Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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Historical Traveler Reviews Jolly Beach Resort & Spa Bolans
My husband, 22 month old daughter and I stayed at the JBR from 6 - 20 May and had an excellent time. We were a bit worried after reading previous reviews, but those worries soon went! we had a superior room, just off the beach, so was perfect for us with a child, it was always very clean and comfortable! true, sometimes the service leaves alot to the imagination, but most of the time no problems, and the bar staff were always very good (better bar service than we have previously had at a Sandals resort!). The food was fine, always enough choice for us and our toddler- she loved the food from the beach grill (but everything came with chips/fries). We were lucky to have stayed when the australia/west indies cricket was on- and the teams stayed at the hotel- so the atmosphere was wonderful- the aussie followers were good fun!!! and the hotel was full but not that you would notice. the beach is fantastic, bit of a shame about the water being cloudy, but the colour is out of this world! we did not have a problem withthe beach sellers- a polite no thank you works! we would recommend Lydias for Sunday lunch, as you have good food and a steel band playing as well as being on the beach! We were all sad to leave. Anyone who is due to go, you will have a wonderful, relaxing holiday as long as you remeber you are only paying 3 star prices and that you are in the carribean!
Best beach on the island
If you plan to visit Antigua, then this is definitely the best resort on the island. Jolly Beach is glorious. The water is turquoise, the sand is soft and white, the beach is wide and in a sweeping arc with two picturesque headlands framing it. We hired scooters and toured the island and many ofhte resorts, including those of Dickinson Bay and Jolly Beach is certainly the most beautiful beach we saw. My sister and I visited Antigua in May 2003. There were no mosquitoes or any any other pests for that matter. The weather was very pleasant. Jolly Beach Resort is well maintained and the pool area is lovely. Hawkers on the beach are not a pest. I do have to agree with some of the commetns on food though. Generally, we found the meals to be very saverage, but there are some exceptions. Castaways on the beach has some lovely meals and the cocktail hour is pleasant. Take out pizza from Mellinis is also good. The breakfast buffet is quite adequate. I think it must be remembered that no famous chefs are likely to be working in Antigua and it's poor country and most foodstuff is shipped in. It's not a restaurant/eating centre. Jolly Harbour has a very good supermarket and deli, so thre is a chance you can self-cater. We loved out time in this special beach. Forget other resorts on this island.
A truly Caribbean paradise
My boyfriend and I just returned from Jolly Beach Resort (April 2003) and had an absolutely fabulous vacation!!! We stayed in a Standard room which had a king size bed and shower in bathroom, as well as a balcony overlooking the ocean. The room is no-frills, but it did have a/c and a ceiling fan and was well serviced daily. There are other rooms that are larger with full baths, mini-refrigerators, and sitting areas. I did not see any ants or crawling bugs in our room throughout our entire stay. However, there are mosquitos in Antigua, so make sure to close the slider door to the balcony and perhaps bring some bug-repellant and anti-itch cream. We were very comfortable and pleased with our accomodations. The beach is absolutely gorgeous...it is raked and cleaned every morning and wasn't overcrowded. The vendors are not a nuisance...just say no if you are not interested and they will leave you alone...or have some fun talking to the natives. There are areas of full sun and shade. The water is an aqua blue, but as stated in other reviews, it is not crystal clear. This is not to say it is not clean...it is likely just stirred- up of sand that never entirely settles. The large free-form pool is also gorgeous and very clean, with noon-time volleyball and music entertainment. The food was good...breakfast and lunch buffets provided a large variety of choices. We ate at all three "sit-down, full-service" restaurants which had good, not excellent, but definitely tasty, food. My favorite was Lydia's (seafood), because it was located directly on the edge of the beach.I recommend the Wadadli Cat Cades Reef tour -- great service, sights, food, and snorkeling. Also, go to Shirley Heights on Sunday night--pricey, but worth it, with a bbq, steel-drum band, and beautiful sunset view. Defintely take a walk over to Jolly Harbour to see the marina and visit Dogwatch Tavern. Jolly Beach Resort is an awesome resort, that I plan on staying at again. Do not expect elegance, because that is nanyone who loves the beach and caribbean-style living.
