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“Jolly Beach Antigua” 4 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
Leeds, England
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Jolly Beach Antigua”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

I've just come back from a two week stay at the Jolly Beach. Overall holiday was great. The hotel is situated right on a lovely long beach. We were told that in high season it can get very busy but we timed it just right. The sea is beautiful and safe for younger children as there aren't any sudden drops in depth. The hotel itself is good and the staff are friendly. One negative would be the bedrooms - ours was a standard room and was looking a little tired but saying that you're not in it that long so why worry. It didn't come with a fridge as standard (additional charge required).
The food is good which lots of choice. No signs of any upset stomachs and you can drink the local tap water. There were four restaurants, Indian (3/5 as food wasn't that spicy), Italian (3.5/5 went twice, service second time wasn't that great), Fish (4/5 always fresh but again service was a little slow at times) and the main restaurant (5/5 great choice lunch and dinner time). On a Thursday night they put on a beach BBQ with the local steel band - great time.
There were lots of trips, mainly boat/catamaran, which is great if you can do boats (I can't). We opted to hire a car for a day (circa £120 which included fuel, insurance and the local driving licence), definitely money well spent. You are free to visit the 365 beaches and stop and start as you want. The roads are a little rough so get a 4 wheel drive. Other drivers are courteous but take a map as the road signs are few and far between!
One big downside for me was the Mosquitoes. We took sprays out with us from the UK but was informed from the start that they won't work. Our rep advised us to purchase the local stuff called 'OFF' from the supermarket across the road at Jolly Harbour, this didn't appear to work either. They come out between dusk and sunrise, so the only thing I could recommend is long trousers (linen obviously otherwise you'll sweat to death!) and take the spray from the UK which easers the itchiness (oh and some antihistamines).
Overall great relaxing holiday, would recommend and would return.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Virgin Holidays

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2,631 reviews from our community

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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 (552)
Date | Rating
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English first
Winchester, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

We stayed at the Jolly for 2 weeks 28 june till 12 June. The hotel is amazing outdated yes but amazing and the staff were very friendly and helpful and attentive.

Lets start with the reception got greeted and had a little joke with the ladies on the front desk who made the it fun right from the begining the concierge desk which was manned by Blondell and another young lady who were both very helpful and very friendly while we wanted to book trips out which we went on.

The resturant staff in Hempispheres were friendly efficent and fun! They would refill our drinks promptly and ensure that everything was okay with us and the food which was provided. The main resturants (Lydias, Ustavs & Bocciolos) We only went to two of them (Lydias and Bocciolos) which were both amazing and served a very different variety of food which were delicious. They also catered for one of our party who was allergic to garlic and delt with that very well!

The rooms were recently updated and were up to standard every day being cleaned and looked after by the cleaners!

One of our partys room shower handle snapped off because of this fault they were offered a free upgrade to a superior room which was handled very well by the staff.

I had my 21st birthday at the Jolly and the staff made the expirience so much more enjoyable and amazing bringing out a very large and beautiful birthday cake and singing happy birthday to me. Brendan the supervisor did a fantastic job of supervising and was one the most friendliest people I have ever met.

Marleen the Virgin rep that we went with was alos amazing and a pleasure to speak too.

The beach is absolutley beautiful and I would recommend anyone going to Antigua to visit the beach at the Jolly which has plenty of watersport activites and a few vendors who werent pushy and very friendly.

The taxi drivers were good although the one I would reccomend is King Jango Taxis as he tells you about the island and about the cricket stadium which he gave us a free tour off!

So to summarize this hotel is amazing outdated and the staff are absoulutley amazing at what they and I will definatley be returning to the Jolly beach in the future.

To all the staff that work there thank you for making my 21st birthday special and thank you for the amazing service that you delivered.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 15, 2014
Dear Jordan,

I’m so glad you had a special 21st birthday celebration at Jolly Beach Resort and that you felt the staff went out of their way to make sure you had a great celebration and holiday here!

As you mention, we are a 3 star resort, but it’s great to hear you received 5 star service :)

The beach is a highlight with pretty much all of our guests, who, like you, appreciate our mile of white sand and calm turquoise waters. It sounds like you had a lot of fun with watersports, too!

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience here. You mentioned you’ll be returning to Jolly Beach in the future, and we can’t wait to welcome you back.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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Long Island, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

Honestly I was extremely and pleasantly surprised by the Jolly Beach Resort. We booked the trip for June 2014 as the family get away we do every few years. We expect a few things from a resort of course - clean rooms, maintained grounds, friendly and helpful staff, good local food... And Jolly Beach does a very good job in all. And very pleasant surprise is that June is off-season, so the resort and the island overall is not inundated with tourists. In fact we laughed everyday about the "private" beach we had.

We stayed in the St John's building on the first floor. The room was very clean and housekeeping did a great job of keeping it that way every day - no easy feat with 4 people including two teenage girls. It was so nice to walk out the sliding doors and in 30 feet you are on the beach. We sat on the patio many mornings just to enjoy the peace and quiet. The view was great even, probably better than the second floor since we could see through the palm trees, I don't know if the second floor could. Beds were a bit on the hard side, but nobody complained about them. The bath was fine - everything worked and more importantly it was clean. Was the room perfect? No. The metal sliding doors need to be replaced desperately; the patio furniture also needs replacement; the wall mounted A/C unit was very, very loud when sitting on the patio so most mornings we would turn it off for a little while (the A/C was fine indoors - not loud and it kept the room very cool).

