Fodor's Expert Review Sugar Bay Barbados
Hwy. 7, Hastings Main Rd., Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados See on Map
Tropical gardens and a dramatic water feature mask the proximity of the main road to this large, all-inclusive beachfront resort near the Garrison Historic Area. The resort opened in 2017 and, like Bougainvillea Beach Resort—its sister resort—appeals to couples, groups of friends, and families alike.
A crèche for the tiniest guests (from four-months) and a supervised club for kids up to age 12 are both open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For teenagers, there's a "Teen Hut" with electronic games and other activities.
Rooms range from fairly small but cozy "Signature" rooms with a pool view, oceanfront rooms and suites with spectacular views of the beach, or one- or two-bedroom family suites that sleep four or five people. All rooms have a small fridge and coffeemaker, as well as a balcony or terrace. Family suites have a king-size bed in the private bedroom(s) and a separate living room with a sofa bed and enough room to add a crib or rollaway, if needed.
Opt for an oceanfront room if you can.
Bathrooms here are fairly small; but because this hotel opened in 2017, the facilities are up-to-date: large, glass-enclosed rain showers (no tubs) and large basin sinks (some have double sinks). British travelers consider The White Company toiletries furnished in these bathrooms to be quite luxurious, which they are, but the brand is not so well known in the United States.
The lobby here is quite large, with ample seating for guests checking in/out or waiting for friends. A hallway past the reception desk and concierge opens to a view of the pool and beach. A shop sells beachwear, gifts, and sundries.
The hotel has two pools and a Jacuzzi. One pool is small and tucked away at the north end of the property. The larger pool, near the Reef Restaurant, has a swim-up bar but, oddly enough, is often full of kids. Both pools are fairly shallow.
Karma Spa, in a secluded space on this busy resort, offers massages, body treatment, facials, and other therapies—ranging from a dry sauna to an ice bath—to help guests (individuals or couples) refresh and rejuvenate. The spa features ELEMIS products.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Spa treatments are not included in the all-inclusive rates.
The onsite fitness center, equipped with cardio equipment and weights, is open 24 hours a day.
Scattered around the property are four restaurants: Reef serves buffet-style international and local cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; UMI (adults only) features Asian fusion cuisine, including sushi and sashimi; Sizzle Steakhouse features, you guessed it, steak; and Colin’s Beach Bar & Grill serves casual meals and snacks for lunch and dinner. Vegetarian options are available at any of the restaurants.
YOU SHOULD KNOW All meals at Reef and Colin’s Beach Bar are included in the all-inclusive rates, but dining at either of the specialty restaurants (UMI or Sizzle Steakhouse) is limited to a total of two times per week—and some menu items carry a surcharge.
The hotel has five bars: Reef Bar is adjacent to the restaurant and busy all day until 11 p.m. The Swim-up Pool Bar in the larger pool closes at sundown. At Colin’s Beach Bar, fashioned after a local “rum shop,” enjoy a rum punch or other frosty drink anytime after 12 noon—with or without a snack. Sizzle Bar is in the Sizzle Steakhouse, and the Lazy Mongoose Pub is an English-style sports bar open from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.
The hotel faces a dreamy beach, with pure white sand and a protected swimming lagoon. You can take long walks along the beachfront in either direction: Needham’s Point to the west and the South Coast Boardwalk to the east. Beach chairs and umbrellas are always available, and nonmotorized water sports (kayaking, boogie boarding, and snorkeling) are included in the rates.
Catch the bus on the main road in front of the hotel to go to Bridgetown or elsewhere along the south coast. The bus fare is $1 per trip. The hotel is a stroll away from the Garrison Historic District—Barbados Museum, George Washington House, Garrison Savannah Racetrack (horse racing), and several other sites. Taxis are always available; the fare to or from the airport is about $35. To explore the island on your own, car rental agencies are located at the airport and nearby. The hotel offers free parking.
As this is an all-inclusive resort with four restaurants and five bars, it’s unlikely that you’ll venture to other restaurants—at least not often. If you do want to go elsewhere for lunch or for an evening, though, try Champers (10-minute drive) a classy but comfortable restaurant on the waterfront in Rockley, the next town east of the hotel. And if you’re exploring or shopping in Bridgetown, Waterfront Café(10-minute drive), on The Careenage, is a great place for alfresco dining at lunch or for dinner accompanied (some nights) by live jazz.
Definitely take in the Oistins Fish Fry (20-minute drive), a must-do event on Friday evenings. All along the waterfront, local folks grill fresh fish (and chicken for landlubbers), served with traditional Bajan sides. Seating is at communal picnic tables, servings are huge, prices are low, and music adds to the fun—for the whole family.
Again, the hotel has five bars and drinks are included; however, St. Lawrence Gap comes alive at nighttime. Try The Old Jamm Inn or Scoopie's Jazz (10-minute drive) for drinks, music, dancing, and a convivial crowd.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s a full-service (yet not huge), all-inclusive resort, with spacious accommodations (except for the Signature rooms), several restaurants and bars, a lovely beach for swimming and sunbathing, and activities for kids of all ages. Sounds like a made-to-order island vacation? Yes, indeed.
People also liked
Sandals Royal Barbados
$$$ | Maxwell Coast Rd.
This second Sandals resort on the island is truly lovely. Read More
Waves Hotel and Spa
$$ | Hwy. 1
A small, casual, all-inclusive hotel on the beach with easy access to... Read More
$$$$ | West Coast | Hwy. 1B
Call this “home away from home”—if you live in a luxury apartment with... Read More
Courtyard Bridgetown by Marriott
$ | South Coast | Hwy. 7, Hastings Main Rd.
Convenience, comfort, and value…sometimes that’s exactly what you want... Read More
Little Arches Hotel
$$ | South Coast | Enterprise Beach Rd.
The Algarve? Tuscany? Nope, this Mediterranean-style villa is on the s... Read More
Silver Point Hotel
$$ | South Coast | Silver Point
Far from the madding crowd, this boutique hotel overlooks one of the i... Read More