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Starfish Jolly Beach Resort
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Reviews (4,893)
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All reviewsstandard roomindian restaurantjolly beach resorta la carte restaurantsjerk chickenann marieseafoodentertainment staffsupersaver roomsuper saver roomcoconut grillswim up barquiet poolstar resortthe main buffet restaurantconcierge deskthree star
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Reviewed November 4, 2012 via mobile

Myself husband and two children aged 16 and 14 went to this hotel for one week on 27th October for uk half term.
We booked this resort through Thomas Cook Signature, and was very very disappointed with the service of this company! Our flight was with Virgin Altantic which was fine, until we got off the plane to face the madness, the queues to get though passport control was an absolute nightmare and took sooo long in scorching heat so disorganised! Once through had to wait almost half hour for a transfer, the tour companies all fight over mini buses, my husband got left behind and had to wait for another transfer, really disgusting and really stressful!
Once at JBR was shown to our superior room (221) in the north block, very clean and in good condition, our block was quite with views over garden and beach-with 2 queen size beds, fridge, fantastic air con very large room and excellent for the four of us, also had free wifi.
On closer inspection the resort was in need of a complete refit... I had read the reviews on TripAdvisor and I totally agree with the poor reviews on the site. The hotel was built in late 80's and hasn't been maintained to a heigh standard since! It needs to have 3/4 million pounds spent on the resort, its so dated. The gardens are lovely and the two pools are clean, but the pool bar had a real yuckie smell, and looked like it needed a deep clean. All drinks are served in plastic cups that aren't washed well (that's when they had them)
The service at the bars was very hit and miss, Charlie was fantastic but another staff came across as lazy, or preferred to serve other nationalities who didn't know the world QUEUE!
The service in Hemispheres (breakfast, lunch and dinner) was terrible, had to ask for water and wine. The food was just ok, could always find something to eat, but not a large selection, lack of dinner plates... really?? Dirty used plates were allowed to stack up on our table. Lydia's was lovely, food ok service was excellent. The Italian restaurant "Bocciolo" was the worse, service was soo slow, waited 15mins for drinks and food was of a poor standard, the only good thing to say was it had great air con and was lovely to eat in the cool! We didn't stay for dessert.
The location of this hotel is what saves it, it's right on the amazing 1 mile beach. Beautiful white sand, sadly the sea was on red flag for few days as hurricane sandy had upset the current and was very dangerous, so no water sports, but it settled down before we had to leave and did use the free inc. kayaking and pedal boats.
To sum up, JBR is clean- in an excellent location, most staff are friendly and helpful, the weather was fantastic and we had a relaxing time. Would we return to this hotel? No. Would we recommend to our friends? No.
We will be Booking with Virgin holidays next time we travel to the Caribbean, stear clear of Thomas Cook Signature, you have been warned.
I hope you find this review helpful.

  • Stayed: October 2012
    • Value
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2  Thank Dencroft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

The resort itself has potential - but in the current condition it is an average 3* large resort. Large pool with shallow parts and a volley ball net. Music is played loudly around the volleyball net which is fine if you want to join in - there is however a deeper pool away from the music so you dont have to hear it. Plenty of sunbeds. The beach is lovely and long (some beaches in Antigua are quite small) Only moan about the beach was the sandflies which of course is not down to the resort!!
There is a well organised Kids club and the entertainment staff organise things to do around the pool area such as seashell making, bead making, beach footie, cricket, beer drinking comps, bingo - something for everyone!! If you have kids take plain white t shirts with you and they can tye die them by the pool or in kids club.
The restaurants we visited were Lydias a seafood restaurant - food was good and the beach location made it different. The Italian was plentiful too - it made a difference to have waiter service. The Buffet 'hemispheres' was adequate - the kids always found something they could eat and we didnt go hungry. If you look at prices and compare what you are paying with other 3* resorts you will see you are paying for the location and standard advertised.
Of course the resort does need upgrading but thats means money which clearly isnt available. Most of the staff are very pleasant, you may have to wait for service but that is the carribean way !
We had a superior room for 2 kids 2 adults - 2 double beds, comfortable enough - we only used our room for dressing, showering and sleeping in !!

