Unfolding along a beautiful stretch of south coast beach in the historic Garrison district, the four-pearl Sugar Bay is an all-inclusive resort that reopened after an overhaul in 2015 for a fresh, contemporary island flavor. Its 138 rooms are cheerful and spacious (particularly higher categories), with large balconies or patios; and many have aqua beach views. Five-and-a-half acres of grounds pack in many features, from a full-service spa to four restaurants (the three a la carte options are constantly praised by guests) -- although the buffet restaurant and pool get crowded. The beach is postcard pretty with calm, protected swimming waters. Families, couples, and groups seeking a one-stop resort destination with a tropical vibe should be happy here. Those looking for lower rates should check the sister property: Bougainvillea Beach Resort, which also offers kitchenettes in the rooms.
A hidden mini paradise blending natural elements and pops of bright color
Sugar Bay reopened in 2015 following a serious design overhaul. Beyond the manned boom gate and huge sloping car park, Sugar Bay is privately nestled well off the main coast road, across 150 meters of pristine aqua beachfront. A wide circular drive surrounds a palm tree lined fountain entrance (quite regal when it’s flowing), and introduces elegant, low level colonial-inspired construction, painted in soft banana yellow with white trim and balustrade.
The resort unfolds like a plantation-style beach house with pops of coastal colors. Its lobby looks like a luxurious living room, blending soft neutrals and cool grays with chandeliers, potted palms, and quality wicker furniture. A wall of candy-colored window shutters hangs above two white peacock chairs that set the tone for the fresh coast-inspired aesthetic throughout. Common areas evolve with breezy, open-air ease between restaurants, the curvaceous sky-blue pool, gardens, and private beach -- a long, serene stretch of white sand and shades of aqua. Concrete pathways meander through the property, bordered by established tropical garden pockets that add a layer of lushness to the scene.
The vibe at Sugar Bay is upscale without being pretentious. It’s a stylish step up from the typical all-inclusive model, but packs in everything resorty you’d expect (with zero cheese factor). Some areas can get crowded, particularly around the pool and in the buffet restaurant. Guests are a mix of families and couples on vacation, usually from Europe and The United States.
On a south coast beach, near historical highlights, restaurants, and nightlife
Sugar Bay is located between Hastings and the Garrison historic area, on the South Coast -- around 20 minutes from Grantley Adams International Airport. Bridgetown and Kensington Oval are a 15-minute drive from the resort. It’s around 12 minutes on foot to the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, and a one-minute walk to West Side Scuba Centre. The hotel is 10 minutes via car to the island’s nightlife hub of St Lawrence Gap. Barbados Yacht Club is a 10-minute walk away, and it’s a 15-minute drive to Oistin’s Fish Fry -- a Friday night, fresh-cooked seafood fest that’s a must for visitors to the island. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops up and down the coast road within walking or short driving distance.
A fresh contemporary take on island decor, with big balconies, and many with aqua beach views
Sugar Bay’s rooms were given an upscale tropical persona that’s a refreshing step up from traditional island-inspired hotel decor. Rooms are available in three categories: Signature, Family, and Oceanfront, and each is decorated with gray walls that complement white wicker furniture. Big (super comfortable) beds are dressed in crisp white, with bold pops of color like fuchsia, burnt orange, and neon-bright aqua and lime green. Cushions adorned with cute coastal prints (like seahorses, turtles, or coral) bring the seaside in, and playful white-framed photographs adorn walls. Rooms are generously spacious, particularly the Signature and Family categories which are more like large apartments than hotel rooms. They have vast open plan living areas with chandeliers overhead, and comfortable lounge and wicker chair seating. Family rooms also feature dining areas, and some rooms have spacious dressing areas. Construction is solid brick, so outside noise is kept to a minimum.
Four quality restaurants, a full-service spa, swimming pools, water sports, and kids’ activities
Sugar Bay features four a la carte restaurants, comprising UMI (Asian fusion); Sizzle (steak), Colin’s Beach Bar & Grill (Caribbean-inspired meals and rum drinks); and Reef -- for buffet breakfast and dinner, light lunch meals, and afternoon tea. As far as all-inclusives go, the food is excellent quality. Imbibers are well catered to with the Lazy Mongoose Pub, and bars are offered at every restaurant except UMI.
Karma Spa is the real deal, featuring a range of facial and body treatments in addition to hydrotherapy, nail services, and waxing treatments. The spa offers Sugar Bay guests free 10-minute massages to get them in the door. The fitness center provides dated cardio and strength-training equipment. There’s a conference room for up to 200 people.
The resort features an on-site activities center, and water sports on offer include kayaking, boogie boarding, and snorkeling. The beach is set with white sun loungers and hammocks for a tropical vibe. There's a beautiful main pool accented with islands of plants and a swim-up bar. Sun loungers line the deck. This area gets crowded with guests. For kids, there's a second splash pool.
The crèche and kids' club caters to little ones up to 11 years old, and the older kids have access to the teen clubhouse -- a hangout where they can safely watch flicks and play video games. Grown-ups have their own games room with foosball, air hockey, and pool among other adult-friendly activities. The gift shop La Tienda is full of colorful crafts, clothing, and artisan products -- a refreshing departure from the typical resort gift shop. There’s a library with a wall of books available for guests, plenty of free secure parking, and free Wi-Fi is provided throughout.
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