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“Great hotel, Almost perfect ....”
Review of Sugar Ridge

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Sugar Ridge
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Jolly Harbour
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great hotel, Almost perfect ....”
Reviewed February 16, 2014 via mobile

Sugar Ridge is in a lovely setting half way up the hillside with great views. It has only 60 rooms and felt more personal. We thought the environment was great even though not on the beach and the grounds lovely. Commenting on the specific aspects:
Accommodation: Our room was very comfortable, really well equipped with a huge verandah. We opted for the deluxe without plunge pool and that was the right choice as the views were great. I must admit I felt a bit disappointed when we were allocated our room as I wanted to be higher up the hillside and more separate from other properties but found out later that the hotel pictures must have been of the private houses further up and actually most of the blocks of 4 rooms are just further round the hill. However, our room still had a great view and was actually more convenient for the main sugar ridge facilities.
Food: we consider ourselves to be foodies and found the food to be good overall. Carmichael's is more refined food than Sugar Club and has a nice atmosphere (apart from the supermarket Muzak which we recommended they changed!). quite a few items have a supplement if all inclusive which is a bit annoying and cheeky on things like prawns which you can have at the Sugar Club restaurant and more of them! At the SC we found plenty to choose from, sometimes the food was very good and sometimes just ok . . . Am not sure why this was a bit inconsistent .... Maybe the chef on duty? Breakfast was a bit mediocre apart from the omelettes and pancakes which are made you to order.
Facilities - the two pools are not the largest but for us perfectly adequate... The one up at carmichaels is very small and there is limited room but the views are fab. The gym is a good standard and there are some very challenging classes if you want to push yourself. The spa and hairdressers are also great to have on site. The transport to the beach is a via an old open sided landrover but make sure you find out when the cruise ships are in as it can get a bit crowded... We tried both nest and turners and liked them both but turners is finer sand and felt more spacious.
Service: almost without exception People were really helpful and friendly and service was good.
Having read lots of reviews in advance the hotel lived up to our expectations and In some respects was better. I think it's important that people remember that this is 4 star and Antigua is expensive. It is true that there are some steep steps to climb but you will probably benefit from the exercise.
My recommendations for the hotel would be - make sure you maintain the buildings, steps and pool Beds, tables etc, review your menus and focus on quality.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank CandPBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2014

We are just back from a fantastic week at Sugar Ridge.

We opted for B&B, and probably spent a little more on our holiday than the all inclusive option, but ate out in a variety of fantastic restaurants. We found the food at the Sugar Club and Carmichael's a bit hit and miss (hit - sesame seared tuna with wasabi mash on seafood night, miss - mahi mahi in a very bland tomato broth at Carmichael's). However, the service at both was very good and the setting at Carmichael's overlooking Jolly Harbour and the coast is pretty hard to beat.

Without doubt though the highlight of our stay was spending two full days at Jacqui O's 'love beach' just down the coast at Crab Hill, and eating at the fantastic restaurant there. While the Sugar Ridge shuttle takes you to a choice of local beaches, these tend to be inundated with people on cruises and island tours, the restaurants are pretty standard (and expensive), and there is a steady stream of often very pushy beach vendors. Jacqui O's on the other hand is peaceful, secluded and stylish, despite the slightly cheesy name and Sandals-esque roadside billboard. You can hire a double sunbed 'pod' complete with retractable sun hood, for 10US a day if you eat at the restaurant. Friendly, polite staff can deliver cocktails to your sunbed. There's also a rather lovely freshwasher shower attached to a palm tree (no showers at other beaches). The restaurant (Hamptons beach house style - whitewashed floors, clapper board etc) was top notch, if relatively expensive (about the same as Carmichael's only far, far better). With pineapple gazpacho, followed by crab salad for lunch, with a bottle of rose and impeccable service, I've never enjoyed the last day of a holiday more: this is beach perfection.

