This is an apartment rental. It is 2-star at best.
Opinión escrita el 10 de Enero de 2021
Let’s be very clear about what the Sugar Apple Lodging is and what it is not. It is three apartments located on the ground floor of a two-story house. The owner’s apartment, when in residence, is located upstairs. Since it is an apartment, do not expect to find anything you might find at a resort, or “lodge”. It is bare-bones and provides a place to stay while on Harbour Island. If you are looking for more than a place to stay, I would suggest you look elsewhere.
Being an apartment, it’s simple to write a report addressing the primary resources you would expect to find in an apartment. You can decide what “star” rating it is, but from my family’s experience from extensive traveling, this apartment would be more appropriately rated somewhere between 1-2 stars. It should never have been listed at 3-star by Expedia.
Our week-long stay is quite likely to be different than others because we believe we were the first guests to arrive after the Bahamas closed down for Covid. We made our reservation on 11/5, after the island opened for travelers, and our reservation was for 12/19. This provided a six-week window for the owner to prepare the apartment. Sadly, it was far from ready when we arrived.
The apartment owner was not in residence and completely relied on a local contact for maintaining the units. Our biggest complaint is that whenever we didn’t have water pressure, didn’t have hot water, didn’t have internet, didn’t have the usual items that come with a kitchen apartment, didn’t have clean towels, floors, sheets—we had to contact the local (“Ms. Thelma”) and she would contact the owner, who would then decide what actions would be taken. However, in every case, the owner would deny the problem existed. Eventually, I had to text the owner, but it still resulted in the owner denying there was a problem. In every case, it required having a “friend of the owner” come by the apartment and VERIFY that the problem existed before any resolution would be attempted. Videos and pictures helped tremendously. I have included them for examples.
Electricity: This was turned off when we arrived. Granted, the check-in time is 3pm, and the two flights per day arrive at either noon or 1pm, so it’s all but guaranteed you will arrive on Harbour Island before 3pm. We didn’t set any speed records and still arrived at the apartment by 2pm. There was no one there. We later learned we were not the first guests to have this problem.
Upon arrival Saturday afternoon, there was no one on the premises to “check us in.” (see picture) Our cab driver shouts up to the house: “Thelma, you have guests.” When no one appeared, he contacted Thelma and eventually, Thelma showed up. Thelma is the local contact for the Sugar Apple Lodge, the owner, Rosie, was in Kenya
Ms. Thelma then scrambled to find an electrician to turn on the electricity. Power on the islands can be sketchy. All the resorts have backup generators and it seems many, many homes have them as well. This is not the case for Sugar Apple apartments. Once we had electricity, it was time to check out the next resource…
Water: The town water is not considered potable for tourists and you will want to stock up on bottled water. You might expect to find a “welcome bottle” upon arrival (2-star+ lodging) but there was no drinkable water in the apartment. Town water can also be turned off by the water authority for various reasons, so most lodging and homes also have backup wells. Sugar Apple did, but the pump required to provide pressure for the well water is almost inoperative (see video) During the week, we went from well water to town water, back to well water, back to town water. In light of Covid, not having running water for their guests to wash their hands! Unbelievable. We did finally get running water, but hot water was a different story. After our first night, we figured the hot water would have had plenty of time to heat, but the first shower showed it was barely lukewarm, and just a trickle, not enough pressure– even the luke-warm water ran out after one shower—there were three of us (it’s a two-bedroom apartment!). After considerable texting and denials from the owner, the owner informed us that she had recently installed a new heater and that it was “all she could find” in some short amount of time. (See the photo). This heater is 10 gallons, enough to barely get one hot shower. When the plumber installed it, the plumber later told us he was told to keep the heat down to avoid scalding. The problem is that means you run through the luke-warm water even quicker. It took yet another day to get it set higher (day 4 now) to have enough hot water for two quick showers. We never were able to get three showers worth of hot water.
Cleanliness: The apartment had not been cleaned in quite some time, so when we arrived, everything was dusty and smelled of stale, moistness. There was also sand on the bathroom floor, smelly towels, etc. While I cannot say for certain, it appeared the place had been cleaned after the last guests from the spring had left, but nothing had been done to prepare the apartment for our arrival. The owner had six weeks to prepare. We had to request a full cleaning. Apparently it was our responsibility to point out to the owner that the place was not clean for guests.
Internet: While my family were on vacation and not “working remotely” we relied on having at least SOME internet to avoid paying the international fees for cell phones. Upon checking in on Saturday, we asked Thelma to make sure that we had internet for our son to work on Monday. THERE WAS NO INTERNET WHEN WE ARRIVED. The owner of, Sugar Apple, Rosie, was in Kenya; but apparently has an apartment upstairs. Being Saturday, the internet company didn’t arrive until Monday to resolve the problem While Thelma, did get the internet turned on, our son was not able to work as the connection was constantly dropped. This was a daily battle w/Rosie and my husband. She just refused to believe that the internet wasn’t working. Not until a phone call was dropped between a maintenance worker Darren, who was on the phone w/Rosie, when he walked inside the house, did Rosie finally believe my husband. Our son finally returned to Miami. Meanwhile, my wife and I were forced to pay $20/day each, to receive internet on our phones so we could text Rosie about our problems!
To be fair we got great internet outside. But you can’t expect guests to only use a laptop outside! And that wasn’t until day five, that the cushions to the lawn furniture were brought out from storage. Come to find out, all Rosie needed to do, on day one or even BEFORE, was to move the access point from her apartment upstairs into our rental downstairs. Such a small step would have kept our son on the island w/us.
Finally, In order to flush the toilet after a bowel movement, it was necessary to open the tank, push the float down, to allow enough water in for it to fully flush the bowel movement. It turns out the toilet float that had been installed was incorrectly sized and would shutoff the water filling the tank prematurely.
As for room noise, well, let's just say don't expect to fall asleep until after 11-midnight as the road is only 50 feet away. The roosters are part of the "charm" of the island and eventually you get used to them, but they simply help you get up in the morning to go exploring.
To be clear, we were constantly battling for the basics, running water, hot water, internet, clean apartment, outdoor cushions to sit on lawn furniture. The owner has a real attitude problem She does not have the hospitality gene. Perhaps she did in the past, but in our case she does the bare minimum in hopes that she can collect her rent money and then escape to Kenya. If you contact the local real estate firms or other travel services, we expect you can do a lot better. We used Expedia and they were of little help and only offered to rebook into a location not located on Harbour Island, for twice the price.
We paid a three star price for a 2 star (1 Star?!) lodging. No vacation should be a “battle for the basics.”