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“Seriously consider what you want before going here.” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

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Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Hampshire
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Seriously consider what you want before going here.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 November 2012

We stayed at the Jolly Beach from 7th Nov-14th Nov and can honestly say it is the worst resort in the Caribbean we have been too. I will try to be fair with everything I write as to give a realistic view of what to expect.

Firstly the rooms. Our room was OK. Tired and very 70's ish in decor, but the bed was very comfy & huge and there is an aray of pillows for all you choice. There is a TV, it's an old one but lots of channels so no biggy. It was kept clean and tidy, the maid service was good. The bathrooms are VERY dated in decor but again kept clean. However on 3 occassions we had NO WATER. When we checked in after 16 hours of travelling all we wanted was a shower. We headed to our room but once there we had no water, I phoned reception who said it had been off 'for a while' (not having mentioned it on check in) but would be 'back on soon' therefore we had no choice but to head to dinner without a shower - not good. It was back on when we returned an hour and a half later. This happened 2 more times throughout our stay. Also the towels were removed by housekeeping one day and not replaced. When we phoned reception at 18.00 and asked for more we were kept waiting an hour and 15 minutes resulting in us missing our dinner reservations in the Italian Restuarant!! We only got them once we phoned the resort Duty Manager to complain. Appalling.

When you leave you can use a 'supersaver' room to shower in before departure (after you have checked out of your room), this gave us a view of this type of room. DO NOT BOOK IT! It was TINY beyond belief, had I booked this room I would not have stayed in it! The aircon was nonexsistant, no storage....truly awful.

The beach - STUNNING! We have visited the Caribbean 6 times and this was the best beach we have seen. White sand, bright blue sea and facing right in to the sunset....it was amazing. However there are SO many beach vendors it was difficult to find shade (there are a fair few umbrella huts but you have to get up about 7am if you want to get these!) they take up so much room with clothes lines of goods hung everywhere! You are also asked to buy goods, take trips or use the beach sports at least 20+ times a day.....kinda boring having to say 'No thanks' that many times, that said they are all very polite and don't keep pestering you when you have said no, there are just so many of them!

The Food - The buffet resturant Hemespheres - the food was OK, some nights better than others for dinner, the BBQ night was awesome, the other nights were hit and miss. The resturant itself is massive but the choices are very limited. Maybe 3 or 4 choices of mains with 2 accompaniments, that's it. Breakfast was nice, but lack of selection. Fresh omelettes & eggs etc. The Bacon and Sausages are quite poor quality, not very appetising. The fruit selection was awful! Only Melon.....your in the Caribbean for goodness sake, I've never been to a resort that doesn't offer, Pineapple / Bananas etc. We only ate here 1 lunchtime, it was ok, nothing to write home about. The buffet was closed on Tuesday / Thursday so you had to book the other restuarants, great however by the time we could book on the Thursday the only time slot left was 21.30! Far too late, we weren't happy at all. We didn't try the Indian as we don't like it, but Lydia's was nice. Quality was good but portion size was tiny. As above we missed our reservations at the Italian due to poor service. The beach grill was good. We ate here all bar 1 lunchtime, the food tasted good and was served fresh, we enjoyed it. Staff were very slow here and overall at Hemispheres quite surly, don't talk much and we had to get our own drinks from the bar whilst some other guests had their brought to the table. This was very hit and miss.

The Pools - 2 availiable, The Fantasy pool and the quiet pool. Both are good, all clean and tidy. no alot of shade around either so get up early if you need to get some, that said at different tmes of the day when the sun moves over there is more shade about. The pool bar was kinda working, you ring a bell for service but service was slow and you were definitley made to feel like it was a problem. Also the Fantasy pool is VERY loud, lots of music and whilst we were there is was full of Americans who were so loud, rude and obnoxious it was unreal. We did not stay around this pool due to their lack of respect for other guests.

