Come and enjoy the sun, sea, sand and the relaxed lifestyle the idyllic island of Antigua is so famous for. Stay at the Starfish Jolly Beach Resort and you'll be able to experience the best of everything from the mile long white sandy beach to the tropical gardens and excellent facilities.
Set amongst tropical gardens and in a prime location next to one of the best beaches on the island, the Jolly Beach Resort is an enviable destination. You'll find impressive facilities here, so there'll be plenty to keep you amused and help you relax during your stay in paradise.
The Starfish Jolly Beach Resort is the largest hotel on the island, so the facilities available for guests are excellent. Choose from four distinctly different restaurants, five bars, two swimming pools - including a swim-up bar - plus an array of sports and leisure amenities. And don't forget the beach of course, which is widely recognised as one of the best on the island.
How will you spend your day? Playing tennis or golf perhaps, or maybe windsurfing or snorkelling? If you want to relax and be pampered a little, head for the spa and beauty salon and you'll be feeling on great form for an evening of entertainment.
To maintain the local ambience, accommodation is all found in a series of unobtrusive low-rise buildings. Rooms have queen beds and are tastefully furnished and have a private balcony or patio - perfect for a morning coffee or a cool drink in the evening as the sun goes down. Inside you'll also find cable TV, hairdryer and a telephone. A selection of room upgrades are available at a supplement.
Boasting a mile long white sand beach and set in tropical gardens, the Starfish Jolly Beach Resort is the islands largest hotel and enjoys an idyllic location on one of Antigua's best beaches. An impressive array of facilities including a swimming pool with swim-up bar make this hotel an appealing choice.
We stayed at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort for 14 nights from 10th March, 2020. We arrived about 8 pm and check in was quick and a porter drove us to our standard room in St Martin Block and delivered our cases. The room was fine and to our expectations, we changed and went to dinner in the buffet, we were sat, served water and wine, and we ate with plenty of variety, even though it was gone 9 pm...
The next morning the bathroom floor was wet, we reported the toilet leak to reception and they said they would move us but new room wouldn’t be ready until 4 pm. We went back at 4 pm and were moved to another standard room in the Barbuda Block, again this room was fine with a big bed, a wardrobe with plenty of hangers and shelves for folded clothes and a lockable safe which we paid 30 US$ for the 14 nights. The bedside shelves were concrete with no drawers, but room for all your bedside bits. There was a concrete shelf on the wall at the bottom of the bed and we used this for sun creams etc. The TV was old, but we only watched BBC world news and CNN to catch up on the Covid19 pandemic. The first morning we were able to book Lydia’s Seafood restaurant for that night and the following night, no ques for booking. We enjoyed the meal very much, the second night was very repetitive, felt we should have left a gap before eating there again. Rest of the time we ate at the Buffet which was varied and could always fine something to eat, various fresh cooking done in the evenings. On St Patrick’s day they had a big celebration with dinner on the beach, a great effort! Breakfast always had chef cooking omelettes and eggs. They had the usual full English, cereal, porridge, cold meat and cheeses, fruit and of course the singing waitresses with their Good morning song. We spent a lot of time on the gorgeous beach, pure white sand and turquoise sea, a mile long which we walked most days. We ate lunch at the beach grill which served burgers, hotdogs, fried chicken, jerk chicken, chips, salad and toasted sandwiches. You could get drinks from the beach bar and often a waitress would serve you at your sun bed. There was always plenty of wine, all colours, rum punch and pina coladas. We used the free wifi at reception and in the courtyard which was a good connection. The hotel grounds were well maintained and nice to walk around. We did not use the pools as we prefer the beach. Jolly Harbour was a short walk away where you could sit and watch the yachts or visit the supermarket, pharmacy and a few other shops. We booked two trips with the BA Rep from St James travel. We went to Barbuda for the day and went on the Wadadli Catamaran Cruise. Both trips well organised and thoroughly enjoyed. We were at the hotel during a very difficult time because of the Corona Virus, as guests went, none were arriving and towards the end of our holiday the hotel was nearly empty, with staff being laid off each day. All the staff were brilliant, always friendly and treating us well and plenty of food continued to be served. I would not hesitate to recommend Starfish Jolly Beach Resort and sad that we spent it there during such difficult times. A very good 3* Resort.
