it meant dinner only- i explained that is not what is meant by half board.
>>> restaurants food ok in Sugar club.Gourmet restaurant says gourmet but not the case
>>> food ok. They even charged supplement for lamb and duck.their answer was lamb expensive .
> Even charged supplement for Xmas dinner which was ok certainly not
> worth any extra
>> Entertainment was okay but almost ignored by the guests mainly
>> because hotel make no effort to promote any event so most people go
>> to bed after dinner Main problem is the manager who you hardly see
>> during your stay . I left him message to contact me ,he made no
>> effort to contact me to discuss my issue with supplement being
>> charged.
If planning to stay do on bed and breakfast and try local
>> restaurants as food good in them .

Room Tip: all rooms you have to climb the stairs - the ones nearer reception although might be noisy if any pa...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Thank you for your positive remarks relating to the facilities of the hotel and especially that from our staff nothing was too much trouble. However, I was sorry to read that you found the food – just ok, both restaurants normally enjoy and excellent reputation– especially Carmichaels – which attracts customers from all over the island. As you rightly pointed out some items do carry a small supplement – Prime lamb, lobster, scallops etc., are expensive on island so these items are not usually carried on our All Inclusive menus . Our alternative would be to charge an overall higher price for meal plan terms to avoid supplements. Normally these charges are accepted by our guests without a problem. In spite of having an excellent line up of entertainment I agree that guests did not linger late but this is not untypical of many hotels in Antigua. After a day of fresh air and good meal a comfortable bed seems to beckon. Guests were given a copy of the entertainment programme on check in, and I outlined the evening entertainment at the Cocktail Party on Christmas Eve. The information was displayed around the hotel and is on our website. I am very sorry we did not have the opportunity to discuss you concerns, which I hope did not detract from what I hope was otherwise a very enjoyable holiday. I’m sorry I did not get a chance to meet you during your stay.
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Cambridge
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

First ever visit to Antigua and selected hotel based on Trailfinders and Trip Advisor information. This was a Christmas getaway trip from the 21st to 29th December, all inclusive.

The good bits
Fantastic location, excellent sunset views, wonderful lush forest setting, well equipped gym, superb shuttle facility to a variety of local beaches, the bed and pillows. Some of the staff

The not so good bits
Some of the staff, service in Carmichael's.

I agree with many of the comments made and this highlights the problem with this hotel. The staff and service are of such variable quality that one can feel anything from cosseted and well looked after to ignored or even a burden.
Some staff were quite capable of appearing busy purely not to deal, or even acknowledge you, others remembered your name and welcomed you.This is a great shame as the hotel has huge potential to be excellent, but for the price it charges it should already be excellent.

Room Tip: Rooms 57 to 60 have amazing views and are near Carmichael restaurant and infinity pool, but are a fa...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Having corresponded with you separately since your departure from the hotel I believe that overall you enjoyed your stay at Sugar Ridge. Your comments relating to inconsistent service levels have been duly noted and your very constructive comments were aired at our Heads of Department meeting just this week. In the weeks leading up to Christmas we did recruit some additional staff for the season and it would seem that some were exposed to the front line earlier than perhaps should have been the case. Thank you again for making your comments known, I am sincerely sorry we fell short of what we set out to deliver and be assured we have taken them on board .
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duesseldorf
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012 via mobile

paying 500 Dollars a night, I expect a real 5-star service, what we got here was the level of a youth hostel. We arrived at 9.30 pm, hungry ... kitchen closed. Nibidy was even able to organize us a delivery pizza or a slice of bread. We woke up hungry and eaten up by mosquitos ... turndown service forgot to pull the mosquito nets down. Next morning we requested our take-away breakfast - since we had an early flight to Barbuda. Receptionists answer: I dont know why it qas offered in your package, but I cant help you. Maybe you go yourself to the restaurant and talk to the chef.

The list of disapointments is long - I dont want to bore anybody here. The island is not special on itself, attitude of most people here is unfriendly, laty, dishonest. They dont deserve your time and money here.

We hopped several islands in the Caribbean. I recommend you Anguilla (best beaches so far, friendly people), Saint Martin - but only the French side - very welcoming people, great beaches, turks & caicos ... all lovely. But PLEASE AVOID Antigua completely .... when lazy meets cant do attitude, meets unfriendly ..... you should make a big bow around the whole island and especially this hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
I was disappointed to read you review. I am sorry you missed room service on your arrival as our kitchen were closed and I agree your picnic lunch could have been handled better , but given your special dietary request our receptionist thought it would be better you handled it personally as you were on your way to Sugar Club for breakfast anyway , again sorry for any misunderstanding. Following your second night at Sugar Ridge – you were up very early to enjoy a day trip to Barbuda, which due to the pilot not turning up was cancelled – very frustrating indeed which then prompted you and your partner to cut your four night stay short, rebooking your Miami flight whilst at the airport. When you returned to the hotel later that morning it was quite clear how disappointed with the way you trip was going and as a result we agreed to waive our cancellation charge for checking out early in spite of the fact the hotel was fully booked for New Year. I am very sorry that your experience of Sugar Ridge and Antigua was not as it should have been .
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New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

After 15 years of traveling around the world, I can easily say this is the worst managed hotel in the Caribbean. The staff is simply awful.

It's a shame, because it ruins an otherwise gorgeous property. New rooms, with a view of lush mountains and beautiful sky.

But the staff's behavior (and every couple we spoke to echoed it) is inexcusable:

-You can stand for 20 minutes at the front counter and be ignored while the staff sits on the phone or otherwise appears occupied.