The resort overall - Very poor. It needs a facelift as it's very dated. As stated before we have visited the Caribbean 6 times before and this resort has the potential to be the best, when in reality it is the worst. The reason behind this is the staff. We did not find one member of staff polite, friendly or approachable. When visiting resorts before that have been alittle tired, we have still had a great time as the staff were great - we remember the names of staff from other resorts from 8 years ago! They made that sort of impression on us. This was the opposite, I will forever remember being made to feel like a pain when asking for a drink at the bar, also being treated like an incovinence when waiting to be seated for dinner.This is the only resort we have been to where tipping is actively encouraged! There are tip jars everywhere! I can pretty much guarentee that the reviews on here from people saying the staff were amazing, are from people who tipped for EVERYTHING. We saw it ourselves, if you tip everytime you get a drink or ask for something you get great service. We ourselves like to tip at the end of the holiday as that way we can base our tip amount on the service provided to us, we did not tip anyone at the end of this holiday. Previous resort have said no tipping day to day but if you would like to reward the staff at the end of your stay please do so, that would sort the staff out here.

Well that's our review, I hope people find it helpful. I also hope that the Mangement take on board what people are saying as Antigua is a beautiful Island which deserves much better than this. We would return to Antigua for a 3rd time but never to this resort.

Room Tip: Do not book Supersaver! Upgrade to a minimum of Standard!
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PeteandDee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Port of Spain, Trinidad
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2012

Stayed 4 nights at this resort, shoul've been longer though. Amazing beach (I've been telling friends the water is like blue fabric softener), great location, beautiful sunsets, great food, pleasant and friendly staff.

My thoughts:

The Room:

1. We stayed in a King Standard Room on the fourth floor, so we had a bit of climbing to reach our rooms since there was no elevators. The room itself was a bit smaller than we thought but we made it comfortable. I had asked for a room with a sea view but much of it was blocked by coconut trees. The a/c made a bit of noise when now starting up, but it subsided after a few minutes.

The Food/Restaurants:

1. Hemispheres (the buffet styled restaurant) - great food overall. The breakfast menu was a bit repetitive with scrambled eggs, sausages ( I assumed it was made from pork which was a bit fatty), omelets, toast, bacon, oatmeal, cereal etc. somedays there were french toast and pancakes. There were fresh fruit also but not very sweet. Lots of black birds that swarmed the inside and outdoor areas, which wasn't very hygienic but they weren't a problem to us and i also believe the resort can't do much about it. Lunch and dinner were amazing with a greater variety. For me, the barbequed pork spare ribs, pork vindaloo, the fried chicken, and of course the pecan pie and coconut creme cake, stood out.

2. Bocciolos (Italian) - we took some time to find it, but was really surprised with the buffet styled starters. You must try the mushroom fritters with the garlic and herbed sauce and the tempanade (didn't know what it was at first but was wonderfully surprised). Can't remember what we had as starters but it was very heavy for us so when we had the main course we didn't enjoy it that much. We were so full. All in all, can't say much about the food here, as I've never had Italian food before so I have nothing to compare it to.

3. Utsav (Indian) - We had starters of vegetable pakoras and chicken massala, both were tasty. For the main course we had Lamb Rogan Josh and Pork Vindaloo. Both we're amazing, I must say. Our reservations were at 8:45 p.m. and the bonfire at the beach were at the same time and we really wanted to be a part of it, so we kinda rushed our dinner. But the food was great.

4. Lydias (Seafood) - For starters we had mini crab cakes and the lime marinated chicken satay. The crab cakes were delicious as well as the satay, except for the peanut sauce really. The menu was really limited to mostly fish. I had the catch of the day (marlin I think) fried but it was too stiff. Overall we didn't really enjoy the food. We didn't stay too long as the sandflies and mosquitoes were a huge nuisance.

The Resort:

1. It could do with a paint job for the least, and probably the rooms could do with an upgrade. On entering the compound, I noticed that the lawns close to the outside fencing was not cut and looked untidy. But it is in a wonderful location.

