A lovely beach. A relaxed but upscale environment. And super-friendly staff.
This was my first experience at Sugar Bay Resort on the southwest coast of Barbados, but I hope it’s not my last.
My wife and I only had one day as we were getting ready to head out on a cruise with Sea Dream Yacht Club (more about that in another report), so we made the most of it by staying on the property for our 21-hour visit.
We were greeted with a cold, eucalyptus-scented towel when we checked in the covered but airy lobby, which features a couple of big wicker chairs and colourful wall decorations. Better still was the rum punch; served in perfect Barbados style with a sprinkle of nutmeg and very little if any sweetened juice. It’s right up there with the one I had a couple years ago at Cutters, a great fish sandwich shop over near the Crane Resort and considered by many the best rum punch in the Caribbean.
We had a lovely end unit overlooking a small bar patio and the beach, with two balconies and deck chairs. The room was good-sized, with a small desk in the corner, plenty of storage space, a nice-sized shower and crisp white linens with aquamarine pillows for a nice, tropical feel.
It was Asian buffet night at the restaurant when we there (it’s an all-inclusive spot) so we dined on good, fresh-made noodles with a variety of sauces as well as veggies and chicken or shrimp. They also had tasty beef curry and a series of salads. Lunch the next day featured fish tacos that were just okay. But the breakfast omelettes were tasty and the servers friendly and enthusiastic, and we had a nice salad at the poolside bar when we checked in. One great feature of the restaurant is you can dine under the stars and palm trees, right on the sand or on a patio. You’ll be just steps from the water and can hear the rushing sound of the waves.
They had good wines available at our meals, plus that killer rum punch and other drinks at the main bar. They had a nice-sounding drink with lime and fruit with vodka, but happily substituted some Mt. Gay Rum at my wife’s request. And we met some really fun people, too.
The beach in front of the hotel features a gazillion or more lounge chairs and probably a dozen hammocks; perfect for lazing away a warm winter’s day (about 29 Celsius). They’ve got a long rock wall just off shore, which provides a safe swimming environment for folks like me who prefer the ocean to the pool. But the main pool (they had a smaller one near the beach that was closed for maintenance) is huge, with a swim-up bar, cool lighting and a series of nearby conical chairs suspended from the ceiling.
You can stick with the beach at the property, but it’s also great to walk northwest along the water and check out the fine beaches along the way, including one just past the Hilton. Plenty of great people-watching, but also long stretches with hardly a soul to be found.
Sugar Bay has a small kids’ play area off to one side of the property, with a slide and a couple swings and climbing bits; a nice touch for a small resort. There were quite a few folks at the resort with infants last weekend but not a lot of older kids, perhaps due to the time of year.
The resort is quite popular with Brits and other Europeans, and there were only a handful of folks from North America on hand. Sugar Bay is a sister resort to the Bougainvillea Beach Resort down the road, where I happened to have stayed six or seven years ago. I quite enjoyed it there, too.
Guests at Sugar Bay are close to Bridgetown and also not far from Oistin’s, where they do a famous Friday night party and fish fry. Also near is Bert’s, the sports/hockey bar owned by Ottawa Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk, who recently was kind enough to take Dion Phaneuf and his salary off the Maple Leafs’ hands.