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“Tropical Paradise!”
Review of Sugar Ridge Resort

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Sugar Ridge Resort
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Jolly Harbour
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 10, 2014

We just returned from our week-long "babymoon" at Sugar Ridge. Here's my take on things..

GROUNDS AND ROOMS

Absolutely stunning! The entire resort, including pool areas, public spaces, restaurants and rooms have lovely designs and finishes. They are also very well maintained. And for those sporty types out there, the gym is the best you'll find at a hotel anywhere.

Unfortunately, the mini-fridge in our room malfunctioned right after we had stocked it with our own supply of food and drinks (bought from the local store...we weren't all inclusive) resulting in a lot of waste (food, time and money).

SERVICE

Though there were some occasions where we got somewhat annoyed (the aforementioned fridge fiasco - no apology offered. Apparently the fridge isn't meant to really keep things cool? Huh?), I generally found the staff to be very courteous and helpful. As with anywhere, some folks are nicer than others and everyone has their moods.

LOCATION AND TRANSPORTATION

The hotel is very well situated. Many local bars and restaurants are a short walk away, and there are three major beaches (Valley Church (aka "the Nest), Darkwood and Turner's) can be reached within minutes in the hotel shuttle. The shuttle experience itself is a bit hit and miss. While there is a schedule, it's really not followed and the ride can be quite rough. Also, without naming names, you may be made to feel like you're inconveniencing the driver who, depending on his own personal schedule, will try to drop you off or pick you up when it's convenient for him vs. the other way around. All in all though, the shuttle is a nice service to have available.

The hotel is also on a main road which leads you to other parts of the island (the capital St. John's or English Harbour). Should you wish to rent a car as we did, it is easy to navigate. However, the combination of narrow and windy roads, massive potholes, cars and animals, and somewhat crazy drivers (plus right-hand drive vehicles and left-hand traffic - a further complication for us North Americans) makes driving rather challenging.

FOOD AND RESTAURANTS

While the buffet breakfast was good, I was not impressed with the restaurants (to be fair, we only ate at Sugar Ridge a few nights, not Carmichael's). Slow service, bland food, small portions, and pricey to boot. Thankfully there are some great options around the hotel - Shell's Fish and Chips and Al Porto down in Jolly Harbour were fantastic.

ATMOSPHERE AND OVERALL RATING

Sugar Ridge is definitely the most quiet and relaxing vacation experience I've had, which is exactly what we were looking for. Hotel clientele are definitely more mature and reserved. Younger folks (or those young-at-heart) may be disappointed with the lack of nightlife at the hotel - Sugar Club was practically empty every night and almost deserted by 10pm, despite having some amazing live acts - however, there are other options to "lime" close by. Both Perry's and Miracle's had jams on Saturday night (the latter until 4am! was not impressed by the bass booming through our room, but alas, I can't fault Sugar Ridge for this) and there is apparently a fantastic party on Sundays at Shirley Heights.

Overall, it was a very good vacation. Due to the reasons noted above, I can't give Sugar Ridge 5 stars, but we have returned home more relaxed than ever and I would definitely recommend the hotel to anyone looking to visit Antigua. Any questions, feel free to PM me.

Room Tip: Difficult to provide tips in this circumstance. Higher number rooms are a further walk (uphill) fro...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank robbiedigital79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 9, 2014

Just returned yesterday from a 10-day visit at Sugar Ridge. As the title of my post states, my visit started out 4 star, but it slowly deteriorated as my visit went on. I was hoping to experience a 4 or 5 star vacation like most reviewers on TA but unfortunately I did not.

First, it is a very beautiful resort and well situated. The rooms are gorgeous and comfortable, with very generously sized terraces (great for late afternoon naps). My room (#1) was on the first level which was great and the small hikes up and down were no problem. There are 2 pool areas, with the one “at top” being the quieter zone with a very nice infinity pool and a stupendous view. The gym is the best I’ve seen in a hotel. The manager’s reception one evening was a very nice gesture and much appreciated.