Grounds are spacious. I believe it is the largest resort on the island (though Sandal's looked as big). Coconut, Palm, and scores of flowering trees are everywhere. Mongoose run through the grounds doing their mongoose things - they avoid humans, and are rather cute. Again are the grounds perfect? No. But a really good groundkeeper, some updated stone, and better cement patching would do wonders.

There are two pools, but honestly we only went to the larger pool. This pool had a swim-up bar, the grill, an eating area in that 2 story open air building, and regular pool activities. The unobtrusive DJ when he wasn't playing a really good selection of every type of music, was the events coordinator. He did a great job of getting everyone involved (without bothering those that were fine doing nothing). The water volleyball games were a blast for those playing and those just watching. The bar drinks were disappointing, whether you were getting water, soda or alcohol, the glasses were way too small (and don't expect top shelf liquor). Grill food was a little disappointing - hamburgers, hot dogs, French fires. Not sure what I expected, but a roti or something local would have been nice.

Food was ok. Went to the Italian place one night, the required (and ridiculous) dress code and only fair food was enough to make s not want to go back. We didn't go to the Indian restaurant (not a fave of the families). The grill I mention above. 4:00 tea time was nice on the occasions we went. The seafood place at the opposite end of the resort from our room was the best we thought. They tended to run out of menu items, but they had alternatives so it was a non-issue (off-season means less imported goods we found out). A recommendation for a Greek restaurant that is a short walk off the grounds proved to be wonderful. The family owned and operated Akropolis Restaurant was absolutely great. Mom is the chef, providing wonderful Greek food with local and Italian influences. Her son is her sous chef, another son is a waiter, and Dad is the host. Even though we had the all-inclusive package at Jolly Beach, we went to the Akropolis two nights for dinner and would have went more if we discovered it sooner.

The beach!!!! It was perfect! Soft coral sand, beautiful water of every shade of turquoise, and like I said above practically deserted by our room (the middle section of beach, by the pools had many more people). The daily walk up and down the beach was always nice, though we were jealous of the beautiful private homes right on the beach (all beaches are public on the island we were told). Cabana-like structures provided the perfect respite from the sun. The one and only downside of the beach were the vendors that were trying to sell you everything from excursions to clothing, but it was not all bad. There goods were nice usually, they were an excellent source of information and they were very helpful. Lawrence is a salesman that would do well in NYC, and Rocky was sooo cool and as laidback as anyone on the planet. The beach was so nice it was hard to leave at the end of the day or when we booked an excursion.

The best for last - The staff!!! The staff were great. After reading some of the other reviews I was expecting many surly people. Well that couldn't further from the truth. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Quick story - I had to go to the hospital while going to Stingray City, turns out I had kidney stones (I blame the too small drinks causing my dehydration and the stone formation). While coming out of a room and a test, one of the Concierges, Blundell, was there to check on me. Seems our taxi driver, King Janga, had told Blundell that he had to take me to the hospital and as soon as she got off work she went to the hospital to see if I was alright and check to see if my family needed anything. She absolutely went way above and beyond what is expected - I hope the resort realizes they have gold in Blundell. And Janga, taking us all to the hospital and arranging for me to get right in to the ER - he was great. The wait staff, housekeeping, front desk, Concierge (again Blundell and Ian) were all amazing. Everyone made us feel comfortable and welcome. The overall theme was you are on vacation - enjoy it and let us do whatever we can to make your vacation enjoyable. We sensed absolutely no resentment that others said (makes me wonder what the reviewers are like...)

Although the resort as a whole needs updating, and some maintenance work, we would absolutely stay there again (and again).

Room Tip: If you want nightlife and don't mind music and entertainment to 11 stay to the left of the lobby...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
I’m delighted to hear that we exceeded your family’s expectations and that you had such a great stay at Jolly Beach Resort!

As you mention, JBR offers great value for money, and I’m glad you were able to enjoy some of our amenities - the grounds, our pools, the entertainment and activities, etc. You mentioned 2 teenage daughters - hopefully they were also able to try out our Jolly Teenz Club while they were here so you had some one-on-one time to spend with each other :)

You also mentioned the beach, and I loved the way you described it. Not only are the protected waters great for swimming and watersports, but they truly are every beautiful shade of turquoise!

Finally, I’m sorry to hear that your vacation was marred with the discomfort of kidney stones, but I absolutely love to hear that you felt our staff went above and beyond to check in on you and help you feel as comfortable as possible. Hopefully you’re feeling better now.

