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“Kids are still talking about FDR”

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Franklyn D Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Certificate of Excellence
North Carolina
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Kids are still talking about FDR”
Reviewed 25 January 2012

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.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Christa H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Location
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
42 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2012

Recently returned from a 12 day stay at FDR. We actually got to experience FDR at a peak fullness (New Year's Eve) and also at almost empty (the week after New Year's). I am glad that we got to experience both.

I can say, honestly, that I did not notice any differences in food quality or quantity- over the busier time we waited longer to get items from the grill and smoothies from the bar. Over the slower times, one of the adult restaurants would be closed each night. But, no problem, mon :) There were still plenty of options and we never went hungry. Would have been great if there were more options for fresh fruits. There were always honeydew and watermelon, papaya, pineapple and bananas. Would have been great to see some mango or berries. But, like I said, we always managed to find something to eat.

As for activities, the slower half of our trip, we felt like there was less going on for adults, but that was due to no fault of the staff. The limited number of adults meant that if there wasn't enough interest in things like volleyball or water aerobics, they didn't happen. But, the staff did try in earnest to get those things going. The ocean was also a lot rougher that week, so the boat couldn't go out as often for snorkeling or glass bottom boat rides. The kids activities, however, were always limitless and entertaining. I never once heard the words, "I'm bored" from any of our 3 kids.

Our room was ok. We had an unrenovated 2br suite facing the pool. The view of the ocean was stunning from the balcony. But, the internet did not work in our room. No LAN access and the wireless only worked in one spot if you sat on the stairs that went to the second floor. The resort has since assured us that they are addressing the issue. It was great that they were so responsive to feedback. While our suite was not 5* quality, it was PERFECT for what we needed. It was kept immaculately clean, we had lots of space to stretch out. And having two bedrooms meant that my husband and I could watch tv and chat in the living room after the kids went to bed. We also had an electrical problem in our room during the last night of our stay. The staff addressed the problem promptly.

On several occasions we took the kids to the beach outside of the FDR property. Never had to climb over a wall or found it difficult to get there. Just walked through the staffed gate and down the sandy beach. We also used a private tour guide, Peat Taylor, to spend a few afternoons exploring the island. Visited Green Grotto Caves just down the road, Luminous Lagoon, Dunns River Falls, Enchanted Gardens, Turtle Falls and Irie Blue Hole. Highest recommendations to Peat!

This review wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention our truly amazing nannies (we opted to have 2). The truly made our vacation the memorable experience that it was. By the end of our stay, they felt like members of our family. They were kind, compassionate, thoughtful, professional and truly went above and beyond anything that we could have ever imagined. With their help, not only were our kids able to have the most amazing vacation, but so were my husband and I. We got to read books poolside, enjoy adults only dinners and also spend quality time with the kids. Our nannies truly allowed my husband and I to enjoy our vacation.

Actually, all of the staff were wonderful. I accidentally dropped my waterproof camera off of the pier while fishing with my 5 year old :-/ Our nanny went and found a lifeguard who actually jumped off of the end of the pier and swam down to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve my camera-- and all of the memories that were contained on it's memory card. That was far above and beyond.

In the end, would I recommend FDR? Yes, I would. But, I would suggest reading the reviews here so that you enter the resort with the right expectations. The facilities aren't 5* quality, but the staff (which is what really defines your vacation) far exceed 5* quality!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank MAMomof3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simone123, Director of Sales at Franklyn D Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 30 January 2012
We would like to thank you for your kind comments about our facilities and staff at the Franklyn D Resort & Spa.
Mangoes are presently out of season, they are only in season from June throughout the summer. Berries are not tropical fruits, however, there are always fresh fruits available such as pineapple, watermelon, papaya, honeydew, oranges and bananas.
The wireless is being worked on and 13 new antennas have been ordered to rectify the wifi problem. These antennas will be pointed to the glass French patio doors of each Suite to improve the wifi signal because the walls of the Suites are so thick, it hinders the wifi signal.
We apologize for any inconveniences experienced while on your vacation and trust you and your family will visit with us again in the near future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2012

We just booked our third visit to FDR. We never thought we would return to the same place, but FDR is a special place for families. The place isn't fancy, but the service and attention that is paid to your child is amazing. It is the most relaxing vacation I have taken since I became a mom. We look forward to our trips for months beforehand.

Also one nice thing about the resort is that all of the guests have something in common. We're all families who picked this very kid friendly place. And everyone is friendly and having a great time. We've met some really nice families on our trips and had a nice mix of family time and socializing with other guests.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Perry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2012

FDR has been a constant go to over the years. If you are a stressed out parent (with kids under 8 years of age) and need a true rest while your kids have a great time this is the place for you.

However, this trip we were a bit disappointed in the pre-teen and teen activities. The usual energy and coordination to get the kids involved just wasn't present. Also there wasn't a fitness coordinator on-site. Guests volunteered and offered great yoga classes on the pier.

The food was good as usual. Their Jamaican restaurant was our highlight.

Again the truly unique aspect of FDR is their nanny program. The nannies make our holiday relaxing.



