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“Not what we expected” 2 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
Horley, England, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Not what we expected”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2013

We was recommended this hotel by quite a few people but when we got there first impressions were not good got up to our room it was ok slightly bigger than others because we was on a corner showers are quite small didn't get clean towels one night we had to wait 2 1/2 hours for them which we was not happy about kept ringing reception saying we hadn't received them and all we got was there on there way went to reception to complain and then received towels within 10 minutes some days are rooms weren't even cleaned the floor of your room never seems to be mopped only swept there was a dead cockroach underneath my bed had quite a few power cuts one night the power went off 20 times during the night and it kept waking us up breakfast in the buffet restaurant is pretty standard I lived off omelettes pretty much for 2 weeks all a la carte restaurants were lovely couldn't fault them some staff have no manners at all but others were always helpful and smiling sometimes in the morning at the buffet restaurant you wouldn't get a tea or coffee or you would ask for a orange juice and they would forget it not really much to do in the evening there's a band playing every night pool wasn't always clean sometimes was full of bugs didn't seem to run any skimmers on the pool some doors have quite big gaps at the bottom of them so suggest u put a towel down to stop mosquitoes getting in and cockroaches beach was lovely some market stall holders on the beach ask you to get them a drink if you are all inclusive but you are not allowed to if you do so and security see you they can get your wrist band cut off if you want ice cream from the buffet restaurant you have to ask the waitress's for it can't help yourselves we didn't rate this at 3* at all if you are in a standard room you do not get any drinking faciltes no kettle or fridge so fill a water bottle up and take it to your room so you have

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 21, 2014
Firstly, thank you for your feedback regarding your recent stay at Jolly Beach Resort and Spa. We’re very glad to hear that you had some good experiences with “helpful and smiling” staff and that you also enjoyed the a la carte menus.

That being said, it saddens us that you did not fully enjoy your time at the resort because we pride ourselves on maintaining excellent standards in every respect, and our guest’s happiness is always our main priority.

A number of our rooms are on the older side, but they are kept in good condition. As stated on our website, standard rooms are not equipped with fridges or tea-making facilities. Power cuts do unfortunately happen at times, but the electricity is provided by the Government Authority and is not generated on our property, so this is beyond our control.

Regarding breakfast, I’m sorry to hear you felt the need to eat omelettes on most days - our buffet offers a varied breakfast menu, including cereals, English breakfast, fruit, yogurt, and pastries. Our staff and chefs are also always happy to accommodate special requests and diets.

As for some of the other concerns you mentioned – we thoroughly clean and chlorinate the water in the pool every night after use and each morning before it is opened to our guests. And, as I’m sure you can understand, we also uphold a very strict policy regarding passing on food and drink to persons who are not guests at the resort.

Thanks again for your feedback - it’s always helpful to hear from guests so we can improve future guest experiences.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort and Spa
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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
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English first
Dawlish, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

Stayed here for two weeks and loved every minute of it! Went all-inclusive. Good variety on the food front in the main buffet restaurant. We tried the other restaurants too, nice for a change. All the staff were very friendly, bar service was good and entertainment was varied and fun. Fantastic location - lovely views. The sea could be very rough at times (getting in and out was a challenge on a red flag day!!). Would love to go back

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Northampton
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

We went to the Jolly Beach having read the reviews, and weren't expecting Sandals! However, what we found was not just basic but totally unacceptable. For a start we had to wait four hours to check in..... the queues were "never ending"! Once we finally got to check in, the staff were dismissive and grumpy. When we got to our room it was like a prison cell! As I say we weren't expecting massive luxury, but the room was not only small, but filthy dirty; paint was peeling off, the floor made my feet black after walking from the bed to the shower and the air-conditioning unit was falling off the wall and looked dangerous! There were cobwebs and dust throughout, and the shower control unit came off in my hand as I tried to turn it on. Having got through this trauma, and put it back on, I found dead insects in the shower tray, and when I got out the only towels there were two hand towels. I used one as a bathmat and the other to dry myself with, rather ineffectively. I was trying to put on a brave face, but then realised that whilst there was a hair-dryer-shaped recess in the wall, there was no hairdryer, even though I had checked before leaving that all rooms apparently had one. It got from bad to worse: my husband and I went out to the patio area to decide what to do, and he banged and cut his head on the block of a TV that was supported on the wall by the doors, because the doors wouldn't open properly! We went back to reception to discuss our dissatisfaction but there was still a queue of dozens of people (many complaining loudly about their rooms) so we thought we would have dinner and then investigate how to sort out our problems. We finally found reception emptier and spoke to them about our issues. They didn't bat an eyelid - no apology, no offer to get a maid in to clean the room, no offer to get a hairdryer sorted out, nor to provide the towels. They told us to try and catch a maid on her rounds and get some towels from her, which my husband afterwards did, after much walking around to find her.We asked if they had any better rooms, but the answer was "no" apart from a two bedroom cottage at an extra cost of $250 (USD) per night. We looked at this cottage and decided that it was not worth the money that they were asking, so went to reception to use the free wi-fi to internet search alternative hotels. Only to find that the wifi was not working!