-They admonish you if you want to visit a restaurant that they don't want you to. They are having a feud with one place so their guests are not allowed to go there!?!

-They are totally useless in booking reservations, arranging a spa, or anything else. The spa has been closed for the last two days with no notice. I asked the front desk to book a massage, and was told I had to do it myself...

-They have more hidden charges than anyplace I have ever seen. $10 per day *restocking fee* of the minibar + $5 cokes + 25% in tax/service charges = $16 for a single coke.

-They never smile with the rare exception of one or two people, and are often downright rude.

-Our room has had ants all over the bed every day. It has gone unfixed.

Why would you pay $500 a night so someone can make you feel like you are bothering them???

Stay someplace else that appreciates your business.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Although I was pleased to read how much you liked the style, ambience and location of Sugar Ridge, I along with the rest of the team was very disappointed and even disheartened to read your review.

During your stay the hotel was virtually fully booked and at times the reception desk was extremely busy and attending to your requests may have on occasions taken longer than normal. For this there is no excuse and I apologize.

We are happy to facilitate our guests with any restaurants they choose to go to, but we feel it only correct to highlight concerns guests may have previously brought to our attention . If this was misconstrued then we sincerely apologize.

The spa was not closed on two consecutive days but during your stay it was closed Christmas Day and the following Sunday. This was explained in our Christmas programme which you received when you arrived. In view of the tight booking situation in the spa and the need to discuss specific treatment requirements the receptionist suggested you went across to the spa. I agree this could have been handled slightly better.

Our staff usually come out on top for their willingness to please and doing so with a smile and I am sorry to read as we all are, how different your own experience was.
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Esher, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Hi guys,

My boyfriend and I stayed here between 13th and 22nd of December and we absolutely loved it. It's a very quiet resort and you literally have the pool to yourself everyday.

The shuttle to the beaches is amazing and literally they go whenever suits you... you just to let reception know and this will be organised for you. You must go to fryers beach even though it's not part of the all-inclusive plan it is by far the most beautiful and empty beach.

The weather was amazing throughout our trip and want really made this trip special was the staff at the hotel. Not only are they so attentive but they really make go out of their way for you and will try chat to you whenever.

The food was also amazing here and the coconut prawns were to die for - we must of had them everyday.

You must go up to the top restaurant carmichaels a few times and also the pool up there is so beautiful especially around sunset time!

Hotel rooms were lovely, gorgeous, generous size and always very clean. The bed's are huge and the private plunge pool is quite cool although we never really went in it.

I can't recommend this place enough and I'd love to go back one day again.

Brigitte

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

We planned Sugar Ridge for a one night stay before heading off on a slightly less luxurious trip. We arrived on an afternoon airplane from the UK, and check in was a little odd (we were given invites to a cocktail reception for a day we were not going to be there for) - as the receptionist wasn't quite set up for handling people only staying one night.

Things were also a little confused when we tried to check out, and we had to remind the receptionist that we were there on a dinner, bed and breakfast deal - and check that the appropriate things were included on the bill; this wasn't particularly well handled, with the receptionist making mistakes in charging our card (which then had multiple foreign exchange charges added on for each transaction) and as we had paid for a late check out on the second day, and had a light dinner in the Sugar Club restaurant, it was of course this dinner that became our "included" dinner, whereas the more special dinner we ate in the Carmichael's restaurant we were charged extra for...small things that we shrugged and dealt with at the time. However it is little things like this, and a lack of a bottle opener for the beers in the mini-bar in the room, that mean the hotel doesn't get the full 5 stars from me.

So, the good things. The room was very pleasant, with comfortable bed and pillows - we had an upper room, with a lovely view. The shower was well powered and warm, toiletries and hair dryer good.There was air conditioning (quite loud - but much appreciated), and a mini bar - so you can enjoy a little drink on the terrace adjoining the room.

The hotel facilities are good - the modern gym is very well equipped, and the pools are nice. We didn't get to try the pool up by Carmichael's, which looked like a fantastic place to watch the world from. Carmichael's is the place to go for a special meal - we enjoyed lovely food and wine there, and good service.

Breakfast was served in the Sugar Club area, and had a variety of tasty options. As were were only there for one day (and expecting to spend a lot of time at the coast for the rest of the holiday) we chose to hang out by the pool, instead of getting on the shuttle down to the beaches - which is perhaps the only downside to this hotel - it isn't beach side. Although being up on a hill it does have the benefits of fantastic views, and perhaps a little more breeze keeping the flies away. There are biting insects (they got to me before I put the repellant on the first night), so bring anti-insect/mosquito. I was told that mosquitos aren't the only flying insects that bite on Antigua so a general insect repellant is advised.

The staff we spoke to were always friendly and we both thought that this was a lovely place to start to relax into island life after arriving on a long flight, we would certainly have been happy to stay a little longer.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sugar Ridge

Address: PO Box 153, Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary Parish > Jolly Harbour
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Jolly Harbour
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sugar Ridge 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Antigua’s newest boutique hotel nestles in a sugar cane-bordered natural hillside with stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Designed in contemporary colonial style, rooms have private large verandas, plunge pool and full amenities. An Aveda™ spa provides the latest in holistic therapies; a gym, 3 swimming pools, trendy Sugar Club bar/restaurant and the more formal Carmichael’s, make Sugar Ridge the place to be. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sugar Ridge Hotel Jolly Harbour
Sugar Ridge Antigua/Jolly Harbour

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