The entire staff at this resort are wonderful, friendly, hard workers, talented. The property is large and spread out. the all inclusive food was always good to very good...
bar drinks were generous, the beer flowed well, but they charged $2.00 for a bottle of water? The sleeping rooms needed a lot of work and updating, no elevators. Great pools, large, great beach, always some type of activity. There is a nice market within walking distance as well as the marina with bars, restaurants and gift shops.
I am starting this review with the Motto of the hotel as it's true: A 3 Hotel wih a 5 service.
I travelled to Antigua in September on my own for 2 weeks and this holiday did not disappoint. The hotel was about 20/25 minutes from the Airport and Check-in was quick and efficient. I was pleasantly surprised by a room upgrade and enjoyed a great view of the Sun setting everyday.
The hotel was very dated but welcoming in every aspect and would cost thousands, upon thousands of pounds to bring it up to date...
The Reception Area has plenty of seating to use and free Wifi if you don't want to pay for it in the rooms; it extends to the Court Yard just outside. There are no lifts to use but there are Porters to take up and bring down your luggage if you need help. If someone is Disabled, there are Ground Floor Rooms. However, all of the above pale into insignificance just looking at spectacular views surrounding the hotel and meeting the lovely Staff working there.
I had originally booked a Saver Room but it was upgraded to a Standard Room on arrival. Having travelled quite a bit now, I have come to understand that in different countries, hotel standards can differ but it doesn't mean detriment and that's why the Jolly Beach Hotel has so many Returnees. The room was basic lacking no Chair or Chest of Drawers. There was a Closet with hangers but I always bring extra ones with me. The room also had 2 single beds. The TV didn't work although I wasn't going to watch it and the hairdryer did smoke a bit when I turned it on so never ended up using it. There was a Safe but at $3 US per day to use, I didn't bother with it. It was good that there was AC (see under Weather) and for good reason too. There was an Iron and ironing Board which worked well. A mini Bar and/or Fridge was missing and would have been great if the room had these but it was 3 although someone who was a Returnee told me they had a Fridge in their room. The Bathroom had a reasonable shower with very hot water coming out considering I was upstairs. Warning though. The Bathroom is by the Landing so if you are in the Bathroom, you can be heard outside if you are using the shower, talking or singing but you can't be seen. I loved sitting on the Balcony looking out towards the Sea and watching the Sun setting. At times the Entertainment Team could be heard or seen practising but it isn't disturbing. Just in regards to the Balcony Door, I found it stiff to open and close.
This was Buffet Style and not as huge a selection as I am used to on my Caribbean travels but, you will never starve. Also, there can be a variance in how one Caribbean country cooks the same item in another Caribbean country. The staff in the restaurant were amazing and fantastic and I'll name some of the staff later in my Review. Always wait to be seated whether it is inside or out as this is the way they look after their guests. Cover your food with your serviette if you are going up to get additional food because the birds will go to your plate as soon as you have left and there is no one else at your table; they are smart. I spent a bit of time one morning at Breakfast trying to shoo away the birds from another Guest's food on the table. He had gone to get something else so the birds went for his uncovered food. Fortunately, a member of staff saw what I was doing, thanked me, and was able to get the attention of the Guest who then took his food inside.
