I would definitely return to Jolly Beach. This resort is about 20 years old and is now owned by the Bank of Antigua. You can see how they are constantly working on the upkeep. It is very, very clean and well maintained. That said, in the Caribbean, all properties–unless at the highest $ and luxury level–are going to show some wear and tear. Seems to be a given. But at Jolly Beach, I feel with all the amenities, wonderful staff, beautiful grounds, beach, pool, and good foods make this resort a very reasonably priced vacation and great value. I didn’t wish for anything while I was there and would return again–although we’re off to Mexico in January.
Returned from a lovely stay at Jolly Beach. I was pleasantly surprised with almost all aspects of the resort. We upgraded to a Superior room and were about 10 feet from the beach, which was great. Room was 101 in the St. John building. Great Air, plenty of room to move around and plenty of storage. Room had coffee station, hair dryer, small refrigerator — which was great to store cokes in. There was also an in-room safe that we never used and a iron and ironing board. The water pressure and heat is iffy at best—but we were out in the sun all day so a cooler shower was no problem. Very quiet at night. Sleeping was good. Patio to sit on if you choose. Yes, definitely bring some insect spray for dusk & night. I got about 5 bites during the week, but didn’t hear a lot of complaints.
Food: Above average for an all inclusive. Love the buffet dinners in the evening. The Coconut Grill for lunch had awesome burgers and fries, jerk chicken and other items to choose from. Self-serve soda, juice, coffee, and drink stations by restaurants. Wine offered with lunch and dinner. I’m not a wine snob, but enjoy wine and felt both red and white were good. Breakfast – the buffet eggs were icky/runny, but could have made to order omelets, French toast and pancakes in addition to the buffet staples of bacon, sausage, juices, yogurt, oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit. Really all food offering were varied enough that could always find something to enjoy. Italian restaurant was very good. Indian was fairly good but bland. Didn’t make it to the seafood. Men do need collared shirts and no sandals, jeans or athletic shoes in the restaurants that require reservations. The store/boutique has a very good selection of items ranging from gifts to clothing to essentials to cold drinks and cold drinks. Beach vendors so/so, but pleasant and not pushy.
Dawn on the beach braided by hair–$1 a braid, which didn’t seem too much to me. Turned out great. Had a heck of time getting them out when I got home. They definitely will last a couple of weeks.
Alex on beach did a back massage (30 minute) for $30 which was to die for. He did a great job. I’d highly recommend Alex. He’ll do reflexology, as well.
Shopping in St. John–Not the best I’ve been to for sure–but only spent a short time there, so didn’t waste a lot of time.
Princess Casino across the street–was fun to go to, but talk about dead. The night we were there I think there were about 10 other people there. It’s nice to have the option to go and have it be so close. My hubby enjoys that, while I enjoy the hair braiding and massages.
Jolly Beach grounds are very nice. The sports hut has a lot of non-motorized things such as hobie cats, kayaks, etc. Had big blue foam floater mattresses, which I loved to use to float in the calm sea foam green ocean or in the pool. That was a favorite. Pool is huge and wonderful. Pool bar is really fun.
Employees were just the best. Loved Janet, Charlie, Vance, Robin, Beverly (yes, all the bartenders). They were excellent, but so was everyone else. I never encountered any employee who was not friendly. Even the timeshare people were great and weren’t high pressure. Almost purchased a week in the "Vacation Club" but our wits returned just in the nick of time. If you take a tour of the new area of the resort, which is part of the "Vacation Club" get a free weeks logging in a variety of places and a $25 certificate off a tour booked at the tour desk. The tour isn’t high pressure. We went during a small rain shower, so it killed some time. They are very nice units.
Beach was very beautiful and great for walking. Nice sand. Some shelling opportunities. The ocean water was beautiful, warm and calm. Views very peaceful.
Resumé: Being from America and due to the War in Iraq, I didn’t know what I’d think about the Brits or if they would be friendly or not. I met so many wonderful people. They were all very, very friendly and warm. That was a special treat. I would definitely return to Jolly Beach. This resort is about 20 years old and is now owned by the Bank of Antigua. You can see how they are constantly working on the upkeep. It is very, very clean and well maintained. That said, in the Caribbean, all properties–unless at the highest $ and luxury level–are going to show some wear and tear. Seems to be a given. But at Jolly Beach, I feel with all the amenities, wonderful staff, beautiful grounds, beach, pool, and good foods make this resort a very reasonably priced vacation and great value. I didn’t wish for anything while I was there and would return again–although we’re off to Mexico in January. Please, please do some tipping. Didn’t see a lot of tipping going on. We tipped all throughout the week and the staff was very appreciative. You still get great service regardless–but the hotel employees definitely could use a little extra recognition.
Don’t hesitate to book Jolly Beach—but do upgrade to Superior Room–if a tiny room is going to bother you during your stay.