Don't pick this palce
I don't know where some of these other reviewers stayed but it must not be the same jolly beach resort i went to. Any reviewer that compliments the food is crazy. All three of the restaurants are horrible and I mean bad. The only decent food was the burgers and jerk chicken served at the pool area. The resort is run down and worn. the beach vendors are so bad you don't want to go on the beach and they are even selling drugs. The staff is rude and the whole thing is a nigtmare. The room had insects crawling all over the place and my daughter got bit by something during the night that made her lip swell up like she had been punched in the mouth. Please don't pick this place, choose another resort. If you go here and like it, you must be from a trailer park community.
Great time at Jolly Beach
Had a great time. If you want a luxurious room this is not the place for you but rooms are adequate , very neat and clean. The place itself is gorgeous the ground immaculate and it is a feast for the eyes. Breakfast and lunch are great, dinner is fine. We wish they had posted a menu for the main dining area each day so we would know what was for dinner also when the 3 restaurants were open and closed. People were very friendly and the staff was very courteous and helpful. All in all a wonderful vacation for the price.
Jolly Beach sucks
This resort was terrible we just returned on in Dec 02. We spent 2 days and then transferred to pineapple beach for the remainder of our trip. The room had ants, the staff was rude, and the food was fair and the service sucked and most of all the staff was hitting on my girl friend when I was awy from her. I have been all over the Caribbean and this was the WORST place I have ever been if you are thinking about booking DO NOT if you have booked already CHANGE IT!
I stayed at JBR last May. I felt bad for "disappointed" because they had a bad experience. I did a lot of research before choosing a hotel ! I am a bath person & was well aware that if you book a supersaver room, there is no bath. We booked a king superior room which was more expensive, but to me it was well worth the price. We met a couple on their honeymoon that was staying in a supersaver & the room WAS small. I would suggest booking a larger room. The staff was great. Everyone smiled & said hello when they passed by whether they were a manager or a maid. The entertainment was fun & different every night. I was aware that the was an extra charge for lobster & steak, so I had planned to bring extra for that. The food overall was very good. It was not the Ritz, but I couldn't find anything to complain about. The jerk chicken by the pool was outstanding! Overall it was a great trip & I will go back again & stay at JBR. It is a good value for the cost. If you want lobster every night & a luxurious room, the I would try the Sandals or Beaches chain, but the trip will cost you a lot more. You get what you pay for. Overall the room was clean, the service was great, the food was pretty good & it was a great value!
I had a fab holiday
I went for my first ever caribbean holiday to Club Antigua back in 1996, I had a fantastic two weeks and have always wanted to go back there and this year I did. I was a little concerned that after having such a great holiday there before that I might be disappointed going back, but I was not disappointed at all.
In the six years The Jolly Beach resort as it is now called had not changed a great deal but there were noticable improvments and a fantastic new swimming pool and bar.
I enjoyed the food and felt that they was a good choice between Italian, Greek, Caribbean, Seafood and a sanck bar, however I did hear some people complaining that there was not the choice that they get at home. I think that these people should remember that while in the caribbean they should be adventurous and try some of the local food, and not just stick to foods which they eat at home. I had absolutely no complaints on the food at all.
This time of year is always the low season and the hotel was far from being full, they were working on refurbishing the buffet restaurant and bar area so these were totally closed but it did not seem to effect anything and there was still plenty of choice of bars and restaurants to use.
Antigua is my favourite place in the whole of the caribbean as it is just such a beautiful island and the local people are so friendly to tourists. I feel that most of us could learn a lot from these people they have very little, small houses, little money, drive battered cars and yet they are content with what they have and are happy with it.
At the end of the day a holiday is what YOU make it, and I hope that anyone who reads this before going on holiday to Jolly Beach enjoys their holiday as much as I enjoyed mine there.
