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“Possibly a good mid tier option on Antigua” 4 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
London
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Possibly a good mid tier option on Antigua”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We stayed for four nights in early January 2013 and occupied room 23 which is a second level property with no pool on the terrace.

Rooms: I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the rooms. I wouldn't describe them as spectacular but they were certainly adequate with all functions. The only gripe I would have is that the air conditioner was extremely noisy but in the end was a blessing. In terms of choice there isn't much too it. All the rooms are the same except the rooms on the second level have vaulted ceilings and no terrace pool. The premium rooms - based on location only - are higher up next to carmichael restaurant.
Location: the website makes it clear it is not the beach. However, what the website does not highlight is that the hotel and complex is built adjacent to the main road that circumnavigates the island. The rooms are located so that you have a view of the harbour and the sea but also the main road. The downside to all of this is that you can hear the passing of traffic very clearly from the room and defeats the whole purpose of having a terrace.
Beach: the hotel does not have its own beach but provides transport to a number of beaches within a 5 min drive. These beaches are lovely so long as no ships have called into port
Facilities: great gym and I mean great........ Spa also good
Pool: 2 pools and very small. There was service and on the whole the food and drinks were good. A point to note is that this hotel is part of a complex and shares its facilities with locals, others hotel/apartments in the jolly harbour and including Sugar Ridge's own real estate apartment and houses that have been built. So it is not exclusive and private to hotel quests
Food: we were on all inclusive which I think worked out really well. On the whole food was good at all three meals. We ate twice at Carmichael's. The first meal I had was scallops, fillet steak and chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. This meal was very good and comparable to the best I have experienced in any bistro/gastro restaurant in london.

Summary: we also stayed at the Inn at English harbour which is a £600 a night and comparing the two Sugar Ridge fared well with food and service to this hotel and facilities. I could live with it not being on the beach but the noise from the road was an issue. In terms of the whole experience it did not feel we were on holiday and felt at times like we were in a luxury motel. We got the room at circa £250 a night which is a considerable difference to the Inn. So my advice is if you need to stay somewhere while touring the island or wanting to check out a number of the different beaches this might not be a bad option because at the price the facilities are good.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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, February 5, 2013
We were all delighted to read that overall you were very complimentary about your stay and in particular the food and service at both restaurants. We were also pleased to read that you consider the All Inclusive meal plan good value. We note that from time to time you were disturbed by traffic noise from the road below and can only apologies for any inconvenience you experienced. For many guests of Sugar Ridge the fact that we are open to non residents they see as a plus, in that it enables us to offer a wider and more extensive range of facilities than would otherwise be the case in an hotel of this size. Over the relatively short time that we have been open it is quite surprising how many friendships have developed with expat and locals alike on the island.
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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 (184)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Malvern, United Kingdom
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

