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Franklyn D. Resort & Spa
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Reviewed 1 March 2013

We stayed at FDR for the first time from January 18 to 24, 2013 with our two daughters 3 and 1 and all of us had such an amazing time, we're still talking about it. From a destination perspective, we have only ever been to the Mayan Riviera, so for this trip we decided to try Jamaica. We were not disappointed - what a wonderful place. Beautiful beaches, kind people and great food and FDR was the perfect resort for a family with toddlers to appreciate the location.

We arrived at the resort at 10pm after an hour shuttle ride from the airport. It had been a long day so we were pleasantly surprised when we were shown to our room and dinner was waiting in the kitchen of our 2 bedroom Oceanview Suite. This is really representative of the wonderful service we received throughout our stay. The suite was really like a condo and perfect for us - 2 floors with 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths upstairs, complete with gate on the staircase (we requested bathrooms with a bathtub as some only have stand up showers), with a kitchen, dining room, living room and walkout balcony on the main floor. The accommodations weren't fancy in terms of decor, but the room was clean and spacious and had all the amenities we needed. No air conditioning on the main floor, but ductless air conditioners in each of the bedrooms, which was enough for the time of year. The TV had a DVD player, so we brought DVDs with us to use during down time from activities. The fridge had been stocked on our arrival with juices, milk, fruit and cheese and crackers, along with cereal for the next morning. As many reviews have mentioned, we were able to ask our Nanny to stock all our favourite snacks, along with beer and wine, during our stay. The suite worked great for us since our girls go to bed at 8pm so we had space to enjoy the evening after they were asleep. The one downside (and this was one of our only complaints) was that there was very little hot water. We routinely ran out of hot water when showering, so remember to keep the showers short. Other highlights - free WiFi throughout the resort and the TV got Canadian stations (we watched hockey on CBC!) :)

The facilities, although probably more 3.5 star compared to other resorts, again were perfect for us. The pool was clean, never crowded and not too busy to get lounge chairs. There was a small shallow area where our girls could splash around and 2 mini slides. A baby slide with a tiny shallow pool was also nearby and a 100 ft slide by the beach. We loved the beach area, equipped with a multitude of sand toys (in fact, we didn't bring any toys for the kids - they were kept busy enough with everything at the resort) and shallow enough for them to play in the clean, clear water. We also spent some time on the beach at the next door resort that we were allowed to use - it had great snorkeling conditions and you could even stand in the waist deep water and feed bread to the fish.

Activities were all included and kept us busy the whole week. We took glass bottom boat rides, snorkeling trips (just off the resort so we were only away from the girls for an hour) and there were a million things for the kids to do - scavenger hunts, play area in the kids area with a ball pit, tie dying, crab races, pageants, arts and crafts, fishing off the boardwalk and more.

We really enjoyed the food as well. The grill had jerk chicken and pork, pizza, grilled cheese, burgers and hot dogs every day (try the jerk pork pizza - amazing!). I really appreciated the local food fare that was served at the beach buffet and even at breakfast. Lots of fresh fruit, but I think they could have used a bit more assortment of vegetables, especially for kids. Personally I loved all the grilled fresh fish and the rice and peas :)

And saving the best for last - the vacation nanny.... AMAZING. Tena was the obvious highlight of our trip. I have to say, after reading all the reviews, we thought we knew what to expect. We thought we wouldn't feel comfortable leaving the kids with a nanny for any period of time. 30 minutes after the girls met Tena, they walked away from us, waving "see ya later"! They really took to her right away and by the end of the trip, they were asking if she could visit us at home. For us it was about having the right balance of vacation. The girls were probably only away from us at most an hour and a half (when we went for dinner or the snorkeling trip) at one time, and the rest of the time Tena was like a member of the family. We would love to go back again and would request Tena again in a heartbeat.