The Pools:

1. Beautiful, clean and well-kept. Spent more time there than the beach.The grill offered tasty fast food.

The Beach:
1. Picturesque, white sands, blue cloudy waters, just simply spectacular. I'm accustomed to seeing clear blue/green waters but not blue and cloudy. Amazed me.


Dislikes:

1. The nuisance of sandflies and mosquitoes.
2. No mini fridges in the room.
3. To get ice, you have to go down to the bar or the Hemispheres restaurant.
4. Charges for telephone use, really ridiculous.

Tips:

1. Carry insect repellant and also after bite creams.
2. Carry water, as you will have to

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ruud L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Standish, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2012

I have recently returned from a 3 week holiday at the Jolly Beach Hotel and Spa Resort, Antigua. My husband and I have had two previous fabulous holidays here and so chose to stay here to celebrate my well earned retirement. We booked a Standard Room and the resort is all inclusive. I will say that we did have a lovely holiday, however, I don't think we would return to the Jolly Beach in the future unless the following are addressed.
The hotel has become rather tired, it needs a makeover. Our last visit to Antigua was in 2007 and nothing has changed. The courtyard and outside dining furniture is in poor condition, some parasols are broken. The bedroom is quite small, with very limited wardrobe space and rustic storage, stone shelving and dressing table. A positive factor it had a very large 6' bed and Air conditioning.
The All in Clusive package is all meals, afternoon tea, snacks and grill meals during the day. Hot drinks available and accessible but no in room facilities or fridges. Cold drinks available from Machines or at the bars. Alcoholic beverages, local brands from the bars from 11am until late. There are 3 Al a Carte restaurants, Italian, Indian and a Fish restaurant these can be visited as often as guests like as long as they are pre booked. The Buffet is held in the Hemisphere which is open sided and birds can be a nuisance in the day time however, they have now erected netting which does help to reduce this. On previous visits the Hemisphere was open every day but now it closes two evenings and guests have to book one of the Al a Cartes on those nights. Not a problem in itself but this information is not very well conveyed to guests. As we didn't have a rep we only discovered this by chance. The food was very good, in all restaurants. I would say that while there is a good choice there has still been a noticeable reduction in the number of dishes and food items available and some things became a bit monotonous. Service in the restaurants was generally good.
Entertainment was very poor a noticeable change from our previous visits.
The beach is lovely but needs more sand raking onto the area where sun beds sit as the concrete base is exposed in places. I also advise wearing surf shoes for swimming as there is a band of very sharp sand etc when you first walk into the sea. Once in the water it's heaven.
When we arrived the wardrobe doors where off the runners this made hanging our clothes and accessing them very difficult. We reported it to reception three days running and then gave up it was still not fixed when we left 3weeks later.
Antigua is a beatiful place and the people are lovely. A trip into St John's is a must. And ladies get your partner to take you down to Heritage Quay the diamonds are beautiful.
Overall I would say that we thought we had paid an awful lot of money for what we actually got. My hotel and flights cost £4227 for 21 nights. Despite the many negative comments we had a wonderful holiday with fantastic weather. Please Jolly Beach get out your paintbushes, buy some new tables and chairs and review your tarriffs, you're charging too much for too little.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Patch Price
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, 15 November 2012
Dear Patch Price,

Thank you for taking the time to write in detail about your stay with us, it’s always great to hear from our return guests. I am gratified that overall you had a wonderful holiday but disappointed that in some areas your stay didn’t meet your expectations. Your Standard Room is a smaller room but well appointed offering the best of our ocean views. As you know from your previous stay this room category along with the Supersaver has built-in shelving and so remain unchanged.

I’m glad that you enjoyed our restaurants and menu offering but sorry that you were not better informed of the summer-season closure for the Hemispheres Buffet for dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We do post a notice at the restaurant but will explore other ways to make sure our guests are better informed about what their dining choices are.

There is absolutely no excuse why your closet door was not fixed. For this I apologize and will immediately address with our Front Office, Housekeeping and Maintenance team.

