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Starfish Jolly Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Reviewed December 28, 2013

arrived at jolly beach resort 03/12/2013 for 2 weeks, early evening and was dark, check in was quick and straight forward, we upgraded to a superior room and if that was superior I would not have liked to see a basic room, the room was very tired although clean, bathroom had all odd tiles patched in, dirty grouting, and rust round bottom of bath, we are not fussy people so didn't worry to much, some people have commented on T.A. that they had a problem with clean towels we did not, we had clean towels every day, I know this because the holes and fraying in them were in different places each time. This hotel is in a prime location with a beautiful beach and sea and this resort seems to think that's enough but it is not, yes we spoke to guests that have been to J.B. several times but have said they return for the location not the hotel. There are lots of little things wrong with this hotel that accumulate to make it annoying, and if owners/management got there act together could eliminate. The vast majority of staff at this hotel were fantastic with the exception of 1 or 2 and even locals on the beach were very friendly, but some money need's to be spent on refurbing the rooms, I know we were in low season but that's no exuse for dirty marks round waters edge of main pool, plastic glasses were collected from pool bar and taken to main bar at 5pm as there is a shortage, there are no toilets anywhere near both bar location's, entertainment very poor, we are smoker's and far end of bar is where we could smoke some bartender's would put ash trays out along bar others could not be bothered, and no tables or chairs around bar area, while we were there after 2 days buffet restaurant was closed for referb, great but did we really have to go to far end of beach to eat every day at Lydia's surely they could have found somewhere more central, and the waiting on tables was just chaotic no one seemed to know what tables they were waiting. I could go on with the small stuff but my two biggest gripes were while at J.B. my partner tripped on a broken concrete path within the resort leading to the beach, we had to find our own way to the hospital where they gave us the news it was broken, I know it was an accident but we never got one courtesy call or apology from customer services or management, after all it was there resort. Gripe no 2 we have been about ten times to different resorts around the Caribbean on all inclusive and not one of them cut your band of at 12 midday and say you are no longer all inclusive, if you have a flight after midday you are expected to purchase a token from reception so you can carry on being all inclusive, I feel this is out order you feel like they are saying we've had your money, you've had your holiday now go. come on jolly beach owner's/management get your act together and get this hotel back on it's feet.

Room Tip: don't go for basic
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank colin_tRugby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2014

Many of our guests have commented repeatedly about how well the grounds at Jolly Beach are kept, but I am very sorry to learn of your partner’s accident and that you felt the management and staff didn’t respond appropriately. Please accept my regret over this unfortunate incident and know that I will bring it up in our ICARE training program as an example to improve future guest relations.

As you mention, our check-out time is 12:00pm each day, at which time All-Inclusive bands will be removed. A later stay can be arranged with the Front Desk or Concierge at a small cost. This helps us better prepare for the arrival of other guests and is fairly typical of most resorts and hotels, including many all inclusives.

I can understand your frustration with the closing of the buffet restaurant and the inconvenience in walking further for meals. We typically have 5 different restaurants to choose from, including the buffet, ranging from Italian classics and authentic Indian to grilled catch-of-the-day and jerk chicken. We also offer Afternoon Tea every day in the Courtyard as a nice little pick-me-up. During low travel periods, we hope our guests can understand that it is not economically feasible for us to operate all of our restaurants.

We do really appreciate your feedback, and I’m very pleased to hear that you liked our prime location, beautiful beach (Antigua’s best!), and that you found most of our staff to be “fantastic.”

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

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Reviewed December 27, 2013 via mobile

We chose this hotel as it was close to our friends villa in the harbour. The beach is beautiful but the hotel is not! The restaurant is very average, the staff are either really happy and helpful or completely the opposite, no in between. They were completely unable to provide for vegetarians.

The entertainment starts early too late and a lot of it is local dance schools etc. Not really what you want to see on holiday!

The rooms are very average with little room to unpack the contents of your suitcase!

If you are only using the hotel as a base then it will do the job but don't expect luxury :-(

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
2  Thank familywest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2013

Stayed here for a week over the Thanksgiving Holiday. The weather was fantastic at this time. The beach itself is beautiful. It's a great walk and very safe! The locals are wonderful. Most of the beaches in Antigua are spectacular and the people are so helpful. The hotel service was wonderful. Anything we asked for we recieved timely and always with a smile. The food was OK as well. You could always find something on the menu that was gluten free and chef always would change the recipe to accommodate any food allergies. The drinks were just fine and there was never an issue getting bar service. The grounds of the hotel were clean enough but it was truly run down. I assume they haven't really done an upgrade to any rooms since the 80's. It's a shame that it's getting run down. I think they would get more business if they just renovated a bit. But, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for budget all-inclusive and don't really care about the quaility of your room.....this place is for you. If you are looking for more upscales accomodations.....pay Butch at Sandal's his price.

