High above the town of Bolands, surrounded by forests and hills and with the ocean beyond, the Green Globe certified Sugar Ridge resort sits on an 11-acres spread on the south side of Antigua. Story & photos by Anne Dimon
As we continue on this wellness tour of Antigua and Barbuda, looking down on Jolly Harbour where many of the visiting yachts and sail boats are moored, the view from Carmichael’s – Sugar Ridge’s signature fine dining restaurant – is stunning. Looking out into another direction and on a clear day, you can see the islands of Nevis and St. Kitts faintly etched on the horizon. Of course, the resort’s striking mountain setting means there is no beach immediately accessible but there is an hourly beach shuttle service complimentary to guests, plus two swimming pools including an infinity pool with another ocean view.
The highest point on the property is The Shed – a pavilion for daily morning yoga. Surrounded by forested hills and overlooking the turquoise sea far below – there is a “treehouse feel” about this yoga space. And, on the rare occasion when the weather does not permit an outdoor yoga session, there is a yoga studio adjacent to a state-of-the-art gym. The Shed is also used for Full Moon events, Sound Healing events, and a once-a-week class on Capoeira, a mix of martial arts, dance and music developed by African slaves back in the 16th century.
There is no set healthy menu here at Sugar Ridge, but I’m happy to see that both Sugar Club (the all-day restaurant) and Carmichael’s both offer vegetarian and vegan options beyond the typical salad offerings. The day I visited, there was Roasted Squash & Lentil Chive Soup, a Black Bean Taco Salad and an Herb and Roasted Mushroom Pasta. The fish in the Fish Tacos was deep fried instead of grilled, BUT the resort will prepare special meals for guests with allergies or dietary restrictions if pre-arranged. Sugar Ridge chefs will also tweak dishes upon request. Case in point: At Carmichaels’ I wanted to try the Organic Antigua Potato Curry but hesitated when I found out it was a little too spicy for my preference. The chef quickly came to the rescue and delivered the dish with an alternate coconut sauce. Five stars!
For spa enthusiasts, the onsite Aveda Spa & Salon offers four treatment rooms and a full menu of services.
Sugar Ridge owner Aidan McCauley is, himself, a yoga enthusiast and fitness buff, and he tells me “I built the gym and The Shed, first and foremost, for myself, but it’s my privilege to share my passions with so many other people.” He is also the founder of the tour operator Hike Caribbean (first time I’ve heard of this and love the concept!) and Yoga Antigua for local yoga classes, retreats and events.
Under the banner of Hike Caribbean, Sugar Ridge offers complimentary guided hikes to various parts of the island, several days a week. I was truly disappointed to not be able to partake especially for the hike to Boggy Peak (also called Mount Obama) the highest point on Antigua.
Good community citizens the resort also recycles, organizes excursions to clean beaches plus, in the spirit of “giving back” they raise funds for local charities.
Mr. McCauley says that Sugar Ridge is the most notable hotel on the island for the wellness-minded traveler. And, at this point in my wellness tour of the twin island country, I agree.
You can also read about my visits to and with Wallings Nature Reserve, Colesome Farm to Table Experience, Sugar Ridge, Nicole’s Table Cooking Classes, Triflexcursions, Barbuda Belle and The Great House as we make our way around the twin-island country experiencing some of what is offered under the umbrella of Wellness.