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.
- 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