Rest assured that we have many exciting new ventures on the horizon and we are looking forward to sharing them with you. We stand firm that we are a good value for money resort. We are a 3 star property with a focus on Exceptional Service and Excellent value. Please do stay in touch with us by signing up for our Jolly Happenings Newsletter.

See you soon our Best Beach by a Mile!

Vernon A. Jeffers, Sr
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2012

Before going to the JBR I had noticed that most reviews were either very 'anti' or very 'pro' the resort, not many in the middle. Having recently returned from a 2 week holiday I offer this thought.

The JBR offers a low cost method of staying on Antigua. If you remember that fact and are content that the standard rooms are very basic and that some of the service levels are also low cost then adding the wonderful beach you would probably write a positive review, Unfortunately just as many reviewers have their expectations raised above the level of what is actually provided and they will write a poor review. We are in the second bracket!

Perhaps it was my fault. i decided to pay for a better level of accommodation, a junior suite. The rooms were old but clean and everything worked (A bottle of water in the room would have been a nice touch on the first night though). I have no complaint about the suite but of course you have remember that upgrading your accommodation does not upgrade the other low cost service levels and you are left feeling a bit unimpressed. Our two week holiday for two, including flights from the UK, cost over 4,000 GBP (approx 6,000 USD at current rates and this is getting up into the prices charged by higher quality providers.

So, the good bits. The beach is truly awesome, the beach vendors are a little tiresome but polite and accept 'no thank you' in good humour. The staff are very friendly and will go out of their way to assist you (but more on this later). The gardens are kept neat and tidy.

The not so good bits. What few staff were on duty (although friendly) were obviously over worked. We visited in low season and it would appear that staffing levels are kept low. This means that the speed of service was often poor.

The 'quiet pool' was full of kids on inflatable toys most days making it anything but quiet so we avoided it.

The food was awful. Hemispheres was like eating in an aviary with birds everywhere. I do have to question the hygiene standards. Although the buffet food was kept in covered trays the serving spoons/tongs were not and freely available to birds and flies. Someone had left the lid off of the fruit salad bowl and this was now a bath for several birds. Generally the food was served warm rather than hot and some dishes looked suspiciously like the left overs from the previous lunch (but with a different name on the tray lid, beware the 'potato medly'). Chicken served in Hemispheres, of any name, was legs or wings only, no breast meat. The amount of meat on a leg or wing was minimal and we believe that they must breed chickens with 6 legs each in Antigua as they were in plentiful supply whilst you had to search for a breast. Service levels in Hemispheres varied from good to very slow but again this was probably due to staffing levels.

The other three restaurants need to be booked in advance. Make sure you book for a few days ahead or they will fill up quickly. These three restaurants offered a better dining experience, relatively bird free, none at night. But there is always a 'but'. Lydias seafood restaurant is best left to the seafood fan who likes his meal to be staring back up at him off the plate and can be bothered to fillet the bones out of every mouthful. Yes I can see that some people like to eat this way but you should see the faces of some of the kids when presented with something 'specialist' rather than fish fingers. Upside, there was a chicken breast on the menu, but you cannot live on that for 14 days. The Indian themed restaurant presented Indian tasting food and at first looked like a winner. But the size of the starters was small and i made the mistake of ordering Lamb Rogon Josh which turned out to be curried lamb bones which you had to pick the meat off of the outside. The Chicken tikka kebab was pieces of leg or wing meat on a skewer. (getting to see a trend here?). The Italian restaurant was air conditioned and labelled as fine dining so we were hopeful. The menu stated that it may take up to two hours for this fine dining experience, more like two hours between glasses of wine. The three times we went there we gave up once we had received our starter and main course as time was moving on, boredom setting in and I wasn't getting any younger. Once again a staffing level issue. On the upside another chicken breast dish was available (if you could wait that long).

