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Franklyn D. Resort & Spa
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Reviewed 4 January 2014

We just returned from a 4 day stay at the FDR. I'll start with our first night, but keep reading, it does get better.
After arriving near 5pm we were told our room wasn't ready. This was frustrating; after traveling all day, you just want to kick off the jeans and put on the flip flops.
We were guided to the grill near the beach and told that someone would come get us when the room was ready. We ordered a drink and at that moment a toddler at the table next to us decided to throw a screaming tantrum. To pacify the child, the bartender put a radio on the counter and played, really loud, the soundtrack from the Smurfs. For a minute I thought I had died and gone to hell.
We eventually returned to the front desk to inquire about our room, as nobody had come to get us as promised.
We were led to a room that had a lovely view of the basket ball court, with the tennis court on the other side. Surely this wasn't the 'ocean view' room we had booked? I was told that unless it says 'ocean front', then views can include courtyard or pool view. This is extremely mis-leading!!

After looking at our room, which had: a clock that didn't work, a television from the 70's, an over-flowing toilet, no tub, broken coffee pot,and white plastic curtains, a hard 'bed' in the living room (I am not even kidding….it was unbelievably AWFUL). I went to request a different room and was told that something may be available the next day. We are not picky people, but when you are paying over 600$/nt on a room, THIS wasn't what we were paying for!!!
This was room 10A. Don't let them try to put you in there!
Fast forward to the next day, 4pm, we are moved to another room and can finally unpack!
This room was MUCH better. It had a separate bedroom, lots of space, a lovely balcony overlooking a lush courtyard, and if you turned your head, you could see the ocean. It was much quieter as it was away from the basketball court and pool. The air conditioning was rattly, and one of the bathrooms had a funky odor, but it was a huge improvement nonetheless.

Now things look up.
Our Nanny, Dena, was super. We immediately felt comfortable around her, and our 8 year old daughter was very excited to go and play with 'her Nanny'. She was great about keeping her sunscreen on, keeping hydrated, and all those things moms worry about. We have never had a stranger care for our daughter but upon meeting her, it was just one of those feelings that it was all GOOD, and it was! They made tie dye shirts, played in the sand, went in the water, Dena even went on the water slide, b/c our daughter was begging her to! They danced at the beach party, and even participated in GOAT RACES! How cool is that! She kept our 'fridge stocked with snacks, and was right next to our daughter the whole time. If you want your Nanny to be able to eat though, while on the clock, you will need to write a note to the supervisor saying it is ok. This seemed strange to me. Why does the Nanny need 'permission' to eat with the family? It felt a little degrading. You can have the Nanny stay later, after 4:30pm, for 7$ an hour. (Make sure to tip her, it is well deserved)! We did this one night and ate at the Overproof.

Food: The Jamaican buffet on Saturday night was the best. Everything we tried was excellent.
The Overproof restaurant was nice too. This, and the Italian restaurant are adults only and on the other side of the resort, where it is more quiet. There is a long pier there, you can walk to the end and look up at the stars. I recommend it!

Pool: I didn't like the fact that by 8:30am, all of the chairs were 'claimed' and yet nobody was around. If you are at the pool and need to leave, sure, save your chair, but don't come to the pool, put a book on a chair, then leave and return hours later. That's not right.
The pool itself, was nice. Right next to the bar so you can sit and keep an eye on your kids and enjoy a drink. The little slide seemed fun for the kids, but the BIG water slide was the most fun. Our daughter loved it and was content to slide the day away. Garfield was attending the slide and he was really nice, took the time to learn your name, and had a playful attitude with the kids.

Beach: The beach is very small, the water is shallow. Lots of sand toys. Perfect for small children. If you want a big typical Caribbean beach, go next door to Cardiff hall beach. You have to sign out to go, and there are no chairs for you, but no big deal. If you walk far down the beach, there are local vendors and you can buy your Jamaican souvenirs here-some legal, some illegal. I was upset to see black coral rings being sold, and bracelets made from sea-turtle shells. FYI, you aren't allowed to bring these thru customs, so please don't buy them and support killing turtles for jewelry.
You can't access the beach early morning or late night. There is a padlocked gate keeping you OFF the beach. Bummer! No sunrise or late night beach walks for you! I think the hours are from 7am-6pm. Or close to that.