We really appreciate all of your comments and can’t wait to welcome you back again (and again) :)

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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Middletown, New Jersey
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

We stayed at the Jolly for 1 night on American Airlines dime due to a mechanical issue with our plane. Thankfully the Jolly had space to put us up for the 1 night, and it was another night in the Caribbean for my wife and I. This resort HAS potential, if the owner of the property would do basic maintenance of the rooms:

Pluses
1) EXCELLENT beach - The View in particular is fantastic. We were there too late in the day to judge whether or not vendors were a problem or not. So I cannot comment on that.

2) Food - we only were able to enjoy the buffet at night by the beach, but I was surprised with the quality. We left too early in the morning to judge breakfast

Minuses

1) The Rooms. Honestly, the exterior of the resort and the grounds were fine. But the room we stayed in had several issues
a) The shower barely worked. There was almost no pressure and it took 5 minutes to get anything out the the shower head
b) We were on the ground level, and the sliding door was held shut by nothing but a chain link. That link didn't "kick in" until the door was a quarter of the way open, so anyone could have opened the lock by sliding the door out slightly. Maintenance "fixed" the issue by welding the door shut, which solved the safety issue but rendered the deck unusable by the next guest.
c) beds - are in need of updating.
d) wifi- you have to pay 10 dollars a day for wifi, and it only works in your room. You can use the main lobby, but something like this needs to be included by an all inclusive - at least for the room. We paid it in order to stay in communication with our family about any further flight delays.

The potential of this place is there. While a major renovation would be ideal, a lot can be done with basic updating of the rooms with new bathrooms (with better and more consistent water pressure) and a more up to date decor. Perhaps the exterior sells itself, and there are enough people willing to sacrifice room quality.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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, July 15, 2014
Even though you were only with us for 1 night, I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed the quality of the food we offer, as well are our beautiful beach!

I also appreciate some of your other comments and am sorry to hear you had issues with water pressure.

Many people leave comments here on TripAdvisor about having great water pressure at JBR, so not sure what the issue was in this case. Did you let our staff know? We do our very best to respond quickly to guest concerns and would have loved the opportunity to address this issue with you (although I do realize you weren’t here for very long).

Complimentary WiFi is offered in the lobby, as you mention. We are a very large property, though, so unfortunately WiFi doesn’t quite extend to all rooms at this time. This is why we can’t include it in the package prices. Hopefully the fact that we offer one of the best price points in Antigua, with many other value-added amenities, helps make up for optional WiFi expenses :)

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.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

Stayed at the jolly beach early June 2014 - this is low season so the resort was not full but this is a perfect time of year for us as we don't like crowds. We were checked in and bags carried to room within 10 minutes. All of the staff on the resort are extremely friendly and cannot do enough for you they all have a great attitude. Lisa In the restaurant always greeted us with a smile and royan and Neil on the bar always gave you some banter and laughter along with some great cocktails. The birds are around the resort but they mean no harm other than wanting any leftovers as the good is so tasty.. We just covered anything if we left the table they left us alone. They are not around for dinner so the evenings are bird free. The beach and ocean is beautiful and the best we saw on the island, it is a public beach so you will get sellers offering trips and all but one would not hassle you if you said no. The large pool is lively if you like music and games etc and there is a smaller quiet pool. There were not a lot of umbrellas around the larger pool which is needed early in the day unsure if this was just because it was low season. The standard of cleanliness on the resort is great, the rooms are basic but value for money - we stayed in a standard room which was clean, the beds a little hard, everything worked but aircon was quite old so a little noisy for me at night but lovely and cool.. Most rooms are sea facing we were on 1st floor looking over pool with sea in the background - a lovely view to wake to each morning. The Entertainment was ok but as it was low season So quite low key during the day - bands and dj at night but very few guests for them to entertain .. Great band played axis and also fire-eater and beach camp fire was good fun. The Indian restaurant I feel is not to standard this could be better used as an evening burger joint or steak bar? .. Lydia's is fantastic, beach BBQ night was our favourite meal and evening. Use the concierge service for trips they are the same price as guys on beach and can give you information on lots of things to do if your not into beach and pool. Do not miss a trip to Shirley heights it's a fantastic view and where locals have a party every Sunday. trips around the island by boat or catamaran are fantastic.. You can walk out of resort to jolly harbour there is a sports bar and some restaurants there - again a little quiet in June around the marina. We will revisit this resort as we got value for money , always a good choice of food , fantastic beach and friendly staff. Just what I was looking for

Room Tip: Saver rooms have no drawer space just one wardrobe but if your on a budget we were told by other gue...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
colchester
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014 via mobile

The place is a bit scruffy in places but the staff and beach more than make up for it.
The beach is stunning and the food was very good most of the time.
Got busy at peak times but soon learnt to have another cocktail and eat later. Fish restaurant was the best.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

I have been on Antigua many times, but I rate this the best. The staff at most of the hotels are good, If you are polite and pleasant, they are the same back. The room we had was 2216, which is a garden view, you can see the beautiful sea through the palm trees. Never had any problem with any the staff, and all took time to be helpful. Food and drink good and ok the choices can be repeated, but hey ho. Beach was lovely, gardens tidy, utilities cleaned regularly.
There would be to many names to mention and would be unfair to miss anyone out, so thanks to everyone for a great holiday and see you soon.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) 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*
Number of rooms: 464
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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