Think all the A/C units need attention - old and loud, anyone with difficulties with their rooms were moved if they asked to be.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank johnkaye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

We travelled to the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa on the 1st October and returned on the 16th I was travelling with my three year old son and my 59 year old mum who is also diabetic; I can honestly say I have never been more disappointed. When we arrived at the hotel we had to wait over 1 hour to check in, then to be told our room wasn’t ready after another 15 minutes waiting we finally got our room keys. One of the first things we noticed about this hotel was the strong smell of sewage that continued throughout the duration of our holiday. That night we went down to the Hemisphere buffet restaurant and we really struggled to find anything that we liked the selection was very small, both my mum and my son are fussy eaters but I’m not and I even struggled to find anything to eat as it consisted of pasta, rice, chicken legs and fish with heads on everything was covered in some sort of sauce, the meat was that tough you couldn’t cut or eat it. I have never seen a buffet like it and we have travelled around a lot of the Caribbean Islands , upon speaking to the hotel manager I arranged to have pasta in tomato sauce made for my son for his dinner, the only problem was that on the third night they put chilli in the sauce which I’m sure you can imagine it burned my 3 year old sons mouth and therefore he would not eat the pasta again, even since returning home he still will not eat pasta as he thinks it’s going to hurt him. I also arranged to have crunchy vegetables for my mum as all on the buffet were soggy and over cooked and she has to be careful what she eats due to having diabetes, but even the ones they brought her were soggy. I also didn’t enjoy having to share what food we did try with the amount of flies in the restaurants, even though they try to cover the food up you can still see the flies getting in. We tried all the speciality restaurant which were not much better, we paid extra at the seafood restaurant for the lobster, but it was that tough you couldn’t cut it or eat it, in all of the restaurants everything was served with a pile of rice or pasta. There were no traditional Caribbean dishes. After a few days we gave up and went to the supermarket and brought food we could eat and enjoy. I was also surprised that when we booked this hotel it said they have 4 restaurants and a grill, what it didn’t say was that there are only 2 open per night.
On our first day we went in the sea but got out quick as it felt like something was stinging us, we asked at reception and was told it was probably “sea ants” personally i have never heard of them. The next day we went back in and while swimming I felt something on my hand and arm I very quickly got my son and mum out of the water, I went to reception again to ask if they had, had any reports of jellyfish in the area, she said yes by this point I am very annoyed that there isn’t any warning signs and that we were not told the day before when I went to reception, during this conversation the receptionist had called the hotel manager to come out, he found it amusing that I had been stung and didn’t understand why I was annoyed. I know jellyfish are a natural occurrence in the sea but if you know that you have a large amount of them in the area you should be warning your guests if ever it had been my son that had been stung my reaction would have been a lot worse and I did not appreciate being laughed at. I asked how to stop the stinging and he said to put rum on it, the next day we noticed that they were selling jellyfish bite relief in their shop but still no warnings for other guests that day we seen a few other people come running out of the sea shouting that they had been stung by something.
The weather was absolutely horrendous we had torrential rain for 3 days straight, and on and off every other day, when it rained there was nowhere to go as the restaurants were shut and there was no where undercover, so we had to stay in the room, trying to keep a 3 year old entertained was a nightmare, we found a children’s channel on the TV which was great except the electric kept going off and when it happened at night it was pitch black, even if you had wanted to go anywhere the entire hotel had flooded and majority of it looked like a huge lake all the pathways were under water so if you did leave your room you had to either go paddling or try and find your way through the corridors by the rooms. When you got to the buffet restaurant there was rain coming through the roof which made the floor very slippery and if it was raining you couldn’t get any alcoholic drinks as the bar was outside and no one would venture out to get any as they ending up soaking wet. The staff were wearing their wellies as the kitchen had flooded which I should imagine is not very hygienic. On many nights the bar ran out of drinks and the solid plastic glasses so you ended up with cheap flimsy plastic cups, I have never known a all inclusive hotel to run out of drink both alcoholic and soft drinks and considering the hotel was virtually empty made the situation even worse, I dread to think how they cope in there busy season. The entertainment is a joke I don’t know how they can even call it that, a DJ playing music is not entertainment the rest consisted of karaoke on one night, a dance show (the best night they did) and a bonfire on the beach which was postponed that many time due to the weather you never knew when it was going to be.
The smell of sewage got even stronger after the rain so we didn’t even want use the pool due to what could be in there from the flood water. we also got bit to death if you sat on the beach you got covered in sand flies, by the pool and round the hotel you got bit by mosquitoes and ants, we even got bit in bed we had the room fumigated 3 times and we still got bit, you do not go on holiday and get bit over 100 times each. We had heard that they were meant to fog the area but we never seen this happen and considering the amount of people being bit would have been a good idea.
We booked to go on a trip around the island and we asked at reception if they did a wakeup call for 7am as we had to be ready for 8.30, they said yes so we booked one, because of this I didn’t set my alarm, when we woke up it was 8am as reception didn’t call hence we had no time for breakfast and made it just in time, very hot and stressed as trying to get us all ready in under 30 minutes was a nightmare. When I asked at reception why no one had called they laughed saying they forgot, if they are offering a service then they should provide that service.
By the start of the second week we had had enough we went and seen the rep and asked to change hotel, she asked why we hadn’t been too she her and I explained that as she was only here to 8 am till 10 am on her days in the hotel, due to the time difference my son was still asleep and so was my mum and to be honest I am not the sort of person who likes to complain I kept hoping it was going to get better, she asked what the problem was and we explained as above she phoned around to some other hotels but said that it was going to cost a lot of money as we would have to pay a cancellation fee at the Jolly Beach, transfer fees and pay to rebook at another hotel after already paying over £5000 for this holiday I was not going to waste any more money on it.
I can honestly say I have never stayed anywhere like this and I feel sorry for anyone who like us have saved very hard to go on the trip of a lifetime and have ended up here. I strongly suggest that Hayes and Jarvis reassess the star rating at which they are marketing this hotel and I would not recommend anyone to go to this hotel.
This is a copy of the letter i have sent to Hayes and jarvis