In the end we gave up totally on breakfast, lunched either at Hemispheres (ask for a table at the back to avoid most birds) or at the poolside grill which was agonizingly slow for a poor quality burger (staffing levels again). On several evenings we wandered out past the guard at the gate and down the footpath opposite to Jolly Harbour Marina where there were some excellent restaurants. I know I was paying to eat rather than using the 'all inclusive' element but it was worth every penny/dime/cent.

I must reiterate again that although I consider staffing levels to be the main cause of the slow service the staff themselves were, in the main, very friendly, accommodating and a credit to the reosrt. The quality of the food (not to mention the presentation of it in Hemispheres) must be a management issue and a cost saving exercise.

Oh, and in low season only two of the four restaurants are open each evening, so will it be chicken wings sitting on bird dropping covered seats in Hemispheres, or curried bones in the Indian tonight?

I have marked the JBR as 3 out of 5. One for the staff and two for the beach. The suite was good but not exceptional enough to warrant a special mention.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Scruggs1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 November 2012

Oh dear oh dear! What’s happened to the Jolly Beach Resort? Having just returned (3rd Nov), it’s gone seriously downhill.
We are repeat customers to Jolly Beach Resort, this being our 8th time (although not acknowledged by the Front Desk during check in). JBR has never been a ‘luxury’ resort but there has always been a reasonable level of customer service. Unfortunately this year, the service has fallen well below the reasonable level we have come to expect over the years.
I could list pages of issues, but essentially the headlines are:-
1). there just didn’t seem to be enough staff on the floor and it was obvious those that were there seemed so demotivated – it’s was as though they just couldn’t be bothered. Not great for customer satisfaction.
2). the buffet restaurant, Hemispheres used to have a good choice of hot food and good service for drinks. Last week, the choice was minimal - more often than not the food was only just warm and the daily wait for a coffee became tiresome. Running out of plates was commonplace.
3). toilets dirty with no Sanipro and no soap or paper towels for days on end despite often seeing staff sat around doing not that much.
4). endless queues for lunchtime snacks and bar drinks due to lack of staff (unless of course you were from the American cruise ship group that arrived Wednesday whereon I counted FIVE behind the makeshift beach front bar). Running out of drinks by mid-morning was also a frequent occurrence.
5). Lydia’s overlooking the beach in what is the most beautiful of settings in the daytime is still not opening for Sunday Brunch – what a waste of a beautiful asset in the name of cutting costs. It’s only open in the evenings when it’s dark and you get eaten alive by sand flees.
6). Mr Izaacs, the former General Manager has gone and a new GM has been in place since springtime; didn’t see him walking the floor once. Clearly, whatever he is doing isn’t working from the customer perspective!
Did we pass on our thoughts? Yes, midweek to a supervisor who told us he’d raise our issues at the meeting that day. Did we get any feedback? No, of course not!
I won’t recommend this resort to you and it’s almost certainly our last holiday at this resort.

Room Tip: High floors work best!
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Neil H
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, 15 November 2012
Dear Neil H,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am so sorry that I missed seeing you on your eighth return visit to the resort, as I was in London representing the resort and our beautiful island at the recently held World Travel Market Expo.

As an eight-time repeat customer we appreciate your candid comments and want to assure you that I personally take each one seriously. Without feedback such as yours we could not exceed customer expectations and win awards such as the Gold Virgin Holidays Customer Care Award.

I hope that we can welcome you back home to our Best Beach by a Mile for a memorable ninth anniversary.

Vernon A Jeffers, Sr.
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Bolans hotels

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 November 2012

Lovely quiet resort. Absolutely worth money you spent. However it is only 3 star hotel, so do not expect luxury, it is not there. Food is average and rooms are old. Everything is kept clean though. You just have to get real and not to expect 5 star luxury for the price you are paying. I felt very well there because I like small islands athmosphere. Beaches, water, weather are probably the nicest I experienced and I must add I am freaquent to Carribean. Locals left a very good impression on me. They are polite, friendly and well mannered. You can hear a lot of "thank you" or "please" and vendors understand word "no" perfectly. There is not much to see on Antigua except historical English Harbour, so I do not recommend daily tours around the island in jeep or on catamaran. They are expensive and you are wasting whole day in the car instead on the beach. We took taxi for 3.5h trip to English Harbour and on the way there driver showed us a few interesting points like local college, Eric Clapton's villa (from the distance of course) or rehab centre he founded. Total cost about 40% of daily trip and we saved the day for what we came for: sun and sand. Of course I missed freshly squized juices and professional style entertainment but dare to state: I felt much better in 3* Jolly Beach than in 5* Cuban hotel.

