BOLANS VILLAGE, Antigua -- Largest property, longest beach and
second-largest employer in Antigua; biggest signature fantasy pool
in the Caribbean -- superlatives came fast and furious during a
recent visit to Jolly Beach Resort on Antigua's southwest coast.
Perhaps the biggest draw for many clients, however, is the
price, which begins as low as $89 per person, per night, in the
After several incarnations since the property opened in the
mid-1960s, Jolly Beach Resort held its grand reopening in late
The $10 million renovation added an 8,000-square-foot pool
featuring waterfalls, a Jacuzzi and a swim-up bar.
The pool itself curves and meanders through gardens.
Other new facilities include a meeting room and a Cyber Center
offering Internet access at an additional fee.
Guest rooms and public areas have been refurbished with colorful
fabrics and wicker furnishings.
The five room categories range from small supersavers -- which
management compares with cruise ship cabins and for which no single
supplement is charged -- to junior suites with separate sitting
All offer air conditioning, a balcony or patio, a ceiling fan, a
hair dryer, a television, a direct-dial telephone and a safe (at
King and queen superior oceanview rooms contain refrigerators
All rooms are termed oceanview, although some offer only a
partial water vista.
If the view is important, this should be addressed at the time
Accommodations are scattered about the grounds in low-rise
buildings, each named for a Caribbean island.
Jolly Beach's 40 acres include five restaurants, seven bars, a
disco, a game room, three meeting rooms, a fitness center, two
freshwater pools, four tennis courts and the usual variety of land
and water activities.
There also is an on-site dive center, which guests can use for
an additional charge.
Jolly Harbour Golf Club is within walking distance of the
resort, and Cedar Valley Golf Course is 20 minutes away.
An on-site, professional-level cricket facility also is
available to guests.
A weekly entertainment and activities program includes aerobics,
nature hikes, garden walks, dance lessons, games and contests.
Each restaurant focuses on a particular dining experience --
Greek, Italian, international buffet, open-air grill and Caribbean
seafood served at the beachside eatery.
A dozen or so licensed vendors are clustered in small, colorful
shelters near the beachside restaurant.
Guests can browse for T-shirts, tie-dyed wrap arounds and other
souvenirs right on the premises.
Marriage ceremonies are a big market for the resort, according
to Jolly Beach.
Jolly Beach expects to host close to 500 weddings this year.
Half of the couples hail from the U.S., and the rest are from the
U.K. and Canada.
My group witnessed a wedding at Jolly Beach's white gingerbread
gazebo surrounded by gardens.
The bride wore white; the groom was dressed in bermuda
A full program of kids' activities also is offered as well as
discounts or free stays, depending upon the child's age.