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“Did Not Live Up To Expectations” 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
London
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Did Not Live Up To Expectations”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Sugar Ridge from 21 to 29 December 2012 on an all-inclusive basis, having booked the holiday in July 2012. We assumed (wrongly) that most guests would also be staying all-inclusive. This was a mistake. The positives of our stay were a beautiful room and balcony. It is worth upgrading to an upper level room. The quality of the furnishings, and the bathroom were excellent. The bed was very comfortable. The views were fantastic. The housekeeping was carried out to a very high standard. The landscaping is beautiful. The cocktails were made to a high standard with a good choice. The evening entertainment was excellent and of a very good quality. It was useful having an Aveda Spa on site and availability of appointments was very good (although staff there were mixed in their attitude and one at least was "churlish" bordering on rude). Generally we found the food to be good and particularly enjoyed the sushi. The beaches were also good, although it did not seem to be possible to use all-inclusive to obtain food as suggested on the website. Vorn was polite and entertaining and we enjoyed our trips with him. Antigua is a beautiful island and compares very favourably with Barbados. The gym is really good and the manager very helpful.

The negatives almost outweighed the positives. The service in the restaurants fell far below what we expected from a hotel at this level. Service was often poor, we were regularly "forgotten", food was slow to arrive, and generally staff seemed to be badly-managed. There was one occasion when some sort of staff/union meeting was taking place very loudly in the bar area when we and other guests were sitting a matter of metres away and could hear all that was being said. This should not have been allowed to happen by those managing the staff. As all-inclusive guests we were treated badly at Carmichaels. The attitude of the front of house manager there seemed to be that all-inclusive guests were second-class (and resulted in a complaint to the hotel manager who seemed to be largely ineffective in dealing with problems). The best tables were almost always given to those who shouted loudest and were not staying all-inclusive. There was no attempt at fair rotation. We strongly recommend not using all-inclusive at this hotel.

The pool areas are concrete and soulless, and no effort was made to make Christmas a special occasion, in spite of the premium paid by us to be there at that time. Very disappointing. The pools were smaller than they appear on the hotel website and staff seemed keen not to encourage linger round the lower pool area. Drinks were rarely offered and loungers/umbrellas were put away long before sunset.

Sadly we would not recommend this hotel to others. This is a shame as we were ready to have a good time, and perhaps we were unlucky. This is a fantastic location and with a bit of effort a mediocre experience could easily be converted to a top rate experience which would encourage repeat custom. We will definitely not go back.

Room Tip: Upper level with sea view not close to road.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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 11, 2013
I was pleased to read how much you liked your bedroom, the high standard of housekeeping and the fantastic views. I note also that you found the evening entertainment excellent and also considered the food good – especially the sushi. Although most hotels in Antigua are All Inclusive, Sugar Ridge offers a choice of meal plan options of which on average 25% stay on All Inclusive terms. In our experience it is not more because many of our guests choose Sugar Ridge so they can explore and experience all aspects of Antigua which among many other things would include a wide choice of dining options. Irrespective of meal plans chosen all guests are treated the same. I do recall you were upset in Carmichaels because you overheard the manager telling the server that you were staying on All Inclusive terms – this in order that things could be properly explained to you and not for any other reason. When we met I recall you felt offended – to which I apologized assuring you that what had be said had been misconstrued. To my certain knowledge this has not arisen before and remain sincerely sorry for any embarrassment you and your wife experienced. We have arrangements at several nearby beach restaurants for drinks during the day and lunch. So to say there was no food is incorrect and we can only assume that you were looking to get lunch at a beach restaurant with which we have no arrangement. Department heads have regular staff meeting and briefings and I agree that should be away from our guests. I am sorry you we disappointed with the festivities over Christmas. As you have already mentioned we had an excellent line up of entertainment, our lighting display in the main atrium proved a major talking point and Father Christmas did put in an appearance during breakfast for the benefit of all, but especially for the few children we had staying with us. In conclusion we are indeed sorry that we clearly fell short of your expectations and can only assure you that all of your points have been taken on board.
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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
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English first
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

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.

Room Tip: All the rooms seem to have good views facing toward the water but the units at the top near the rest...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, February 5, 2013
Thank you for your very favourable review. It would seem from your remarks the style facilities and location of Sugar Ridge ticked all the right boxes. However, the fact that there was a delay in your laundry being collected and that you had an issue with your safe have been noted and we are sorry this happened. We cannot excuse any inefficiency. I was delighted to that Vorn's walk proved such a hit and that the mangoes were so good.
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1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013 via mobile