Staff: 98% of the staff here were SO friendly and kind. The best part of this resort are the people who work here. Ask Marsha to make your daughter a bracelet with her name on it. It is well worth 5$.

General: The resort is nothing fancy, but mostly well maintained. I wish the lighting was more controlled. It is bright and shines out everywhere, with those new 'environmentally friendly lightbulbs'. There is a swing set near the kids club, a covered out-door area where they do crafts with the kids, (really fun tie die shirts, bracelets, et.), the aforementioned basketball court, and tennis court. There is a small fish pond and a rabbit hutch, the kids can feed both fish and rabbits.
The pool, bar, Verandah restaurant, grill, are all together near the water. The bar has a nice section where you can have a drink and look out over the sea.
Because the resort is small, you can usually hear the night time entertainment wherever you are, but it is over by 10:30 I think. Also, as this is a child friendly resort, you may hear screaming children at early morning hours, so that quiet cup of coffee on the balcony isn't a given.

Would we go back? Probably not. In the words of our daughter, it was 'A dream come true'…..she had an absolute blast. We got some quality adult time, family time, plenty of food and relaxation. The main reason we probably won't return is only because we don't have young children. I really think this place is PERFECT for those with kids under 5. For us, we have one child, and now that she's older, I prefer to not be surrounded by other peoples small children while on vacation.

Recommended improvements for resort:
1. Have the room ready at check-in! Travelers want to unwind, and are tired after traveling. Having the room READY makes all the difference.
2. Get rid of that bright light behind the entertainers. The light should aim AT the entertainers, not at the audience. A small thing yes, but it would make such a difference. And put shades on the lights to control where it shines. Light should point down. Not out everywhere.

Know before you go:
'Soon' can mean anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours in Jamaica, lol!

Room Tip: Avoid 10A. We had 126A and it was up high and quiet. We liked it.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank wrenworks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Trishawana, Director of Sales at Franklyn D. Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2014

Thank you for sharing your review about your recent stay with us.

We regret that you encountered the short comings aforementioned during your stay and for this we apologize.

Your visit was during our peak period and on the day of your arrival December 26, 2013; there were no other 1 Bedroom Suites available. Our ground floor Suites on Block 6 have a lot of flexibility with easy access to the Kids Club, tennis and pool area. These Suites are also very popular for persons with infants or who are unable to climb stairs.

The bathtub in the Suite you were relocated to was recently sprayed prior to Christmas which may have caused the scent in the Kids room of your Suite.

We only have two room Categories. The suite you reserved which is an “Ocean view suite” has a view of the ocean from the balcony, while the Beachfront Suites are located right on the beach.

We have been replacing the older televisions with 32 inch LED TV’s. We have successfully been adding 18 new TV’s monthly and should complete this project by the middle of March 2014.

Thank you for your valuable feedback. We certainly hope that you will afford us the opportunity to exceed your expectations during a future stay with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2013

My husband and I just returned from an amazing holiday at FDR (Nov 29-Dec 8) with our two young kids. I am a stay-at-home mom with a 3 1/2 year old daughter and very busy 1 year old son, so we were looking for a holiday that would be a true vacation and not just a re-location. I am happy to report that FDR delivered and that I actually got my much-needed vacation and was able to turn off for a while. Here is my review, it is long but I tried to break it down and comment on all the things that I was looking for when I was doing my research...

Weather (Nov 29-Dec 8) - This was our first trip to Jamaica and the temperature was around 30C everyday. In the evening a summer dress was comfortable, I usually carried a light sweater but never put it on. There were a couple times that it poured rain, but it only lasted for about an hour and there were umbrellas provided.