MORE ON THE FOOD BOTH INSIDE THE RESTAURANT, ON THE BEACH AND AROUND THE POOL
The food was very nice and you can get things like Omelettes etc.. done to your choice. I tried a couple of new things to me that I liked the look of but, also ended up trying something which if I had known what it was upfront, I would not have taken it but I made a mistake and couldn't put it back. I absolutely hate Occras or Ladies Fingers as it is known as well and, it was well hidden in what I thought was just Spinach. Someone asked me what the item was so, a member of staff told us what was in it; my heart sank. I took the plate to my table, looked at it but before deciding to just leave it there, especially when I know that so many people starving in the world, I decided to at least taste it. Well, I was in for a shock. It was absolutely delicious. I couldn't believe it tasted so good and went back for more another day. Another thing I tried was Coconut Dumplings not having done that before and it is something I will definitely have again. I missed not having cooked Green Bananas, Yam, roast or cooked Breadfruit, Ackee and Saltfish and Coconut Water which are grown in the Caribbean. Also, I'm not knocking the Jerk Chicken because I still ate quite a lot of it as I would normal cooked chicken but, it is not anywhere close to the one done in the Country of the original Jerk Chicken. I was amazed and surprised to hear people saying how good it was without any Jerk Sauce or Jerk taste. However, if you have never had or tasted the proper Jerk Chicken, you wouldn't know that that's not how it tastes. I suppose really as I said above, every country has its own way of doing and cooking things. There are other restaurants such as the Italian A La Carte and Mexican. I tried the Italian and it was fine but I didn't try the Mexican this time.
Early mornings you can get Coffee, Tea and a range of Herbal drinks but no snacks until later in the afternoon just across from the Courtyard.
This was huge and ran quite far. It was clean too. I had heard that there was a problem with seaweed so was expecting to see huge mountains of it. To be honest, it was nothing at all in comparison to another Island I visited in 2015 where I saw piles upon piles of seaweed. Yes, you can see the guys in the morning raking up the little bit of seaweed that had deposited overnight, but if they had seen and smelt the putrid smell that I did back in 2015, Antigua would realise they don't have a problem at all. Another plus with the beach apart from having enough Sunloungers and it's a big one, is that the beach is not manmade and it remains open to the Public, thank God. I hate when a country's Amenities or Public places are shut off to the people of the country in order to accommodate people like myself who visit. Nice too was that at 6.00am, the sea water was warm enough to go into; a little further up by the rocks you can see fish. The Beach Vendors are great and do not bother you. What I mean is, if they approach you to sell something and you politely say no thank you, they won't bother you again. There are quite a few little shops to browse in on the beach if you want to, lots of birds to see and a few Mongooses too who are relatives of the Meerkats. I did see a couple of stray dogs further up on a long walk of mine but they were not around the hotel area. Just like in England when dogs are loose, you should take care. Oh, another thing is that on a clear day, you can see Montserrat and St Kitts from the beach.
There is a main pool where Volleyball is played and where you relax, listen to the music, swim as normal and use floats if you want to. It was so amusing watching a particular Airline Pilot putting his Stewardesses through their exercise routines and they were really having fun on their break. There's a Grill and Bar right there so you don't have to go too far for food and drink. Also to the side of the Bar, there are steps leading to an upstairs where you can eat and look out all around. There is also a Quiet Pool if you don't wish to be in the heart of things. This Pool didn't have a Lifeguard but perhaps it's un-needed as the Staff pass by on a regular basis without disturbing you.
All I can say is that in all my years of travelling, I have never been anywhere that was as hot as Antigua. I actually ended up standing under the AC in the bedroom to cool down. As a matter of fact, the Antiguans were saying they were born and bred there but, have never felt it so hot as it was at that time; I was so glad when the Temperature dropped and we had a bit of rain but it wasn't enough to cool the place down.
A big, big shout out goes to Ann-Marie the leader of the Entertainment Team. Girl, you work so hard and are an example to your team. I can't wait to meet up with you again in person although we do keep in touch by text. I hope the manager of the hotel knows your worth. I am also shouting out to Raven and The Final Drive Band - see you again soon. To Alwyn behind the bar for making me laugh and I won't forget that song 'Pick up something, anything and run with it'. Wow! Also to Shane Marsh, Shawn, Terry, Furliesha, The Axis Band - Omar Matthews, The Steel Band and the Karaoke Night is something else. I can't forget the nightly shows as well but will leave them for people to see and take part in, when they go there.
