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“We loved Jolly Beach Resort” 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 #3 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Sault Ste. Marie
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
“We loved Jolly Beach Resort”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

We got our vacation to JBR at a good price and I "anxiously" read reviews hoping I hadn't made a mistake. This is our 1st time to Antigua (absolutely loved it) and our 1st time to a 3 star resort. We typically go to a resort rated at 4+ or 5 and have been to Dominican Republic, Playa del Carmen (many times) and Cuba...so quite a variety of resorts with that rating. Our main concern was to have a great beach and decent food. I had read vacationer reviews here saying rooms were dated and small as well as the overall resort being dated We were very pleased with the resort overall. The resort is an older resort but we liked the style overall and although rooms were small we did like them. Nothing fancy but there is enough room and although I was kinda shocked and laughed when I looked in the bathroom, we did adjust very quickly to the size...it's very small and when you first look at shower you wonder if you'll fit! You can, no need to worry about that. There is actually a lot of storage space in the bathroom. The lobby area is quite small and there is no bar there so if this is important to you, then you may be quite disappointed. In past resorts I've looked forward to several cappuccinos throughout the day...you won't get that here but they do have a very nice "tea time" every day around 4:30 with little sandwiches and some type of dessert along with coffee and an assortment of tea. It was available from 4:30 - 6:00 daily. This is served in a courtyard just outside the lobby and there's free wifi available here & the lobby. We thought the food was delicious...not the amount or variety we've had at past resorts but we always enjoyed the choices. There was always a couple types of fish and a chicken dish at dinner along with rice, potatoes, mixed vegetable and some salad choices. Some nights there was also a beed stew and during our week they also had a carving station with roast beef and ham. On Thursday they had a beach BBQ which was delicious and they also had a steel band playing at the restaurant. They have 3 ala carte choices which are available on different nights...they're not all open every night. Utsav, the Indian restaurant is open on Wed. And Lydia's (seafood beach restaurant) is open 2 nights as is the Italian. We ate at Lydia's, which was great, and Utsav, which was mixed review for us. We enjoyed some of the dinner and not other dishes...kind of bland. We didn't go to the Itallian. You can try and make 2 reservations daily but oftentimes, there is no seating left due to limited options. For example when we arrived we booked Lydia's for the next night but there wasn't an ala carte option to book for the 2nd potential booking. The next day I was able to get Utsavs but nothing else available for 2nd option...and on it goes. Bookings are done at the Concierge booth just outside the lobby. The beach is beautiful as is the sand, the pools are good to, nice temperature. They have entertainment nightly but we saw only one, the steel band which we loved. On Friday they had a fire-eater and limbo but we didn't stay up to enjoy. We would go back again and we would recommend this place to others. We just got back and it is off season so it was quiet mostly adults there. There wasn't a lot of palapas or lounge chairs on the beach so that might be a problem in high season...we had no trouble finding something each day. Looking forward to another great vacation in Antigua at Jolly Beach. Oh yes... Almost forgot, the beds were too firm for us, sore hips every morning and although room felt cool coming in from outside, the AC struggled to keep the room cool. I called the front desk and asked to have the AC checked. It it didn't seem any better. We didn't call again so don't know if results second time would have been better.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 21, 2014
I’m delighted to hear that you loved your first visit to Antigua, as well as your stay with us here at Jolly Beach!

Thank you for telling us about some of the things you loved - our daily teas, food, beautiful beach, entertainment, etc. We always love to hear about trip highlights from guests and appreciate you taking the time to share your experience.

We also appreciate some of your constructive criticism. Yes, in the off-season, our a la carte restaurants may not be open every single night, but I’m happy to hear that you really enjoyed your time at Lydia’s. We’ll take some of your other comments into consideration, as well, as we budget for improvements.

It’s great to hear that you plan to return to Jolly Beach, and we can’t wait to welcome you back!

All the best until we meet again :)

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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2,823 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
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English first
Sheerness, United Kingdom
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

Before I start I just want to say get over it to all the fuss pots out there !!!!

I stayed for 10 nights n I didn't want to come home it was the a very great holiday I have not got nothing to fuss about the food was great in all restaurants the beach was beautiful the staff were amazing and try hard I celebrated my birthday out there and they brought a cake decorated my table it means a lot they are all very friendly ! Your glasses are filled straight away when empty your plate it moved 1s finished even the prices for the food if you wanted something different was cheap ! Yes the rooms a small in the super saver and the hotel is dated it does not effected your overall holiday you sleep shower dress that's it I would recommend jolly beach and I will be returning soon with my children this time thank you jolly beach
for a great time

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

I have waited 2 weeks to write my review, simply because I was so disappointed I wanted to wait and give myself sometime to get over the disappointment and try to review this resort fairly.

