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Opinions about Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua. Please Help!

Opinions about Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua. Please Help!

Old Nov 24th, 2002, 05:53 AM
  #1  
Pason
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Opinions about Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua. Please Help!

Message:

I had what I would call a painstaking time deciding on where to book for the first week in January. I had it down to a 5* in Cuba or Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua. My biggest concern about the Cuba vacation was iffy weather in January and my Husband's need for hot,hot, hot temps. I at least wanted a guarantee that I could go in the water and not freeze. I booked Jolly Beach Resort as I had read alot of great reviews on this property on wheretostay.com. I am now wondering if I made a big mistake. Some of what I have read on different sites since has put doubt into my mind about the beaches, the people and the food. The worst part is that I paid more for this resort than the Cuba destination would have cost me. Someone, please put my mind at ease!

Thanks in advance

 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 06:47 AM
  #2  
fabila
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Part 1
ROOM - Our room was #106 on the ground floor in the St. John’s bldg, which was 2 stories high. We were located right next to the beach and fantasy pool, a great location for us. About 5 minute walk to Lydia’s and Crab Hole Village which was the farthest from our room. Everything else was in-between and no problem getting around the resort.

DINING – we like the 3 restaurants and ate twice at the Italian (best one), twice at Lydia’s (seafood) and once at Olive’s(Greek). You are now surcharged for shrimp, steak and lobster at Lydia’s. $15 US but they also add on 10% service charge and an 8% government tax. Lobster was only ½ a Caribbean at Lydia’s and shrimp dish was not very good. Lobster and shrimp at the Italian were far superior in both quality and quantity. The size of my lobster at the Italian restaurant was huge and our daughter’s shrimp plate had about 7 more shrimp on it compared to Lydia’s. Many of our new found friends did not enjoy Lydia’s for dinner.

Only surcharge at Olives was the shrimp. Very tasty steak there. Let me say that if you have an average appetite you won’t get full from the sit down restaurants. Portions are very small but at the Italian you can fill up on the cold Antipasti bar where you help yourself. This is the only air-conditioned restaurant and the only one man is required to wear long pants. We had brunch on Sunday at Lydia’s and there was a steel band and buffet, which was very good. The buffet, Hemispheres is open for breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. but after 10:00 a.m. it’s only a continental breakfast. Hemispheres is open every night while there is a schedule for the restaurants and they are all open different nights. Serving from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m.

We ate at the buffet Hemispheres twice for dinner and several times for breakfast. Never for lunch since the grill served from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. some nice items and was right in the middle of the pool feet away from Splash Bar. You could get hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, fish and chicken sandwiches and grill cheese. The chicken burger was more like a fried chicken patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber. It was very good.

They also had high tea each day around 4:30 p.m. by Olives. Served tea sandwiches (same every day) along with some scones and cookies which varied a little.

Liquor – not top shelf so if you drink vodka, scotch, etc straight I’d suggest buying a bottle. We had a superior room so we had a small refrig and kept a bottle of Finlandia which we bought for $6. They have pina colada machines so you help yourself and there is a bottle of rum next to the machines. A lot of the times the machines had just been refilled and were not frosty enough or there were wasps swarming around them in the day. I wish they had disposable drinking cups but they used these small 6 oz glasses and several times my drinks or beverages tasted like soap because they hadn’t rinsed the cups out very well. It would be much more sanitary if they just used throw away. I watched the bartenders clean the cups and they didn’t do a very good job. No way was the water hot so the cups weren’t getting washed very well.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 06:49 AM
  #3  
fabila
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Part II -- I couldn't post the whole report so here is the second half. Must be a character limitation on this forum.


WATER SPORTS– they had hobie cats, surf bikes, kayaks, paddle boats, floats, wind surfing for free. Lenny at the water sports shed was great and would take you at in the morning sailing.

Banana boat rides were $10 each (reasonable) which was offered at the hotel. Wave running was $35 for ½ hour but you rented those from a beach vendor.

PEOPLE – Not many children the week we were there in my child’s age group but lots of sixteen year olds to twenty. They had a blast. Lots of Brits, Scots and people from Ireland at our resort. All lovely and very friendly. Think we’ve made some friends for life. Exchanged hugs and emails with the promise of staying in touch and visiting each other.