We were lucky enough to be able to tour the entire Island on our own. We rented a Polaris from Checkie's Scooter Rentals for two days and visited sites that folks never really see. A bunch of fun bars and restaurants that are far off the beaten path. Loved Cecilla's Restaurant on the north coast of the island, and Miller's By the Sea! We visited the Sugar Plantation called Betty's Hope and the very cool rock formation on the Atlantic called Devil's Bridge. And as advertised Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Hights are as advertised.

Room Tip: We upgraded to a Beach Cottage. Found it was a very nice location but the bed was uncomfortable. C...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TheMayorAndover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2013

The beach is very pretty, but the hotel is awful. The check in took 3 hours and i had to go back 3 times: once to get the key for the room safe(it has to be purchased separately), and then to purchase towel cards and wi-fi( have to stand in line for the pin, you can order wi-fi from the room but have to walk all the way back to reception to pick up your pin), none of this options are offered at the time of the check in and you have to go back to reception to get all off this. Also in all-inclusive option, you have to purchase bottled water separately. The reception staff is not friendly, also many rooms have problems with water and light. I am never coming back!

Room Tip: JUst choose another hotel the island is very pretty.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank il_doctore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2014

I agree - check-in can sometimes be tedious when large groups are arriving at the same time or during busy travel periods. Luckily, we do have an option available to expedite this process, which is for people to check-in online on our website. We encourage our guests to use this feature as it will reduce the amount of time required to check in.

In other responses here on Trip Advisor, I have referenced the unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances regarding the issue we had with water during this travel time period and encourage others to read those responses. In short, there was a malfunction with a main valve in our water system that has now been repaired, and we are taking proactive measures to prevent this from happening in future.

Thank you for referencing our world-class beach, beloved by all guests. As the best beach in Antigua, it definitely steals the spotlight and I’m very happy to hear that our guests, like you, are able to enjoy it despite other issues they may encounter during their stay.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

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Reviewed December 25, 2013

Traveled as a non-honeymooning 20-something couple for a week long vacation in Antigua. We only stayed at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa one night due to our other resort being booked that night, and a flight coming in that day. We read reviews and were not expecting anything great, but Jolly Beach Resort & Spa did not even come close to meeting those expectations.

Resort and Accomidations: The whole resort looks cheap and unclean. There were always groups of locals in the reception area using the free wifi, and roaming around the resort. The room that we stayed in was small, dark, and the AC was functional but noisy. The lampshades looked discusting and dirty, but otherwise the room seemed clean. The beds were uncomfortable and the whole room just seemed cheap, and was definitely not worth the price. The resort had two pools which did not seem very nice, and had cheap plastic beach chairs.

Service: Front desk service seemed like they had no idea what was going on. One person told us one thing, just for us to figure out it was something else. Very disorganized, but otherwise friendly. We did have to get our wristbands cut off and put on 4+ times due to the staff's mistakes.

Food: The main restaurant is under construction, so Lydia's restaurant was the only one open, along with their italian restaurant which we didn't try. Lydia's restaurant is purely a buffet, with trays of food out. The food was not too bad overall, but not a lot of it seemed appealing and there were flies everywhere. The only saving grace was the coffee, which actually tasted very good. Overall the food was very unimpressive, especially for the price of food per person per day in the all inclusive rooms. It seemed like locals were going in there and getting food for free as well, which if this is the case if unacceptable for a resort when guests are forced to pay way too much for a terrible buffet.

Bar: The beach bar was open, and the bar at the restaurant. They had a pretty poor selection and gave you tiny cups. The drinks they did make were not bad, but it was not impressive.

Beach: Ok, the beach is literally the only good thing about this resort. It was big, white, and had beautiful water. There are very few beach chairs though, and the ones that are there are cheap ones that have mold on them. The water and view were beautiful.

Overall: This was an okay resort for us to crash at after our arrival from the airport, but I would definitely not recommend staying here for even that, or more nights. There has to be a better resort for the price on the island.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank lanatay03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2014

Appreciate your feedback! Our resort was built some time ago and we agree we are not a 5 star property, but what our guests truly seem to appreciate is the excellent price point we’re able to offer on Antigua’s best beach. Well, that and the array of amenities that make for a great vacation - 5 different restaurants with multiple servers at your table, pool, bars, daily entertainment, night time bands, beach activities, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and the Jerk Chicken that people line up for.

