This vacation was planned as a celebration for my wife's 40th birthday. When I originally called the travel agent I had every intention of staying at one of the Beaches resorts. Our travel was able to quickly talk me out of it by saying that it would be about 40% cheaper to stay at FDR. A resort I had never heard of, but was intrigued by the 40% and the nanny service. My wife was skeptical to say the least. We have two young boys ages 4 and 2. She really didn't have a lot of faith in a 'nanny' service. The funny thing is that when it was time to go...there were two people in tears - my wife and are oldest son - that is how wonderful everything was. I will breakdown some points of interest that I think people would be the most interest in...
1) Travel - We arrived via Air Jamaica direct from Chicago - no issues. We were concerned about the complimentary shuttle service as we had read a couple of horror stories on lengthy delays. Again, no issues...we were on our way within about 10 minutes. We had been told that we could request a car seat for $10 dollars each way. it was there for the trip to FDR. Unfortunately, it was not there on our way back and that was after 2 calls from the resort to the transport co to make sure they were bringing it. We were disappointed and have been told that there will be a refund...time will tell.
2) Nanny service - this was the reason we chose this resort. We weren't sure what to expect and we had our reservations...but everything turned out great! Your nanny is with your children starting at 9 AM. In some respects, this will prove to be a little late for folks with small children. Our youngest tends to be up almost at the crack of dawn...so 9 AM seemed to take an eternity to arrive. They will stay with you until 4:40 PM, but will come back and stay with the children in the evening for $6/hr. Do it! This is a small price to pay to have some nice dinner time with your spouse...and quite frankly the nannys like the extra money. OK, the fine print...they all take their lunch break from 12:30 - 1:30 PM and then clean the room for another 1/2 hour or so. This was a bit disappointing...but not the end of the world. The nice thing is that for only $20 a day you can have a 2nd nanny. My wife was resistant to this for the first couple of days, but then we did on the next to last day of our vacation and IMO it was pure bliss! The second nanny arrived at 8 AM and then the nannys staggered their lunch break to give us the perfect day. At the end of stay, we tipped our nanny the equivalent of $20/day on top of the money we owed her for staying late. She seemed very happy and was very grateful.
3) The room - was very adequate. We weren't expecting the four seasons, and we didn't get it. But for what it is, the room was perfect! I opted to splurge and get the multi-floor 2 bedroom unit. As I mentioned, our 2 year old tends to wake up at the break of dawn so this gave us another floor to operate in the early morning hours and not wake up our oldest son. This is one area that I would do differently and get a smaller room if we come again to save some money (and yes there is a good chance we will be back).
3) Stuff for the kids to do - the kids were never board! Between the beach, the pool, the kids play room, the play ground and the arts and crafts center - well let's just say the kids had an amazing time and never had any problems falling asleep!
4) The grounds - nice, not over the top, but nice. I have no complaints with anything. Everything is well maintained and comfortable...perfect for a family setting. The beach took a little getting used to...but in the end it was perfect for a small family. It is not the endless white sand beach that you may get accustomed to at other resorts. You can walk out about 10-15 ft into the water or so and then you start to hit the rocks. It does take some getting used to but the kids loved it and that was the most important thing. One thing to note is that there does not seem to be an overabundance of chairs to layout in so do your best to reserve one early by simply placing something on top of it...but do it early - like when you are heading to breakfast.
5) The staff - all the way around they were fantastic. Very, very friendly. We didn't have many needs but the ones we did request were met quickly.
6) Food and beverage - we thought the food for most part was quite good...and we never left a restaurant hungry. The drinks at the bar were great! I never had a bad one...I was very impressed!
7) Lasting impressions - we were blown away with how many returning guests FDR has each week. We met many people who had been coming for 5 years straight or longer. The same week...and they meet up with other families that were at the resort that same first year - and now the kids are growing up with each. We were one of maybe 3 or 4 families that was there for the first time. We met two other families where the kids hit off completely as well as the parents, so we may be starting are own tradition. I better start saving now...
The day of our departure, as my wife and I were hanging out with our new friends and watching our kids play in the water (sipping a FDR Cooler of course) I asked her what she would rate this vacation on a 1 to 10 scale. She said a 7 to 7.5. This was really impressive...reason being is that for almost half of our stay - it rained and rained and rained. This prohibited us from snorkeling, kayaking or going for a glass-bottom boat ride. i think her score would have been closer to coveted 10...but mother nature had other plans. But, in the end it was an amazing time (even with all the rain). Given the total cost of the trip (over 4K for a 4 night stay) we had said this was going to be a one time trip. We don't have to live on a budget, but we feel that is a lot to spend on a 4 night vacation. However, we are giving a return trip some serious consideration...especially if we can meet up with our new friends.
On the last day, almost as we were leaving, I met owner of the resort. A very nice man to say the least. He asked if we had enjoyed everything and I said absolutely!!!
Happy traveling to everyone!
- 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. One upfront price includes accommodations are in large 1, 2 or 3 bedroom suites with iPOD Docking Stations and DVD Players, Continental, Italian and Jamaican cuisine from a choice of 4 restaurants, top shelf bar, kayaking, snorkelling, tennis, 3 pools, 100' waterslide, separate kids, pre-teens 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