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“It should be what you expect!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

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Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Bolans Village, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua   |  
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Ranked #4 of 4 hotels in Bolans
New Rochelle, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“It should be what you expect!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Look...don't beat up on these guys. Jolly Beach never claimed to be anything but a decent 3-star resort. That's what you pay for and that's what you get...straight up! The beach is great, the buikldings aren't falling into the sea yet, the food won't kill you and there's pleanty of it, and the rum is the same they pour at Jumby Bay! Fact is it's a decent value....just expect what you pay for! 3 straight up stars for services and accommodations and 5 stars for value!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (545)
Date | Rating
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English first
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We visited Jolly Harbour at the end of January and after reading the reviews we had mixed feelings about what we would receive. It certainly isn't 5 star but everything you would want from a holiday is there. We had a standard room and it was clean, comfortable, a good sized bathroom with hot water every day and a more than adequate shower. No bath but we never use one anyway so no problem for us. There was also plenty of storage space. We were on the ground floor overlooking the pool so away from any noise from the evening entertainment.
The food was ok, nothing brilliant , but we never went hungry. Everything was there at the buffet breakfast.....cereals, freshly cooked omelettes of your choice, eggs cooked to your liking, sausages, bacon , breads, etc. We found all of the waitresses really friendly and helpful and they constantly asked us if everything was ok and did we need refills while we were having our meals.
The evening meals in Hemispheres tended to be a bit 'samey'.......Chicken done in various ways...... but we also tried the themed restaurants on a few occasions, the Italian being our favourite.
The best feature of this hotel has to be the beach!! After going on the circumnavigation trip on the Catamaran and picking up tourists at other hotels along the coastline, I have to agree with some of the other reviews and say that Jolly Harbour is the best beach on the island.
There is so much room you can be 20 feet away from other sunbathers.
What let it down for me was the evening entertainment The local dancers, although very good, seemed to do the same thing most nights but with different costumes on and you either love Karaoke or you hate it.
It was nice to have the Harbour within easy walking distance as it broke up the monotony of staying on the hotel premises. We sometimes, after evening meal, walked to the Harbour and had a coffee or a glass wine.
This was the first time we had done an all inclusive holiday in the Caribbean...we usually go on Cruises...but we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although the hotel does not live up to the same standards of a cruise with regards the food and entertainment, you have to remember that you are in the Caribbean, where the standard of living is not as good as what we are used to back home. Go with an open mind and don't expect 5 star when you have only paid for 3 star!!
We loved Jolly Beach and would certainly go again.

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking or around the main pool are the best positioned as they are near to reception and...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PEFFERLAW
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Absolutely loved this trip and highly recommend it to others. The county, beaches, water, people...everything absolutely incredible. I would go back again and again. We went for 2 weeks and thank goodness, 1 week is definitely not enough. I would actually go for longer than 2 weeks if possible.
The only reason that this hotel is classified as a 3 star is because the rooms are quite small and dated. We were not concerned by this as we don't spend time there.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Berwick, Maine
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

The bad first. We were shocked at the size and bare bones nature of our room. We tried to change rooms and were told that the cost would be a lot. The reservationist was quite rude and I told her that the best thing was that we had only six more nights to be at this resort. We decided to not let the room spoil our vacation and it didn't. The hotel is very old and shows a lot wear. It just needs a good maintenance overhaul. Now the good - we found all of the rest of the staff wonderful, warm, helpful and friendly. The food was excellent, although not a lot of choices. Good basic food and plenty of it. The beach is beautiful, however the surf was so rough that we couldn't swim in it. The red flag was up most of the time that we were there. The pools are very nice and clean. All in all we had a wonderful vacation and probably would return to this resort.

Room Tip: I would not choose the standard oceanview room again. I would upgrade to the next level.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilder, Vermont, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Won't belabor the good and bad points. Everyone is pretty much on the money. We were at Jolly Beach ten years ago and other then the small casino and the Greek restaurant is now Indian, not a lot has changed. I think my wife summed it up best, the resort is tired. The paint is fresh, the resort is spotless but the inner workings are in need of a facelift. During the course of our stay the resort lost power (2x), water, plumbing (2x), and assorted drink mixes, OJ, soda, etc. Antigua is a wonderful island and people and if you go to Jolly Beach for the weather, beach, ocean, friendly staff and relaxation, you won't be disappointed. If you're going to be pampered and get 5 star restaurants at a 3 star price, don't. We will be back.