For the most part, the staff seemed very professional; most of the staff was friendly and professional most of the time. I almost feel badly about the negatives I am about to report because I sense that the staff members are very hardworking people, and having worked in the service industry myself, I know that at times it can be challenging to please people.

That said, there were some unfortunate incidences. One was the very rough facial I received at the Aveda spa. As a regular Aveda customer, this spa was a selling point for me in choosing Sugar Ridge, and I delayed having a facial at home before I left so I could enjoy one on vacation. At the beginning of the appointment, she was in and out of the room, opening and closing doors and drawers, which was not very relaxing. The scrub part nearly took off my epidermis. I had to ask her to use lighter pressure TWICE after she didn’t listen the first time. I was sure when I left that I would have 5 small bruises on each thigh where my fingers were pressing in. She scrubbed and scrubbed my face and chest (very thin skin there!!) for 10-15 minutes. The best part was when she went from massaging my feet to rubbing my face again, without washing her hands in between. As a regular Aveda customer for many years, I felt that this technician’s training was not up to Aveda’s standards. I explained my displeasure with Kathy, the spa manager, who was very apologetic and comped my facial as well as offered another free service (I didn’t take her up on that but much appreciated it; I could tell that she wanted to make good on that).

I had signed up for a circumnavigation cruise and due to a food allergy the cruise staff advised that I bring my own picnic lunch (so glad I’d inquired about that in advance). I arranged the day before to pick up a lunch at the Sugar Club in the morning, which came in an insulated bag (great idea!). When lunchtime came on the excursion, I unzipped the cooler pack to see that my sandwich came with cold French fries. Everyone around me on the boat was laughing at how stupid it was for me to be provided with “chips” in the morning, to be eaten at lunch. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible to substitute the fries with something else, such as potato salad, fruit salad or potato chips? The next day when I returned the insulated bag I mentioned this and the reply I got was “It came with fries.” Duh.

On my second-to-last night I was awakened at 12:30 AM by the chirping of the smoke detector whose battery was dying. They are designed so that you don’t sleep through the alarm, right? I called the front desk and was told to move a piece of furniture so that I could take the smoke detector down and remove the battery myself (!), which I did. The next day I left the SD and dead battery on the bed so that it would be seen and addressed, and reported it to the front desk. No big deal, and completely forgivable since no one knows exactly when the SD’s battery is going to die. However, the next morning, at 5 AM, I was awakened by the familiar chirping of the smoke detector. Someone had seen the SD on the bed, and PUT THE SAME BATTERY BACK IN IT!!!! This was my LAST DAY of vacation and having been wakened so rudely (two nights in a row now) was a total buzzkill. I was livid and complained at the front desk, where I was told they would “look into it.” (Um, didn’t the housekeeper wonder why a guest would have taken down the SD and removed the battery?)

When I checked out several hours later, there was no mention of the SD incident, no apology, no kind of acknowledgement whatsoever. No salutation, no “have a nice day” or “we hope you had a nice visit” no nothing. It was at that moment I had regretted spending my hard-earned money at that resort. What a pity.

Also I have to mention that the food at Sugar Club was terrible in my opinion. Luckily I found Miracles Restaurant right across the street which was excellent and for which I will post a separate review.

Thanks Kevin T for taking me to Nelson’s Dockyard last Thursday on his day off.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled solo
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4  Thank Valerie77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 21, 2014

I was very pleased to read how much you liked the location and facilities of Sugar Ridge and that on the whole you found all the staff very professional. After you told Kafi our Spa Manager about the complaint she thought she had made good, However, she did inform me, but it was not until reading this review that I realized the severity of your complaint. I have now followed up personally with the spa therapist to ensure this doesn't happen again. With regards to French fries being offered as part of a picnic I really do not know what to say – other than to apologies and to agree with you that this could not have been more wrong. I have a briefing each morning with the key personnel on duty when among other things anything that has arisen over night is reviewed. I regret to say I was not made aware of the problems you experienced with the smoke detector in your room, and as a result some of our follow up procedures will be reviewed. Again I am sincerely sorry for the disturbed night and inconvenience you experienced. Thank you for highlighting these points which only help to enable us to serve all our guests better

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2014

We booked a Premium King Room with Plunge Pool, there are 4 of these at the top of the resort. The views are good, the plunge pool was uninviting so we did not use it. Not sure these rooms are worth an extra $100 a night.

