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“Misleading and VERY dissappointed!!!”

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Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Clapham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Misleading and VERY dissappointed!!!”
Reviewed August 25, 2013

We had a weeks stay at the Jolly Beach resort and although not expecting fantastic things, knowing that its a basic 3 star resort, we were still very disappointed at how the most basic things weren't even satisfactory. Like all the reviews say, the beach is amazing and that really was about it. The restaurant food really wasn't good at all and there was a lot of items which were either not available or you had to pay extra for! I mean what's that about. Its all inclusive and really don't expect that. Also on two of the nights not all the restaurants were open which was very disappointing as it made the food option very limited.
The rooms are small but and clean which is fine but the AC was a constant problem and the showers provided little to no hot water consistently for our entire stay.
The staff in whole were friendly and as accommodating as they could be.
The evening entertainment was....well, was there any evening entertainment??! Cause if you blink you'll miss it. There was a bonfire night one evening which was okay but it was hardly entertainment. Other than that there was just music one evening and then that was it.
Overall we were disappointed with the holiday but tried to make the best of it however I cant say I would recommend this hotel. Before we went on holiday we checked all the reviews and took the good with the bad knowing that everyone's opinions and expectations are different but something has clearly changed in the last few months cause all the other recent reviews seem to echo a lot of points I have mentioned. I can imagine in its location it was once a really good resort but I think it may have had its day. Do read all reviews before you go so you know what to expect.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KarenEJones33
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, November 28, 2013
Thank you for your candid comments about your stay at the resort. We are very happy to hear you loved the beach and that you and your family were well-treated by the staff. We are disappointed that you did not feel as positive about your entire stay.

We do offer 2 different rooming options at the resort - all inclusive and room only. The details of our all inclusive packages are clearly laid out on our website (see the “All Inclusive” page); our wish is that all potential guests review our website so they can make the best choice to suit their holiday needs. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case.

We also realise that you mentioned all restaurants not being open. As with any resort, we hope you understand that it is not economically feasible to have all five restaurants open at a time when we are at our lowest occupancy levels.

Our entertainment package varies nightly - from live DJ’s to Karaoke to Bonfires.

And for those guests who especially enjoy cultural entertainment, we invite you to join us at the resort for some of our favourite events and holidays:

1) Carnival (July / August): We host a week of entertainment and events to celebrate the music, dance, and stunning costumes of Antigua.

2) Independence (Oct 27 - Nov 1): A special time of year for us, when we can share our culture and wear our beautiful national dress to show off our true colors.

3) Christmas (Dec 22-Dec 31): Santa arrives by boat on the snow white beach, with family fun and activities for everyone.

4) New Years (Dec 31): Live bands, dancing, fireworks, and the traditional “dive into the Fantasy Pool.”

We understand your disappointment and we appreciate that you took the time out to review our resort.

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.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2013

We have been going to Antigua for over 10 years now. Our local hotel was booked and we decided to stay at the Jolly Beach Hotel & Spa for the first few days of our visit. I cannot begin to describe how disappointed we all were. Even my 10 year-old daughter who is always just happy to be in Antigua couldn't bare the place.
The staff is rude and discourteous which does not make sense with people whom decide to work with tourists. They will do the least amount of work possible and complain about it. We felt very uncomfortable asking for a simple glass of water.
The rooms are extremely dated. We had no hot water in the showers for 2 whole days and found cockroaches in our bathroom. The air conditioning didn't work for the first 24 hours and once they "fixed it" it was so loud we couldn't decide if it was best to have it on or off. They are extremely stingy with the towels and my daughter and I had to share one.
The food is awful. I am not a picky eater and will eat almost anything as long as it's fresh and well prepared. Thank goodness for the fruit! One simply cannot get a decent cup of coffee anywhere throughout the whole place.
The beaches are stunning. However you need to compete for a place with the beach vendors whom practically force their local souvenirs on you. I ended up buying t-shirts which I will never use simply to be left alone. Good luck trying to get a beach chair.
We were given a room very, very, very far from reception, restaurants, beach, pool, etc. So much that when it rained we had to drive back to reception/restaurants in order not to get wet.
The grill/barbecue by the pool where lunch is served offers the worst service of all. I have never met a grumpier cook as the lady making the burgers and hotdogs. My husband asked for a cheese burger. She forgot the cheese. He went back and politely asked if he could please have some cheese. The woman literally handed him a piece of cheese from her hands to his. I asked for some salad with my chicken and she said it was too late as I should have mentioned before (which I had).
They are very stingy also with their pool towels. You are only allowed one per guest and you need to leave a US$10 deposit for each one. As if anyone in their right mind would want to take their used up, greasy towels home.
The hotel shop is a rip off. They charge US$5 for each bottle of water which you can get for about US$1 at the local supermarket.
The pool doesn't open until 9:00am which at a resort in the Caribbean is totally unacceptable.
I would not recommend this place to anyone!!!!!

