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“February in Wisconsin, or February in Antigua? Easy Choice!” 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
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“February in Wisconsin, or February in Antigua? Easy Choice!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

I have mixed feelings about the Jolly Beach--overall, it was an awesome vacation--how can a Caribbean island not beat out a February in Wisconsin after all?!

Check-in was no problem. We arrived maybe 4-4:30 and went straight to our room. No lines, and I never really saw lines at the front desk any time I was up there. We had a Queen Superior room and it was a fairly large room, with a beamed cathedral ceiling, big balcony, fridge (empty, but cold), iron, ironing board, bath with tub/shower--everything you need. Yes, we all know it's old, but really people, do you all live in brand new houses that get remodeled every year? It's clean and my vacation priority is great weather and beaches. Paying double the price so I get a granite counter in the bathroom really is not worth it for me. I think if they updated the wicker dressers and flowered bedspreads, the room would look that much better. Also, there was only ONE plug that our American appliances/chargers worked in. We had a full set of converters, but none of those worked, so I don't know what kind of plugs were in the rooms, so beware of that!

The grounds were nice, and the resort was much larger and more spread out than I thought. The St. John building we were in had just 12 rooms and was right on the beach on the north side of the property towards the Italian restaurant. This was a great location for us--really quiet and away from the main beach area in front of the pool, but far from the buffet and towels. The beach is so big, it's really easy to spread out and find a quiet spot. The beach was nice, but the water was rougher than I expected. There were several red flag days, and sometimes the surf brought in a lot of shells that made it difficult to walk into the water. Hopped in the pool just a couple of times, but it was nice--not crowded. I never felt crowded anywhere at the resort since the grounds are so large and spread out. But the big problem, NO CHAIRS!! Jolly Beach--BUY. MORE. CHAIRS. This was by far, the worst I have ever seen the chair game at any place I've been. It wasn't even a matter of finding shade, it was finding a chair, period. I started going out at about 6:30 and they were almost all taken. I, however, used mine all day after I ate breakfast, whereas most of the chairs I watched sit empty until well after lunch. We'll give this problem 50% responsibilty of the resort for not having enough chairs, and 50% responsibility of the guests who hogged them.

Food was OK--not a ton of selection, but you won't starve. Lots of stuff looked suspicious piled up in the buffet server, but tasted pretty good! You had to wait to be seated which was sometimes a pain. I think it was supposed to keep things orderly so the servers would know you were there, but it didn't seem to help! Definitely no hurry to get things done, but that's OK, we're on island time! You can get all the beverages at the self serve stations, so I don't know why people get upset when they aren't "served"--it's right there for you. (soda, juice, water and coffee anyway) Some plusses in the food department--real Wisconsin butter, Heinz ketchup, good fries and good bread! The soda machine was out of Diet Coke the whole time we were there, and it ran out of regular Coke maybe 3 or 4 days into our trip, and that was never filled again--there were cans and bottles, but they seemd to ration it at that point! That is kind of unacceptable to run out and not ever get it back.

Never went to any of the specialty restaurants. Anything that looked appetizing had a surcharge, and the buffet was just fine with variety each night.

Entertainment was decent--killed time in the evening. There was usually a local band and some were quite good. And then there would be some sort of dance show or something--pretty typical all-inclusive stuff. Karaoke night was actually pretty funny--I thought it would be lame, but there were quite a lot of people who joined in! As the hostess said--who cares? You're never going to see these people again!

I was disappointed with the nearby Jolly Harbour. I guess I expected a lot more there as far as shops and restaurants. We went to the Crow's Nest Friday night to watch a steel drum band and had pizza which was decent. There was a steak place which had a buy one get one free NY strip one night which we wish we would have known about before we ate at the buffet that night! Otherwise it seemed sort of expensive. And there was an Italian restaurant. For shops, there was one gift shop, and one shop with paintings, and that was about it. Furthermore, they all closed at 5 pm, so no going there at night to kill time. There used to be a huge casino there too, but it was all closed up--just a sign that the Antigua economy is suffering too.

A few vendors out on the beach. They always said hello and didn't make you feel uncomfortable or got pushy. We actually talked to one lady--Angie Baby--every day and she was just a nice lady who liked to talk! No pressure to buy stuff, but we finally did on the last day beacause she was so nice. Same with our cab driver back to the airport--we knew about all her kids, their birthdays and all about their school by the time we got there! Just treat people nicely and they will be nice to you too--no need to be afraid of them!

Overall, the Jolly Beach is a decent place to stay if you don't have money burning a hole in your pocket and you just want to see this beautiful island. If you are picky and can't live without your granite countertop and travertine tile in the bathroom, keep looking! Sure, it could use improvements, but are you there to take pictures of the caulking in the shower, or to have a nice realxing week in the sun? I think the reviews here give a pretty accurate picture (except for the angry people) so even if I forgot something in this long review, the answer is out there! Have fun!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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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 (528)
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Pittsburgh
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Our group (5 couples) stayed at the Jolly Beach Feb 15-25. I pick the destination every year and am disappointed that I let the group down on this trip. I read all the reviews but….
We paid for ocean view rooms but most of us were put on the ground floor where the only view was of part of the lawn. Everyone had problems with their rooms ranging from weak air conditioning to having a leak from an upstairs bathroom. Our room had no clock and a non-working phone. The couple with the leak complained daily but all management did was send a maid to clean up the water. Literally on the last night they offered to move them to a dry room!
The resort did not live up to reviews:
• Many people raved about the lobster dinner but the restaurant was always out of it. At least over the 10 days we were there.
• Many people mentioned plenty of beach chairs but we often had to do without.
• Someone had a picture of an empty swim-up bar. I wrongly assumed this was temporary. They don’t stock or staff this bar.
• Although there was a guard posted directly behind our beach chairs, my shoes were stolen when we walked down the beach to take sunset pictures.
• The internet was sporadic at best. Don't think you can work from here.
The resort is in a great location but it definitely needs some work. I have a feeling that they are just not able to run at full capacity. The rooms we were given are possibly only rented when absolutely necessary, hence their disrepair. And being filled to capacity could account for most of the problems we encountered.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbury, Minnesota
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