On returning from our recent trip to Sugar Ridge we discussed our vacation at length and on reflection feel compelled to write a review. We most definitely concur with the views of others which demonstrates with such a consensus of opinion that the hotel really does have problems and not just isolated incidents. As my husband and I operate in the discerning hospitality market we do not ever use trip advisor as a whipping tool; however with the consistent lack of visual management at the resort we are left with no alternative and sincerely hope the owners take the constructive comments on board and make immediate changes.
There obviously has been a huge investment made in the infrastructure and ascetics of this recently constructed hotel and with the Aveda brand has all the components to market itself as a boutique/luxury hotel. However, it is such a pity that this is all wasted as there is a consistent lack of attention to detail throughout the resort and service levels vary with individuals.
The quality of the food at breakfast and dinner is not what one would expect from this level of operation. The restaurant uses poor quality cutlery, napery and the whole dining experience has no ambience or professionalism. The hotel generally lacks soul and we likened it to a 'ship sailing without a captain'. During our week stay we choose to avoid lunch and only took dinner once, we felt lucky we were only staying on a bed and breakfast basis which allowed us the opportunity to visit other hotels and restaurants in the vicinity where we received great service and good quality food, so this hotel is not representative of the hospitality on offer in Antigua.
We have chosen not to go into all the individual issues which could be quite lengthy and also most of them are covered in other trip advisor reviews.
We must, however, point out that at no stage did we witness any of the staff to be impolite or ever unhelpful; they just need direction, training and leadership. In summary all the issues at this resort can so easily be resolved with some visible and pro-active management.
As the hotel manager has replied to some reviews and therefore has read all the comments of many, we trust the much needed changes will be made to ensure this hotels future success.
Hopefully the fact they are marketing a number of luxury houses to be built and sold on the estate is not their real objective and not operating under a guise of running a luxury hotel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, Manager at Sugar Ridge, responded to this review, January 20, 2013
I was pleased to read that you were generally complimentary as to the facilities at Sugar Ridge. I also appreciate you highlighting the staff as helpful and polite. The vast majority of our staff have been with us for 3 years and therefore know their jobs very well. That said I do accept that during your stay service levels hiccupped slightly. Your remarks suggest that an apparent lack of management presence lead to you experiencing inconsistencies and for that I am sincerely. Each of our two restaurants does have its own Restaurant Manager as does the Front Desk and I have to accept that at times there may have been a lack of visibility and direction – which has since been addressed. I recall at the managers cocktail party you spoke of your own Gastro Pub in the UK which I can imagine is very very nice, and was sorry then to learn that you had only had dinner once in Sugar Club and had not chosen to eat in Carmichaels at all. By way of information our table linens are Italian and custom made. I am really sorry your overall experience was short of what we seek to achieve, but I can assure you your remarks have been taken on board.
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

As a young couple perhaps our expectations were lowers than some others who have scored it poorly, but for us it was perfect! We went in August, so the review is quite delayed, but we went out for dinner last night and spent most of our meal talking about how amazing our stay in Antigua was.

Our room was nice and clean and we enjoyed using the plunge pool...although not as much as the infinity pool at Carmichaels which was amazing and completely empty both times we went up there! The main pool is also really nice. The food all round was amazing both at Sugar Club and Carmichaels and we never went hungry.

The beaches that shuttles ran to were excellent and it was handy being able to grab food at the beach huts there.

Antigua's beaches are beautiful and we had an amazing stay at Sugar Ridge. The staff, the food, the setting and the pools all helped to create a completely wonderful experience.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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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 20, 2013
Thank you for posting your review, which although from some months ago is still very much appreciated. I am pleased that you hold such fond memories of your stay. Little has changed in the meantime with almost all of the team still in place.
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london
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Sugar ridge has lots of positives well documented in these recent reviews and in our week long stay over new year we would agree with them all.However, this is a well rated and expensive hotel and if it wants to sustain its position it will have to significantly raise its game. It's not that the service is bad; as others comment, its inconsistency taints the good and unreliability caused us just to give up asking or using the hotel!s services except when we had to. Yes, we found the beach shuttle service too laid back and unreliable and yes we also thought the breakfast was average at best and a bit mean to charge for fresh eggs rather than the basic scrambled. By the end of the week we felt sorry that some excellent service by several staff and mangers had been let down by what just felt like poor management.
Here are specifics relating to front desk and housekeeping. Tea and coffee were not replenished except when we requested, neither were tissues or even toilet roll, when we mentioned this in the morning, the response was sorry and we will remedy that. However, most quality hotels would send someone straight round.but SR dealt with it the next time housekeeping did our room in the evening or the next day. We asked them to book a trip with the local TA top rated snorkelling RIB company for the next day and they said sure no problem. When the next day came we asked if they had booked it and were told not possible and they thought the snorkelling company had probably gone out of business. We knew that wasn't right as we had seen the boats in jolly harbour so we just rang up and did iit ourselves. On our last day we checked out of our room at 11 40 in time for the noon limit, but housekeeping came in at 9 30 asking to clean the room as normal. Clearly no one had told them we were checking out that day!
All that said, we did have a good time, the area is great, the beaches sensational and jackie o's beach bar is superb for lunch or dinner

