ME: "I'm going to an all inclusive that includes a nanny"
Nephew: "I'll look for your kids on Ebay"
That seemed to be the attitude we got from everybody who we told. 'You're going to leave your kids with a stranger?'
If you think that, you will be missing out on a great vacation. Really? over 400 reviews on here dating back years? Why worry?
If you think that we are parents who just want to dump your kids off for selfish reasons, you're wrong. We never went more than 2 hours without being with the kids. Everything revolves around the pool area, and the kids are always walking by to go to an activity, or they can ask to go see us, or we would tell the nanny to bring them to the pool at 1pm, we are going to have lunch then go on the water slide, etc. At night (we had ours stay each night for $7/hr) we told our nanny - if the kids are having fun at the kids club (where there was a kiddie buffet and games), then just bring them by the restaurant to say goodnight to us before you put them to bed. If they want to eat with us, we'll be at the "..." restaurant at 7pm, bring them there"
If you read the reviews on here and still went to the FDR with NO KIDS, and you left a negative review, shame on you.
The FDR is a place for kids 0-9 (IMHO), although if they are a bit older they will enjoy it if there are other kids their age.
Know this: We have already booked our return trip for this year, so when you read my review, I am just pointing out small things they can improve on, which really didn't take away from the overall experience. I know they read the reviews, so hopefully they will pick up a few notes. Also, I just heard that this fall they will be doing a total renovation of the property, so perhaps some of my observations will be addressed.
On day one, at 11am, drunk by the pool (don't judge me!) My wife an I looked at each other and said "How can we NOT come back here). Every review talks about how great the nannies are, etc...so we agree 100%, so not to bore you with that.
- As a family resort, it was odd they didn't have kids size silverware. All of the forks and spoons were adult size and difficult for my 2yr old to eat with. (Unless they had them and I didn't see)
- The one bedroom was an odd setup. The kid's bed was placed right up against the front wall next to the front door. My 4.5yr old refused to sleep there. (see pic)
- The bedroom had no storage. Sure there was a closet to hang clothes, but there was only one dresser with 4 or 5 drawers, and a lot of open (wasted) space where they could have placed another dresser.
- The wifi in room was sketchy. Couldn't get it in the bedroom, and sometimes in the main living room area.
- There was no ipod dock as advertised. I would have brought a portable speaker had I known this. We spent a few hours in the room getting ready before dinner, and an hour here or there during the day and would have liked to put on some music to chillax.
- No clocks in the room. You don't need alarm clocks when you have young kids, but in the middle of the night you want to see what time it is.
- No channel guide. For the little time we had the tv on for the kids, just print out a word document and laminate it with a channel listing.
- There were not many outlets for charging phones, etc. I believe we had to unplug the microwave to use one. Also the tv in the bedroom had to be plugged in with an extension cord which the kids could easily have tugged on.
- No crib sheet or blanket for the crib
- More than a few times the buffet had at least 2 empty trays for 1/2 hour until I asked.
- The photographer took some great pics of the family, posed by the water. However he did not go around the resort and take any candids. We knew the kids were having fun in the kid's club, but a few photos of them would have been great, we would easily have bought a few at the end of the week. Maybe pics in the pool with the family playing, on the water slide, During the evening activities etc...
- I know it is cheesy and cliche, but there was NO reggae music. As in any country, the younger generation doesn't listen to their parents music. For them, Bob Marley was 40yrs ago. However, this is a tourist resort in Jamaica. I listen to a lot of non Bob Marley reggae, so you don't have to play Legend, just have an ipod with reggae on at the bar at night while the parents are sitting poolside having cocktails, or around the resort as background music during the day.
- Big Blue the water slide could use a serious waxing. Most trips down ended with the person getting stuck in the middle and having to push his or way down the slide into the pool.
SEE? Not really 'complaints' just a few observations.
We went in low season, so didn't have the problems of overcrowded pool or no towels or no hot water. The food was good, not 5 star, but can't say a bad word about it. Because it was low season, not all of the activities or events were going on. There is a chalkboard by the pool with the schedule, but many times we lost track of time, so the staff could have been a wee bit better walking around letting everybody know "Hey it's 1pm, we are going to have the crab races" for example.
Whenever we wanted, we could grab the sports guys and have then take us on the sailboat or get us the snorkeling gear. The owner's niece is in charge of activities and she was great. Not only for the kids, but also the adults. When karaoke was scheduled, but there was only 6 or 7 couples at the bar, she didn't harass you to get up and sing and try to get people involved. She was able to see we just wanted to kick back and have a few drinks. Other nights, she knew she had to have a way to get the various couples mingling and started some dominos or board games.
The great thing about the resort is if another family's kid has a meltdown at dinner, nobody cares. Everybody knows that the next night it could be your 2 year old! We had our nanny join us for dinner most nights, and the good thing about that is if your kid wants to get up and dance or sees a friend and wants to run over to say hi, the nanny is right behind him or her. So as parents, we didnt have to keep getting up and chasing the kids around.
Yes, the beach is non existent. It can only be used for the nannies to put the infants and young toddlers feet in the water. The beach next door is great. Not bad to get to, but a few slippery rocks to be careful of. No shade, or chairs there. (see pic).
Our kids went back to the room in the afternoon for a nap. My 4 year old only slept 1/2 hour, and then had to wait for the baby to wake up. After 3-4 days, she asked if she could get up and walk to the pool to get us. We were ok with it, as it was only about 30 yards and the resort was small enough she knew her way around it. We told our nanny it would be ok for her to let our daughter walk by herself to the pool. The nanny was very uneasy and we could she was not very comfortable with this, even though as parents we said it was ok. We saw that she was VERY worried about this, so we just went back to the room to get our daughter so as to not put the nanny in an awkward position.
I'm posting a few pics I took, one from the sailboat looking at the resorts, from atop big blue, of the rooms and the beach next door. Feel free to inbox me with ??