The one thing that makes this resort special is the staff, everyone we encountered during our stay were welcoming and friendly. 'Janine on the Front Desk was our Employee of the Stay'.

Breakfast here is average, the orange juice is truly awful and you have to compete with the birds when it comes to getting bread,. The self help toaster is useless, each slice has to go through the machine as least twice. The hot food on the buffet is cold, be sure to order a la carte - the club omelette is very good.

The Food in Carmichael's Restaurant is good, were stayed as B&B guests and having eaten out every night we concluded that the best dinner on the island was Carmichael's.

Don't waste your time going to Sheer Rock for dinner, apart from nearly breaking your neck to get down the steps to get there. The food is average and the poor staff have had no training and have no idea what they are doing.

If you have time go for a days sailing with Christian Koch, Cruise and Chill at $150 per person it is well worth it.

Mr Cool is by far the best driver to take you around the island.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RJSouthWestLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith M, General Manager at Sugar Ridge Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 20, 2014

Thank you for posting you review and I was very pleased to read how impressed you were with our team of staff and how much you enjoyed dining at Carmichaels. I read that you were unsure if our Premium King rooms justified the additional expense, These rooms occupy prime locations and have quite amazing views and are the most popular category in the hotel. At breakfast we generally feature three juices , I believe I am correct in saying that the orange juice during your stay was made from local oranges and I am sorry it was not to your taste. Your other comments relating to the buffet have been noted, but I was pleased to read that you were very happy with items from the a la carte breakfast menu which are all included within our room and breakfast terms. Thank you again for making your comments known and I am sorry that there were some issues where we fell short of expectations

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Reviewed February 7, 2014

We've just returned from our honeymoon in Antigua, we stayed at Sugar Ridge and had the most wonderful time.
All of the staff at Sugar Ridge are so lovely, tentative, friendly, helpful and very very happy!
Sugar Ridge is a beautiful resort and offers so much. We were all inclusive (and came home a stone heavier!), the package includes all cocktails and lots of different wines along with superb food. There is a buffet breakfast and a choice from the menu if you desire something else(pancakes/eggs benedict). Lunch and dinner offers a wonderful range of food, including fish of the day, everyday. The Sugar Ridge restaurant holds themed nights, my favourite being the Carribean night, the coconut custard pie is not to be missed (please can I have the recipe?)! Steak night was truely amazing, my husband and I both went for the tenderloin, the meat melted in out mouths, divine!
The resort is close to the coast with regular transfers to the beach, but you can walk to some in 15 minutes. Sugar Ridge works with a couple of the beach bars so if you're all inclusive you can go to the beach and drink and eat for 'free'. The Nest was our favourite beach, quiet bay with white sands, the blue waters of Antigua are breathtaking.
We watched the sun go down everyday in Antigua, most evenings we watched it up at Carmichaels by the infinity pool with a frozen quava/mango Margerita (also highly recommended)!
Sugar Ridge also has a new modern gym and a beautiful spa. We were kindly given a free massage each because we were on our honeymoon, the massage was fantastic.
I really haven't got a bad word to say about this resort, I shed a tear as we were leaving! Thank you Sugar Ridge for the perfect honeymoon, we will be back! xx

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank F00dIsMyFriend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2014