Overall the trip exceeded our expectations - it was the perfect trip for us to take with our young kids. We didn't feel any need to leave the resort because everything we needed or wanted was there and having Tena there allowed us to relax and enjoy ourselves. Jamaica was a beautiful destination and we're glad we found FDR to enjoy it!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank jpak517
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2013

We stayed at FDR for 10 days from Feb 1-11, 2013 and had an amazing time.
We are: 2 grandparents, 2 parents and 3 little girls ages: 6, 3 & 8 months. We all stayed at FDR once before in Feb 2010 so we knew generally what to expect which was good.
We had suite 24 with 3 bedrooms which was was terrific in terms of layout and has obviously been recently updated. The rooms were much, much nicer than we expected (clearly an improvement over the last time we went). The A/C was great to have at night but unnecessary during the day. The location of the suite was ideal during the day and was only problematic during Kareoke night. Our first night there we were all exhausted from a long trip and the Kareoke was in the bar right across from our room. Needless to say, it was like having the activity RIGHT IN OUR BEDROOMS. I credit the resort with a great job of trying to balance the needs of those that want to participate in LOUD late night activities and our complaints. They thankfully moved Kareoke to the Pier (away from our suite) for 2 nights and then they made sure it shut down by 11pm on the one night it was at the bar again. Thank you FDR for being so accomodating! We really didn't want to change rooms.
Our nanny, Carmelina, was great with our kids and was very experienced at the resort which was a huge advantage. We liked her temperment and attitude and our kids loved her too.
The resort did a great job of providing lots of opportunities to keep the kids busy with both nannies and parent/grandparent caregivers. Our kids had a great time at goat/crab races, on boat trips, on fishing trips, doing Mini-Miss competitions, fashion shows, making bracelets & tie-die, making shell/flower collages. My husband particularly liked the daily tennis lesson for the girls and the ability to take the sailboats out with the eldest.
I really liked the eagerness of our nanny to stay EVERY afternoon & evening to put the kids to bed so that the adults could go out to eat (the grandparents would always come back at 8:15ish to relieve her).
The weather in Jamaica was amazing our whole trip and the girls were in the pool using the waterslides (both big and small) everyday.
The food at FDR is great in my opinion will lots of variety. It is the only all-inclusive I've ever stayed at but I'm a believer now! (especially with kids). We DID miss the breakfast & lunch buffet on the days it wasn't offered because numbers were low. It's really hard to order from a menu with three little ones. HOWEVER, at least there was always a 'partial-buffet' of fruit/salads/cereals/soup etc to tide them over.
The grill was a saviour too.
I loved the nights we could eat altogether as a family at the Beach buffet & the Jamaica night...but I also loved the concept of the 'Kids' Dinner' where kids eat early and then do an activity so the adults can eat later. It is the perfect combo (3 buffets while we were there and 6 Kids dinners for our family).
To all parents that haven't been to FDR: having a Vacation Nanny is worth ALL the trade-offs in the fact that the resort isn't 'gleaming' in my opinion. WE (parents) actually got a vacation! I'd trade any granite counters, dozen pools and brand new beach toys for that anyday.
Thanks again FDR....we'll definitely be back!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank goodtimemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2013

We just returned from our third visit to FDR and it keeps getting better. The reviews here are accurate, yes they run out of towels, and at peak shower time around 4pm there's little hot water, and the property is a bit tatty but the place is full of heart and terrific for kids and relaxing for adults. The staff is terrific, the owner is there almost every day making sure things run smoothly. Our nanny Sharlene is the best, fun, full of love for our kids, takes them swimming, fishing, and even hauls them out of the computer room after their 20 minutes of post-meal play. Knowing she is there and will help us with the kids is one of the main reasons we keep coming back.

Room Tip: The bar is noisy (and fun) at night with a dozen old friends listening to music and talking. But you might not want to listen to this while you are in bed, so ask for a room away from the noise of the bar.
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank matt z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2013 via mobile

We stayed at FDR for a week with our 2.5yo twins and knew exactly what to expect. It's a small (almost B&B) hotel that is dedicated to families and making sure everyone enjoys themselves.

Rooms: Huge. Huge. Huge. Older fixtures and furniture, but was happy my toddlers wouldnt ruin anything. Everything a family with little ones could want.

