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“Unique but so-so”

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Franklyn D Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
29 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Unique but so-so”
Reviewed 1 July 2014

Its run and owned by Jamaicans and they have pretty good service relative to the rest of the island. There is only one restaurant and one "grill." The food is actually pretty decent considering. The place has no real beach, but you can visit the beach at the resort next door, which is excellent.

The whole charm of this place is the nannies, who try to let you enjoy the vacation without taking care of your kids all day. Our daughter didn't take to the nanny, but it wasn't her fault. She was too young and was still attached to us.

The place is a bit rough around the edges. It isn't owned and maintained by a billion dollar corporation, so don't expect top-notch quality. The showers are decent if you use them during off hours, otherwise hot water is sparse.

All-in-all, we had a lot of fun and the staff was excellent. If you can handle a place that isn't 100% perfect and spotless, and want to meet some great real Jamaicans who will do anything for you including watch your kids, this is the place.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank petesperl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (132)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Fort Wayne, Indiana
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 June 2014

We just returned from a week long stay at FDR, and are already planning our next visit! Due to a delayed flight, we arrived about 2 hrs later than anticipated, bus was waiting for us at the airport to take us to the resort and the front desk was there to greet us before we even got off the bus. Right away our nanny was there with us to show us to our room. They already had a crib set up for our 1yr old and bed rails on the bed for our 2yr old. Bags were delivered to our room and our nanny took us on a tour of the property. We were there during their off season, so not all activities were going on, but the board was FILLED every day with fun things to do as couples and families.
I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to our nanny Michelle, she has been there for 13 yrs and has had repeat customers for the last 12 yrs. She was amazing and my kids took to her right away. She was so attentive to our every need and the perfect help. Will absolutely be requesting her when we go back. All of the staff were so nice and by the second day there were calling us by name and always saying hi to the kids.
The beach was just the right size for the kids and when we wanted more space, we just went to the resort next door. And the resort was the perfect size, and I really liked being there when it wasn't too full. A lot of fellow travelers there had been there multiple times and I completely understand why.
I wasn't expecting too much in the way of food, but was definitely pleasantly surprised. There was a large variety at the Verandah for breakfast and lunch and dinner was always very yummy. The ambiance for dinner was perfect and the beach luau was our favorite night. The wraps at the grill became my favorite for lunch and my drink of choice was a frozen lemonade!
My husband went snorkeling off the pier and then also did a scuba course and said it was the best money every spent. He can't wait to go again. Also participated in a fishing trip, like I said the days were filled with activities you can participate in if you'd like, or you can spend a day in the hammock. That's what we did our last day!
All in all, this place was amazing and I can't imagine going anywhere else now. This is def. going to become a yearly vacation. Thank you so much FDR!!!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank HoosierNessy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
boston
Level Contributor
37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2014

We love this place, have been coming here for eight years now (started at Pebbles). The staff is just exceptional. I'm a travel agent and can go anywhere, offers appear daily in my inbox... but keep returning here because of the intimate vibe, personal service, roomy suites etc.
Everyone has touched upon the awesomeness of the nannies, especially if you are a single parent. I wanted to also go on about other lovely features that I have learned over the years.
No annoying towel cards/signing towels out etc-here they treat you like an adult, no having to return them by 6p etc.
It's not endless buffet! There are many sit down meals, and no having to make reservations!
And, if you are adventurous, you can try lots of authentic Jamaican cuisine including breakfast!
I don't eat meat and am mostly vegetarian (I eat fish) and I can tell you the veggie options are terrific. Fish too!
They do your laundry for you for only $10! This way you can bring less stuff, just have them do a load halfway through your vacation. You drop it off and it's delivered back to your room all fluffed and folded!
If you have any kind of medical issues, there is an awesome nurse right there on the property! (I twisted my ankle last year and she wrapped it for me). There is also a pediatrician's office next door, and the hotel can assist in making an appointment, if its something the nurse can't handle
There is a photographer onsite named Perry who takes great pictures, and is very reasonable.
They are prepared for rainy days, there are two kids clubs (one for younger, the other for teens) that show movies etc.
You can snorkel right off the beach next door, or off the dive pier-amazing snorkeling, I have seen
sting rays, moray eels, squid etc. No need to take the boat if that makes you queasy (like it does me). They also sell Dramamine at the gift shop.
The bartenders are amazing, so talented. They make so many drinks from scratch with fresh tropical fruit, not the endless mixes at other hotels.
The snack bar has wonderful ice cream and that special Jamaican treat...patties!!!
The staff watches ALL kids, the nannies work together beautifully, you can really truly relax..
and did I mention the hammocks!!!!!
I was especially impressed one year by the kitchen staff, there was a guest there who was on a low sodium diet and they prepared chicken or fish for her at lunch and dinner. After a couple of days they asked her if she was getting bored and would she like to try some beef? So sweet that they worried about her palate like that!
We bring our own snorkeling equipment, but they provide it here for free. Also beach toys, no need to bring your own.
Did I mention that they have goat races? !!!! so cool!