This property has it all. Incomparable views, great food, rooms with everything your heart desires, and is topped off by the most attentive staff we have encountered in decades of travel. There was not one encounter that did not exceed our expectations and, in this day and age, having that consistency is rare indeed. We stayed in two different rooms - high atop the resort, and needed buggy transport every time. This was not a problem. Kevin Thomas was, as our title suggests, exceptional in every way, but he was simply the star of the many encounters we had with staff. Suffice to say, Antigua relies heavily on tourism, and the industry truly wants travelers to return. They are doing something right on this island. We had several meals atop the hill at Carmichael's. Quality food and service to be had here. Michelle was a standout server but, again, she was representative of the excellence of the whole staff. The same can be said of the staff at Sugar Club - the main dining facility. Welcoming, genuine staff to handle every request. Accommodations are spacious with all amenities and great beds. The verandahs are enormous complete with plunge pools and ceiling fans. The grounds are meticulously maintained. All in all, this is paradise in one package. While this is a 5-star resort with 5-star prices, you get value for your travel dollar at Sugar Ridge. There are several other resorts that have a much higher price point. The resort is not on the beach, but transportation is provided throughout the day to surrounding beaches. We found the closest, Valley Church Beach, to have it all: scenery, beach chaise lounges are free to Sugar Ridge guests. The Nest Restaurant has quality food, ice cold Wadadli (local) beer, a full bar and good service. The Aveda Spa at the resort was what got us here. We have been long time, loyal Aveda clients and accumulated sufficient reward points for a free 3-night stay, and we added four more nights to our visit. The complimentary massage for this trip was an hour of pure bliss. The bottom line is: would we go back? In a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank weathergoddess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2014

Sugar Ridge - much respect!
In booking this resort, my wife and I had low expectations considering this would be our 1st non-inclusive resort ( although the hotel does offer all-inclusive packages ) out of the 14 trips we have made to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Conclusion - Forget the Sandals, the Bahia Principes, the Secrets. This is the ultimate in Caribbean retreats. If you are looking for rest and relaxation amidst the most luxurious vegetation and landscape, overlooking the sea, come to Sugar Ridge.
The rooms are spacious and modern. We had a lower level room with plunge pool. These are wonderful, especially if the sun shines bright on your terrace during the day. Nothing like watching the sunset from the peace and quiet of your own private pool.
The North American service industry can learn something from the folk working at Sugar Ridge. Professional, courteous, informative, enthusiastic and passionate about their island. They will always serve you with a smile.Trust me!!! you must disregard all the naysayers' comments. Once you spend time on the Antiguan beaches, all your worries will disappear.
The hotel offers a free shuttle to any of the local beaches. We visited Valley Church, Little Ffryes ( good to visit when cruise ships are in port ) and Turner's beach. Very tranquil jewels of aqua marine water, soft white sand and postcard backgrounds. Truly some of the most extraordinary beaches I have visited in the world and I have been all over Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, D.R., Bahamas, Portugal, France...
I must pay respect to what makes this island so great - its people. They are incredible, warm, cheerful, energetic, passionate, inviting. I strongly encourage you to take the time to get to know them and their country. It will mark you for life.
'Nuff respect to the following people who made our trip memorable:
Sugar Ridge - Carleen, best waitress I have ever encountered. May the upcoming elections bring you hope and raise your spirit. Kevin, Janine, Fiona - you make this place truly special.
Turner's Beach - Wiggy ( best pineapple /coconuts ), Helen ( visit her beach shop ), Clifford (music man!), Uncle Manny.
The Nest - Peter, here is hoping you can can save the money to buy some more sail boats and live out your dream.
As I listen to Isjaki by Sigur Ros, I leave my last words of respect to an amazing human being - Vorn ( shuttle bus driver ). A man whose love of Antigua is boundless and infectious. I want to express my utmost gratitude for sharing a slice of his Antigua - his family, his culture, his land, his knowledge, his passions. I implore you to sign up for his nature walks at the hotel lobby.
Vorn - stay true to your roots. Antigua strong! In my 44 years, I have rarely met such a force of nature, so passionate about his people and country. A true gentleman.
One love Antigua! May we meet again soon Sugar Ridge!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Komlom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2014

We switched to this hotel after an awful experience at another, nearby hotel. The staff was very friendly and very accommodating! It was a well-maintained property with good food and drinks and an overall relaxing atmosphere. Although not 5 stars, it was a wonderful place to vacation, and I would definitely stay here again!

Room Tip: The plunge pool rooms are nice, but you will have a better view without it.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank StaceySiwik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sugar Ridge Resort

Address: | Tottenham Park, 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 #2 of 2 Hotels in Jolly Harbour
Price Range: $254 - $552 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sugar Ridge Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 60
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 Resort Antigua/Jolly Harbour

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