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“Unable to recommend.” 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   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Jolly Harbour
southern England
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Unable to recommend.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We stayed for eight nights in November, just as the cruise ship season started. Our checkin was efficiently handled and I was impressed that I had received an email offering to arrange transport from the airport several days before we arrived. A golf buggy ride to our room and a reasonable aspect from the balcony equipped with a plunge pool. The lock on our door would not fully engage and was reported on the first day, as a test I did not mention it again, it was not rectified. The breakfast was a big disappointment as it followed the American format of all arriving together or in the wrong order, we resorted to ordering as we went, the quality was variable.
The pool area was rather bare and austere and needed a little softening the gym looked to be very well equipped.
The lack of a beech proved to be a problem which we were aware of but had not appreciated the hoards of bussed in cruise ship customers which increased occupancy from 4 to 400 very swiftly.
Gibsons beech with its friendly and welcoming restaurant and Fryers with the same are to be recommended. Avoid Jolly Beach it's only redeeming feature is a huge super market, if needed.
Dining at Carmichaels was reasonable but service was sometimes slow, we also witnessed a very unhappy wedding party with a public argument raised voices and accusations of lying, very poorly handled by senior management.
Overall this is not a holiday venue I can recommend Sugar Beech seems to be having an identity crisis, is it a hotel, a motel, a locals club or what.
Contrary to other reviews I found the on the ground staff to be for the most part very helpful and friendly, the hotels greatest asset.

Room Tip: The higher the better but the greater the distance to walk to the facilities. Lower room numbers can...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge, responded to this review, February 5, 2013
We were sorry to read that you would not be inclined to recommend Sugar Ridge following your stay some two months ago. The team from Sugar Club were sorry to read that you were disappointed with breakfast when in the past we have received so many excellent comments. Cruise ship passengers on some beaches can be a bit of a problem in peak season, but normally Vorn will avoid going to those beaches on the days that the cruise ships are in port, instead going to others nearby that are all but deserted. Sugar Ridge is a small boutique luxury hotel which offers a range of facilities that are open to non residents which in turn enable us to offer such extensive gym and spa facilities together with a choice of restaurants that would not normally be expected in an hotel of this size. We are indeed very sorry that Sugar Ridge did not work for you.
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525 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (210)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
pittsburgh
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013 via mobile

Beautiful grounds and beautiful views of the ocean and Jolly Harbour from the rooms and upper rooms' verandahs. The hotel is on the Carribbean side and the beaches are gorgeous and a short shuttle ride away. From talking with others on the island, the location can’t be beat. There are many pretty beaches close by; we got to try three different locations during our stay.

We stayed in an upper level room, # 51, and the view was gorgeous. It was a further walk from reception and the Sugar Club, but the location made it quiet and private. It was still only a 5 minute walk down the hill to both locations. We could get a golf cart to run us up to our room whenever we needed it. We decided against the plunge pool and stayed in an upper level room and were glad that we did. The verandahs don’t get direct sun so I’m sure the water was cool, plus you miss out on the amazing views from the upper level.

The property is not on the beach, which some people may not like, but it gave us the option to explore different beaches on the island. The pools are a bit on the smaller side but were never too crowded to get a seat. You can’t rely on the wi-fi and the connection from our room was spotty, at best. There were times we needed to remind ourselves that we were on ‘island time’ while waiting for our pick up at the beach by the hotel shuttle, but it was easy, free and reliable.

We opted out of the all-inclusive food option and there are great restaurant options within a quick walk. Breakfast at the hotel had both sit down and buffet options, with lots of fresh fruit. For restaurants off-property, we’d recommend Oceanos (quaint, local, seafood), Akropolis (delicious Greek in the Carribbean(!) and Miracles (authentic Carribbean cooking). We had tapas at Sheer Rocks at CocoBay on Sunday and that is something to experience. The location is breathtaking and had a very fun, chic vibe. The restaurant is built into the side of a cliff overlooking the Carribbean- not sure the view could get any better!

Our vacation was to relax and we did just that- for those looking for a ‘scene’, the hotel doesn’t have really have one to speak of. It’s fairly quiet, overall, and mostly couples.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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London
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
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
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, 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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Great 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
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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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
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
60 helpful votes 60 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
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 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.
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Additional Information about Sugar Ridge

Address: PO Box 153, Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Phone Number:
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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