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“Room with breakfast is a great idea!”

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Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Midland, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Room with breakfast is a great idea!”
Reviewed February 18, 2014 via mobile

We booked our room through the Antiguanice website, which meant we got the same discounted price we had seen elsewhere but it included full breakfast buffet.
For us, this was perfect. Jolly Beach is awesome, and right on your doorstep here. The water is a wonderful temperature and was not too rough or cold for our 8 month old. She loved it!
Although the boat sign out people are a bit hard to figure out, my husband sailed twice in our four days here and loved it.
The pools were quite nice. They were clean and a nice temperature and a bonus - a swim up bar! We purchased a cash card for $50 so we had some nice cold beer and a couple of lunches pool side. We also played bingo and coconut bowling. Fun!
The breakfast buffet was average, but fine. You could have eggs cooked to order and there was plenty of bacon, toast, and pretty good coffee too! given that we paid $120 a night for a resort experience, we were pretty happy.
We went to the local supermarket for fabulous wine, incredible and cheap rum, and some snacks. We walked less than 10 minutes to town for quite good dinners, so - for us- this was the perfect "non-inclusive"!
We never go to the same place twice, but we just might return if the price is right again!


Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank WingnutTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2014

My father wanted to take us on a family trip, but had no idea where to head to. At the time, my sister was 18 & I was 21. My boss at the time was a travel agent, so we told him we just wanted somewhere in the Caribbean and he booked us a trip to Antigua. None of us actually had any idea the place even existed. Upon our arrival we were greeted with slushie fruit drinks and they took care of loading and unloading our bags. We ventured the resort, which I personally found beautiful. The rooms were ok, nothing special, but that didn't effect me in anyway considering I wasn't there to sit in a hotel room and was only using it for sleeping. My sister, a friend of ours and I were in a room on ground level, with a patio facing the ocean, it was perfect for sitting and reading each morning. My father and his girlfriend we're in a different building on the second floor with a balcony.

All of the employees were very accomodating during our stay at Jolly Beach. For the most part every day we would wake up and have breakfast at the buffet. The breakfast buffet was nothing extravagant, but was still good. Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, ect.

Then we would head to the beautiful beach. Nice white sand, seashells. We went during the busier season, so sometimes it was tough to find a chair. There is a nice stretch that you can walk, which we usually did once or twice a day, especially during the sunset. There are rocky sections that stretch out into the water which are really cool for photos. Also, locals build these 'rock towers' along the shore which is pretty cool. One thing that was quite annoying was people trying to sell you stuff. The first day we got there we were thinking about taking jet skis out, so when we were laying on the beach and one of the locals came up to us with a brochure about it we told him not today, but we will probably be doing it while we are here. He came up to us multiple times a day asking us if we were ready trying to force us to book an appointment, we got so annoyed we decided on not doing it at all while we were there. So, if it is something you do not want to do, tell them so right away so they don't continue to nag you, because they definitely remember you the next day. One thing I do wish we would have done, but didn't get the chance to, was go on one of the catamaran trips. I heard they were an absolute blast and I regret missing out on that. Just about each day there was about a 10-15 minute max time span where it would rain, not a hard rain just a sprinkle. It was really nice, cooled things off a bit. It nice to have a bag with you to bring your things with you to the beach that when you can just leave your towel on your chair and take the rest of your belongings with you to refill your drink during the short rain.

For lunch we would usually head to the buffet or get something from the food stand by the pool.

Our trip was 7 days, we stayed at the resort the entire time, except for 2, maybe 3 days. One of the days we went zip lining, really fun, but we did the longer excursion and it got boring. You do the longest, fastest line about half way through and that makes the rest quite boring. Stick with the shorter version.
Another day we went into St. Johns. On our way into town we stopped to eat at one of the restaurants owned by one of that bartenders at the resort, Jeovah Jirah Soul Food. It was absolutely phenomonal. It was just a little place, and the menu was written on a chalk board, 5 different items, changing everyday. Everything made from scratch, by his wife. Sadly, it isn't there anymore. I truly wish it was because it is something everyone needs to experience. The shopping in St. Johns was awesome as well. So many cool shops with clothing I wish I could find here in the States. And the coolest art stores. Definitely a must do when visiting Antigua.

