Let me start by saying if you are looking for a luxury 5 star resort, keep looking. The Jolly Beach resort is not for you. If you are looking for an affordable vacation on a beautiful picture perfect white sand beach in the Caribbean then read on! I must say that I stayed here in the off season. There were very few people and that's how we prefer it. I read trip advisor reviews prior to booking and I knew exactly what to expect. There are rooms here that are VERY small..some referred to as a "prison cell".... I requested a King Superior room and we were very happy. We stayed in the "Puerto Rico" bldg..this is one of the furthest from the main lobby but it has been somewhat updated. The room was large, very clean and had a coffee maker and fridge. Standard rooms are very small and do not have a fridge or coffee pot. The resort was clean. The grounds were very nice and we really enjoyed the pools. There are birds flying around at the Hemisphere buffet during breakfast and lunch. We were expecting this and it did not bother us.
Bring bug spray! I did not get any bites but I saw many people covered in bites. We always put on bug spray before going out at night. Mosquitos and sand fleas come out at night.
The resort, outside the main area, is not well lit at night. Be careful walking as it can be dark in some areas.
There are several catamaran excursions to choose from and this was the highlight of our trip. We chose the Wadali Cat. If you book directly through them via email you get a discount. We paid $85/each (regular price is $110). Awesome trip! Boat picked us up on our beach at 8:30. We returned close to 4. The crew, the food and the people were awesome! Worth every penny and a great way to see the island! I will leave a separate review for this!
Drinks at Jolly! Bring your own cup! The glasses are the size of a juice glass...smallest drinks I've ever seen. They sell big plastic cups at the supermarket which is a 5 minute walk.
There is a walking path that goes along Jolly Harbor. At the harbor you will find a couple of restaurants, a small pharmacy, one or two shops and a large market. We bought drinks and snacks for our room here. If you want to get off the resort for a night the Italian restaurant was good. We just got a pizza. There is also a bus stop by the market. You can take the number 20 bus into St John. It was $3, one way, for both my husband and I...as opposed to $20 for a cab.
There are vendors set up on the beach. They did not bother us. They were very nice and we did purchase a few items, happy to support the locals. They remember you and did not pester us at all.
There is also a woman named Bernice who does massage on the beach. She has a cute little hut and you can negotiate a price, I paid $50/hr and enjoyed it.
There is one pain in the neck local who you will see daily. He carries a pouch and tries to sell you an aloe leaf. Every day he is begging for money. I gave him a few dollars and then asked him to leave me alone. I don't appreciate being pestered. He's also happy if you give him a snack!
Take the water aerobics class in the pool. It's only about 20 minutes long and she does a great job! Lot of laughs also!
The bartenders and wait staff were nice and attentive....please tip!
If you are low maintenance and are happy with the basics you will have a great time here. Food was fine. Resort is clean. Surroundings are breath taking. I hope you have as good of time as we did!
Ask for a superior with a fridge and coffee pot. 200 bldg
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.