Beaches are public so there was a lot of annoying vendors at the beginning of the trip and as previously reported on some active boards just saying no was not enough. Often the vendors got pretty indigent which led to further heated conversations. After several days many guest complained and in response to this the hotel had security stand on the beach so only the licensed vendors came around. Usually the security staff just patrols the beach so of course when the rasa men see them on one side they hurry to the other. We were offered weed many times, it was really annoying!

Hotel Staff at the resort – Bartenders were a bit crabby while the rest of the staff on the resort were friendly. We encountered many bartenders during our stay and there were several who were ok but nobody that really stood out. Maid service was very good, we left a tip each day and made some requests which were honored. Wait staff was general nice but slow (island time).

ENTERTAINMENT – OK. The bands played very well, but the limbo/fire eater Mr. Moves was just ok. Seen much better in other island shows. Talent show was good because of the hotel staff was very good, and some very talented guests that evening. “Best couples” was a bit funny one night.

Had 2 pool tables and game boards along with darts.

I would recommend the JBR as a good all-inclusive for the price. Not a 5 star hotel but an excellent deal for a 3 1/2 star. Swim up bars, fantasy pool, big nice beach, relaxful yet some activities during the day if you want to participate. Rounders, cricket, croquet, pool volleyball, beach volleyball.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 07:48 AM
  #4  
Pason
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Thanks Fabila,

I was wondering what your opinion of the beach was. How bad is the water? Are there any alternate beaches nearby that have clear water? We visited Antigua on a cruise several years ago and we thought the water was the most beautiful of any Island we had seen. What went wrong?

I appreciate all of your feedback!!
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 11:11 AM
  #5  
Pason
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Anyone hear about a beach that has clear water near a place called Coco (something or other)?? Thanks
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 12:58 PM
  #6  
fabila
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For Pason

The water at the Jolly Beach was very cloudy but we expected that since a lot of reports on Carib-online mentioned that. The beach was long and the sand was very nice lined with lots of palm trees. We met a lot of people who travelled about Antigua and said the JBR had the nicest beach. The pool was parallel to the beach which was very convenient.

Anguilla, St. Martin, Aruba, St. John's, Cancun and Playa del Carmen have some of the most beautiful beaches I've been too. Jamaica also but after 2 visits I wouldn't return. Puerto Rico is great to visit but the water isn't that clear and can be rough.

I am off to Turks & Caicos soon and from all the reviews I may change my mind and find it to have the best beaches.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 06:40 AM
  #7  
Tiffany
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I just returned from my weddingmoon at Sandals Antigua and Dickenson Bay is a beautiful beach! It's very long and the water is calm, clear, and a beautiful aquamarine color. You may want to check this beach out, we loved it! Enjoy your vacation!
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 07:07 AM
  #8  
Pason
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Thanks Tiffany!

I will definitely check it out. I believe the beaches are all public. I don't exactly know where Sandals is in relation to JBR but I will look it up. I'm so relieved to have first hand feedback that the water was clear as of recent!

Congratulations of your Wedding! How was the Sandals resort in Antigua?
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 07:40 AM
  #9  
Tiffany
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Pason - Sandals Antigua was amazing, we fell in love with the place. It is the only Sandals I have been to and I don't plan on going to any of their other resorts (they just don't appeal to me). But I would return the Sandals in Antigua in a heartbeat! The landscaping is amazing, the beach is breathtaking (Dickenson Bay is known to be one of the best beaches on the island), incredible sunsets, and the resort has this really laid back and romantic feel to it. I would recommend it to anyone.

I have read nothing but good reports on Jolly Beach. I'm sure you will enjoy it. The beaches in Antigua are public so you may want to venture out a day or two. Enjoy!
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 09:30 AM
  #10  
Pason
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Thanks again for your information and sorry about all the questions but I had one more. Did you leave the resort at all to go to the casino or any off site restaurants/bars? I might like to check out the casinos, do you know what they are like?
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 11:08 AM
  #11  
Tiffany
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Considering this was our wedding and honeymoon, we were busy with the wedding the first 2 days. We like to spend our vacation doing nothing but vegging on the beach. We went to town one day to go shopping for about 2 1/2 hours. We went into King's Casino to use the ATM and that was it. Looked like it was nice enough to sit and play, if that's what you're into. We never ate outside the resort. We had everything we needed there and since we were on our honeymoon we spent all of our time relaxing. We never wanted to leave the beach!! Sorry I couldn't be of more help!
 
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