An “All Inclusive” That Works Regardless of Trip Advisor: Wyndham Sugar Bay


An “All Inclusive” That Works Regardless of Trip Advisor: Wyndham Sugar Bay, St. Thomas

We were alerted to some recent negative reviews about this property posted in Trip Advisor

From Kaleel ftp etc

We queried the company responsible for the property’s public relations and asked her to press the management for details. She reassured us that there was a glitch in reservations and service during the holiday season. Unhappy guests were compensated well, and the problems were resolved.

We resolved to see for ourselves!

All-inclusives are very difficult to run successfully.
Big “All-inclusives” are even more difficult to run successfully.

When food and drink and all kinds of activities are free and unlimited, guests tend to become hedonistic…loud and sometime just plain boorish.
And when an all-inclusive is a big property, then the problems are exponentially bigger, because the staff can’t keep up with the food and beverage pressure, normal maintenance, and guest demands without sacrificing the personal attention all vacationers want and hope for.

And paid for.

Fortunately, the Wyndham Sugar Bay in St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) has none of those problems, and is a very successful, all-inclusive-optional, Caribbean destination!

First, the property is blessed with an amazing location: the views of the neighboring islands (St. John, and the British Virgin Islands) are spectacular. The islands form a wonderful necklace of green, laid out against the eye-popping, blue surrounding Caribbean waters .

From Kaleel ftp etc

Then somehow the “bigness” of the Wyndham is really nicely scaled to human proportions so the place feels more intimate, accessible than one would expect at first glance.

The resort hugs a verdant hillside on the north-east corner of St. Thomas and was once a Holiday Inn. But the 290 standard sized rooms blend rather unobtrusively into the design of the place, and since no other hotels crowd in on either side the feeling of tropical Caribbean “get away” is assured…very different from, say, Aruba, which is a more arid island.

There is a welcomed sense of privacy even at 75% occupancy, which was the case during our recent visit.

The Sugar Bay has an intimate beach, quite family safe , and terrific for beginner snorkelers (free for guests) Note: the three tiered pool, activities, and beach area are at the base of a mighty stair case. Great exercise, if you’re up for it, if not, a regular shuttle delivers you to and from the main lobby.

But I think the big plus at this Wyndham is the helpfulness of the staff. I saw at least two touching incidents of staff thoughtfulness that more or less sold me on the place.

Not all resorts, especially All-inclusives, have a staff that can weather the demands of its guests while cheerfully providing good service.

In one instance an elderly gentleman was having trouble getting out of the pool. No one noticed, and before I could get up to help, a passing staff member was by his side, helping him out.
In another instance a staffer just stopped in his tracks to pick up a random piece of paper.

From Kaleel ftp etc

No big deal?

But, yes, it is. It suggests that care in small things extends to bigger things

Wisely, management has decided to turn down the sound volume.
Sure, it’s nice to have music to enliven the atmospheres, but surround-sound can get to be too much (for me), so thankfully the Wyndham has little of the intrusive, pseudo-Caribbean noise that resorts its size tend to think is necessary to keep the guests occupied.

Guests and Families were an easy mix of cultures and generations; from the States, yes, but also from Argentina , Italy, Russia, and other countries.
They were well behaved and unselfconsciously ‘non-jet-set’, enjoying themselves either on the beach, snorkeling, or having breakfast or dinner in the dining room with the super views.

I love the many Iguanas that roam freely, and so apparently did the families, delighting in taking snaps and sometime squealing in surprise (or fake fear!) as one of the creatures waddled nearby.

The food?
Always a crucial part of any vacation, the food is good at the Wyndham.
Not great.
Dinner can be off the menu or buffet with a range of meat, fish and vegetables and, happily, lots of fresh fruit, attractively arranged.

Lunch is typically served in the restaurant by the pool and runs to salads and burgers.

Breakfast was more fun with an omelet station ( egg whites are available too), scrambled eggs, fresh juices, cereals, sausages, breakfast potatoes, good coffee, rolls, baked good, etc.

Preparing food for so many people has to be very difficult, though here too the service was always attentive and reassuring.

There is a Children’s Menu with the usual Mac and Cheese, Chicken Fingers and Burgers….but also salad and fruit cup.

The Wyndham is a short but winding distance from the port capital of Charlotte Amalie.
While the town retains some genuine Colonial/Caribbean touches and ambiance, Charlotte Amalie (named after the consort of thee Danish King, Christian, to whom the islands belonged) has too many jewelry shops and too much stuff to sell to the too may cruise ships that dock here.

From Kaleel ftp etc

Even though the island is only some twelve miles long you’ll appreciate that the Wyndham is far from that crowd, though a taxi ride in on non-cruise days in is certainly worth it.

Taxis. They are expensive, ranging from 5 t0 20 bucks a person, though I suspect if you’re up to it, a deal can be made when traveling with kids.
You can rent a car for maybe 60 bucks a day, but the driving is on the left hand side of the road, with the steering wheels on the right, and the sharp curves and bends don’t exactly inspire confidence.

The good news is that the hotel is very close to Red Hook ( $5.00 by taxi), where a short, cheap ferry ride takes one to St. John, where the Caribbean experience is just a bit easier, the colors a bit brighter and the island less commercialized.

As we said, The Wyndham got some bad Trip Advisor reviews a while back because of some rotten luck with staff shortages and holiday over-booking. I understand the frustration.

From Kaleel ftp etc

But I have to tell you, I saw none of the glitches that those guests experienced (and were well compensated for).

A week’s stay at Wyndham Sugar Bay is a great vacation. It is, as I say, an All inclusive that works and is beautifully located

Let us know if you go and how your experience was.

http://www.wyndham.com

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About New Media Travel

New Media Travel (NMT) produces sound-rich, 1 minute Travel Video PostCards transporting visitors instantly to a destination; timely travel blogs on travel trends posted to major web sites like Travel Weekly, Technorati, familytravelforum.com, and Audio PostCards. NMT provides Social Media services like Foursquare lead generation, etc Kaleel.tvp@gmail.com
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