Back at Sugar Ridge, the best things for me was the stylish decor (including comfortable rooms) the setting (stunning gardens, lush Antiguan hillside, view out to sea), and the very friendly service. Setting aside the fantastic breakfasts, we would probably have got a bit bored eating in every day and would have missed out on the variety available in other nearby restaurants, in particular the amazing Jacqui O's. I can understand why no one at Sugar Ridge mentioned it to us, but would have been very disappointed to have missed it.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Abi79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
324 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2014

We just finished a week at Sugar Ridge and were delighted with the accommodations and accoutrements. The rooms are modern and well maintained. We opted for the plunge pool room though I didn't get much us of that did most of my swimming and sunning at the beach. They run shuttles to a couple of the beachs on a schedule but getting back and forth could be a bit hit and miss. Turners was by far the best beach. We were on the breakfast plan only we sampled their restaurants the Sugar Club once (great steaks 2 for 1 on Wed) moderately priced and Carmicheals twice excellent food but very expensive. One of the great things about this place is most of the staff come from the local community so they are very helpful in getting you around and making suggestions on what to try. One thing I would highly recommend is Vorn's (also the shuttle driver) morning nature walk through the bush out into a back valley and through a local community. It leaves early a few times a week but gets you off the beaten track and gives you a bit better sense of Antigua.

Beds were comfortable, almost ideal. If I come back though I will ask for a room a bit farther around the hill as the night club tended to play a bit later than I did. If I had another week I would have been there with them, but only one requires more recharging. First few night I found the air conditioners a bit noisy, but the white noise blocked out the night club entertainment.

Room Tip: The higher you are the better the view.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ottawa_uhl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2014

A well cared for, lovely resort set on the hills away from the beach. We really enjoyed many things, and some details were a bit annoying. We were greeted by Rodayne and a delicious glass of fruit punch that I tried to order after that day but couldn't find it! it was so good though and he was so helpful. The coconut shrimp at Carmichaels were the best afternoon treat by the pool we had. Food there was better than at the Sugar Club, though as a Foodie, wouldn't say any of the food at the resort was above average in quality or variety and was more American or British than local. A shrimp pasta dish we had at the Sugar Club was supposed to be a cream, caper, lemon, with some chili sprinkled on it and it came out dark and gooey, like it had been heated in the microwave - not at all like the menu described. We were only breakfast inclusive and could order anything off the menu as well as the buffet, then chose where we ate the rest of our meals, at the beach, in town or at the resort. The buffet left much to be desired, grocery store bread, with fruit and items not being replenished often enough. Everything we had ordered off the breakfast menu was delicious though and of better quality, especially the spiced french toast. We did find local food and music at The Nest on Sunday nights - BBQ with breadfruit salad, Antiguan Black Coleslaw and some other treats.
Rooms were lovely and pleasant. The stairs were a good workout that we enjoyed but a bit precarious and I thought of my 78 yo mom and that she probably would not be able to stay here, so consider that. They do offer to pick you up in the golf cart at your room but we love to walk on our vacations and couldn't imagine being shuttled everywhere. Speaking of shuttle, there's one that takes you to the beaches and that's helpful, but there doesn't seem to be a regular schedule that you can count on and instead have to call the hotel from the beach bar. Vorn is the driver and offers a nature walk which is quite good. He helped to heal my mosquito bites with herbal, local medicine. You can walk to Jolly Harbour, Valley Church Beach (the Nest) (each about 15 mins) and we did - walk on the right - that was a bit confusing for us US residents at first. We found a grocery store there for supplies and water.
One thing that was annoying is that our room was just above the center of the resort, and closer to everything there. We were not able to go to bed before 12 most nights as the live music from the Sugar Club bar goes on longer than we liked, kind of like a rocking dance club that you can't get away from. The one night there wasn't music, a bunch of really loud folks who couldn't control their alcohol were carrying on well after 1AM at the Sugar Club until they were finally asked to disperse. Sleeping with our balcony doors open was never an option. I found some guests to be super friendly and genuinely nice while others stuffy and snobbish.
This hotel has great potential, many great staff, but just needs to hone its focus. Is it going for the healthy vibe, and offering food in accordance with this? Or is it going for traditional pub foods (yuck)? With an Aveda Spa and workout facility, and the feel of the resort overall, I think the former is very appropriate.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ellie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank robbiedigital79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA USA
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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, responded to this review, 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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South West London
Level Contributor
79 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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, responded to this review, 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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Additional Information about Sugar Ridge

Property: 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 #2 of 2 Hotels in Jolly Harbour
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sugar Ridge 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 Antigua/Jolly Harbour

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