My husband, daughter and I just got back from Jolly Beach yesterday. Overall we had a lovely time. Beach was amazing, the pools were nice and the overall expericence was wonderful . . .BUT, the hotel needs a major over haul. The Owners are sqeezing for every last nickel and dime by cheap'n out on food, drinks (in small juice size glasses), room quality, landscaping, wifi service (Limited) and entertainment. They are not investing in any improvemnets and this is sad becuase they have the most BEAUTIFUL location on the island and a true diamond in the rough!!! It just needs a bit of TLC and service quality improvements. Our room was a queen superiour in the newer part of the resort. The room size was a typical American size room. But, as far as anything else being upto American standards in the room. . .NO! Beds were hard, bed linens were worn out and low quality, the room was clean but, the bathroom was a mess. The shower head dribbled, the sink and shower faucets were old and a bit moldy, the hot water ran out all the time especially, before dinner. We are simple travelers and we don't require a ton of fancy decore' or art work. However saying that, all they have to do is improve the Beds, Linens, Updated the bathroom and this would improve the entire experience. The TV and the air conditioner were old but, both worked. The food was average not bad just not outstanding, the staff was 50/50 - good/bad.

Some things I found strange:
- No Hot tubs anywhere and pools closed at 6PM
- No swim up bar service - Had to get out of the pool to get drinks
- Cups for Cocktails and drinks were small <== Tip - Bring your own plastic tumbler
- Deserts - Not sure what they were 90% of the time. Not good at all!
- Island Fruit was not available beyond Pineapple and Bananas???
- The lack of a Disco

Overall the our trip was fun and relaxing. Did I meantion the beautiful beach!! The beach and pools saved the trip from being a complete let down. A few improvements of the property and I think this place would be a winner. Just not sure we would go back anytime soon unless we rented a condo.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
cork
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Well i stayed in the jolly beach in March 2013 with a friend,i read reviews before but gave it a shot.I made a mistake.First the reception staff are slow,check in took ages then we were sent to the room which was dirty and dated,as we didnt get a safe key,had to walk a long distance back,of course there was a charge for this.The rooms were the worst i have stayed in and even when we were checking in,i couold hear people askign for their rooms to be changed.
We went to the bar later on,all inclusive,looking forward to chilling and having a few drinks,the worst bar staff on the planet,slow and think they own the place,bloody terrible,we got 2 beers after 20 mins wait and they came in the tiniest cups you could imagine,what a scam we both thought.Anyway we went for dinner and i tell you,my dog would refuse the food....i wont say anymore on this
there is internet that only works in the lobby and it is so slow and keeps going on and off

to sum things up,would i stay in the jolly beach again...NO,we actually moved to english harbour and stayed in the OceanInn and it was like paradise compared to the jolly

i think the Jolly needs a european manager and get rid of any staff that has an attitude

Room Tip: stay in Ocean Inn in english harbour,you wont be disappointed
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
new york city
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

So we just spent 5 days here...

1. The food is actually disgusting. Possible the worst I have had at a resort. We settled for breakfast daily and went out for all other meals. The Italian dinner we had hear made us both sick. Almost inedible. The drinks are fine and yes served in sippy cups but you can bring your own if you are a big drinker.

2. The room is tiny but hot water and a/c- for the price it felt fine. We asked for a renovated quiet room and paid $50 for the week and got a fridge.

3. The concierge- wasn't always so helpful. The bus leaves right from outside the resort for $1 we went everywhere on it- great way to see the island/ totally safe- instead they tried to push us to take inflated cabs. They suggested activities we didn't want to do and seemed to hesitate when it was our choices we wanted help with. In general the hotel staff was nice but pretty slow.

4. The staff- the housekeepers, bell hops and bartenders were so nice.

5. The beach is awesome for the price- we got such a cheap package and were really in awe of how nice it was. The hawkers were pretty mellow on the beaches.

6. Daily you only get one beach towel and they are a bit warn (as are the sheets.)
The quiet pool was nice- we were not so into the family/ loud pool.
In general there is a lack of beach/ pool chairs. People seem to get up at the crack of dawn to reserve. We always found some but it wasn't easy.

7. The resort must have been built in the 70's or 80's with little updating we were fine with it. It felt clean but if you are looking for shiny and new this is not the place for you.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Just returned from 8 nite stay here . Didn't do all inclusive, great idea as food was below average. (We tried one meal at the Italian restaurant on arrival day=poisonous). Had a jr suite..plenty of room.no drawer space, but closet had shelves, very adequate storage overall. A/C wasn't working up to par, someone came immediately, cool enough to sleep, but it was a struggle. Bathroom small, but great shower..definitely needs updating. Adrian on beach guy to see for umbrellas, $10US/day. People get out there by 5:30am to get huts..DON'T BOTHER , umbrellas are fine. Jason best guy at reception. Had a massage at the spa, HEAVENLY. some days problems with towels, speak to reception in person! Main pool always crowded, never went there, as I am a beach girl. Worse part, NO INTERNET in rooms..but for last minute trip during high season..not so bad overall. Heard other people complaining about major plumbing and bug issues..reception handled it well. Overall, C+

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
New Rochelle, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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 Hotel Bolans
Jolly Beach Resort And Spa
Jolly Beach Resort Antigua
Jolly Beach Resort All Inclusive
Jolly Beach Antigua
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa Antigua/Bolans

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