  • Stayed January 2012
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jcal41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2012

We recently visited FDR as part of a large extended family group with age ranges from 75 to two yrs old, and would give our trip mixed reviews. Our nanny, Celine, felt like one of the family by the time we left. Although she and many other staff members were hospitable and accommodating, the resort itself was lacking in several areas.
First we checked in looking forward to hot showers and a good night's rest, we got neither. The water pressure and temperature were erratic at best, and when we gave up on showers and decided to go to bed, our bed collapsed! To their credit, housekeeping and maintenance staff made repairs the same night, but this kept us up at late hours after a long day of travel. Over the course of our stay we discovered several items in our rooms that were in various stages of disrepair. Our television had the curious habit of turning on multiple times a night by itself, frequently disrupting our sleep until we finally unplugged it! When it rained we discovered multiple leaks in the roof of our rooms. The food was fair, but somewhat disappointing. Overall the quality of the resort was not what we expected.
We took several excursions and had a great time on all of them, and enjoyed our trip despite the inconveniences incurred at the resort. The staff were extremely pleasant and willing to help in any way they could, but the physical property at the resort needs updates and repairs.

Room Tip: Rooms very spacious, nice layout in two-story townhouses, but condition of rooms needed improvement...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank mike b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2012

We just came back from FDR where we spent 8 days with our two sons,ages 3&5. It's a very small and poorly maintained property. The nannies are great and overall service is good.However,there is absolutely nothing to do for adults. The beach is tiny,we had to jump over the fence to another resort to use their beach. The pool is small too.The food's selection and quality is poor compare to other resorts. I guess it's a good place for people that work all year and dream about not having to change diapers for a week.

Room Tip: All rooms are huge
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Andrey B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simone123, Director of Sales at Franklyn D Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 14 January 2012
The Franklyn D Resort & Spa is 21 years old, which is young by hotel standards internationally. The architecture is reminiscent of an older Mediterranean design. Renovation of hotels in the Caribbean is an ongoing process because of the severe effects of the constant salt air on the facilities, like a cruise ship that does not move.
This family booked a 1 bedroom Oceanview Suite at FDR. Upon arrival they were given a newly renovated Suite with a walk in shower. They however, requested to have a Suite with a tub and they were upgraded, at no charge, to a 2 bedroom Oceanview Suite which had two bathrooms with tubs.
All the guests comments during the week of their stay rated the food as excellent or good. Some comments show: e.g. “The food and atmosphere is great”, The food was good, I love the jerk chicken at the grill”, “Overproof Restaurant is five star”, “the food was very good”, “ Your food and service was the best we’ve ever seen”.

There were many adult activities during their stay such as, cabaret shows, live bands nightly, and native folkloric shows. There was daily Aquacise in the pool with our gym instructor, and there was kayaking and glass bottom boat rides in the ocean.

Mom was never interested in participating in the activities even though she was asked several times by the adult activities coordinator. She always preferred to read her book by the pool. Dad participated in some activities such as daily bicycle tours, playing dominoes and tennis with our resident Tennis Pro. They were not interested in tours off property such as Zip lining, horseback riding, ATV, dolphin cove and Dunn’s River Falls.
Mom mentioned to our activities coordinator that prior to her arrival at FDR, they dropped off some guests at a nearby Resort which had a very large lobby and that our lobby area was small. We do have a small lobby here at FDR, but our rooms are very large, unlike other hotels that have a large lobby and small rooms.
The Sea was rough during their stay, which caused the sand to shift on the Eastern beach and this made it difficult to access. However, it is already coming back because it is a natural beach and access is much easier now.
We thank you for placing your comments in writing. Here at FDR we believe in 100% guest satisfaction and we always try to achieve this standard by all means possible. We will endeavor to do better and we trust that you will visit with us again in the near future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 9 January 2012

We have been to FDR 5 times. I was the fitness instructor for the resort each time but also always treated as a guest with my husband and our kids ages 2-7 (first trip) up to ages 7-12 (last trip). We LOVED FDR, the staff, the dining, the attention to detail and the bar!! Every employee is looking to make your trip more enjoyable. We met families from across the USA who we still keep in contact with and travel with. It is a melting pot of professionals and several different countries are always represented on each trip. Our kids got so used to the grounds that we only had the (wonderful) nannies the first yr., then they were capable to roam freely (to a degree). Beach is coved in so the surf is not an issue. Staff will help your kids fish and build in the sand. I really like the kitchens in the rooms and the kids could eat breakfast without leaving the room. Each year we saw resort upgrades and improvements across the board. The overall feel is VERY relaxed and casual, our kind of trip!! I don't think our boys changed out of their bathing suits, dress code is not an issue (for adults either!!!). GREAT memories for ALL OF US!! We are headed back to Jamaica for Xmas 2012 but renting a house in Runaway Bay to see how it compares. I'm nervous that we should just return to FDR...stay tuned!!!!

Room Tip: we traveled to FDR last in Jan 2009
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  • Stayed February 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ellen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Franklyn D Resort & Spa

Property: Franklyn D Resort & Spa
Address: Main Street, Runaway Bay 99999, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Runaway Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 Luxury Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 Spa Hotel in Runaway Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Franklyn D Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 78
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

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