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank melissa h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Well where to start paid a lot of money for a lot of rubbish. To begin with Thomas cook said was out of hurricane seasons it wasn't this was suppose to be one of there signature holidays um when did they last visit? So when the weather did dry out , the flies came out to all over the food in the buffet area and the dead ones all over restaurant floor to well I'm no snob but my god do have some standards. About the rain that came down through buffet area ceilings buckets collecting rain as it came through staff in wellies as kitchen floor floodied if I had paid three hundred quid I wold have laughed but when it cost two thousand just for me it wasn't so funny. Now for next part my sister got married in Antigua on the beach very romantic I agree but the before events left something to be desired! Where the rain had fallen heavily for three days it had just laid on top of grass like a couple foot of it so on the wedding day asked in the morin if they could clear the flooded area for that was where my sister had to walk through in her wedding dress was told not to worry about they would sort it a hr before they start to look at the situation which really wasn't except able which cause unnecessary stress for the groom another reason to thank Thomas cook in season my bottom. Lets now talk rooms well below standard broken switches mosquito nets missing filthy showers etc. Now for the three restaurants food well below standard for price paid also only one restaurant open on different nites whilst not in season so they cover that by opening the buffet seven days a week oh expect Tuesday or Thursday so lets hope you don't arrive on either of those days because if you do and it's out of season you won't b able to eat in restaurant as you need to book with them to eat so you will go hungry. The plastic beakers you drink out of should come with a health warning to you'll be fine if you don't smell in the beaker and drink with a straw. Now for the positive of the holiday the staff are wonderful , the local people are very pleasant and the ten days of sunshine and beach was perfect.

  • Stayed: October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank dexastra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2012

I visited Jolly Beach for 2 days for a relaxing break from work, but I was disappointed. I did not get the room I booked and there were no towels in my room and I had to wait for 5 hours after 3 requests to get them. I also couldn't get a beach towel for the entire first day. I enjoyed the meals though, the dining room staff was awesome and the beach was fantastic and very clean. The bar close to the pool with the music was also very enjoyable.

Stayed: April 2012
Thank Koren N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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