Most of the reviews here are spot on. The facilities are quite dated, although the accommodations are roomy and clean, (thanks to your nanny). Our fridge was always stocked with food for the kids and beer for us. Our 2-bedroom townhouse had a balcony that overlooked a lovely, lush courtyard. Our room was near the staff area but we liked that. It was nice to get to know people and see a little behind the scenes. There was some construction going on and it seemed like someone was always painting, but it wasn't a significant inconvenience. We went during a slow season, two weeks into January, and the resort was quiet. It picked up with locals on the weekend. Most everyone was in bed by 9 or 10:00, which made it easier to get the kids to sleep. Seemed like the bar was always open late though for grownups. A.C. was plenty cool in rooms. Beds were comfy. Rooms were quiet. All slept well.
We found the food to be plentiful and flavorful, and often downright delicious. Not sure what folks were expecting. Always a meat, chicken, seafood and pasta option at every dinner. Everything was fresh, not fried. Breakfast buffet was hearty. Lunch was decent. Kids loved the kids grill but survived mostly on ice cream and popcorn. We liked eating the grill's jerk chicken and I'm still craving the coconut drops served on Jamaican buffet night. We gained five pounds in a week. Our favorite nights were the beach buffet and entertainment (which we mostly missed b/c the kids were beat) and the Jamaican buffet.
We visited in January so the pools were chilly. Even the kids complained. The one hot tub was adults only, which was a bummer. The wet slides were on the slow side. We spent most of our time on the beach, reading books and sipping drinks in the many chairs or hammocks. The staff will show you how to avoid the sea urchins in the water. The best part is that on a sunny day you can walk out to the reefs and snorkel for hours. My boys are 6 and 2 1/2 and they enjoyed fishing, building sand castles and swimming. They didn't want to leave the beach for many activities but stopped playing long enough to do the glass bottom boat ride and crab race. We went a few times to the beach at Breezes resort next door. It's gorgeous and very easy to get to. We took our nanny, Natalie, with us. You will get sold stuff if you go to that beach, but we found when Natalie was with us they left us alone. Also a security guard from FDR stood on the property and watched us and our stuff the whole time. Great snorkeling there too.
My husband and I dove once. The equipment was good. The boat went out at least twice in the morning. The fees were affordable. The staff was not the friendliest. The visibility was amazing and the dive sites were just minutes away. No motion sickness! After diving places like Belize and Costa Rica, I didn't think the sea life was that great. From talking to other divers it seems like the reefs in Runaway Bay are some of the best on the coast though. Really we were just happy to be able to dive together thanks to the nanny. But we stuck to snorkeling for the most part when we saw how accessible it was.
So, the nanny. Natalie was great. Very friendly. Great with the kids. My six year old still talks about her. My 2 1/2 year old had a hard time going with her the entire time. It seems to be the stage that he's at though, rather than anything she did wrong. Still, she sat with him in the room while he slept for several hours every afternoon and played with him while we laid in the hammocks on the beach. And we hired her to take the kids during dinner two nights so we could have adult dinner time. Highly recommend doing that. Dinners out are such a nightmare, although the staff was friendly with the kids. Natalie even went with us on excursions. It was way more relaxing than any other vacation we've taken thanks in big part to her.
The rest of the staff was also fantastic. They pride themselves on having a 1:1 ratio, guests to staff, but I would say it was almost 2 or 3:1. We never lacked a drink on the beach or someone to give us information or help get the kids snorkel gear. The staff is really something special.
Overall, we wished we could stay longer, and we hope to go back soon. The kids can't stop talking about it. When the weather was good it was a little slice of heaven. There was a snafu with my reservation, but they remedied it quickly and politely to my satisfaction. I recommend writing down the names of who you speak with when you make your reservation and confirming all the details before you arrive, since I never really got anything in writing and it seems like the staff is pretty consistent. Also, read the many reviews here on this site so you know what to expect.
To the resort I would only say that I'm dismayed to see how overly vigilant they are in defending their reputation on tripadvisor.com. Not a great approach to reassuring folks who are looking for honest opinions. The people and staff at FDR are warm and helpful and the responses should reflect that spirit while respecting guests' privacy.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boutique all-inclusive family Resort where each family is assigned a dedicated Vacation Nanny to care for the kids from check-in to check-out. All- Inclusive package includes accommodations are in large 1, 2 or 3 bedroom suites with separate living areas,kitchenette and balcony or terrace. Continental, Italian/French/ Indian and Jamaican cuisine from a choice of 4 restaurants, top shelf bar, kayaking, snorkeling, tennis, 4 pools, 100' waterslide, separate kids, tweens and teens programs with supervised daily activities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Franklyn d Resort And Spa
- Franklyn d Hotel Runaway Bay
- Franklyn d Resort All Inclusive
- Franklyn D Resort & Spa Jamaica/Runaway Bay, Caribbean