I want to mention several of the staff, but they are all exceptional. I just don't remember all the names!
Tamika, Kevin, Karlene, Marcia, can't wait to see you all again soon!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank mrchillybeans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
South Carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2014

We just returned yesterday from our week long trip to FDR. This is the first review I've ever written even though we've travelled to 6 all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean now. This was such a great experience that it deserves at 5 star review- especially while things are fresh in my mind. We loved the resort. We stayed in room 38 which was an oceanfront two bedroom junior suite. It walked directly onto the sand and I could see the ocean from my bed in the mornings. It was very comfortable and we had everything we needed- including beer, juices and snacks refilled daily by our Nanny.

Speaking of the nanny- OH MY GOD- she was AMAZING! We had Janice who had been at FDR for 14 years. She was so calm and patient with my two year old son. She somehow knew how to blend in with our family and be there when we needed her and took a step back when we wanted more one on one time with our son. She really made our trip stress free. My son instantly connected with her and I 110% trusted her when we were not around. We kept her around most nights after 5 pm to eat dinner with us. She would also take him to the Kids Club to get out of the sun and was diligent about sunscreen and mosquito cream/spray when needed. My favorite was when she put him down for naps and stayed in the room with him so we were completely free. She also cleaned around this time.

Speaking of dinner- the food was excellent! We went in with low expectations since we'd read mixed reviews. I thought every meal we had was delicious! I loved the breakfasts, the kids buffets, the Overproof restaurant (Jamaican), the beach buffets, the Beach Grill- everything was served quickly, hot and very, very tasty! I had the most of mangos, bacon, fish and rice, jerk chicken wraps (grill), and my son had a lot of fruit, chicken nuggets, spaghetti and pizzas.

We also loved the drinks. The bartenders are friendly and Ryan makes great Dirty Bananas. They have Red Stripe on draft which was great. We liked to take the drinks to watch the sunset or out on the big blue floats in the ocean.
The beach is small but perfect for the kids. There is a dock you can dive off of and swim/snorkel anytime you wanted. The beach next door is also very easy to access and we went there a few times for swimming too.

The staff was great. Everyone was so helpful and I loved that they started to call us by name on the second day. We were there at low occupancy so it was easy to get to know everyone there, make friends, and participate in all the activities. I really enjoyed having the place to (almost) ourselves. We had no problems with hot water and if we had little maintenance issues (clogged toilet) then someone was there to fix it in 5 minutes.

We also loved fishing on the pier, snorkeling and fishing boat rides, games by the pool, the entertainment/music/dancing at night, bike rides, sitting on our deck, and the BIG BLUE- an awesome waterslide. There are actually four waterslides there and my son lived on them the whole week.

I can assure you we will be back next year. Maybe even this year if possible. We had a wonderful time and I can't thank the staff enough. WE LOVE FDR!!!

Room Tip: We loved Room 38! Rooms 1 and 2 looked nice too. Those are all oceanfront first level rooms.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank cwh915
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2014

I had 4 amazing trips to FDR with my family of 5. The activities for children are out of this world and our nanny was always amazing....We had 2 different ones over 4 trips and we loved them both! We loved the fact that we could let the teens sleep in and we could enjoy water aerobics right outside our condo door! Our youngest would go to breakfast with the nanny while we worked out and then we'd all meet up mid morning to start our "family time". Fishing off the pier, hunting for hermit crabs, building sandcastles, swimming, arts n crafts, and Dale the kids acitivities director, made everyday special for my daughter! She is 12 now and last year we did a mega resort down near Montego Bay....she had fun snorkeling but told us she wished we were at FDR. She will never forget the incredible experience she had. Now we just can't wait to take a vacation with my eldest and his wife and our granddaughter. FDR has a deal for grandparents that I would love to take advantage of....hopefully next Fall! Thank you FDR for wonderful memories!