The staff contributed tremendously to this holiday. We were warmly welcomed by Marcia who had such such a natural charm. She entertained us on the welcome evening and we even won a lovely prize! The restaurant staff were so helpful and the food of a good quality.
Accommodation was pleasant and poolside areas were of a high standard-especially Carmichael's where we visited most days. Here the bar staff really looked after us, making sure we were supplied with lots of cool drinks. Special mention must be made to Cordel who displayed his professional cocktail-making skills. Those sunsets are not exaggerated by the way!
We ate most evenings in Carmichael's and found the cuisine to be of a high standard. The setting is fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed working our way through the menu. Clifford the manager kept everything running smoothly yet still taking time to chat to everyone.
We travel quite a bit and Sugar Ridge provided a relaxing holiday of a quality standard. We met a lot of fun people and really enjoyed ourselves. Although getting around the well-maintained site can be tricky, there is an excellent buggy service that we used every day.
Nearby beaches are superb and the hotel offers an excellent shuttle service driven by Vorn who is always at hand to supply local information.
Overall,an excellent holiday! Keep up the good work!

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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 4, 2013
Your kind comments are really appreciated . All of our team see and read these reviews and the staff members that you singled out for praise will be especially proud.
Again Thank-you from us all .
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Brooklyn, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

Having read the recent reviews on tripadvisor, I was a bit skeptical about what to expect at Sugar Ridge. I just returned from a 3-night stay there and while I do have some minor complaints, overall it was a very pleasant stay.

The good : the property is new and beautiful and very well maintained. I found the design to be very thoughtful and pretty zen. I loved the infinity pool (though a warning to unsuspecting travellers : none of their pools are heated!) I stayed in room 17, which had a vaulted ceiling and a large balcony with a spectacular view of the harbor but no plunge pool. Some travellers complained about the noise from the road, but it was not a nuissance to me. For one thing, there was little traffic on the road to begin with and I actually enjoyed watching what traffic there was. My package included breakfast and I thought the breakfast spread was among the very best I've experienced while travelling. Eggs and potatoes, breakfast meats, fruit and yogurt, cheese and grains, a trio of fruit juices, etc. My only small complaint about breakfast was that the coffee was a bit inconsistent, such as good one day and then too weak the next. The servers were very attentive and friendly, especially Carleen who was utterly charming and gave us a laugh every morning. I used the gym twice, which I thought was the most impressive boutique resort gym I've ever visited. Lots of cardio equipment and weights and a wonderful view of the lush green hillside to boot although to my disappointment, no elliptical machines! They even organize some fitness classes during the week, which I've never seen before at a boutique resort. I also used the spa twice, which was also very nice though I might recommend booking appointments in advance since they are a bit small and have limited staff and availabilities. I had dinner at Carmichael's one night, which was delicious and had attentive staff; my friend and I arrived early before their official opening hour and asked to be seated so we could enjoy the sunset, and they were very kind and accommodative to our request.

The bad : I think it is really important to have a friendly and attentive front desk staff, since they are on the front line to so many guest issues and experiences. At Sugar Ridge, I found the front desk to be wanting in friendliness - often when a guest would approach, they would be slow to acknowledge the guest and not exactly friendly about it either. While the design of the bathroom was aesthetically appealing, I found it not exactly functional as the round vessel sink was too high for shorter guests like myself and the shower had one of those half doors, which means that water gets all over within minutes of your shower and your bath mat gets constantly soaked. Since the resort is not on the beach and is stacked on a hill, you must rely on hotel shuttles to get you to the beach and up and down the hill to Carmichael's and to your room if you have heavy luggage, so on some days, you may feel like your wait is longer than it should be and the front desk can only tell you unsympathetically that someone is on their way.

While I had a very nice stay at Sugar Ridge, my friend and I agreed that on return to Antigua we would choose to stay somewhere else that was situated directly on the beach.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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, February 4, 2013
I was very pleased to read that on the whole you enjoyed your stay with us and liked the style of Sugar Ridge. I note also your very favorable comments as to the breakfast in Sugar Club and dinner in Carmichaels. I was pleased also to read you were impressed with the gym and enjoyed the fitness classes. Our spa has 4 treatments rooms and 4 therapists so they can get busy so booking in advance is often key. I was on the other hand sorry to read that you felt one or two of our reception staff had been less helpful than it seems they should have been – We have now addressed this with the reception team.
Not being on the beach does set us apart from most hotels on the island and we have to accept that will not be everyone’s choice. Fortunately, for the vast majority of guests they find the elevated setting and the access to a selection of some of the best beaches on the island which are minutes from us – outweighs the alternative of staying at a beach front hotel.
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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

I had a wonderful time at this resort, our room was lovely, had an amazing view, the service we recevied was great. Every morning for breakfast we had great service and the buffet and food were very good! I want to give a shout out to Carlene, Kawaan, and Oneil for their great service. In the bar and dinner we had such a great time and again want to thank Clayon and Prince for outstanding service. The resort is beautiful and very well maintained and I would not hesitate to return again. The view from the infinity pool and Carmicheals is just beautiful. We also asked the front desk staff to help us with tours to see the island and everything was handled professionally and with great recommendations and service. I highly recommend this wonderful resort!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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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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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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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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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