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Hotel & Resort Reviews: Antigua & Barbuda
Jolly Beach Resort (long report) 01/09/03
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
To begin with if anyone is booked at the JBR and is concerned whatsoever due to any negative postings, don't be. If you are going with reasonable expectations you will be more than delighted with this resort!

We stayed in a Standard room. We had enough room for our belongings and we didn't feel cramped at all, if anything it's a cozy room. The room was clean and the bedding was fresh. The bathroom offers only a standup shower but we don't usually use baths in hotels in any case so it was not missed and the bathroom is clean and comfortable to get ready in. We brought some nicely scented candles in jars to add ambience which I distributed throughout the room.

The grounds at this resort are very pretty, nicer than I'd expected. Both pools are fantastic, the fantasy pool is always lively with lots of people, music and activities and it's close to the beach so the view is great! We spent more time at the smaller deep pool which is set amongst lots of flowering trees and is a bit quieter. It was relaxing.

We met up with a great couple who had been there a week prior as well and they were pretty well aquainted with the Island. They took us around to some nice places on the Island. Together we checked out Pineapple Beach resort on a day pass. Nice resort though all of us agreed that for what we were looking for in a vacation we preffered Jolly. Jolly is on the Carribean side of the Island and the beach is gorgeous. The water directly on the Jolly Beach Resort beach is cloudy as previous travellers have noted however, if you are picky about the water you can drive about 5-10 minutes from the resort to Darkwood beach which was our favourite and the water was clear there. Fryes is a bit closer but more remote (no where to get a drink or a sun chair), also quite nice but I believe Darkwood's water was a bit clearer. When the surf was calm it was clear down to our feet and it was just perfect, no seaweed, schools of fish swimming by on occasion and warm water that felt so nice to play around in. We spent most of our off-resort time at Darkwood.

Food:

This is a big area of concern for me on Vacation. I had some reservations about Jolly based on a couple of bad reviews I had read. To sum it up there is nothing to be worried about in this area.

Breakfast:

Pretty much the standard buffet style. I always enjoyed my made to order omlette. There were a variety of other items you might expect to find with some variation from day to day ie. pancakes one day, french toast the next. There was nothing extrodinary about the breakfast but it was good. Last year we stayed at Allegro Turks and they had made to order smoothies, champagne on some mornings and fresh waffles with toppings. I guess when people complain about the breakfasts they are expecting the little extras just mentioned. However, Jolly met my expectations just fine.

Lunch:

You had a choice between the buffet or the beach side grill (possibly Lydias with reservations but we never went there at lunch so I'm not sure). The buffet again was pretty much what we expected. Each day there was a selection of a meat, fish, vegatable, pasta or potatoe, variety of salads and made to order burgers/fish on the grill. There was also always a selection of desserts. There was always something for everyone on the buffet. The Beach side grill had very good jerk chicken and fries that we snacked on if we didn't eat much at the buffet that day and were hungry an hour later.

Dinner:

We made our reservations early in the week so as not to be disappointed. We managed to get a reservation for every night at one of the restaurants. We ate at the Italian 3 times as it was our favorite. Lydias was also very good and we ate there 3 times, however, we paid the $15 US surcharge for the steak/lobster which was absolutely worth the extra money. Generally I would not fill up on the meals at the a la carte restaurants as they were modest portions but the Steak meal at Lydias was always very filling. On the nights when I felt I was still hungry after dining at an a la carte I would have a taste of the buffet. I was not too crazy about the Greek restaurant (Olive's) but my husband and the other couple we dined with there enjoyed their meals.

The buffet for dinner was similar to lunch but with a bit more variety. The chicken was always good. Wednesday nights are b-b-q and that was just amazing! The ribs were some of the best I've ever had and they also had chicken, steak and fish. The buffet always had a nice variety of desserts if you still had room after all the other food (I of course always did).

We almost skipped Lydia's brunch on Sunday in favour of savouring the last full day of freedom. We didn't want to be on a schedule and it requires reservations. We decided to check it out as it has had many positive reviews. I'm glad we did. It was the perfect ending to our vacation (we left on the Monday). The steeldrum band is excellent and the food tasted that much better for it. The view in the day time from this spot is really nice with the beach right there.

If you have any questions above and beyond what I have mentioned feel free to post and I will respond. If you are going to JBR you will surely have a great time.

Nicole

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