There's also a weekly Movie on the Beach (although I didn't watch) and the Manager's Cocktail Party is worth going to.
THE STAFF INCLUDING THE MANAGERS
Excellent all round. Sometimes when you go to places you don't see the Managers except at the Manager's Cocktail Party but they were visible at times and it was great to see. All of the staff I came across whether behind the Desk or out and about were courteous, polite, smart with Name Tags and big smiles. A big shout out goes out to the following:-
Maudlyn for looking after my room
Donna who had the hard job of cleaning out the sand that I had unwittingly brought back into the shower and I couldn't get rid of myself.
Hazledean in the Restaurant; always cheerful.
The Management Team.
All of the Bar and Griil Staff. If your name hasn't been mentioned, I am still shouting out to you.
I have never been anywhere and seen so many Returnees to a hotel at one time; speaks for itself. A couple even came back to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary there as it was where they got married.
The Staff come around in the morning and sing at Breakfast. Remember that new people arrive every day so if you get singing every morning, it is to accommodate everyone there; it's good.
It was the first Caribbean Island I've been to where I wasn't offered Weed not that I smoke.
Going to a Full Moon Party on the beach was a first for me.
I did not have to wait for one bus, neither going out or coming back as there's always one even if it is just waiting in the Bus Station. The buses to Town is the No20 at $3 EC ($2 US) and to English Harbour No17 at $3.75 EC that's Eastern Caribbean.
In town, no one bothers you. As a matter of fact it felt very strange having to go up to ask how much something cost and even if you were browsing, the people just left you to get on with it; the same applied to in the shops.
There was no feeling of anyone waiting for a Tip and I certainly wasn't asked for one; however, I gave Tips as I felt and they were gratefully received and never frowned on.
The Bar Staff gets involved with the singing on Entertainment nights which is nice.
A first as well is that I didn't get any Coconut Water in the hotel or in town but, it could have been because of the time of the year there.
The Children are very smart going to school, orderly, mannerable and respectful. Children as young as 5 & 6 can actually walk around or go to School by themselves, something you can't do here.
We had 5 power cuts in one night but was told it was by the Government but I didn't find out why.
It rained on the African night when a Bonfire was going to be held.
My shower leaked but was usable and didn't cause me any problems .
There was also a burst pipe one of the days so it meant the water was shut off for a little while but eventually it was back on.
Probably a one off, but a part of the Reception floor sank but it was taken care of so quickly that it didn't interrupt anything and no one was injured as far as I know.
Something that seems to be synonymous in every country that I go to, is the amount of food being wasted by holidaymakers and I don't understand why it is done.
A pity as well is that some holidaymakers find it necessary to pinch things like ashtrays so that the smokers haven't got anywhere to put their ash or cigarette butts; why?
There is noticeable, sensible driving by the Bus Drivers which is not always the case in some Caribbean countries.
The hotel has Day Passers who come in to use the Pools and may or may not have access to the food and snacks.
There is a Supermarket not far from the hotel.
In town there is a busy Friday Craft Market but no one bothers you. Here I give a big shout out to Rowane in the Joy Almaral Craft Market Stall #4. Apparently, I gave him his first sale. If you know him, say hi to him please.
Everything is priced in Eastern Caribbean Dollars as it should be but US Dollars are widely accepted too.
Watching a couple come down to the Pool and moving someone else's things off a sunlounger (towels and bags) putting them elsewhere and taking the space. Even worse was the attitude of the people who did the moving, when the lady who was pregnant and her partner came back; they refused to give back the Sunloungers or to apologise.
The Mosquito bites (See under Etiquette and Advice)*
The Beach Patrol didn't like the Security Guards to talk to the Holiday Makers but it is a Public beach and we are allowed to speak to who we want to.
