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Hotel & Resort Reviews: Antigua & Barbuda
Jolly Beach Resort 12/30/01
Reviewers Rating: Great
We stayed here in December 2001. If I had to sum the resort up in one sentence it would be "a good value all inclusive". We have previously stayed at much more expensive resorts so tried hard not to unfairly compare jolly beach to these, after all it was a far more economical option. The following is what I beleive to be a fair and honest assessment:

The Facilities

The hotel is very large although low level and very tastefully laid out. It is set on probably the prettiest beach in Antigua, location wise it is superb. There are three full waiter service restraunts to choose from (Greek, Seefood and Italian)as well as the buffet and a grill bar serving poolside snacks. The waterspoots equipment is ample and the sports staff friendly. There are shops, a games room, a gym, a cyber room and a weekend disco.

The Room

We had a minimum room which we found to be an economical option suitable particularly to singles and young couples like us who spend little time there in any event. The room was very small so those who like space may prefer to pay for an upgrade. Our only real problem was the severely limited closet space.

The Food / Restraunts / Bars

We found the buffet choice to be limited (usually one carvery option, one meat option and one fish option)and found it fairly unimaginative and repetitive. As a result we ate mostly in the restraunts and found them all to be superb with regards to food quality and surroundings. They were all well worth a visit.

The bars were well stocked and cocktails only limited by your imagination but for the less imaginative a cocktail list or daily specials would have been nice. In all but one bar you were given a plastic glass and we found this iritating, drinks never taste the same from these. The disco bar was small but fun but while we were there almost empty.

The Entertainment

We found the quality of this variable. On occassions it was superb (e.g. local folk dancers) on others it was truly appalling (e.g. musical chairs). They cancelled several of the better acts / events with little or no explanation. When we were there there was a freak period of extremely bad weather which caused the hotel to flood seriously in parts. The only bar they opened was the one on the beach (as you can imagine this was very wet!)and despite several requests that they open the indoor disco bar they refused. They seemed to have little or no 'wet weather programme' and made little effort to improvise. On the plus side however we found some of the entertainment staff (particularly Alex) very good, they we friendly without being aggressive in asking you to participate.

The staff:

Some were exceptional, others clearly did not like their jobs. The reception staff were rude and unhelpful ( I reported a fault on our telephone at least five times and they did not even bother to send someone to repair it). The phrase "can I help you" does not seem to be in the vocabulary of a single member of staff. In the restraunts/bars we found some good, some bad. For example when you were seated you would be given a glass of wine but after this if you wanted more you had to ask (often several times) and your request would be met with a look suggesting you were being greedy. We found it usually took several requests to get something (in one restraunt we asked four times for beer before we finally got it) and that the service was often very slow (on one memorable occassion the bread basket arrived around five minutes after the soup had been eaten). Although occassionally you would find a friendly, helpful and efficient member of staff this was the exception rather than the rule and we feel this is the main area the resort need to work on.

Summary:

The resort was very good value for money and if you can put up with the service we would recommend it. If you can afford to pay for a more expensive resort you will probably be rewarded with better service. We hope the new management try to encourage their staff to improve their attitude / service as if they could fix this the resort would have received a 4 star rating!

Emma

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