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“A waste of a beautiful beach.”

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Starfish Jolly Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Reviewed March 18, 2013

Our group (5 couples) stayed at the Jolly Beach Feb 15-25. I pick the destination every year and am disappointed that I let the group down on this trip. I read all the reviews but….
We paid for ocean view rooms but most of us were put on the ground floor where the only view was of part of the lawn. Everyone had problems with their rooms ranging from weak air conditioning to having a leak from an upstairs bathroom. Our room had no clock and a non-working phone. The couple with the leak complained daily but all management did was send a maid to clean up the water. Literally on the last night they offered to move them to a dry room!
The resort did not live up to reviews:
• Many people raved about the lobster dinner but the restaurant was always out of it. At least over the 10 days we were there.
• Many people mentioned plenty of beach chairs but we often had to do without.
• Someone had a picture of an empty swim-up bar. I wrongly assumed this was temporary. They don’t stock or staff this bar.
• Although there was a guard posted directly behind our beach chairs, my shoes were stolen when we walked down the beach to take sunset pictures.
• The internet was sporadic at best. Don't think you can work from here.
The resort is in a great location but it definitely needs some work. I have a feeling that they are just not able to run at full capacity. The rooms we were given are possibly only rented when absolutely necessary, hence their disrepair. And being filled to capacity could account for most of the problems we encountered.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank edbennetti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,160 - 2,166 of 4,443 reviews

Reviewed March 17, 2013

My husband, daughter and I just got back from Jolly Beach yesterday. Overall we had a lovely time. Beach was amazing, the pools were nice and the overall expericence was wonderful . . .BUT, the hotel needs a major over haul. The Owners are sqeezing for every last nickel and dime by cheap'n out on food, drinks (in small juice size glasses), room quality, landscaping, wifi service (Limited) and entertainment. They are not investing in any improvemnets and this is sad becuase they have the most BEAUTIFUL location on the island and a true diamond in the rough!!! It just needs a bit of TLC and service quality improvements. Our room was a queen superiour in the newer part of the resort. The room size was a typical American size room. But, as far as anything else being upto American standards in the room. . .NO! Beds were hard, bed linens were worn out and low quality, the room was clean but, the bathroom was a mess. The shower head dribbled, the sink and shower faucets were old and a bit moldy, the hot water ran out all the time especially, before dinner. We are simple travelers and we don't require a ton of fancy decore' or art work. However saying that, all they have to do is improve the Beds, Linens, Updated the bathroom and this would improve the entire experience. The TV and the air conditioner were old but, both worked. The food was average not bad just not outstanding, the staff was 50/50 - good/bad.

Some things I found strange:
- No Hot tubs anywhere and pools closed at 6PM
- No swim up bar service - Had to get out of the pool to get drinks
- Cups for Cocktails and drinks were small <== Tip - Bring your own plastic tumbler
- Deserts - Not sure what they were 90% of the time. Not good at all!
- Island Fruit was not available beyond Pineapple and Bananas???
- The lack of a Disco

Overall the our trip was fun and relaxing. Did I meantion the beautiful beach!! The beach and pools saved the trip from being a complete let down. A few improvements of the property and I think this place would be a winner. Just not sure we would go back anytime soon unless we rented a condo.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank cfrank8040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Well i stayed in the jolly beach in March 2013 with a friend,i read reviews before but gave it a shot.I made a mistake.First the reception staff are slow,check in took ages then we were sent to the room which was dirty and dated,as we didnt get a safe key,had to walk a long distance back,of course there was a charge for this.The rooms were the worst i have stayed in and even when we were checking in,i couold hear people askign for their rooms to be changed.
We went to the bar later on,all inclusive,looking forward to chilling and having a few drinks,the worst bar staff on the planet,slow and think they own the place,bloody terrible,we got 2 beers after 20 mins wait and they came in the tiniest cups you could imagine,what a scam we both thought.Anyway we went for dinner and i tell you,my dog would refuse the food....i wont say anymore on this
there is internet that only works in the lobby and it is so slow and keeps going on and off

to sum things up,would i stay in the jolly beach again...NO,we actually moved to english harbour and stayed in the OceanInn and it was like paradise compared to the jolly

i think the Jolly needs a european manager and get rid of any staff that has an attitude

Room Tip: stay in Ocean Inn in english harbour,you wont be disappointed
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank snuggycork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

So we just spent 5 days here...

1. The food is actually disgusting. Possible the worst I have had at a resort. We settled for breakfast daily and went out for all other meals. The Italian dinner we had hear made us both sick. Almost inedible. The drinks are fine and yes served in sippy cups but you can bring your own if you are a big drinker.

2. The room is tiny but hot water and a/c- for the price it felt fine. We asked for a renovated quiet room and paid $50 for the week and got a fridge.

