As the above states we are return guests to this hotel. I think this last time was our 7th! We have kids, 13,9,3 and 2. This is the only place where we get a vacation as well. When you take your kids to Disney or another resort , you are just parents in a different place. We get to linger over coffee at breakfast as the kids take off with their nannies or to the teen room as soon as they can. We eat lunch with our little ones and then we always have our nannies stay and have dinner with us (on Jamaican and beach nights) and then on the other nights we have dinner...with adult only conversations!
Now some parents might read this and think, that we are bad parents for not spending all our time with our kids on vacation. I cant help that opinion, but for those parents who like to have a life outside their children as well sometimes ( face it at home , you are always together), then FDR is a great place to Experience some adult freedom.
Our two older children, love it here and as soon as we arrive, they are gone! They know their way around and where to get their drinks from. We still get our 9 year old a Nanny, as she loves her Sharlene! They are both high energy and full of fun. Our teenager, on the last 3 trips, has been basically wrapped up in the teen program from the moment we get there! She gets up early to go have breakfast with friends she meets each time she goes. The teen co-ordinator walks the teens home at night to make sure they get to their rooms safely, if we are not still at the bar.
We get 2 Nannies for the boys , to allow them to do things at their level. Carmelina and Coretta are so great with them. We have had all our nannies before, as we do request them ahead of time, we have only missed not having Coretta once. We have also had Shawn as well and she was great with the kids. If there is anything I can say to a new FDR visitor, don't be afraid to let go of the kids. These ladies, are so attentive and caring and loving that you do not have to worry about the safety of your kids. We have had our kids there from as early as 6 months and it is great!
I have read many of the reviews and yes there are short comings with anyplace you go, but they really do try and fix anything and everything you ask them to.
I think many of the US and Cdn travellers need to remember is THIS IS NOT HOME!! There is cultural differences. I read one review complaining about having to wait for food. The ONLY place I have ever had to wait a long time for food is at the grill, btwn 12-130! Everyday, it is busy with the lunch rush. These guys work like crazy to get the food out. Relax, put your order in and go get a drink! Come back 20 min later, you can see the grill from the bar! What we do now is get there before the rush, or wait until after. 10 min to get lunch which is good eating from here. I see so many people getting so frustrated on the time thing.....YOU ARE ON VACATION!! Relax, you will not starve or be hungry ever at FDR! Sometimes the omlet bar and pasta bar are a bit backed up, but again when there 200 people in the rush time you expect to wait. Sit down, get a coffee or whatever, wait for the line to die down and get what you want!!
I wanted to address the tips. We do tip here and there, $1-2 at the bar, a few times a day. Leave $5 at dinner. Nothing big, but we learned was, just so some simple courtesy, it's was the way you respected them! If you want to have great time and service in any Carribean island treat the staff with respect. Not like some kind of servant put there to serve your every need! Greet them , say HI, how are you?, thank you very much, hey I see you are really busy! Acknowledge them as if they are humans. I take our Nannies fruit smoothies when I get my drink at the bar! At first they used to look panicked, but I quickly let them know I wanted to do it!! I take my lunch plate and cups back to the dinning area so they are not around the pool area! I know we are on vacation, but really you cant take your beer mug back up with you to the bar, when you go to get yourself another!!!???? Common decency really gets you treated well! Secondly, what is wrong with tipping, it happens at every all-inclusive resorts all over the world, so why it is such a taboo thing at this resort on these reviews. If you can afford to fly and stay at FDR you can afford to throw a few dollars at the staff. It makes a difference to them in their life.
As all most all the reviews state...this is not a 5 star hotel....so if you want a butler and someone to be falling all over you calling you Sir or Ma'am then don't go here! If you want to be treated like a member of the family, getting to the know staff by first name and feeling comfortable with them giving you a fun hard time about not participating in the morning run, or tennis or ring toss and having them come by and sit on the end of your lounge chair and chat and make sure you are okay and having fun AND try and learn a bit about their lives...then this is the place for you!
We go there to feel comfortable and calm and relaxed! In my opinion, you wont find a better place to go as a family, spend time together and spend time apart to re-group, re-energize and feel like you were on vacation !!!