Great value for money
Had a great time at the Jolly Beach resort. Teh hotel was recently refurbished in 2000 I think and it shows. The room was very small, but then we were warned about this when we booked. The important things were it was clean and the aircon and ceiling fan worked great. Enjoyed the food, obviously not the variety you'd expect in the UK or US, but it was very good compared to Carribean standards. Staff reasonably helpful and responsive, pools were great and the poolside BBQ/Bar was great! Didn't think much of Franco's Glass Bottomed boat excursion, which was approx US$25 each (actually a small boat with a 2' x 3' window) but then it amused us for the afternoon. Only spent 7 days on Antigua but had a great time. It's worthwhile hiring a car with aircon and seeing the island as it not the difficult to drive round it (they drive on the left as in the UK). I think we were lucky with our room in that was newly refurbished and about 3 mins walk from the entertainment and food, but my impressions of the whole resort were good, both for couples (as we were) and families. There were other rooms a lot further away but then we were just lucky I guess.
We recently stayed at the Jolly Beach back in May. The way the resort was advertised and what was deliverd was not close. We booked a Superior Ocean View Room (though all rooms are oceanview) that was "recently remodeled". The room they initially put us in almost cost me our marriage (w/o blame). The bed took 98% of the room up, the toilet was broken, seat and all, and the room was not clean. There was water in front of the door that the bell boy managed to drop the one bag we had in. There were no AC controls in the room, just a fan blower with 3 speeds. There was a shower stall and the sink was outside the bathroom on the wall as you walked in the room. I enquired about the room at the front desk (mind you the room booked was supposed to have 2 double beds) and that was what we had paid for and they would gladly upgrade us for $500 to another room. Not wanting to ruin a vacation we checked out the next category from what we booked and the difference was night and day. There were two beds, a much bigger room where you could walk around the room and it had a full bath. So we upgraded even questioning the big difference in rooms, but was assured the initial room was what we booked. The new room was maybe remodeled 4-5 years ago. The door on the patio looked like it had been broken into at least 5 times. Hair seemed to grow in the corner of the bathroom as we stayed, and that was scary since it was long black hair, and my wife is blond, and I have short hair. Its pretty bad when you have to wear sandals inside.
The food was ok, the best way to describe it is consistent. You will consistently see rice, potatoes a fish. The food got repetive and old fast. Lunch was by far the best, though some of the restuarants were good as well. Nothing fancy, but we were not expecting anything fancy for the price we paid to stay. We were very disappointed in the fact that if you wanted steak, lobster or shrimp you had to pay a $15-20 US dollar charge as well as 25% in taxes on a resort that advertises as "All-Inclusive". If you want water you could not get a glass at any of the bars, they told you to go buy it at the Gift shop. Another all-inclusive false advertisement.
The island is a very nice island and would love to go back, but would hesitate to stay at Jolly Beach. The beach is long and beautiful but the water is not clear anymore (and there are 365 beaches at Antigua). Jolly Harbor decided to put a cananl in to fill a swamp to make more boat slips and in the process has messed the eco-system up in the harbor area so the water as blue as it was, was not clear. You could not see your foot in the water at Jolly Harbor. On a boat trip and tour we saw other resorts and harbors and all were that clear water you expect and can see 20+ feet deep.
We were expecting Club Med quality at Jolly beach, and were disappointed. The place could be great if they could change the attitude of some of the people and clean the place up. If you dont expect much you wont be disapointed, if you expect a clean good room you might be pushing it. We have stayed at several resorts in the carribean, and this was the worst. We have stayed at Club Meds and Sandals, as well as other resorts so we would say that this is not even in a Club Med class. Too bad Club Med does not exist in Antigua....
Beautiful Island otherwise...
TripAdvisor Reviews Jolly Beach Resort & Spa Bolans
Travel Blogs from Bolans
Flight lasted almost 5 hours; the airport in small and very outdated, 1960’s, there is no inside walkway and I have to walk a stretch from the plane to airport approximately a half a mile in scorching heat. Regardless how fast I make my way inside the airport, long lines await me. Immigration is jam packed, slow, rigorous, almost 1 hour to …
... of the local taxi drivers, who was very knowledgeable of the area, and he also managed to show us the point on which Eric Clapton's beautiful holiday mansion is situated.
We were so impressed with what the taxi driver had showed us, we hired a car the next day and explored the island further. We visited Foulmouth Harbour where we saw the yacht "Maltese Falcon" (see our entry on St. Martin for photos) which is the ...