Monday, September 19, 2011

Return to Wadadli - Sugar Ridge Hotel

When people think of Caribbean resorts, they think of beachfront all-inclusives. Well, Husband J and I felt like being contrarians and decide to stay somewhere practically across the street from the beach and not have everything included in the price of our hotel stay. I acknowledge that we can do this because we leave the hotel when we visit Antigua, and we know that there will be opportunities to eat and do things elsewhere. Our hotel for this stay, Sugar Ridge, offers just a breakfast option, and we decided that would fit our needs best for this trip.

What I really really liked most about Sugar Ridge is the modern feel of the buildings and the rooms.

Each building contains four rooms. The lower rooms have plunge pools.

I think one of the best aspects of Sugar Ridge is that the rooms are very new, and the decor is really tasteful. It's not the cheesy decor that you will sometimes find in Caribbean resort rooms.

Our bed on arrival. I think those were freshly picked bouganvillea.


Very large terrace. There is an option to have a smaller terrace with a plunge pool.

So while we were not right on the beach, we did get to see the ocean from our room.

So what are the disadvantages to not being beachfront? Here are my observations:

1. You can hear the cars go by - It's not transporting to hear cars passing by every few minutes. It's not like Antigua has heavy traffic or anything, but it can take away from the peaceful relaxing experience that being by the beach can be.

2. Sometimes we just wanted to make a quick run to the beach, but you can't really. Husband J, who is infamously impatient, didn't necessarily like waiting for the hotel shuttle for the beach. Each time we waited it was no more than 15 minutes. If we were beachfront, we wouldn't have to wait at all. A small thing for sure, but there were moments where we would have wanted to just walk down to the beach even for a few minutes.

Continuing the tour....
The public spaces also have the same simple streamlined contemporary feel.

The reception area

Sugar Club, the hotel's main bar and lounge area

I personally like to go to the beach, but there were quite a few people at the pool throughout our stay.

View of the Sugar Club from the pool area

Since Sugar Ridge is not by the beach, you do get a nice view of Antigua's hills.
It was greener than usual in Antigua since the island had been getting a lot of rain from tropical storms.

Here are some pros and cons of staying at Sugar Ridge:


1. Nice new rooms. Have I mentioned how much I like the rooms? :) I will say that the rooms were much smaller than I expected, but again still nice.

2. Great food. The food at both the Sugar Club, Sugar Ridge's main restaurant, as well as Carmicheal's, the premiere restaurant as quite good, especially for hotel food. I'll have posts about both of these places soon.

3. A NON all-inclusive option. I do like the fact that we could just have our breakfast included. It encourages folks to go out to try other places not at the resort. At the same time, I know that's difficult for most people nor do they want to. We actually found that we spent less than the rate for all-inclusive. We could have gone the all-inclusive option, if we were willing to spend an additional $90 per person per day, which we didn't on any of our days there (even with drinks!).

4. Not being beachfront - While it may not be ideal, not being beachfront allows you to see MORE beaches close to the hotel (there are many). The hotel provides a shuttle to a variety of beaches within a reasonable drive (5 options). Our favorite was Turner's Beach, and we also liked Ffryes. You can also walk to Jolly Beach, essentially across the street. I think it allows visitors to see and experience more of the island that way instead of the same stretch of beach. The hotel has an arrangement with some of the local beach restaurants/bars so that you can eat the meals included in your all-inclusive plan there.

5. Free wi-fi. It worked quite well. This is pretty rare still in many hotels in Antigua. If you need or want to be connected while in Antigua, then you should consider Sugar Ridge.


1. Not being beachfront - See my reasons above.

2. Service misses - I actually think the hotel's service overall was good, but there were some moments that sometimes left us scratching our heads (several that require stories that I have to admit I'm too lazy to write. Just trust me on this one). Sometimes it was if people just didn't take the time to think things through, or we had to ask for something multiple times (not twice, multiple). Often the service in the Sugar Club restaurant was quite slow, especially at breakfast. I know that you're supposed to be on vacation, but slow service is still slow service. Ya know? We are not people that need to be waited on hand and foot either. At the same time the staff is very friendly, and some go above and beyond to make you feel very comfortable. Some are excellent at their job.

3. Saturday night party - I'm not sure if this is a weekly thing, but there was a party the weekend we were there. Since you are on a ridge, sounds travels up, and we weren't far from the Sugar Club. It was LOUD. On most occasions we would have been there partying too, but Husband J wasn't feeling well. :( It went on until at least 3am (I heard a great dancehall reggae set on my way to the bathroom at that point. Yes, I know..TMI). I hope for the sake of all guests that this is not a weekly event. Yes, I know that's an old lady comment, but I do like my sleep when I can get it.

Some tips

-The Jolly Harbour complex is close by. Go to Epicurean Foods, the local supermarket chain, and get some water. For those that are water obsessed like me, it's much better to buy some big bottles of local bottled water for yourself. The hotel only sells Fiji water, which I love but not at $6.50 USD a pop! The hotel will drop you there, or you can take a walk there (I think it's about 10 minutes walk).

Go to Carmicheal's at sunset. Gorgeous! Make sure to lather up on the bug repellent though.

People on Trip Advisor with rave about Vorn's nature hike. Just know that it actually costs $12 USD.

I'd definitely like to stay here again!

Sugar Ridge Hotel
Jolly Harbour


Daphne said...

I think I enjoy hotel porn as much as food porn. Thanks for sharing!

Oneika said...

Umm wow! I can barely swim but I am feeling that pool! I am also a sucker for clean bathrooms. Dang!

bwlivingwell said...

You may not have had beachfront views but the views of the landscape are beautiful!

Eventful Life and Style said...

At least that pool looks amazing!! =)


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