The ONLY good experience over our 3 day stay was Lydia's Crab Whole restaurant. Excellent food and service. Might as well not be part of the resort.

Room Tip: Do not stay at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Lydia C
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, November 28, 2013
Thank you for providing this feedback about the resort, and we are very sorry to hear of your disappointment.

We are very committed to providing excellent service for our guests, and, as such, have recently implemented a staff training and customer service program called our “ICARE Program” to encourage staff to cheerfully meet the needs of guests and ensure that guests’ concerns are completely handled and resolved before they leave our resort. We have also been recently awarded the World Customer Care Award by Virgin Holidays for the second consecutive year.

We understand your disappointment; with the improvements mentioned above and your feedback our service will only improve.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Bolans hotels

Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2013

We put a review about our recent stay at the jolly beach while still there - it seems to have disappeared - we have never put a bad review on line, far from it we make a point to congratulate good service and have never felt the need to make a poor review! In this case we simply would not want anyone else to experience the dreadful time endured. Hopefully this time the review will stay on line and others will be spared the ordeal.

The beach is indeed lovely and staff are friendly - though they dont always fo their job...

Rooms are basic, beds are uncomfortable, air con doesnt work and food is not good ! Despite paying extra for wifi in the room it was extremely unreliable.

The main problem is poor management. Drunken, really poor and indecent / disgraceful behaviour (by a minority of guests ) was not addressed by staff - and security did nothing about the situation until urged to do so. Alcohol was still served - and managent did not take appropriate action for several nights despite repeated requests from guests. Those particular incidences were particularly embarrassing for all concerned and management could and should have taken control of the situation before it got out of hand.
The jolly beach hotel is not to be recommended, it is possibly the worse stay ever had - and we travel regularly both for work and pleasure.
Antigua is a beautiful island - do visit it! Stay somewhere else!

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 1Darwin
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, November 28, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. We are happy that you enjoyed our beach and found our staff to be friendly.

On behalf of the resort, we would like to apologize that your stay was marred by the behaviour of, as you said, “a minority of guests” and that you felt management didn’t address the situation before it escalated. However, please bear in mind that even they are our guests and would need to be handled with tact and professionalism. Our ultimate goal is that all our guests have a memorable experience.

Antigua certainly is a beautiful island, and we hope that on your next return you will consider giving Jolly Beach Resort a second chance.

We have implemented a number of new measures and we continue to strive towards our mantra, which is intentionally choosing to find amicable solutions to guests needs with respect and empathy.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

So I'll start with the good:

- The beach is magnificient. That is all. However, forget about getting a prime location in front of the hotel as these are already taken by the annoying vendors and their crappy merchandise.

Now, the bad:

- While I know this is not the hotel's fault, be warned that there are annoying, loud frogs that yell all night long. You might want to bring earplugs, or you will not sleep.

- The hotel is very ugly and dated. I had the impression of being in the 1960s.

- The room is small and full of mosquitoes. Even if you kill them all, there will be tons more the following night because the maids clean the room with the door open, thus letting many more in.

- The toilets in my hotel room ceased functionning one night...after I had just used it. The toilet door is really more of a closet door, it is literally the same as the closet door. You can actually see through it as it has slats, and you can pretty much hear everything going on in there !

- The food is outright UNEATABLE. It is always the same unhealthy food. There are always birds flying around the buffet area, landing on the food and plates. Sea Gulls literally dive into your plate while you are still holding it. I saw one person leave their table to get a drink and seconds later her food was no longer there as it had been devoured by Sea Gulls.

- The drinks are way too strong, and offer very little variety.