Dress - We call this a "barefoot resort", you can wake up and put your swimsuit on, a cover-up and maybe shoes, then you head to breakfast, in the evenings a casual summer dress or even shorts or pants are fine.

Rooms - They are clean and comfortable in a cottage kind of way. We had a 2 room pool view which had to bedrooms and a kitchen. Each bedroom had its own ensuite. Neither bathroom had a tub but our nanny got us a baby tub and my daughter took showers. I believe that some rooms have bathtubs. The room also had two entrances so when my son was asleep we just used the kitchen entrance to come and go and that was really convenient.
The ground floor room worked really well for us, but the crickets are quite loud from pretty much dusk until dawn and although our son loved it, we spoke to some guests who were light sleepers and they preferred to sleep on an upper level.

Nurse - While we were there both of our kids and my husband got sick (our home pediatrician thinks we likely took the bug with us). Over the course of a few days we saw quite a bit of the nurse and had a few visits with the doctor. The costs for the doctor and medications added up, we have travel medical insurance and I highly recommend that you don't travel without it. Our kids are totally fine now and the illnesses did not ruin the trip like they could have in a traditional resort setting. I had two sick kids and had extra sets of hands to help, plus a nurse available 24hrs. I might have been up a lot of the night but I could rest the next day, it actually worked out quite well for all of us :)

Nannies - Amazing, of course. We decided to hire an additional nanny (US$25/day), and it was the best decision we could have made. My son naps twice a day and the second nanny allowed my daughter to still do her own thing and I didn't have to sit in the room during naptimes. With two nannies, they alternate lunch hours so we always had an extra set of hands and we asked for one of them to stay each evening to help with meals and bedtime so we could go eat on our own (US$7/hr).
Before we arrived I was a bit unsure of how I would feel with the nanny, I was anxious about having to make small talk or missing out on quality family time. Somehow our nannies made it feel totally natural. If we wanted to play with the kids, we did and she assessed the situation and would stay close by but somehow in the distance, always there for a trip to the bathroom or with a dry towel for each of us if we were in the pool. It is remarkable how well they do this. I feel our nannies both went above and beyond for us and our kids. When my kids were sick, I was comfortable leaving them in their care and they would come to find me if they thought I was needed. The resort was such an intimate size that most guests and staff knew each other quite quickly and it was easy to find anyone. They were also very respectful of rules and parenting styles. An added bonus of having the nanny was that it was like having your own guide, I learned so much just by chatting and asking questions.

Service - I felt pampered with all the attention and effort that was given to making me comfortable, it actually took some getting used to!I have stayed in a few 4/5 star resorts over the years, one blends into the next, but I have never been treated as well as I have been at FDR. Our nannies, were exceptional but the service did not stop with them. Everyone learns your name and you begin to feel like you are a part of a family. My son has recently been diagnosed with a food allergy and there was never any problem getting food from the kitchen for him. Each time I asked for specially prepared food they were gracious and ready to help.

Excursion - Near the end of the week we felt comfortable leaving the kids at the resort for a few hours and going to Dunn's River to climb the falls. It was great. If you do this, you will need water shoes (which you can rent) and take a waterproof camera!

Beach - The kids beach was small but it was perfect for the kids. There was a little playground and lots of toys right on the beach. There was room for the kids to wade around in the water and one day my daughter fed the fish with some bread and they were swimming all around us. The beach just next door was the nicest beach I have ever seen. The water was warm, clear, clean and there was nothing on the ocean floor. Dreamlike. It was convenient and there were no problems with the resort next door.

Pool - There are a couple waterslides in the main pool for the kids and there were lots of pool toys when we were there, guests (us included) brought pool toys and leave them for everyone to enjoy. My daughter is quite close to swimming on her own and can swim with a life-jacket on, the nanny always kept a very close eye on her and offered to get in the water with her if I wanted. There is also a small baby pool and slide which was a big hit with my 1 year old. We spent a bit of time on the large waterslide too, lots of fun.