My wife and I traveled June 27th thru July 5th. To characterize the type of travelers we are....we have expectations but not unrealistic expectations. First and foremost we are looking for fun and relaxation. We prefer all inclusive travel for the ease. We are not hard to please. We are not luxury travelers and look for value in everything that we purchase. We have been traveling to the Caribbean for 10 years and with exception of 1 year have been very successful in choosing the perfect place for vacation. We have traveled to Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados and now Antigua. All resorts have been excellent!!!! WITH EXCELLENT BEACHES

This resort was the exception to that. Usually disappointment happens when expectations are not met!!!! Before choosing Jolly Beach, we did our homework. We read reviews for the better part of 2 years on this resort. We read the good and bad reviews and were a little alarmed at the number of negative reviews. After several discussions between my wife and I we came to decision that maybe some of the bad reviews WERE FROM HARD TO PLEASE TRAVELERS. That their expectations were unattainable. So fully aware of what we were getting into....we lowered our expectation and felt like if we knew what to expect going in we would have no SURPRISES!!!! Besides nearly all reviews raved about the BEACH...WHICH IS WHAT WE LOVE!!! So let's start the review...

RESORT - TIRED, OUTDATED you hear that a lot in the reviews You also hear its a 3 star resort...3 STAR RESORTS ARE NOT THIS RUN DOWN. They may not have as many features and amenities as 4 or 5 star RESORTS...BUT THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT AMENITIES YOU OFFER YOUR GUEST AND THE UPKEEP AND THE OVERALL CONDITION OF THE PROPERTY. Literally, when we walked up to the front desk you understand how outdated and tired it is. It will take your breath away. Everything is run down.

LOCATION - PERECT

ROOMS - We had an ocean view king superior room, GRENADA 3008. The room was small and had no Furniture... not one drawer to put away your stuff...THE ONLY PLACE TO STORE YOUR CLOTHES WAS IN THE CLOSET ON CONCRETE SHELVES... We joked it must have been designed and built by CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA ( A PRISON CONTRACTOR) because everything was formed out of concrete...yes even the nightstands besides the bed. When you are staying for 10 days this is not enough space to store your clothes... So we lived out of OUR suitcase for our time here. Beds were hard and pillows were flat... bathrooms were small as well. UNACCEPTABLE...THIS ROOM COMPARED TO A $55.00 A NIGHT HOTEL IN THE UNITED STATES. But it had good water pressure and plenty of warm water

FOOD - AVERAGE TO BELOW AVERAGE at the buffet. Yes, you could always find something to eat... BUT THIS VACATION where we have paid for food. I want to eat something good not just FIND SOMETHING. The beach bbq was BETTER THAN THE REST and was the best meal of the week. But lets face it.....the bar is not that high!!!! The a la carte resturants were good. We ate at Lydias and the Italian resturants . The birds are ridiculous...I know it's the Caribbean and open and breezy--- we have been to other resorts where there were birds...but you can't leave your plate or they will get it. AT Hemispheres ( the buffet) they have chicken wire over the windows...which still does not work because birds still get in. At the grill by the pool, the sea gulls will knock the plate right out of hand. Once its out of your hand and on the ground they swarm. It happened almost everyday.

SERVICE - OUTSTANDING...the staff was great and very friendly.

BEACH - OUTSTANDING...BEAUTIFUL BEACH AND BEAUTIFUL WATER...we enjoyed our beach time and our walks up and down the beach

POOLS - NICE

POOL BAR - NOT FUNCTIONING...GREAT SET UP...BUT ONLY THE TOP PART OF THE BAR IS OPERATIONAL. THE BOTTOM PART WHERE YOU SWIM UP TO NOT WORKING.

VALUE - I KNOW THERE ARE DIFFERING VIEWS ON VALUE BUT THIS IS MY OPINION ON VALUE. VALUE TO ME IS WHEN YOU BUY 4 TIRES FOR $150.00 BUT THEY NORMALLY COST $400.00. THAT IS A VALUE.

BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT EVERYONE SPENT ON THEIR VACATION, I CAN NOT EVALUATE WHETHER IT WAS VALUE OR NOT....IN MY CASE THIS IS NOT A VALUE...I PURCHASED THE TRIP THRU CHEAPCARIBBEAN.COM AND PURCHASED IT IN MARCH 2014. THIS WAS THE MOST WE HAD EVER SPENT ON ANY VACATION WE HAVE EVER TAKEN TO THE CARIBBEAN...YET WAS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING...SO NO...IT WAS NOT A VALUE IN MY EYES.
MAYBE IF HAD PAID $1000.00 PER PERSON I WOULD SEE THE VALUE...BUT THAT WAS NOT THE CASE!!!!

TO WRAP THIS UP ------I WOULD NOT RECCOMEND THIS RESORT IN ITS CURRENT STATE...IF THEY EVER DECIDED TO SPEND ABOUT 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS TO UPDATE...THEN I WOULD ENTERTAIN THE IDEA OF RETURNING....BUT THERE ARE TOO MANY 3,4,OR 5 STAR RESORTS IN OTHER PLACES WITH BETTER AMENITIES IN BETTER SHAPE FOR FAR LESS MONEY..THAT I WOULD CHOOSE.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
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 17, 2014
Hi Jay,

As you pointed out, nearly everyone raves about our beach and I’m glad we can count you among them! It’s great to hear that you and your wife enjoyed your walks on our beach since the beach was something you mentioned as being really important to you in a vacation.

And even though you were disappointed with some aspects of your stay, it sounds like there were also a lot of other things that you really enjoyed at Jolly Beach, too (the location, service, pools, etc.).

I appreciate where you’re coming from with regards to the birds. We do our best to ensure the comfort of our guests but must also adhere to Antigua’s wildlife laws, which restrict us from harming or removing the birds or their nests and eggs. As you mentioned, we do use screens to help block access in the main buffet restaurant, and we also play a bird scare program through the speakers to reduce their presence as much as possible.

Antigua is known for being more expensive than some of the other Caribbean Islands, but it’s an incredible destination for beaches and we offer one of the best price points in Antigua…on Antigua’s best beach!

As you mentioned, there are differing views on value. While you may have spent more on your vacation in Antigua than in some of your other destinations, I hope you still found some value in our 5 on-site restaurants, weekly beach BBQ, 2 pools, many beach activities, nightly entertainment - and, of course, our outstanding beach and staff :)

Finally, as you point out, we are a 3 star resort. Our staff are diligent in caring for the property inside and out, and we have updated many of our rooms (an ongoing process), but yes, our rooms are more basic than what you’ll find in a luxury resort.

With the best of Antigua right outside, many guests tell us that they don’t spend much time in their rooms other than to sleep, but we will certainly take your feedback into consideration as we continue to make improvements.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish you the best of luck in your future travels.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

Agree that the hotel is very basic but it's very clean and staff very friendly. We really enjoyed our stay and were glad we were there in the 'low' season so had no problem booking into the on site restaurants or getting a sunbelt on the beach. The water sport team are fantastic and were very patient teaching us to sail a catamaran - we then sailed daily on our own and felt very safe as we knew they were keeping an eye on us ! We rarely say we will go back anywhere ( the world is too big) but would definitely return to Antigua and Jolly Beach.
Drinks are refilled promptly and food is good.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

A beautiful beach, lovely staff (Alwyn and Troy at the bar . Maria in the restaurant . Robin and his brother ) lovely , lovely friendly people but having a beautiful beach with virtually no loungers and only a handful of umbrellas on the whole site is such a shame . It desperately needs updating as looks like Butlins in the 70 s . The staff are amazing , friendly and such fun but it needs a lot of work .......

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
JollyManager, General Manager at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 17, 2014
Hi Deborah,

It sounds like you had a great experience with our staff and really enjoyed our beautiful beach, which makes me very happy to hear. I’ll sure to pass your compliments on to those you mentioned specifically :)

I do also appreciate your feedback about the loungers and umbrellas. This is something we’ll look at more closely to see how we can improve this aspect of our guests’ experience at Jolly Beach.

Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion!

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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Leeds, England
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
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

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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 #3 of 3 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):
Antigua's best all-inclusive value, the 464-room Jolly Beach Resort & Spa is an exciting Caribbean experience. The 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 water-sports, activities, Jolly Kidz and Teenz Clubs, 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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