Room Tip: Anywhere near 17 great we thought first floor better than ground and plunge pool not needed
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 20, 2013
Your comments have been duly noted especially in respect to inconsistency in service which has been more recently highlighted by others. I can assure you these have been taken up with each departmental manager and in particular with Reception and Housekeeping. Clearly the issues that you referred to should quite simply not have happened and I can at this late stage only apologies for the inconvenience these incidents caused. We have enjoyed very many excellent reviews over the three years that Sugar Ridge has been operating – so we are more than capable of getting it right.
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Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Stayed two weeks over Christmas/New Year. Got a great room away from main complex around the corner which had far reaching views out towards Jolly Harbour and Tranquility Bay. As other reviewers have said, the rooms are set into the ridge and spread out well so there are some steps involved but you can either wait for buggy service or man up and just walk it with the legs provided by your parents. Small price to pay from my perspective for lovely, well tended grounds and space.

Stayed breakfast only, which as a buffet one could quite easily fuel up for the day on with a wide spread of juices, pastries, fruit, cereals, toast/muffins and hot items, including some Caribbean dishes like saltfish and chop-up. Hot stuff wasn't always all that hot, but then hard to keep a buffet hot for hours it's open.

Didn't feel the need to eat in the flagship restaurant, the Sugar Club food was pretty good on it's own. Just over the road is a cool little Fish & Chip double decker bus which I sampled one night, good value with some great tunes and a beer.

The Mosquitos must have been on holiday when I was there - came fully prepared with tons of bug spray but didn't need to touch it any point either in the grounds or out walking around the entire time I was there.

<geek alert>Wi-Fi service was good, although I found specifying a faster DNS server sped things up massively for me - something I suspect would be true of most connections on the island</geeking>

Loads of fearless birds (I had frequent visitations from Bananaquits, Bullfinches and hummingbirds) about to watch and tons of little lizards darting around the well kept grounds.

10 minute walk from the hotel gets you to the Jolly Harbour supermarket full of all the comforts of home. Waitrose biscuits, HP Sauce and all. 15-20 minute easy walk gets you to the beach via Jolly Harbour or the Cocos Hotel and if you're prepared to walk 15-20 mins further lots of other quieter Beach options like Valley Church, CoCo Bay and Ffreys. Tip the Northern end of Tranquility bay is much quieter if you can live without sunbeds plus there's natural shade from trees on the beach.

Sugar Ridge is about 30 minutes white knuckle taxi ride from the airport. Close your eyes and hold on, it will pass quickly then just relax.

Do stay if:
you don't want to be with the herds in the main resorts
you enjoy peace and quiet

Don't stay if:
you object to using your legs
you're a bad buggy passenger

Room Tip: I stayed in 53, an upper level room with brilliant views. Rooms 1-24ish face more towards the main c...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

Lovely secluded hotel; away from the tourist masses but still with access and deals with local beaches a short car ride away. Rooms clean and staff exceptionally friendly and helpful. Worth doing a few tours to experience the island.
Only criticism I would have had is that the minibar in room was not included on the all-inclusive plan, so no free drinks in room unless you went down to the bar to get them - but that is a minor gripe.
Overall a lovely hotel, lovely food and service and I would return again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Bracebridge, Canada
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sugar Ridge

Also Known As:
Sugar Ridge Hotel
Sugar Ridge Hotel Jolly Harbour
Sugar Ridge Antigua/Jolly Harbour
Address: PO Box 153, Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary Parish > Jolly Harbour
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service 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):
Sugar Ridge is Antigua’s most anticipated resort, opened in December 2009. Perched upon its namesake hillside bordered with sugar cane and lush flora and fauna, the resort features 60 rooms that wrap around the property, featuring panoramic views to the south and west of palm-lined beaches and the turquoise Caribbean Sea, plus the neighboring islands of Redonda, St. Kitts and Nevis. Sugar Ridge entertains guests with three swimming pools, the island’s first-ever Aveda Concept Spa. ... more   less 
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