For dinner, we tried all of the restaurants, which you do need to make reservations for with the exception of the buffet. There is a seafood restaurant (ravioli appetizer is great!), an Italian restaurant, and a Indian restaurant. I thought all were great. I usually drank wine during dinner, my glass was never left empty at any of the restaurants. Being that the restaurant is all inclusive, you did not have to pay for your meals UNLESS you did choose an item on the menu that had an additional cost. Each menu clearly states if there is an additional cost for the item and you have the option to pay that at the end of dinner or the restaurant (recommended) or they can add it to your bill for your room.

After dinner there was always a show. There is a gazebo center area by the buffet and main bar where the shows are held. Karaoke, dancing from natives. Fire breathing stuff. All kinds of different things. One night they had a couple game show. My dad and his girlfriend got pulled into that and it was hilarious. Ballon popping, lipsyncing, and couple questions. If you are given the chance, definitely participate in it versus just watching it. Other shows included alot of employees from the resort. They were very fun to watch, Elroy, Ranee, & Ann-Marie own it. They are too fun to watch. Breathing fire, flipping around, dressed in costume, on stilts, everything! Those three by the way have the coolest job in the world, go around the resort and get people together to play volleyball and a bunch of different stuff. They are too fun & kind! Neil is another employee that was an absolute joy. He bartends at the main bar, hell of a guy. Incredibly nice and helpful with everything. Rocks at karaoke and makes a mean BBC, a drink you have to try. Bring a big thermos mug for your drinks, something like a Bubba Keg, can find on Amazon or at Walmart in different sizes. The cups they supply are small so you will save yourself quite a few trips back to the bar for more. All food is done at 10PM.
We didn't discover this until the day before we left, but right outside the entrance to the resort there is a small grocery store. I recommend going there incase you do get hungry at somepoint when food isn't available.

We had a great time at Jolly Beach in Antigua. As a matter of fact, my father and his girlfriend just got back from their second trip there. They enjoyed it just as much as they did the first time. The bartender Neil even recognized my father right away, and the other employees like Ann-Marie, Ranee, and Elroy were still there raising hell!! My boyfriend and I have been talking about taking a trip in Winter/Spring 2015, and this is definitely one of our top choices!

Room Tip: Our room was behind the watersports building, nice garden area and quite to sit and relax. Close to...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank MidwestWI52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJ
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2014

I feel compelled to write this review as I read so many reviews before going and was not sure whether I should cancel or not. Background on us-we travel all over the world and have stayed at some very nice all-inclusive places like Dreams, Iberostar, etc… I knew this was a 3 to 4 star property going in so my reviews are going with what my expectation was. I got a great price for this place and I did 3 nights all inclusive and 2 nights non-AI.

Pros-based on reviews, I upgraded my room to Superior and had no complaints. Nice size room with basic amenities. Also had fridge which was nice. We did make some friends at the resort and I saw the standard room; they are small so be prepared if you don’t upgrade. The beach itself was absolutely wonderful. We went on a boat tour one day and saw all the beaches on the island and found this to be the nicest. Food-we are both vegetarian-no seafood or meat, and we did fine. We told the chef ahead of time to make some veg options for us, and they did. The Indian and Italian places were great. I liked the Italian veg option very much. I did not try the seafood place, but I heard it was good. The pool snacks could have been better. I would have like to see some healthier options like fruit, etc. Nightly entertainment and activities during the day were all excellent. We also took sailing lessons (included) and took the sailboat out every day. We spent most of the time on the beautiful beach. We even did a nice sunset hike with the resort staff (this was included too). The resort is right near Jolly harbour which was a perk. We ate at the Greek place (excellent) and at the Italian place in the harbor. If you want to really party, you can take the shuttle boat to the D-boat--- so conveniently located. Oh and we also got wonderful massages on the beach by Bernice. She is near the spa but on the beach and charges ½ the price.