The pool is enjoyed by the vast majority of our guests. It is quite large, diligently cleaned and serviced, and features a comfortable, well staffed swim up bar, steps away from our beautiful beach.

While we do offer 5 restaurants at the resort, we hope guests can understand that we have to limit those options during low season periods. It’s a shame you weren’t able to try our Italian restaurant, Bocciolo, during your stay as that seems to be a favourite with many of our guests.

We do uphold a very strict policy regarding serving or passing on food and drink to persons who are not guests at the resort. We also do not allow non-guests to use the WiFi in the lobby. We host a variety of guests at the resort - both international and local and also offer two different rate options at Jolly Beach: All-Inclusive and Room-Only. Only our All-Inclusive guests wear wristbands, so while your confusion is understandable, I wish to assure you that free food and services are not handed out to those who aren’t guests of the resort.

I am thrilled that you were able to enjoy the beach during your short stay with us and hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Antigua.

General Manager,
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

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Reviewed December 21, 2013

I have heard great things about jolly beach and in fact my fiance recommended we go there to get married. So we went in December and from the time we reached we have had issues and most of the reception staff are extremely incompetent and unhelpful.

Thursday 19th December, 2013
We arrived at the resort and they had no record that we would like a wedding done even though months ago we had emailed them and confirmed both our booking at the wedding date. We were then redirected to the wedding manager who was really helpful and got that aspect of our trip sorted out. In the room we unpacked and we had a walk around and just before dinner (around 6 pm) we were going to bathe. As I tried to turn the tap on there was no water coming out. I assumed it was something special to even turn the water on so I proceeded to call reception and ask them how it worked. The lady talked to me like I was disturbing her and I asked her to send someone to show me how to work it. She then told me that I needed to "pull and push" the tap to get it working and then said she will send someone and hung up before I could even thank her. About 15-20 mins later someone came and tried the tap and realized no water was coming out even though we had water from the face basin. He then told us that we needed to get a room change since this problem would not be sorted out till tomorrow. My fiance and I said that was unreasonable since it was raining outside and we had just unpacked that morning. We asked the guy if it was possible then to get a room just to be able to bathe in for the night and assuming the problem would have been fixed by tomorrow we would not need a room change. After quite some time no one came to our room and we tried to call reception using the hotel phone. No one answered after 3 attempts and on the 4th attempt I used my cell phone to call jolly beach and got through to reception. We then tried to find out what was going on and once again we got attitude from the staff, one of them kept on saying words like "yeah", "okay", "um-huh" every 5 seconds like we were disturbing her and she didn't care we were having problems. About 30 mins later we get a knock and a guy is giving us a key to a room that is further away and the path has no cover. By this time dinner was out of the question since neither of us had bathed that night. We then wrote an email to jolly beach reservations explaining our problem as well as made a post on Jolly Beach Resort and Spa Facebook page and then we went just to sleep. During the night got a call (we didn't answer it since we were asleep and didn't get up by time it finished ringning) which we later learned was from the duty manager.
Friday 20th December, 2013
We got up pretty early that morning and saw an email response from Jolly Beach Reservations and in the email it was said that there was a room that was closer that we could move to if we wanted. At this point we only had the key that a guy gave us the night before so we then decided to investigate the room. After a few minutes of walking we got to the room and opened the door. The immediate reaction was a very musty smell like the room hadn't been aired out in months. We examined the room and we noticed a dripping faucet and a dirty toilet. We decided that will these problems as well as the extra distance it was not worth it and would take up the offer of the other room. We go down to reception to give back the new key as well as get keys for the place and the guy at reception had no clue what we were talking about. No one passed along the message of gave him an update as to the status of us or what we were going to do. He had to look in the change room log book to find what they were talking about. We got the key to the new room and guy told us to just return our old keys once we were finished. We go to the new room and confirmed that everything was working as it should and turned the AC on to get the room cool. We then spent the next hour and a half moving our stuff over and just as we were leaving we noticed water on the ground and realized that the ac was leaking and the bottom piece of the bed sheet was soaking wet. We put a dustbin and some towels to help mop up as well as catch the leaks from the AC. We then proceeded to go down for breakfast and stopped at to give back the keys and once again the staff had no clue we were changing rooms. We explained the situation with the AC and they told us that maintenance did not get in till 9 am. We asked if it would be fixed and they said sometime during the course of the day it will be sorted. We then had a lovely breakfast and went back up to our room and the AC was still dripping filling the trash. We called reception and asked them what was going on and they said they would send someone up soon. Soon was apparently nearly an hour later and the guys came and attempted to fixethe AC. The cleaning lady also came and change the sheet and she even folded the sheet so it was not touching the ground. We enjoyed a quite morning and sorted some more wedding plans, dinner plans and after that went out for lunch by the pool around 2 pm. We were enjoying ourselves and went back to our room around 5:30 pm and noticed once again a pool of water. The AC was once again leaking and we called reception again and this time they sent the Duty Manager to our room. We vented our frustrations to him and explained that all these problems as well as the staff being rude to us was making our stay very uncomfortable. We also told him that jolly beach resort was a nice facility and that we expected so much better from the staff and that these problems be sorted out before anyone even gets to their room. He agreed with us and told us that he was escalating this problem to his boss. Then the maintenance guy who came with the Duty Manager did his best to fix the AC and he suspected that the problem may reoccur again since the line that supposed to take the water outside was being blocked. That night we went to dinner and went to sleep.
Saturday 21st December, 2013
We were woken up by the sound of dripping and I put my hand on the floor and realized the AC was once again dripping. I put a bin and some towels to catch the water and tried to go back to sleep knowing full well that calling reception would not sort the problem out at 3 am in the morning. At around 4:20 am I couldn't fall back asleep since 3 am and decided to try calling reception and I told them what was going on and that I was really frustrated about this. He said the maintenance staff would not be here till later this morning and I hung up the phone. A few minutes later my fiance and I called back reception and asked to speak to the duty manager and the attitude came out. The guy was asking if we think he is a slave and if he is our child and a bunch of nonsense that had nothing to do with our request to speak to a manager. The phone line went dead and we assumed he hung up on us even though he denies it. We called back and said we wanted the duty manager and he seemed not to be able to complete our request and we hung up the phone on him. He then calls back and we say unless it is the duty manager calling us we don't want anyone else at this point.