The public areas weren't great at all either, and the bar staff - infact the staff in general had poor attitude, and were on occasion quite rude. I often read reviews complaining about staff attitudes in places, and I often think that this impression is caused by unreasonable behaviour by the guest! But I can assure you we were nothing but polite. I think the Jolly Beach staff had so many complaints that they were all really hacked off in general, and moral was low.

We had arranged the holiday through Virgin Holidays, and the next morning we met with the Virgin rep. She was absolutely brilliant, understood our concerns, and suggested some other hotels. She thought we would like the Cocobay resort, and had us booked in there within two hours! We had to pay an additionaol amount, but we were so grateful to leave - and it wasn't just us who were unhappy - we saw many an unhappy face and heard similar dissatisfaction from everyone to whom we spoke in the short time we were there.

I would like to commend Virgin Holidays, and their rep. Tracey for sorting this out, but it does beg the question as to why Virgin have this resort as one of their offering in Antigua.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 28, 2013
Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent stay at Jolly Beach Resort and Spa. We are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your time with us since we pride ourselves on offering good value for money and exceptional customer service.

We do understand that the check-in process can be a bit tedious after a long flight, especially if we have large groups arriving at the same time. This is why we encourage our arriving guests to make use of the online check-in feature which is provided on our website. Once identified, your check-in process will be expedited in order to reduce the long lines that you spoke of in your review.

We also acknowledge that your opinion of our staff was less than acceptable. We have always been acknowledged for our friendly staff, and we have even been awarded by your Agent, Virgin Holidays, for providing outstanding Customer Care in 2012. However, we also know that everything good can be made better, and we realise that one rude encounter can create a bad impression throughout your holiday. We do apologize to you for this; with the inception of our ICARE program this area can only improve.

We have noted all of the issues you have listed during your experience above and we assure you that each area will be analyzed and improvements will be made where necessary.

Thank you once again for your review of our services. Feedback from our guests is essential to our success and each review is seen as a means to improve our future guest experiences.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danbury, Connecticut
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2013

Last year for Christmas, I headed to Jolly Beach for a holiday get-a-way (by myself). The trip was great! I walked out of the airport and there was someone outside to help me get transportation to the hotel. I felt very safe and had no issues getting to the hotel. I believe I paid US dollars for the cab - a flat rate upfront. I don't recall it being grossly expensive...maybe $20-$25 dollars. The room are just so-so - very outdated, but honestly, I didn't care. The towels were changed daily and the room seemed clean (much better than ClubMed Turks and Caicos which I've also been to). I also felt very safe being a single female traveler. Jolly Beach Resort and Spa has one of the biggest and best beaches on the island! It's huge! I pretty much hung out there all day! In addition, they have two pools...one is very small and close to the reception desk...the other is down the beach a little bit (I actually didn't know about it until after being there 3 days). They play music and you can get some food there (the JERK chicken is awesome - you have to try it). The drinks are not top shelf, but they are strong! It didn't take me long to get buzzed. I wish they had more "diet" mixers for drinks, but they didn't (that's just me trying to watch calories). The food was good. It's buffet style, nothing special, but don't listen to reviews saying that it's awful - it's not! There's a salad bar every day, a dessert table, usually a carving station, etc. If you're not too picky, you should have no problems findings something you like to eat. I did not try any of the restaurants, but will next time. The gym was sort of a let down and kind of far away from everything else, but there is one if you HAVE to work out. I actually enjoy working out on vacation so for me, that was the most disappointing (which is why I gave the place 4 stars instead of 5). You MUST MUST MUST take the trip around the island! It's AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! While the property is old and in need of updating, the beach more than makes up for it! It's one of the best beaches I've ever been to. If you're looking for a 5 star resort, this is not the place, but for a great beach and good times, this IS the place! I liked it enough to go back again this year for New Year's and can't wait!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2013

I would agree with most of the reviews. You get what you pay for. rooms are adequate, but dated, you don't spend your holiday in your room after all!

service was ok, some staff friendlier than others. Food was fine, didn't try the restaurants.

beach was lovely, pool area appeared clean, didn't do any trips.

would generally recommend this hotel especially as I was a single, female traveller and felt comfortable going to the bar area on my own, quite a few other people on their own to chat to as well. Met several people who are repeat customers and love the place.