Can you believe that in 2019 people were still not washing their hands after using the toilet? it is a disgusting practice and I wonder at the time of finishing up this Review in June 2020, if the Covid-19 virus will put an end to that practice?
WOULD BE GOOD IF
The Safe in the rooms were complimentary.
At least one chair was put in a room.
Coffee making facilities would be good too in the rooms.
If the free Wifi was extended to the rooms, however, it is not secure. I am aware that you can purchase Wifi otherwise for your room.
A Shower Room would be good for after Checkout as it is so hot.
I've seen Charity Boxes in hotels where people could leave left over items that they might otherwise throw away such as sunscreen and insect repellent. This would be good for if someone runs out or couldn't afford to replace an item or would need to purchase an item within a couple of days of leaving.
Also, because it is so hot, it would bet nice to be able to get a small bottle of water free of charge in Reception to take with you, if you are going for a walk or into town; you can then purchase more when you are out, if needed.
The Weather, Beach and Seaviews; if I'm not mistaken, every room has a seaview from the hotel.
The Full Moon Party.
The food and drink.
Visiting the Museum.
Visiting English Harbour.
Walking through the Market and looking at all the local produce.
Being able to relax without anyone bothering you.
ETIQUETTE AND ADVICE
You must be properly dressed to go to Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and this also applies to boarding Public Transport.
Wait to be seated at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
At the Coconut Grill, order your food and then wait to be given it. You are not allowed to pick up a plate before you are served; someone actually picked up dirty plates before the staff got to them because someone had left them by at the side.
Bring something white to wear as there is an all white party.
The free Wifi is not secure so take some currency with you if you are thinking of transferring money over the internet and don't feel secure. You can pay for the other Wifi which I would hope is secure. You can also go into town and use the bank to get cash as it is easy and accessible with good security. Again, as I am now doing this Review months later, you may find that things have changed in light of the Coronavirus and that Contactless is more acceptable now than cash.
*In regards to Insect Repellent take nothing less than Jungle Products. I changed this time and took Xpel not realising that it was absolutely useless in the Caribbean so the Mosquitos made a meal of me and it was not a nice experience. I dumped the Xpel tin in the bin there.
Bring a mini flask/re-usable cup and a cold drinks cup as you can get them filled to your hearts content; it was so hot that I just got my cup filled with ice and let it melt.
Eat, drink responsibly and enjoy your holiday.
Don't pile your plate with food, especially if you haven't tried it before and then throw it away. Take a little bit first or put some on a side plate for taste and then, go back to get some more if you like it.
Always remember that a holiday is just two are three weeks away from home to enjoy something different although, sometimes it can be more or less time away. So, enjoy the time and remember that you are not at home. Stay safe and well.
Would I go back? Definitely. I can't wait.
I would go back again- everything is amazing...... the staff at the restaurant's treated us like family, entertainment staff made sure it was a enjoyable vacation and went above and beyond to include us in activities.
This is no 5 star resort and we didn't expect or pay for a 5 star resort. First the staff to greet you were super nice handing you a rum punch as soon as you arrived. The food staff was super friendly each time we dined...
Most of the bar staff was good some really seemed tired of the people. I understand some of this as I mentioned before this was our first all inclusive and we were unsure how to tip, I think we did ok. I'm sure many customers never tipped at all thinking it is all part of the package.
The food we had was just fine for what we expected. Entertainment each night was great as well as the games and activities set up during the day. Drinks were all good..
The rooms were clean none to big but who is there to sit in a room. The beach was excellent. I enjoyed the workout room. Nice store. So why not 5 stars? Our last day some groupies (6) from one of the vendors allowed on the beach moved their way into the area my wife and I were relaxing and sat smoking pot and talking crap. We ended up moving and giving up our good spot. This needs to be patrolled better. We have been to many islands and I can truthfully say the people on this island are some of the nicest we have ever met. Not just the resort but we traveled the island and we felt save and they were all nice.