We are staying here till 27th December and we are getting married here as well. The room maintenance seems to be non-existent since we got 3 rooms in a row with problems. The hotel staff at reception are very unfriendly to the point where they are rude. If this is the type of service that you are going to give then I cannot recommend this hotel to anyone. That reception staff who was rude to use and talking about slavery etc should be fired in my opinion or at the very least removed from reception. Jolly Beach has a lot to offer but from what I see their front line (hotel reception) is horrible and while not ever guest may say some to the hotel staff I have to say that this stay has been extremely uncomfortable and I would not repeat it ever.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank AAS53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JollyManager, General Manager at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2014

I am so disappointed to hear of your frustration with maintenance issues and your dealings with staff during your stay, as well as the mix up about your wedding reservation, although I’m certainly pleased to hear that the wedding manager was able to help you sort things out.

At Jolly Beach Resort, we do care deeply about customer service, which is why we have implemented ICARE, a customer service training program that helps our employees more proactively address the needs of our guests. As evidenced by your experience, it’s clear that we still have a few kinks to work out in reception.

Collectively, our team has won awards for outstanding customer service, but, as in all things in life, there is always room for improvement. To ensure situations like yours aren’t repeated, we will definitely work on this as a priority.

Wear and tear is common at any resort, especially a busy one like Jolly Beach Resort, but our maintenance team does their best to address issues as quickly as possible.

Regarding some of the water issues you encountered, we unfortunately had an unforeseen major valve failure in the water system that created some issues during this time period. It was a job requiring significant time to resolve, but happily the issue has been repaired, and guests shouldn’t experience further interruptions in their water service. We are also taking proactive measures to ensure a similar situation is not experienced in future.

I hope you had a lovely wedding and were able to enjoy other aspects of your stay that make so many of our other guests happy, such as our beach activities, entertainment options, pool, bars, variety of restaurants and food, and our location on Antigua’s best beach.

All the best in your new life together.

General Manager
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

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Reviewed December 19, 2013

When I arrived I could think only that it was Jolly by name but nothing else. The food was a basic selection, the room was tiny but the beach is great. The staff are very friendly here but don't expect 5 star service.

I met so many people who'd been coming for 15 years and longer and at first I couldn't understand why. You pay extra for a safe, for many of the meals in the extra restaurants but if you're looking for a nice beach and you're not too bothered by amazing food Jolly beach is for you.

There were lots of solo travellers and no one made you feel any different for travelling on your own....they do sometimes make you feel so at more expensive resorts. I did wait for clean towels for 1.5 hours one evening there seemed to be a shortage.

From the regulars I've spoken to the hotel has lost it's edge but they still keep coming back. I think with a better selection of food, more towels and giving the rooms a refresh this could make a come back.

Room Tip: Don't go for a super saver room, if there's more than one of you they are incredibly small.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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4  Thank Pandapops73
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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