Travel from airport - we chose to use a private transfer (Reggae Tours) and they were great too, they had good car seats for the kids and they even had a children's CD on hand which was a big hit with the kids. I think the trip was about an hour each way.

Tips - Although it is all-inclusive and as a guest you do not feel any sense of the country's poor economy or any sense that tipping is expected, we know that every dollar is appreciated. I read somewhere to consider $20/day for the nannies and we used this as a guide.

We knew shortly after arriving that this place was different. What I loved the most was that it was a family resort and it allowed us to all vacation together and all have a vacation. Thanks FDR! We hope to see you again next year!

Room Tip: We had a 2 room pool view and we had a full size kitchen with sink, kettle, coffeemaker, fridge (with freezer), microwave and dishes, the kitchen had a large table with chairs which we used quite a bit. Each bedroom had its own ensuite. Neither bathroom had a tub but our nanny just got a baby tub and my daughter took showers. I believe that some rooms have bathtubs. The room also had two entrances so when my son was asleep we just used the kitchen entrance to come and go and that was really convenient. The ground floor room worked really well for us, but the crickets are quite loud from pretty much dusk until dawn and we spoke to some guests who were light sleepers and they preferred to sleep on an upper level.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank blue_shirt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2013

Nnannies --

This is perhaps the most unique offering, and the largest draw. If your nanny is not able to travel abroad with you for various health and/or visa reasons -- or your little ones are typically in daycare -- this resort is perfect.

You are able to enjoy your own children as your grandparents do. You are there and enjoy watching them running around playing, but you do not necessarily need to do the same. It could be from the comfort of your hammock! The nannies keep them out of trouble. Or, with 2-3 kids, you can have an extra set of hands to help the younger one first learning to wade around in the water, while knowing the older one is also safe and engaged in play of their own. Or of course, you also have the option of dropping them all off altogether, and going off to enjoy one of the many day time activities offered!

The nannies know what they're doing, you can trust them, even with bath and bedtime. Our children were asleep without much of a fight by the time we were back from dinner. How much better can it get.

For $25/day you can also get a second nanny to assist with kids with sufficiently different ages and schedules.

The core hours of the nannies can easily be extended for only $7 USD / hr.

I should note that since most nannies commute in, we moved up the "evening babysitting" hours to be earlier, since they typically do not leave the premises to have dinner with family or anything like that. They leave at the end of the day, and often share cabs, so we tried to have them leave no later than customary so they can cab share.

Also, this may be obvious, but maybe not -- the nannies are the ones who clean and re-stock the room with supplies and food requests. They typically work it into the day when the kids are napping.

Food --

I live in the center of a large city and go out to top restaurants often. I'm also spoiled by frequent cruising. I also have various dietary preferences (I wouldn't call them restrictions because I'm not strict). I belong to a CSA/farm share. I can tell you, the food was memorable. I loved it. More importantly, my stomach liked it.

Bold authentic flavors, but not too spicy. Quality fresh local ingredients. There was always some sort small white-flesh fish, different veggies (collaloo), a rotation of different grain porridge for breakfast. Fresh local papaya and other fruit at breakfast. Ackee. Boiled yams. Overproof restaurant turned out great oxtail, plantain sticks, and other imaginative takes on local specials. Because it is a smaller resort perhaps, they are able to achieve this. You can tell it is prepared from scratch, and not mass-produced. It is not overcooked. The soups have al dente veggies. Of course, also because it is a small resort, the selection was limited, but all of us in our group agreed that we preferred a few daily "stars" on the menu over a larger list of mediocre items.

I feel part of visiting a place is not complete without eating local ingredients, and I was able to do that. And of course the staples (more popular with the kids) were great as well -- my wife actually ate the mac n cheese at the kids dinner every night, along with our daughter, because it's the best she's been able to find, to-date. Pizza, wings, fries, jerk chicken, all solid.

