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“A tropical beach getaway not a Luxury 5 Star Resort”

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Starfish Jolly Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Reviewed May 1, 2013

If crackled but patched walkways along neatly landscaped grounds, no waiter service on the gorgeous sparsely populated beach, If local bands and dance performances are not enough entertainment for you, and limited choices on the short well-rounded menus are a turnoff to you please do not book this wonderful tropical hideaway and then come back and complain. Set your priorities first.
We stayed 8 days April 2013 in a superior King room. We chose to upgrade from standard for the larger bathroom when booking. If you need a tub or elbow room I suggest you do the same. After an email exchange with Onica, the Guest Services Representative, to discuss our needs we agreed that a room at the quiet end of the resort would work best for us. We enjoyed the 3 minute walk from our second floor room in the building named Jamaica to the public areas of the resort.
As far as service goes we had a few favorites Alvin always greeted my friend with a big “hello birthday boy” Sandra was a delight at breakfast. At no time during our stay were we treated with anything other than respect and a smile.
To address some previous complaints; we did not see a shortage of dishes, flatware, drink mixers, fresh fruits, breakfast choices or towels as reported by others.
There is a limited number of beach loungers many are discolored and some are broken and should be repaired or replaced, also a limited number of palapas but we never had a problem finding one for our use no matter the time of day. Natural shade on the beach is so plentiful no one need be laying in the full sun unless by choice. Always loungers available by the pools.
I have visited the Caribbean so often I needed to add pages to my passport. I guess that qualifies me as experienced. Would I recommend Jolly Beach to others? A definite yes is so long as they weren’t looking for a regal, luxurious pampering vacation. It is what it is a 3 star resort on a 5 star beach. Would I return? Yes if a return trip to Antigua is in my future you bet I would.

Room Tip: Upgrade to Superior if you need a tub or elbow room
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank jersegal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 1, 2013

The beach on this resort is absolutely FANTASTIC so it is definitely worth going there.
Sure, you can find some minor faults: the hotel is back-dated and it could really use a new look but all in all the rooms are clean (new towels every day), the bed is very comfortable, the food is good (not very varied for dinners but very good lunches at the buffet), the drinks are stronger than on other resorts and if all you want is to have a good time and relax on the beach, then go for it!

The only thing to really complain about would be the local people disturbing you every day trying to sell you stuff on the beach but you can find ways to avoid them and be polite at the same time and it only bothered us because the only thing we were looking for was peace and relaxation so I guess it depends on how sociable you are on your holidays....

The service is alright but the staff looked very tired (especially at the bars, same 2-3 people all the time) and a little bit more enthusiasm and maybe a different type of friendliness would not hurt and by that I mean they should probably keep in mind you are their customers not their "pals".

There are 2 pools which are big enough and very clean but when you have the gorgeous ocean so close, you really don't need anything else.

You should also bear in mind that if you are looking for the fun kind of resort, this is not necessarily the case. While there are a lot of excursions of all types you can do outside, in the actual resort nothing much is happening (theme nights are not very successfully outlined and no bands playing like I've seen on other resorts, or maybe it was just bad timing for us, but it really didn't bother us since as I've said before all we wanted was to relax in the sun and not necessarily "party").

Room Tip: Rooms with an ocean view are definitely recommended
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Ioana S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2013

We stayed at Jolly Beach April 12th-20th, it was a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't stay there too long. Our room was in the Puerto Rico building, king superior, is was big enough, and kept really clean, we had fresh flowers around the room every day. The beach is amazing, public though, so there is always someone asking you to look at their merchandise, or if you were "ok". The pools were kept clean, but couldn't get served at the pool bar, unless you got out of the pool. Take a walk up to the flag at the end of the beach, you can see everything from that hill. We never had any trouble finding chairs on the beach, but people do claim them early. Donald (the watersports guy) was very helpful, teaching our friend to wind surf too, and pumped up our raft. Don't expect top shelf drinks, and they ran out of coconut rum after a couple of days, sometimes you would have to wait awhile to get a drink too, Charlie was always funny and helpful. I would suggest taking your own insulated mugs too, their drink glasses were really small. You can take a short walk to a grocery store behind the resort for some supplies. Beware of the birds flying around the buffet area, which can be annoying, they get trapped in the buffet area. The food at the buffet was good, but not too many choices, so it gets boring. The Seafood and Italian restaurants were really good too, but didn't expect to have to pay more for some items. The people at resort were very nice, but you have to be nice to them too. I had no trouble using the wifi in the lobby area, and even in my room sometimes. The entertainment could have been better, it didn't keep us around too long, but we had some rainy nights too. I would recommend taking bug spray too. Don't expect to buy too many souveniers at the airport, it's not very big, hated spending 2 hours waiting for our flight.

Room Tip: Puerto Rico building was away from the loud entertainment, but even on the first floor we had a grea...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Monica O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2013

My wife and I stayed here from April 13 th through the 20th.If you need a relaxing vacation this is the place.There really is no night life, except for there shows, which were based around there culture, for the most part, so its good for the 40 plus crowd ,who are sleeping by midnight.

The rooms were adequate, but small ,depends on what you book, but there only for sleeping in anyways ,so who cares.

The air conditioning really works well, and ceiling fans ,are great to have in the rooms.

I agree with the other posts, as the showers could use a little work ,but the hot water never ran out on us, and the water pressure was good.