Room Tip: Do not upgrade your rooms. It is expensive and not worth the money
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank George M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Macclesfield UK
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2012

First I'd like to say we have been going to JBR every October for the past 8 years so you know we love the place. We already know we won't be going back next year but it's debatable whether we'll ever go back due to the points raised below! As regular visitors we've noticed a gradual decline in standards over the years but the difference in the last 12 months has been considerable, to the point where in some areas of the resort at certain times service is virtually non-existent due to disorganised, unmotivated staff and the fact that the resort seems to be grossly under-staffed.

So to the bad points:-
At reception, once you are noticed, you are greeted with a blank face, no friendly smile or personal greeting from staff who often have no name badge - a terrible first impression! Return customers are not recognised despite your booking clearly stating your have been before and the check-in form having a tick box to indicate the fact. Any receptionist should see at a glance whether the person checking in had been before! (this was never the case in previous years). We received a better welcome-back (and instant recognition) from the beach vendors!!
Bar service is very hit and miss. Certain staff members were brilliant (few and far between) but quite often the main bar could have only 1 member of staff serving and maybe 20 people waiting to be served and could not cope at all. Sometimes we gave up and left after waiting 15-20 minutes to be served and then ignored in favour of queue-jumpers. Bar staff should recognise who had been waiting and who had just arrived. All bars were constantly running out of stock - often not even fully stocked for opening!
The Grill was a complete shambles - often taking 40 minutes to be served if there were more than half a dozen people in the queue! Running out of food and plates was a regular occurrence and it looked a mess due to dirty plates piled up everywhere around the pool area with no staff to tidy up.
Hemispheres - breakfast service was diabolical due to a lack of staff and those who were there were unable to offer good service due to being severely overworked. We often waited for coffee (and only once managed to get a refill) and juice for 15-20 minutes by which time we'd almost finished eating the lukewarm food which was on offer. Plates, bowls and cutlery seemed to be in short supply which led to queues of guests waiting around for them. The quality and choice of food was very poor compared to previous years. We only had dinner at Hemispheres once but, again, the choice of food compared to previous years was a big disappointment.
Public toilets - a mess! No hand towels and empty soap dispensers for the whole week, broken taps, quite smelly (on occasions, very smelly!).

We only bring these bad points up because we can compare to previous years and there were, of course, good points as well:-
All waiter-service restaurants - there is much more choice than in previous years and the service is good (but still not great) due to being better staffed.
The evening entertainment is good and varied - reggae bands, steel bands, fire-eater & limbo dancer, JBR dancers, disco party, karaoke. All good fun and leads to a good evening atmosphere. There are also daytime activities if you need a change from doing nothing.
The beach is stunning. The hotel grounds are lovely.

Lydia's restaurant is in a stunning setting on the beach but is only open a couple of nights a week (when it's dark and you can't see the view) - why on earth it's not open in the day is beyond us. There used to be Sunday Brunch at Lydia's with a steel band playing and it was always the highlight of the visit. It's sadly missed - so much so that we would pay a supplement to have it back again.
JBR has a swim-up pool bar which is now unused and in a state of disrepair - why? It wouldn't take much to set it up again.

Don't get us wrong - we still had a great holiday but with better organisation and planning and more staff who are motivated, JBR can be so much better. Low staffing levels and poor maintenance are letting this hotel down. Will we ever visit again? We're undecided and we never thought we'd say that about JBR!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Marshy747
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
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre 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 
Reservation Options:
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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, Antigua And Barbuda

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