On an island where lodging seems to be over-the-top luxury or cut-rate all-inclusive with not much in between, Sugar Ridge is that happy medium, a new resort with lots of amenities at pretty reasonable rates. Three pools, two restaurants, big gym, spa. You can go all-inclusive or, as we did, not. Rooms are in pods of four with views from the steep hillside down to Jolly Harbor. It's not on the water but you can walk there or the shuttle gets you to three local beaches where the beach chairs are complimentary. And beaches are the main reason you are in Antigua: white sand, that incredible water and best of all they are mostly deserted.
The resort is open and airy, room had a four-poster with mosquito netting (which was fun to let down even if there were no bugs in the room), large veranda with a plunge pool, marble-tiled bathroom with walk-in shower. Grounds nicely landscaped with bougainvillea, ti, almond trees, lots more. Location is 15 minutes from the capital and convenient to the south end of the island which has the main attractions.
Some details need tightening up: cable was out for 24 hours, our laundry was not picked up one day, the safe wouldn't open another time but hey, life in the Caribbean. All in all the staff is friendly and tries hard.
Vorn the shuttle driver leads a nature tour early in the morning which was a highlight of our stay. We went off the property back to a green valley where his grandfather farmed and he shook mangoes down from the trees for us to eat, the best I ever tasted.