Room Tip: If you are able to let the kids sleep in....pick a room facing the pool. They have am water aerobics...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BarbaraG4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Muscatine, Iowa
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 May 2014

I had read every single review on FDR before seeing for myself. I enjoyed reading them! I read some detailed reviews multiple times. I felt I was completely prepared. That I knew exactly what I was getting, the good and the bad. I "knew" to expect rooms that were nice, but somewhat dated, that the food would be just okay, but improved upon what it had been 6 months ago, that the staff would be friendly and know my kids' names, and that I would fall head over heels in love with the nanny. Pretty much the summation of every review on here.

Not one single review, no matter how glowing, could prepare me for what I would feel at FDR.

I am a stay at home mom of 2 (3 and 5). We stayed at FDR from 4/23 to 4/30. First of all, a week is not long enough!! If you CAN stay longer, DO IT! You will not be ready to leave after just 7 days! Now to address what I thought I knew!

The rooms:
I suppose one could say dated, but I think homey and comfortable is more suiting. They are larger than any suite you will find at other resorts. We stayed in a 2 bedroom suite. You will read all about them in the subsequent reviews, so I won't bother with layout details. This suite was wonderful! It was spacious, well stocked, and most importantly CLEAN!! We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the balcony each morning and evening. If you are expecting the newest shiniest finishes, you will be disappointed. So don't expect that. Read the reviews! As they continue to update, it will just INCREASE how pleasantly surprised you are!

The Food:
The reviews on this topic are poor, at best. Apparently, the food used to be pretty lack luster. But this new Chef is incredible! Anyone who has left a negative review of the food while this man has been in charge of the kitchen, I truly question their taste buds. Yes there were a couple of dishes that were not my cup of tea. But of course not EVERY item on the menu is going to be. I can not tell you enough just how much I enjoyed the croissants at breakfast. My sister is a baker. I KNOW a good bread, and these are incredible! A MUST TRY, on my list!

The Staff:
They were wonderful! They were kind, sweet, accommodating. I could go on and on. Out of an ENTIRE resort, the only people we encountered that were not what I described were the ladies in the gift shop and salon. Absolutely EVERYONE else was great! I especially enjoyed our bartenders and the delightful ladies from karaoke that got all of us girls up to sing some Whitney Houston. (I wanna dance with somebody!)

And, of course, The Nanny:
You are going to read review after review RAVING about the Nannies, and every word is true. And every single one will gush over their Nanny. Though, I have a hard time believing any Nanny in the world could be as wonderful as Ollisia. There is just not enough words to adequately convey what these ladies give you. FDR advertises the Vacation Nanny as their "gift to your family". You can have no idea how true those words are until you relax enough to let the Nanny be YOUR Nanny. I am the quint-essential over-protective Mommy. I had every intention of NOT leaving my kids alone with a stranger while I went on excursions. Oh...how quickly I changed my tune. She is wonderful! Sweet, attentive, caring...FAMILY!

I know that saying her name on here could mean someone else will request her for the dates that I plan our next trip. But she deserves for everyone to know how wonderful she is!

My family cannot wait to come back. As I told the woman that took my reservation back in February, we are Future Repeat Guests. I knew what I was getting with FDR, but NOTHING could have prepared me for how wonderful it would feel! Thank you to Ollisia and all of the FDR staff! You gave us an incredible vacation! Time to plan our first return trip!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Meagan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodbridge, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

After four years of marriage and having 2 babies exactly one year apart, it was time for a break. This was our first getaway as a family of four. I looked high and low for a toddler friendly resort that will allow us to relax as well. I considered the Beaches resorts but there was still the issue of juggling a 2 and 3 year without losing our cool in a hot place. An extra pair of hands is an absolute must for us although we do not have a nanny at home. Then I discovered FDR by googling high & low for the right getaway for our young family. It was the perfect choice.

