Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Jolly Beach Resort, Antigua (3 Star)

Overview: 
20 mins from airport
15 mins from St. John’s
West side of island (Caribbean side)
2 pools
5 restaurants (1 buffet, 3 a la carte, 1 snack bar/grill)
1 outdoor bar, 1 swim up bar, 3 other bars inside the restaurants
Free wi-fi in lobby
Water Sports
464 Rooms which are spread out across an expansive resort (40 acres)

Antigua is a beautiful island, with many amazing white sand beaches to experience. I went here in November 2012 with a group of travel agents.  I stayed at the Jolly Beach property for the duration of my time in Antigua.
 My immediate thoughts are that this property desperately needs an update! It is a very old property which has plans to renovate most of their rooms.  I would only book this property if you can get a renovated room.  It’s the best value you’ll get for being the most beautiful beach on the island!  I would not recommended this resort to someone who wants a lively, party resort as there is not a whole lot of nightly entertainment (just the one bar which mostly had karaoke), and there really isn’t entertainment during the day, just kids activities.  It is fairly quiet, and suited for people who are insistent on experiencing Antigua but don’t have much of a budget. It is ideal for a family vacation.  Overall, this property is booked for its 5 Star beach, not for its rooms.

Accommodations:

The rooms are definitely considered 3 Star, are quite old and worn and smell a little musty. I was not impressed with the cleaning of our bathroom. This resort is for the beach lover – for someone who won’t spend a lot of time in the room and someone who doesn’t have many expectations for room quality.  The Supersaver Rooms are very small, and really only good for single travellers. Some rooms are renovated. The Superior Rooms are the only rooms that come with fridges and a full tub - all others are shower only. Fridges can be requested in other room types for a charge. None of these rooms have been renovated at this time. The Standard Rooms are nice. There are about 60 standard rooms that have been renovated and are MUCH nicer than other room types. It was suggested that you put in a request direct with the hotel for a renovated room. I would confirm availability of renovated rooms before booking.

Beach: 

The beach is by far one of the best on the whole island – it really is. It has the most white sand, the most blue/clear waters, and one of the longest on the island. It’s on the Caribbean side of the island.

Pools: 















The pools are very nice, large, and one has a swim up bar. They are fairly low-key and not too lively. The swim up bar closes very early. One thing to note about the pools is that they close almost immediately after the sun has set, which is quite early since it is dark by around 6-7pm.

Food: 
The food in the buffet was pretty standard and usually had the same options each day with little variance. The a la carte restaurants were better than expected for a 3 Star, and the servers were polite and helpful. I suggest booking the a la cartes as soon as possible (possibly even email the resort prior to departure), especially for the small one’s: Utsav’s and Lydia’s. The Italian restaurant, Bocciolo is fairly big so not as necessary. Staff at the restaurants were quiet, not very personable, but service was good even when it was busy.

Facilities:















Kids Club ($), water sports, sports field, mini casino, fitness centre, small spa ($) There are free weddings when the Bride & Groom book a Superior Room or at least 6 guest rooms. Antigua legally has to hold civil ceremonies, no religious ceremonies are allowed.

I think this resort is one of the most affordable options if you're on a budget and want to go to Antigua. It doesn't get much better than this beautiful beach that is right on site!

For more photos and information, check out the Jolly Beach Resort website:

http://www.jollybeachresort.com/