Staff: Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Our Nanny Jasmine was awesome! Within 30 seconds of meeting her, she was playing on the floor with my kids. She also stocks your fridge every night with anything you want (beer, wine, milk, Cheerioes). She was truly amazing and responsible. Made it possible for us to go to the gym together every morning and have 2 hours of sun and drinks every afternoon during nap time. Would also acccompany them to the kids club when they would ask to go in there. Esp while the sun was shining :) Bartenders, wait staff, activity coordinators.... Even the lifeguards were all super friendly and helpful.

Beach: Small and calm. Removing the rocks would be beneficial for the bigger kids that can go in a little deeper. Lots of beach toys for all the kids to use.

Food: We had one bad meal out of 7 nights. Pretty good record. The kids grill provided typical toddler fare (thank God) and the best chicken wings that we ourselves frequently indulged in :)

Liquor: House wine was not good the first couple of days. They changed it and we were super happy. Red Stripe Light rocks! So does Jamaican Rum Creme on the rocks and Ryan's awesome daily rum specials.

Gym: suited our needs. The fact we got to work out 5 days is a miracle in itself!

Transfer: All airport shuttles make u wait. If u don't want to wait, schedule a private car. It is well worth the $100 when traveling with kids. Your driver will encourage beers for the ride!! Taking the shuttle back to the airport was no problem for the obvi logistics of a return trip is more tolerable by toddlers.

Our only real complaint was no hot water before dinner for showering.

We all had a true 'vacation' and would recommend to all families with little ones! Especially families with multiples!!!!
That extra set of hands on the beach is priceless!!!

  • Stayed: January 2013
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3  Thank hate_staying_home
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2013

We just returned from our first (of hopefully many) stay at the FDR about two weeks ago. My husband, our 15 month-old daughter, and I all had a fabulous time.

The Franklyn D Resort is a place for families with small children. If you do not have children, or if your children are over about 10 years old, I would pick a different resort. That being said, the vacation nanny system at this resort was FANTASTIC!! You have the same person every day, and you really get a chance to get to know her and so do your kids. What really impressed me about the vacation nannies is that all of them seemed responsible for all the children. There was never a sense of "that kid isn't my responsibility". Of course, the primary nanny was always nearby, but on many occasions different nannies would come up to our daughter and smile and say hi to her.

The staff was always very friendly and helpful. The entertainment crew were actual friends by the end of our stay. (Thanks Kerry, Kevin, Comay, Omercyre, and Tamika!!)

I was a bit worried before coming about the reviews that called the place a "dump" and "in need of repairs". Let me tell you, the resort is not in perfect condition, but I would not call it anything more than "lived-in". The sea air definitely takes a toll on a property, but I think the maintenance staff has done a fine job keeping up. Besides that, the place is extremely clean. I don't think I saw a spiderweb anywhere. We did have ants in our room so we had to make sure not to leave food out, but honestly I'd expect this in a tropical location.

The food was very good. I've been to another all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and the food there was edible but nothing special, and very repetitive. The FDR does a very good job of offering different cuisines, including Jamaican, and mixing things up with their specialty restaurants. Even doing things such as putting the buffet out on the beach really gives the food and ambience a nice change-up. Furthermore, my daughter would usually nap during our nanny's lunch-break so we would go down to the lunch restaurant, place our orders, and then the staff would bring it to our room.

A few complaints. First, they need to get more beach towels. When we were there, they weren't even at half-capacity but there were never any beach towels!! I always had to wait or ask someone (who would usually magically produce a couple from a closet somewhere). Second, the transfer from the airport needs some serious work. We had to wait over an hour on the bus before we departed. I realize that we were waiting for some other families, but we were all on board for at least 25 minutes before the bus finally left. A family resort needs to take into consideration that there are going to be small (very impatient) children and after a long day of traveling we just want to get to the resort. Also, don't believe the website when they say they are located 30 or 45 minutes from the airport. Plan on an hour and a half, minimum. More with traffic.

All in all, this was a great time and we will be going back!

Room Tip: The rooms are all very large with kitchenettes. Room 28 had a nice view of the ocean.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank sesweasel7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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