If you want a good,firm massage look out for Bernice,she's in the white hut at the end of the beach, no awful cd playing pan pipes you get to listen to the sea! If you just fancy a chat she will happily spend a few minutes passing the time of day with you.

would recommend as good value for money but remember this is a 3 * hotel.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

I'd read all the reviews and thought I had a realistic expectation of the hotel. Turns out I didn't!
The good points:
-Beach really is as lovely as everybody says.
-Staff were generally very friendly, although a couple did boarder on sleazy at times.
-A la carte restaurants were lovely. No the food is not authentic but it's nice, the places are very pretty and the staff go out of their way to make you feel special.
-Great cocktails and good drink selections.

The bad....

-The basic rooms really were terrible. Absolutely tiny and depressingly dated. Also saw quite a few cockroaches scurrying around outside them. Had a massive one come into our room one night too due to massive gap under the door.
-The hotel felt a bit money grabbing at times. Have never been asked to put a deposit down for a towel before nor to have to pay for a safe at an AI resort. Not to mention taking your wrist band on check out. Really cheap.
-the main buffet restaurant could be the most depressing place on earth.
Peeling paint, community centre tables and chairs, dirty plates not collected from your table, waiting staff rarely asked if you wanted a drink from the bar and a really tiny selection of food. Although to be fair what they did have was tasty enough.
-The towel hut. Don't get me started. Mostly manned by a really moody and unhelpful woman. If u dared to get there more than 20 mins after it opened they had run out of towels. The lady would then bark at you 'no clean towels' she also never seemed to know when or if clean ones would be coming. This happened every single day I was there. Really frustrating and kind of unacceptable.
-On a similar theme one night we waited 2 hours to get towels in our room.
-The main bar area was also quite depressing. No nice places to sit of an evening if that was where you wanted to be.

Over all I am very glad I booked this hotel when it was on sale with quite a large discount. Definitely not worth paying full price for.

Finally, although not the hotels fault. Take loads of bug spray. The Mosquitos were amongst the most evil I have ever encountered!

Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 28, 2013
Thank you for your review of your recent visit to Jolly Beach Resort and Spa. We appreciate that you have taken the time to give an opinion on our resort, and we are happy to hear that you did enjoy some aspects of your stay, such as the beach, friendly staff, drink selections, and a la carte restaurants. We pride ourselves in offering good value for money, friendly staff, an excellent vacation, and Antigua’s best beach by a mile!

As stipulated via our website, safes are not included in the All-Inclusive package. We do acknowledge a small security deposit is needed for towels, which is refunded once the towels have been returned. We also acknowledge that our rooms are on the smaller side, though we do ensure that all rooms are cleaned daily and all amenities and fixtures are in good working order. Because there are so many interesting adventures to experience in Antigua, most of our guests spend a minimal amount of time in their rooms.

Although exceptional service is our mantra, we do realise that errors are sometimes made. A quick phone call to the Front Desk or the Concierge typically means that any issues you are experiencing are rectified in good time. With the implementation of our ICARE program, we believe that our level of staff response and service will only improve and that every guest will leave our resort with an exceptional experience.

Thank you once again for your review of our services, and please do accept my apologies for the unpleasant aspects of your stay. We use each review as a means to improve our future guest experiences.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amarillo, Texas, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

Pros: clean hotel, nice staff, clean beach, easy to get around and conveniently located in Jolly Harbour, within walking distance to many restaurants/grocery store/shops/diving, quiet and relaxing, they do have wifi in common area near front desk at the tables to sit at.

Cons: is a distance from town so rent a car if you want to get around the island (it is hard to drive on this island so be careful, roads are not clearly marked and narrow is areas)

We chose not to do the all inclusive (we are not big drinkers so it worked well for us and saved a lot of money). You can purchase money vouchers at the front desk and eat at all of the restaurants on the resort for reasonable prices (and drinks are about $5 each). We chose to eat off the resort because of all the great restaurants around there and were so glad we did because we got to visit with the locals that told us some great places to go sightseeing at. The grocery store is very helpful too and not too pricey.

Stringray City and diving were the highlights of our vacation. If you drive to Stringray City, it can be hard to find due to the roads not marked well but if you take your time, you can find it. We chose Jolly Harbour for diving and we got lucky that day because it was just my daughter and I diving so we got a grand diving excursion with just the 2 of us. They are wonderful, helpful and good dive guides there (PADI Cert too).

I am very pleased that we chose this resort. It was a mother/daughter trip and perfect for us. We felt very safe walking around Jolly and had no trouble during our week stay.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 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.

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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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