As most people already said, caribbean night (saturday night buffet) is typically best, so make sure your stay includes a saturday night =)

I should add that some rooms have a kitchenette, and some even have a full kitchen. They make the room feel like home, but I was not quite clear on their purpose. There were no pots and pans to utilize for the stove, nor was cooking oil present in the suite, and for good reason -- this is an all-inclusive with plenty of amazing food options. So while it's nice to have a fridge for keeping milk and other necessities for the kids (or simply for beer!), the rest of the kitchen will likely not get much use on your trip, so selecting a room that has one is not really necessary.

Drinks --

If you have specific cocktails, it is better to order them at the bar, which is always nearby anyway. This way, you can offer feedback as the drink is made, and avoid any confusion. There are some stylistic differences open to interpretation, so the drinks may taste unfamiliar from back home. e.g. subbing in rum where vodka would normally be used. But the bar is fully stocked -- including aged rums and scotch and premium liquors like grand marnier, all included! -- so with sufficient instructions, any drink can be achieved, no problem!

Activities --

The bike tours, glass bottom boat tours, kyacking, fishing trips are all included. So is (I believe) scuba diving. The kayaks were a great way to explore the shoreline and my wife called it a "team building exercise" (we rented the 2-seater =) There various daytime and evening games by the bar (name that tune, battle of the sexes, scavenger hunt, etc).

Entertainment --

A few singers were brought in during our week there, so was a performing duo with bamboo stick dance and drumming. One night had texas hold em poker. In general, the adult activities coordinator rivals most cruise directors on larger ships. She kicks off karaoke with a few songs, mingles with and engages guests throughout the day by the bar, joining them for meals or various games, and is your overall fun ambassador!


No need to pack beach toys, most stuff for sand castles like shovels are there.

There is laundry for $9/load so no need to overpack clothes either.

Bring medicine proactively, though there is amazing nurse station that has various first-aid sterile things and is staffed surprisingly a full work day, for a relatively small resort (especially off-peak at low occupancy).

Bring white t-shirts to tie dye for the kids.
Bring cash for the nannies after-hours.
There is an ATM a short drive away, or a cash advance on your credit card, if it does come to that, but I believe the latter can carry high bank fees.
The spa and gift shop does take credit cards, fortunately =)

There is a gym (this was hard to find into ahead of time). It has a couple of weight stations and mostly aerobic equipment. It is outdoors. There is also apparently jogging meetup every morning at 7 or 7:30 at the front desk. So you can pack sneakers if interested.

There is ping pong, pool tables and foosball as well, in the teen center (which, depending on the time of year, can be free for adults as well).

Do not read too closely into the printed booklet you'll find in your room -- the rates and hours (of the bar, etc) are a bit outdated, and in any case, can vary. For instance, the bar may close earlier than midnight if the crowd breaks up, and the gym may open on sunday if there is demand. Your preference will typically be met.

Room Tip: It depends what you're looking for. Those by the pool get the best WiFi reception, nicer view, more central location, but get to hear the karaoke and other night time entertainment (though that dies down by 10:30p, well before most would be trying to get to bed). Also, not all 2-bedroom suites are created equal, some are two-level with a master suite on the other side from the kids bedroom for added privacy. Rooms are also being updated gradually, some having marble tiles in the bathrooms, if that's of any interest.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Eugene D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2013 via mobile

Got a toddler and a 3 year old who had the time of their lives. This was the first vacation we've taken with the kids that was actually absolutely enjoyable. The nannies know their stuff. A small resort lends itself to a fairly intimate feel. The staff will know most of you by name, and the owner eats with everyone else. Watch out for the dollar wine contest.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
4  Thank rezoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

Just returned from our first visit to FDR. We were there for six nights the 22nd - 28th and by the second day we understood why 90% of the guest we're repeat guests. Our two year old son fell in Love with our nanny Ruth Ann and when we left it was like she was part of the family and both my son and four year old daughter miss her. We are planning on returning next year and will request Ruth Ann and the same room. Thank You FDR for the memory's

  • Stayed: November 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Dkpaul04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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