Cons-food staff at buffets were OK. Some people really didn’t care. The only person that was excellent was the lady who made the omelet’s every morning. She was wonderful and even remembered my order from the day before! Activities staff were nice, watersports staff could be nicer but they are OK. I would have liked to see a hot tub at the resort and free wifi access outside the lobby area. We did purchase the wifi card (10/day) though and it worked great all over the resort.
We did see people complaining all over the place but when you heard the complaints, they were so petty.

Really if you know that you are staying at a middle level resort with the price you paid, then you will be very happy. The beach is absolutely gorgeous!
I would return any day especially when we had over 20 inches of snow when we were away.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank PBPBABAB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lethbridge, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2014

If you want to experience Antigua and not spend a lot of cash on an all inclusive hotel, this may be for you. The resort itself is in a great location, right beside the Jolly Harbor and only a 20 minute drive from the airport and St.Johns. If you're not super picky about the hotel amenities/condition/food and you're more there for the sun and sand, this place is good enough to suit your needs.

The hotel:
Yes the hotel is kinda dated. There's some paint peeling and the furniture is a bit old and used. Our room must have been a partially updated with a newer shower and floor tiles. The room was clean and the cleaning ladies came everyday and looked good. The mattress was a bit uncomfortable but anywhere I've stayed in the Caribbean it's been like that. All the rooms are facing the ocean, however unfortunately for us, the palmtrees covered our view from the third floor. The property grounds are beautiful and you can access the beach from anywhere easily. The beach is great, beautiful white sands, lots of shells, blue/green water, sunsets, we loved it everyday. The courtyard is really beautiful and there's free wifi there. The hotel was only half full when we were there, so we didn't really have much problem finding a few chairs any time of the day. There are sand flies which I didn't prepare for, they leave pretty big bumps on your legs. The food was decent, for us we got bored with it after a few days and wondered into the Jolly Harbor area where there's restaurants, pubs, entertainment some nights, a grocery store, pharmacy, a few shops etc. It's a really neat area and safe to walk around. I know we payed for an all-inclusive, but we often ended up missing certain time frames for food services. My husband said he hated the alcohol and pop there and bought his own at the store. We ended up bringing our own booze/juice and stuff to our rooms and the beach. The service was ok. The check in did take a bit long, some staff were more helpful than others and sometimes was a bit slow. I personally think that the Antiguan "attitude" had a bit of an island-time-like-speed, which is just the way it is. They also have a certain "sass" which I'm sure could be misinterpreted as a bit rude, but again, I think that's just their style.

The Island:
The island is great. It's small and you could view the whole island in a day if you really tried I'm sure. There's lots to see and do and I didn't even get around to half the things I wanted to do. The thing we liked a lot was that the Antiguan spoke English really well, better than some other "English speaking" islands. They do have their own dialect which is a bit challenging to understand. We also really liked that we felt save enough to wonder around on our own anywhere we went. We spend a few hours in St.Johns for shopping. There were 3 cruise ships in when we went which made it very busy. There's lots of heritage and history there as well, you can tell by the old buildings. If you are willing to walk a few blocks from the main shopping area, the old cathedral church and burial grounds are really cool. We took a catamaran cruise one day and we had a great time. We ended up stopping at a few resorts to pick up people, seen about half of the islands coast line, went snorkeling by the reef, pulled into St.Johns harbor, had a delicious lunch, fire dancer show, etc. worth the money.(and we normally don't book excursions) We never made it to English harbor and Shirley heights which I'm very sad about. We thought the antiguans were overall very friendly and I never felt I was in danger. Like I said earlier, the jolly harbor area is awesome, go eat at the Crows-nest and Al Porto restaurant. Cash is taken in US dollars or EC dollars. It's 2.7-2.8 EC for every 1US dollar.