Room Tip: Leave notes for the room service staff as to what exactly you expect. What we say and what they hea...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I had read numerous reviews prior to our stay at Jolly Beach so I can't say I didn't know what I was getting into - and, it wasn't all bad. So, let me start with the good.

Upon arrival, we were checked in and escorted to our room. When we walked into the room, I was immediately disappointed. Rather than the King Standard room I had booked, we had two queens. We called down to the front desk and were immediately upgraded to a beach cottage. While the cottage wasn't lavish, it was clean and we couldn't ask for better access to the lovely Jolly Beach. It was literally steps from our front patio and while away from the bar & rest of the activities, it was quiet, secluded and just what we needed!

Throughout our stay the staff was incredibly polite and helpful. Special thanks to Jennifer at the concierge desk who helped my husband book several excursions and dinner reservations. She also went out of her way to help us with a last minute booking at Lydia's when the barbeque buffet was a let down.

There is a lot written about the beach so I won't belabor it. In short, it was just beautiful - soft, white sand and a mile to walk, swim, lounge and play!

Now, not the not so great stuff. The food at times was simply inedible. We travel frequently, so I am certainly aware that most islands have to import a lot of what they serve. It was clear that most of what we ate was previously frozen or canned. Most dishes were bordering on flavorless and I found myself subsisting on potatoes and salads for my meals. Breakfast was the highlight and we often enjoyed the made-to-order omelets more than any other food the entire trip!

Overall, I'm a stickler for good service. What stood out the most to me about our stay was that the staff was very good at being reactive. Most service was inconsistent at best - for meals, you might get water filled when you sat down. Want more after you had finished your glass? You have to ask for that. For water. We learned that Hemispheres had ice cream for dessert both at lunch and dinner from other guests - it wasn't proactively offered though, you had to ask for it. Want a refill on a soda while dining, you would need to ask for that. Overall, it grew from an annoyance to a really frustrating part of the trip. For such kind and pleasant people working at the resort, I just wanted someone to actively check if we needed anything.

Antigua was a beautiful place to visit and we enjoyed much of our time there, but I must admit that was mostly when we weren't actually at the Jolly Beach Resort. Be sure to take the Wadadli Cat circumnavigation tour and try to get a day with Shelly touring the interior of the island. Both were well worth the costs. If you want to stock your mini-fridge, trek over to the Epicurean grocery store in the harbor - they had almost anything you might want and we bought water, beer, cheese and crackers and some fresh fruit there so we could have more conveniences in our room.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Loved our vacation at Jolly Beach Resort. We were there the end of January 2013. Yes only 3 star but they had everything you would need. We had a king room. It didn't have any more broken things in it than any 5 or 6 star resort we have been too. Buffet was good, only 100 things to choose from rather than 1000. Dinners were different every night. They served what seemed to be local food. Staff usually tried to please. Specialty resturants had excellent food if you could get a reservation. Even if they say they are booked go early or late and see. I think some guest feel they should make a reservation for every night weather they show up or not? We went to an overbooked one and it never was half full the whole time we had dinner.
Beach - great, Weather - perfect, Nightly entertainment - Very good, more personnel than some of the larger theaters with a stage a mile away. Make sure you go to the Sunday evening trec at Shirley Heights.
What to worry about? Other guests. They need to have mandatory buffet etiquette classes for guest!
1. Don't pick up food and eat over the buffet.
2. They put napkins on the loafs of bread so you can hold the loaf while you cut it. Don't hold loaf with your hand!
3. No need to cut in front of people, it is a buffet, they won't run out.

A note to all the people that feel they need to have the best seats on the beach or by the pool everyday, then not show up until the afternoon or not at all. I want you to understand that one of these trips I am collection all the towels I can find on chairs and loungers that nobody is sitting at and turning them in. Just FYI
Have a good trip!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

Address: Bolans Village, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 hotels in Bolans
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Jolly Beach Resort & Spa 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The all-inclusive, 464-room Jolly Beach is an exceptional Caribbean experience. Resort offers great year-round value for destination weddings, honeymooners and families. Rates include accommodations, government taxes and service charges, all meals, snacks and afternoon tea, house brand beverages, non-motorized watersports, activities, Jolly Kidz and Teenz Clubs, Think Jolly Family Program, use of the gym and entertainment. All rooms are air-conditioned and face the ocean; each has a patio or balcony, direct-dial phone, TV and hair-dryer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jolly Beach Resort And Spa
Jolly Beach Hotel Bolans
Jolly Beach Resort Antigua
Jolly Beach Resort All Inclusive
Jolly Beach Antigua
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa Antigua/Bolans

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