We were at Pebbles around Easter and I have taken a while to post an official review because I have been unsure of how to rate the place. In the end, I settled on a 4/5 because of how much fun we had as a family – but there are some issues…or at least things worth understanding before going.
First of all, the entrance sign says “Pebbles Family Adventure” and we have since decided that is the best possible way to describe the place. Ok, here we go…
TRANSFERS (I include this because Pebbles includes free transfers)
My children were about 1.5 and nearly 3 years old at the time of the trip. My son flew with his car seat for the plane, but my daughter did not – because Pebbles promised me that they could/would provide one – for a fee - through their contracted transport provider, Jamaica Tours Limited (JTL). Since I didn’t want to lug a second car seat through the airports, I took their word for it. Despite promises and confirmations with Pebbles, JTL had no record of my need for a car seat once we arrived and had no car seats available for us to use. I know Jamaica well enough to know that car seats are rarely used but that was not an option for me. I trusted them and we were let down. It is a long story, but we finally did get an older car seat to leave the airport with – but only because Half Moon Resort heard the commotion and offered to lend us one. On the return trip to the airport, despite several promises direct by JTL and even direct phone calls, they again failed to provide a seat (although I am not sure how much it matters because the first JTL bus had seatbelts that didn’t work and the second had none at all – making installing the seats impossible even if we had them).
I honestly don’t know whether to blame JTL or Pebbles – but I have settled on the belief that Pebbles should have a foolproof way to get their customers car seats. Period. They are a resort that caters, SPECIFICALLY, to families with young children. It is their responsibility to make sure their little guests get them, if requested. Had I not needed/wanted a car seat, transport would have been just fine.
We arrived a little before check-in time and our room was not ready, so we were led to the restaurant for a late lunch. We ate, had a couple of beers (both of which I’ll mention later), and our room was still not ready so we grabbed the kids’ swim suits and headed to the beach. In the end, we were there without a room for probably 3 hours or more – including more than two hours after their published check-in time. I finally got fed up so I went to get us our room. The front desk said our second room (we had adjoining rooms) was not ready yet – which is why they didn’t come get us – but that we could move into our main room if we wanted. Umm..ok. So they took me (and our stuff) to the room and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we were upgraded to oceanfront suites. Of course, once we got there, both rooms were completely finished and the guy looked surprised and embarrassed. The rooms had probably been ready for some time but apparently nobody told them (or us).
The rooms were pretty much like I expected – dark varnished wood, high ceilings, partially-separated bedroom area, nice balcony, clean but not fancy, etc. What I wasn’t expecting was the view from our balconies. Since we were upgraded to beachfront, our view was spectacular. We were literally OVER the sand, maybe 30 feet from the water, with views down the coast to the East.
Our adjoining suite was set up for our two kids so we could have some privacy while they slept. They had set up that room with two very nice cribs with blankets and pillows and each crib was draped in mosquito netting – which was cool but proved to be very valuable.
A couple of minor issues: The wooden base of the couch/bed in the living area of our main suite regularly came off the supports and crashed down. It was annoying, but fixable in 3 seconds each time it did. Also, Pebbles used to stock the mini-fridge with beer, juice, soda, fruit, cheese, etc – but they don’t anymore. Our nanny got us milk and some cheese for the kids but I had to go into Falmouth to stock the fridge myself with beer, soda, juice, snacks, etc.
The primary benefit of Pebbles – what sets them apart from other family resorts – is the inclusion of the personal vacation nanny. They are yours for basically 8 hours a day (and longer – for a modest hourly charge – if you want them longer). They help with the kids, clean the room, etc. Ours, Judy Ann, was very good. She was friendly and she helped us get the kids dressed, fed, and entertained. She showed us the property, did many activities with the kids (esp. crafts at the kids club), etc. Many families just dump the kids with the nanny for the day and hang out kid-free in the sun with some drinks, but we didn’t want to do that. We both work a lot so this trip was to enjoy our kids – so we were with Judy Ann and the kids almost all of the time (although she did take our son by himself to the kids club several times to play or do crafts).
Ultimately, it is a very nice feature. It is their signature amenity.
This was a bit disappointing. I knew going in that the Jamaican restaurant was closed and that the Italian restaurant was no longer adults only, but, in general, the food was just okay and definitely lacking in Jamaican food which I love – even on Jamaican night.
I never once saw rice and peas, they had ackee and saltfish only once, the jerk chicken and pork was nothing more than grilled chicken with a super sweet sauce that didn’t even resemble jerk, etc. The best dish of the week, by far, was a soup…a seafood chowder. It was superb – like fancy restaurant at home good. I think I had three or four bowls that night for my entire meal. The beach/pool grill was great – especially for the kids, who eat early. They had good chicken paninis, hot dogs, burgers, corn dogs, jerk chicken, etc. and everything was pretty good. Also, at night, they set up a kids buffet for those who need to eat before regular dinner started (which was nice because meals started VERY late compared to what we are used to) with spaghetti, chicken tenders, finger sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, etc. That was nice. In the end, the food wasn’t bad – everyone found stuff to eat – but it was just okay. Having more Jamaican food would seem to be an easy fix.
Drinks were good and the bartenders (at the pool bar – not the bar in the restaurant) were great – but everything was definitely “low shelf” – as in brands I have never even seen before (even in Jamaica). The beer though, Red Stripe, was served very cold – which was a surprise for an all-inclusive.
I absolutely loved the resort layout, grounds, location, etc. It has 96 suites – in 12 buildings of 8 – and the footprint of the resort is big enough that it was not crowded. The landscaping was probably the most lush I have seen anywhere. It was spectacular.
The main focus of the resort during the day was probably the waterslide into the pool. They have a nice slide that starts on the second floor above the beach grill/pool bar and dumps into the pool. My kids absolutely loved it! We probably went down it 50 times a day. Seriously.
The beach is also really nice and extends for a couple miles (most of which, to the West, is undeveloped), if you want to explore. The portion in front of Pebbles is narrow, but very calm. I really liked it (although I don’t like the use of groynes and, although it doesn’t bother me, there is some seagrass – but it is cleaned constantly throughout the day). For little ones, there are crates of sand toys several places on the beach.
To go along with the Family Adventure theme, they have a really nice kids club (with activities posted all day long), a goat to feed, horses, tennis courts, a fish pond, a basketball court (sort of), a playground (which was right outside our building and very nice), etc. There is a ton to do with your kids.
In the end, we had a great vacation. Pebbles is a fabulous place to enjoy fun in the Caribbean sun with your children. My 3 year old still asks about Judy Ann and when we are going back to Jamaica. I would not hesitate to return to Pebbles either – but I REALLY hope they figure out the car seat thing and it would be nice if they upgraded the food and beverage. If we do go again, I will book a private transfer with a driver I trust to provide car seats – but that is just because I would not be willing to trust them in that regard again.
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- Also Known As:
- n-Resort All Inclusive For Adults Hotel Falmouth
- Fdr Pebbles Falmouth
- Fdr Pebbles Jamaica
- Fdr Resorts
- N-Resort All Inclusive For Adults Trelawny Parish, Jamaica - Falmouth