Overall we had a great trip. I will definitely be coming back to Antigua. I would consider coming back to Jolly Beach Resort as long as it was a similar or better experience. It would be good for a family so you can be together, meet up etc throughout the days and not worry about much else. But if you're expecting a high end resort that is fully all-inclusive, I'm sorry you will be disappointed. It ain't no beaches or sandals.

Room Tip: Tipping is allowed just about everywhere in the resort. No food available past 10pm.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Pacifica911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2014 via mobile

This is my second trip to Antigua.. I enjoy the people, the beaches and the most important part the clear blue ocean water.
The jolly hotel was ok.
This was a last minute trip and we ended up getting a good deal on orbitz the same day. When we arrived at the hotel our room was ready but it's really out dated. The bathroom was extremely small. The bed was as hard as a rock and only 2 pillows.. We did get a balcony ocean view room which was a plus.
The food was average for a all inclusive resort. The breakfast buffet was sufficient but no choices in food. Just very basic eggs, bacon, beans and potatoes.. The same thing everyday. There was no fresh fruit juices any where around the resort. Dinner was very interesting.. Our first night wad buffet food and it was sufficient. The Italian a la carte restaurant was good but half the menu you had to pay extra for certain dishes. I felt that was misrepresented since this hotel was an all inclusive resort.
The drinks were all water down and very low quality alcohol. Not a far and very disappointed.
Besides the ladies at the front desk that were not helpful and not accommodating.. The rest of the staff were nice and pleasant. Especially Charlie and Shawn at the pool bar.. They were nice bartenders that went up and beyond to serve us.
The hotel property is very outdated and should consider upgrading if they want to consider themselves a 3 1/2 start hotel.
The only plus about this hotel was the location and the beach.
I learned from this experience that you get for what u pay for.
If you don't care about the property but just the ocean then I would recommend this hotel.. If you care about eating good food and having good cocktails, please consider another resort!!!!

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Chiquitin81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2014

Had a standard room which was clean and adequate - comfy bed, A/C, balcony with view over gardens towards the sea. Helpful and friendly staff - the entertainment team are really good fun! Food plentiful, varied and of good quality. Lots to do - we even had a free sailing lesson on a Hobie cat. Good for all ages.

Room Tip: We chose a room well away from the entertainment area - loud music till 11pm most nights!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jerjoan2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thunder Bay, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2014

We spent a week at Jolly Beach and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Daily walk down the beach, kayaking, drinks aplenty, relaxed in the sun or shade. This isn't a 5 star, so don't go with those expectations. A bit more rustic. We had a minor toilet issue that was fixed within an hour of reporting it. Room was smaller (standard rm with king bed) but good enough for 2. All rooms have balconies. The buffet food was excellent with plenty of choices. Our fav restaurant was Bocciolo ...the risotto appetizer was amazing& my wine glass was never empty . The evening entertainment was decent ... A lot of 80s style ballads but it was also Valentines week. The regatta entertainment at a Jolly Harbour was a good break... This is a short walk from the hotel.

Neil at the bar took good care of us... Thanks, Neil

Book some tours... We only did 3... Excellence Catamaran, morning into St Johns, & booked a taxi for a half day tour of island (we did this trip on our own ... The drivers will stop wherever you want.. They know everything about the island).

Remember to bring US $1s & $5s for tips.

Bring a water bottle/reusable cup/ bubba for bar drinks... Plastic glasses they give out are small & not great on the beach.

We had no trouble with getting beach chairs or towels, but it was a quieter week. Bring beach towels just in case.

"Castaways" down the beach just past the Tranquility Bay resort is a local restaurant with great food... Jerk shrimp was amazing!

Room Tip: Request rooms in the following blocks... Barbuda, Barthelemy, St Marten, Anguilla, Tortolla, St Croi...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ChloeMolly
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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