Let me begin by pointing out that I booked a one bedroom garden view that comes with a King bed, sofa bed and a crib at your request. We arrived around 4pm. Check In took no time at all. The lobby itself is just 2 desks under a canopy with seating for maybe 10 people. Not big at all since I have been accustomed to the grand lobbies of the resorts I have visited before. When we were escorted to our room, we easily maneuvered our double stroller through the outdoor walkway gardens. Unfortunately we had to climb a set of stairs to our room but were extremely surprised when we got to our room. There were stroller parking everywhere so we left the stroller at the bottom of the stairs.

We had a full 2 story, 2 bedroom condo style suite. It was huge! A large full kitchen, dining room, living room, verandah, powder room and twin bed on the main room. The stairs to the top floor had child proof gates but required gates on the main floor. The second floor had 2 spacious bedroom, 2 twin beds, 1 king, 2 full baths and 2 cribs! A home away from home indeed! Definitely more than I requested. These rooms cost double than what I booked but FDR's peak season is during the summer when the kids are off school so they upgraded us free of charge. The decor is a little outdated but the only recommendation I have is that the washrooms be renovated. They were very old but functional. Overall, the rooms were clean.

Our Nanny, Janet, arrived shortly after we settled in. She was a sweetheart. She explained all of the hotel facilities and rules to us and took us on a tour of the grounds. The kids were understandably apprehensive at first but her warm nature melted them in no time. My 2 yo dd is a picky one too so a pretty great feet in my eyes. They were building sandcastles and playing with her while we relaxed at the pool bar. That set the tone for the rest of our trip.

Each morning, we headed for the Verandah restaurant for breakfast which was decent. Janet also made our room so she met us at breakfast. Now the beach at the resort is rocky and small but just a few steps away was the Jewel resort that had the magazine cover white sands and clear shallow turquoise waters. We were allowed to use the beach but not the chairs. I didn't mind since we spent all morning wading in the beautiful waters while the kids played safely and happily with Janet. One afternoon, my son requested pancakes for lunch. Janet spoke to the friendly chef who went quickly and made the little guy a batch of pancakes even though we protested. The kids are absolutely spoiled here!

Lunch was always at the beach Grille for us. There was a buffet at the Verandah as well but I couldn't get enough of the chicken wraps and hubby had to have jerk chicken served fresh from the grille everyday. I could go without the burgers though. The Grille also offered a kids buffet full of local fruit and veggies. I still preferred the a la cart grille menu options.

We spent the afternoons at the pool bar and the kids were with Janet little kids park, the small resort beach or in the pool. The park need a some upgrades as well but had the feel of a a local community park. I saw that they were working on adding some more murals. They had scheduled arts and craft programs at the park as well as daily kid's itinerary.

Janet would stay with us until 6:30pm each day at which time the kids napped while we got ready for dinner. Every evening, Janet had stocked the kitchen with milk juice, fruit, cheese & crackers. We usually had dinner on the verandah which was a la carte and delicious. There were 2 other a la carte restaurants on premise but adults only. However, we could request menu items form the other restaurants! On our last night, my exhausted 3 yo ds had a tantrum so we had to stay in. My husband ordered 2 entree's from each restaurant and we had a wonderful feast in our spacious room while the kids slept. They never say NO at FDR. They accommodated our every need.

This place was as intimate as you can get. Everyone knew who you were and treated you like family. I loved that my kids were familiar with the staff and even knew some of their way around, at least to the fish pond and kiddie pool.

If you are looking for a glossy, state of the art, modern resort, this is not the place for you. However, if you are looking for a cozy, safe and relaxing getaway for you and your babies, I highly recommend it. Most of the visitors we met were repeat customers whose kids have grown up here and still have the same nanny.

I should add that you can second nanny for only $25/day. You can also have a professional photographer take family pictures at the beach which I found out about too late. Just more to look forward to the next time we visit ;).

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank MzTan
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 Spa 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
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 Hotel Runaway Bay
Franklyn d Resort And Spa
Franklyn d Resort All Inclusive
Franklyn D Resort & Spa Jamaica/Runaway Bay, Caribbean

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