3. The concierge- wasn't always so helpful. The bus leaves right from outside the resort for $1 we went everywhere on it- great way to see the island/ totally safe- instead they tried to push us to take inflated cabs. They suggested activities we didn't want to do and seemed to hesitate when it was our choices we wanted help with. In general the hotel staff was nice but pretty slow.

4. The staff- the housekeepers, bell hops and bartenders were so nice.

5. The beach is awesome for the price- we got such a cheap package and were really in awe of how nice it was. The hawkers were pretty mellow on the beaches.

6. Daily you only get one beach towel and they are a bit warn (as are the sheets.)
The quiet pool was nice- we were not so into the family/ loud pool.
In general there is a lack of beach/ pool chairs. People seem to get up at the crack of dawn to reserve. We always found some but it wasn't easy.

7. The resort must have been built in the 70's or 80's with little updating we were fine with it. It felt clean but if you are looking for shiny and new this is not the place for you.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank aliceinnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013 via mobile

Just returned from 8 nite stay here . Didn't do all inclusive, great idea as food was below average. (We tried one meal at the Italian restaurant on arrival day=poisonous). Had a jr suite..plenty of room.no drawer space, but closet had shelves, very adequate storage overall. A/C wasn't working up to par, someone came immediately, cool enough to sleep, but it was a struggle. Bathroom small, but great shower..definitely needs updating. Adrian on beach guy to see for umbrellas, $10US/day. People get out there by 5:30am to get huts..DON'T BOTHER , umbrellas are fine. Jason best guy at reception. Had a massage at the spa, HEAVENLY. some days problems with towels, speak to reception in person! Main pool always crowded, never went there, as I am a beach girl. Worse part, NO INTERNET in rooms..but for last minute trip during high season..not so bad overall. Heard other people complaining about major plumbing and bug issues..reception handled it well. Overall, C+

  • Stayed: March 2013
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4  Thank Pamela M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Look...don't beat up on these guys. Jolly Beach never claimed to be anything but a decent 3-star resort. That's what you pay for and that's what you get...straight up! The beach is great, the buikldings aren't falling into the sea yet, the food won't kill you and there's pleanty of it, and the rum is the same they pour at Jumby Bay! Fact is it's a decent value....just expect what you pay for! 3 straight up stars for services and accommodations and 5 stars for value!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We visited Jolly Harbour at the end of January and after reading the reviews we had mixed feelings about what we would receive. It certainly isn't 5 star but everything you would want from a holiday is there. We had a standard room and it was clean, comfortable, a good sized bathroom with hot water every day and a more than adequate shower. No bath but we never use one anyway so no problem for us. There was also plenty of storage space. We were on the ground floor overlooking the pool so away from any noise from the evening entertainment.
The food was ok, nothing brilliant , but we never went hungry. Everything was there at the buffet breakfast.....cereals, freshly cooked omelettes of your choice, eggs cooked to your liking, sausages, bacon , breads, etc. We found all of the waitresses really friendly and helpful and they constantly asked us if everything was ok and did we need refills while we were having our meals.
The evening meals in Hemispheres tended to be a bit 'samey'.......Chicken done in various ways...... but we also tried the themed restaurants on a few occasions, the Italian being our favourite.
The best feature of this hotel has to be the beach!! After going on the circumnavigation trip on the Catamaran and picking up tourists at other hotels along the coastline, I have to agree with some of the other reviews and say that Jolly Harbour is the best beach on the island.
There is so much room you can be 20 feet away from other sunbathers.
What let it down for me was the evening entertainment The local dancers, although very good, seemed to do the same thing most nights but with different costumes on and you either love Karaoke or you hate it.
It was nice to have the Harbour within easy walking distance as it broke up the monotony of staying on the hotel premises. We sometimes, after evening meal, walked to the Harbour and had a coffee or a glass wine.
This was the first time we had done an all inclusive holiday in the Caribbean...we usually go on Cruises...but we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although the hotel does not live up to the same standards of a cruise with regards the food and entertainment, you have to remember that you are in the Caribbean, where the standard of living is not as good as what we are used to back home. Go with an open mind and don't expect 5 star when you have only paid for 3 star!!
We loved Jolly Beach and would certainly go again.

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking or around the main pool are the best positioned as they are near to reception and...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank June L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Starfish Jolly Beach Resort

Address: Bolans Village, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua (Formerly Jolly Beach Resort & Spa)
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 #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Price Range: $167 - $518 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Starfish Jolly Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 464
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set among 40 acres of tropical paradise, Starfish Jolly Beach Resort is Antigua’s largest all-inclusive resort, featuring 464 rooms with private balconies or terraces surrounded by the stunning white sand and turquoise waters of Jolly Harbour, and lush tropical gardens. Enjoy the warm sun and the Caribbean Sea breeze, sail along the stunning waters, or explore the nearby golf courses and marina for an unforgettable stay in paradise. ... 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
Starfish Jolly Beach Resort Antigua/Bolans

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