- Upon arriving we were given two keys (actual keys) to our room. We were not given any towel cards of informed on the usage of the safe. We eventually had to go back with our credit card to make a deposit for both.

- The staff, mainly the female, are uncourteous, do not smile and sometimes don't even say a word when you enter the room (towel lady).

- The vendors on the beach bother you every day to buy their garbage. If you are sleeping on the beach chair, they will wake you up. I don't sugget to take their ''ghetto'' tour. I did and regretted it.

To give you an idea of how bad this hotel really is, when I did an organized tour booked through my vacation representative, the tour guide asked me to tell him SERIOUSLY what I though of the hotel once he saw where I was staying. I told him what I thought, and he laughed saying he has heard that before. Even the locals know this place sucks.

We couldn't wait to leave and would NEVER go back to this hell of a place.

We would not recommend to our worst ennemy.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Denis2686
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grays Thurrock, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2013

we have just returned from an unforgettable holiday at the jolly Beach resort.

The Rooms are out of date and do need to be up graded, we had several issues with no hot water during our stay, most annoyingly when we first arrived our room was not available until 7pm and had no water for a shower but the beds were comfortable and were cleaned on a regular basis.

we found the food to be average and very repetitive, to make a change though we did eat at the Crows Nest outside of the resort. during the day we did eat at the bar grill and found the food to be very nice, Marjorie serving the food was always nice to us, she did look a bit miserable but I think I would be working over a hot grill in 34 degrees of heat whilst the guests are jumping in the pool and having fun. it was quite funny watching the sea gulls trying to pinch peoples food as they walked to their sun beds.

entertainment around the pool was really good and I must thank Ann Marie, Elroy( DJ Chrome) Rakeim and Terry for making our holiday so much fun. The evening entertainment was good especially the bonfire on the beach and we had some really good drunken evenings around the bar special thanks to Neil ,Alwyn, Patrick, Alvin, Jorrell, Clovis and the lovely Nikki.

we also had a few problems with a drunken couple walking around the resort and the lady flashing various parts of her body and being abusive, I complained to several management staff and the Virgin Rep, the management said they would deal with it and the Virgin Rep asked if I wanted to buy any tickets to the cricket ( not quite the response I was expecting) . it was not dealt with by the management and I had to speak to the resort manager who finally asked them to leave the resort.

Jolly Beach Resort is located on the most amazing natural beach I have ever seen. yes there are shells on the beach and there is a dip when you go into the beautiful blue sea but this is not a man made beach. water sports are available from the resort, I enjoyed the sailing although one of our friends did get a bit wet when the boat nearly tipped over. Jet Ski's are available on the beach for between $40 to $50 depending who you deal with, one tip is go for the black or red jet ski's . The white ski's are out of date and really slow.


if you are lucky enough to go to Antigua in August and the carnival is on it is something you must see, we were warned before we went that we could be robbed but after speaking to staff around the resort they re assured us it was safe. it was one of the best decisions we made and never felt under threat from anyone in St Johns, we had a great time drinking with the locals, eating jerk chicken and watching the dancing. The carnival started at 1pm and finished about 5pm, we did leave before dark.

yes there are a few issues that need to be addressed at the resort, especially the rooms and the management. would it stop us from going back? No, we met so many good people and had such good fun over the 2 weeks we were there, I don't think there was a day that went past that we didn't laugh, thanks everyone for making it so enjoyable. ( you know who you are) . The Kids were upset when we were leaving because they had so much fun and will miss the staff around the resort.



AFTER ALL A HOLIDAY IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT !!!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Chris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2013

Myself and my family (4 adults and a 10 year old) stayed here in 2011 for two weeks (and got married here) and returned this august 2013 for two weeks (my daughter now 12) and i would like to stress that it was not just the adults choice to return, my daughter was desperate to return too!

Buildings
Its really sad to hear people write such negative reviews, picking at the smallest things. The hotel was built in the late 70's i think, but it is well maintained, the grounds are stunning and are worked on daily! The buildings do not look dramatically out dated as some add but please remember its not rated as a 5 star and you don't pay a 5 star rate so surely that is fair. We stayed in a superior room which has two large beds, had a lovely balcony, and has a coffee machine, fridge, iron etc. My parents had a standard room and they were very comfortable also with a lovely walk in shower, large patio doors and huge bed! Our cleaner was fantastic and no mark was left unturned!