We were in a block called martinique which was very close to everything, including the bar and area where they put on the shows, so if you need to be asleep by 9 or 10 pm please do not select this block.Keep ,in mind that the further you go away from this block ,the further you go away from the buffet and main area.

The hotel, we found was very well maintained, and very clean, all the staff was amazing except for the long bar area, where you really had to get someone's, attention to be served, and be prepared to wait for a drink, at the long bar, i felt the bartenders did not really enjoy there jobs.
Either that or they need more help.

if you want to play tennis, the courts are free ,but if you do not bring in your own racquets, they are 10 dollars each to use.

The workout jim was really good ,had all you need to work of all that good food.

The food was really good, i had no complaints whatsoever ,the indian resteraunt was excellent and the italian also , hemispheres the main buffet was really good also ,and clean.

I think to improve the buffet, they should have in in a closed building.This is probably one of the only resorts thatwe have visited, that had open enclosures for dining.Except for the italian it was a closed of structure.

The breakfast was good, same items every day, but with so many items to choose from, you could eat a different breakfast ,every morning for a 7 or 14 day stay.

Now the beach is probably one of the best, i have been on, the color of the water is truly a sight to see , very clam and nice for swimming.Big and lots of room for everyone.

The sun is pretty intense here so bring lots of sun block.

There is a grocery store nearby within a 5 min walk , liquor store ,and everyrthing that one would need.

There is a bus stop, right outside the main gate, across the road from the grocery store, which takes you into St Johns, a city with shopping and markets, for only a 1.50 US, bus 20.The cruise ships dock there, and there is plenty of duty free shopping, if you like, we spent a whole day in St.johns, and ate lunch at Roti king, which was really good.

We never got sick, and the water at the hotel was safe to drink.

For a 3 star resort, we had no issues, and really no complaints.

Antigua is a beautiful place, and you must travel to this place, to experience there beautiful country, and have a great relaxing vacation.

We want to thank Chrislee ,Corgen,Daja,Alex ,and all the Staff who work at this resort, for making our vacation truly, relaxing, and enjoyable, God Bless all the people of Antigua and there beautiful country.................

Room Tip: Furthest away from main lobby area if you need to be asleep before 11 30 pm.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Bruno G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

My wife and I were at Jolly Beach Resort for a week in the middle of March. You could probably call us "semi" seasoned travellers. We've been fortunate to have visited St. Lucia (4 times), Cuba (3 times), Jamaica (3 times), Domincan (once...) and finally Antigua. Jolly Beach is advertised as a 3+ star resort but it's got a lot more going for it than that. Sure, the rooms are small ( I mean SMALL.....) but we adapted and made out fine - hell, how often during the trip are you in the room anyways. The main attraction that Jolly Beach has going for it is their beautiful white sand beach. It stretches for a good mile and a half and is simply breath taking. The sunsets from our room were unbelievable. I have celiac disease which means that I can't have wheat products of any kind - I have to stick to a 100% gluten-free diet. As you can imagine, this sometimes proves to be a real p.i.t.@$$, but I'm stuck. But I have to say that the food provided at Jolly Beach's buffet was the best buffet fare that I have experienced in my Caribbean travels. The variety was there and the quality of the food was extremely good. Of course, desserts were pretty much non-existant for me, but my wife had no problem finding 5 or 6 per meal that suited her just fine !! The island itself if amazing. You have to set aside half a day and take an island tour. We were very fortunate in pre-booking a tour with Sean at Scenic Tours Antigua (check out their website). Sean is an ex-school teacher and is very versed in Antigua's history. He's a great story teller and very charming guy. At the resort, we didn't have any problems finding suitable lounges to use during the day. The evening entertainment was nicely varied and the overall quality was quite good. My wife and I usually rate a resort at the end of the stay by simply asking each other...."Would you come back here?" This time was an easy "Yes !!!"....but for two weeks next time.

Room Tip: To get the full sunset experience from your room, ask for a top floor.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Reper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

We "visited" this resort for one day to attend a wedding - we stayed at a nearby 5 star.
Well, we arrive to find that this place needs a ton of love. There was maybe, a handful of guests and it seemed deserted. No people? so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Not even on the beach?! The people seem to only come out after the sun goes down? STRANGE
Seemed clean and has potential or maybe "had" potential back in the day... I can not imagine paying and staying at this resort, for more than a day (if that).
Minimal staff, and I was not NOT impressed by attitudes and I'm pretty darn friendly... I have traveled to many places and know, if you want to get away... search around... I wouldn't suggest this place.
Sandals should buy this place and make it worth while... sorta a waste of property just sitting there unused and unmaintained... sad.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sue R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

Just finally got around to making a tripadvisor account so figured we would do some reviews. We went there after becoming engaged (we are in our mid-20s). The staff was great, the beach was great, but we went there during a tropical storm so obviously that put a damper on some of the travel. Still though, we got some sun, and enjoyed the resort. The room was a little lacking, we definitely had some issues with our bathroom, e.g., flooding and toilet issues but it got the job done. When we travel we don't care so much about the room so this may matter more to others.

Food was great for the most part, could use more options, by far the best part of the resort is the service. The bartenders especially were great, but the front desk people were also attentive and actually cared. Anyway, we traveled October, 2012 (so this past fall) and would recommend this resort generally.

Also, we used Antigua Brides for our engagement photos and would highly recommend them for anyone trying to do something similar!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Will-and-Karen-27
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)
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: $169 - $531 (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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