Food
My daughter is a very fussy eater and she ate fantastically well over the whole 2 weeks and even came home wanting to eat more vegetables! The restaurants are great, pool bar is quick and easy and Hemispheres does not repeat the menu for the buffet constantly as some suggest, offering differnt buffet meals: oriental, carvery,bbq and their lovely a'la carte menu. Yes there are birds by the pool and in hemispheres but the staff work hard to "shoo" them away and do have a bird scarer noise just don't leave your food unattended and the little ones won't try to get the nibbles! They do not attack as some people say, they are birds not beasts!

Staff
All of the staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome, just remember that if you treat people with respect you will get respect back.
We do have to mention the lovely Christy (we will miss you and thank you for telling us about the tamberine fruit!), Maria, Alvin (always makes us smile...my mums favourite!), Andre (does the best eggs, poached and omeletes and remembered our orders every morning without the need to even tell him, he is great), Louise (my daughters favourite bartender) and the head of conceige (can't remember his name-sorry but so friendly and chatty!) and although they were our favourites everyone else was great at the resort and we could not mention one negative thing about staff.

Other guests
I have read reviews about a drunk couple during the time we stayed-we saw them once but as a family made the decison to not sit at the bar all night with a child so we did not encounter drunken behaviour from anyone as we did not put ourselves in that type of envionment with a child. The security are always there and would step in if someone was out of line.

Would we go back?
Yes! We would go back to Jolly beach in a heartbeat, the beach is breathtaking, resort is fab and everyone is so kind and welcoming including all the sellers....but a special mention to Ruth (by the watersports) you must visit Ruth!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank karen207
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2013

GOOD POINTS
~ Huge resort with hundreds of rooms on four floors. Our room was right next to the lobby and large swimming pool but it wasn't noisy.
~ Wide range of food in four restaurants (Italian, seafood, Indian and buffet) and the Coconut Grill which was open for lunch.
~ Beach was absolutely stunning - we go to the Caribbean frequently, and have been to many beaches around the world, but Jolly Beach was heavenly. White sand, shallow, turquoise water and gorgeous shells.
~ The view was gorgeous. To the left of the beach was a big hill with little penthouses on it, and to the right were hills and rainforests.
~ Brilliant resort for kids - probably wouldn't recommend this resort if you're looking for a quiet Caribbean getaway - but if you've got young children or teenagers, they'll love it.
~ Supermarkets and souvenir shops are two minutes down the road.
~ Most staff were really friendly, particularly a lady called Tamara who works at the Italian restaurant. She was light hearted, helpful and made us all laugh. She was a pleasure to talk to.
~ Many American, English, Canadian, Welsh, German and Italian visitors which was great as we met so many new people from different walks of life.
~ There WAS evening entertainment, despite what other reviews have said. If you are used to Europe, you will be expecting the okie-cokey and macarena, and luckily there was none of that. Compared to other Caribbean hotels, there was so much entertainment.
~ Maids cleaned our rooms daily without fail and they made sure it was spotless.
~ The Games Room was brilliant for all the children. It had TV with all the American channels (strange for us Brits), two pool tables which were free of charge and a ping pong table.
~ Kayaks and Pedalos were free to use.
~ Rooms are clean and tidy although they are small and old fashioned, however it is a 3 star resort, so if you are looking for something fancy, book a 5 star hotel.

BAD POINTS
~ Majorie, the woman at the coconut Grill was miserable and never spoke. She just pointed to ask what you wanted and nodded when she understood.
~ If, like me, you hate cockroaches, don't hang round near the pools as there are quite a few. They like the damp.
~ Unfortunately, there was no snorkeling equipment, which usually comes with all inclusive packages in the Caribbean. However we swam out with goggles and realized that there is no coral and no fish in the sea there, so that probably explains it.
~ Lydia's, which is the seafood restaurant on the beach, was gorgeous but we had to ask to be moved as the sandflies and mosquitos were in our hair, clothes, drinks and food.
~ BE WARNED: the hotel is built on a swamp. There are lots of bitey and stingy bugs. Make sure you have tonnes of insect repellent.

Room Tip: Rooms near the Italian restaurant were quiet, had lovely views of the beach and were the largest roo...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jessica T
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

Property: Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Address: Bolans Village, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua
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 (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 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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