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“Perfect for families with young children but adults enjoy it too” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Franklyn D Resort & Spa

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Franklyn D Resort & Spa
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Main Street, Runaway Bay 99999, Jamaica   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Certificate of Excellence 2014
San Francisco, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Perfect for families with young children but adults enjoy it too”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

We spend a week of vacation with our extended family in the Franklyn D. Resort, and I can definitely recommend it for families with young kids. It's focused on families with young kids, and yet nice and attractive for adults as well. What sold us most was the nanny service. Every room comes with a nanny that takes care of the kids at least 7 hours a day (more if you pay extra). Our nanny was exceptional. She quickly got to know our 8-month old daughter and became her primary care-taker. The nanny even taught her clapping and waiving while we were there. She definitely knew what stage of development she was at, and helped her achieve a new milestone.
The resort itself is pretty small (70 rooms I believe). It means that the kids quickly found their way around the resort. The beach is small (so not for people who hope for long strolls on the beach), but it's perfect for kids. There was no concern about kids getting lost or walking away.
There are a handful of pools, which also cater to different levels of interests. The baby pool was perfect for our 3-year old to learn swimming, and even the baby who loved to splash in it.
That said, this resort is also great for adults. There are 2 excellent adult-only restaurants. The food in general is pretty good by the way (I think some of their pastries can compete with the best bakeries in France). Every day, the hotel offered adult-only activities, which ranged from bike tours, yoga, fitness and a lot of games.

The service is really top-notch. The nanny is such an integral part of the family that she understands our needs and makes sure they are all met (from replenishing the fridge to finding the right toys for the kids and advising on excursions). We ordered a "birthday" party for our son since his birthday was going to be the following week. We got decorations, a gift and a mouth-watering birthday cake at no extra charge (love the all-inclusive)! And by the way, if you were thinking that people in Jamaica were not punctual, think again. Everyone in the hotel was good at staying on the expected schedule! The birthday party was ready before our family was!

For full disclosure I would also add that the facilities are starting to age a bit. The accommodations are still very comfortable. But it's not luxury, and the resort could benefit from a new layer of painting and some better paved paths in some areas. The reception area is quite underwhelming: a couple of chairs in front of a desk under a roof. Nothing to compare with some of the more luxurious hotels we saw in the areas. That said, we didn't come to be in a 5-star Las Vegas hotel. So it didn't bother us much, and the kids definitely didn't care. Definitely a hotel I would recommend for a relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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577 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (102)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2011

I agree with most other reviews. It's not 5*, the food selection is not the same as a larger resort, stuff is a bit dated, etc, etc. However, in my opinion, all those issues become moot points if you are a parent of young children and your priorities are
1. For your kids to have an amazing, fully engaged vacation and
2. For you to have a relaxing vacation.
3. You don't want to spend $10k at Beaches Turks and Caicos for the above (which you still may not get number 2).

Nanny (which is the main reason you come to FDR)
Our nanny, Tanya Austin was absolutely amazing. Our daughters (5 and 2.5 yrs) connected with her by the end of the orientation tour of the resort and within a day, they were impatiently waiting for 9am when she would start her day and find us.
From what I saw, all the nannies were very very caring and very watchful (I'm embarrassed to say, that they are probably more watchful than me and definitely as watchful as any mother). Tanya quickly figured out the types of activities that our kids liked and kept them engaged in similar activities.

Rooms
We had a 1 bdrm oceanview suite. It was massive and the 2 twin beds they put in the corner of the living room for the kids made no difference to the useable space of the living area. That's how big the place was. Some things are a bit dated, but mostly the kitchen stuff, and at such a small AI resort, I don't really see why you'd use much more than the fridge given restaurants are at the most, 100 yards away.
IMO, the important aspects for a room at an AI for kids are space, cleanliness, comfortable beds, and quiet. It met all those requirements except "quiet". Like almost all AI resorts I have been to in the Caribbean including 5* resorts, sound insulation is almost non-existent. Had a few hot water issues, but it didn't matter to us much.

Food and Drink
I was expecting the food to be a lot worse than it was. For the first 4-5 days we were there, there were only about 10 families on the whole resort, so understandably, they only opened up 1 restaurant at a time and rarely did buffet service. But the selections they did offer usually covered all types of diets and they would be more than willing to try and custom make something if you couldn't find something on the limited menu. Seafood and chicken dishes were always very well prepared. Beef was not good quality, but I find that beef in the Caribbean is never that great compared to Canada or the US, so in short, don't order a steak.
All wait staff (all staff for that matter) were very, very friendly, but I will say that dinner service was sometimes sketchy. The ratio of wait staff to customers was at least 3 to 1. As a result, I think everyone thought someone else was looking after something (like water, ordering drinks, etc). The bar service at dinner was usually pretty slow, and at the Overproof, we were about to start our dessert when our first drinks arrived.
Food selection got much larger with more buffets when the resort started to get more filled (on the wknd we were leaving).
Kids buffet was also very small, but pretty much covered everything kids like (pasta, pizza, hot dogs, burgers, veggies, fruit, etc).
When the resort is slow, they don't put out top shelf booze, but when they know it is about to fill up, they bring out pretty impressive booze (VSOP cognacs, Single Malts, Grey Goose, etc). Don't know why they don't keep them out during low occupancy.
Tip: The hot sauce at the restaurants is a red pepper based, tabasco like sauce. If you want a true scotch bonnet based sauce, you can buy some at the gift shop on site (for $2-3) and bring it with you to your meals. Hey..when in Jamaica, each Scotch Bonnets!

Activities and Grounds
They are continually cleaning and painting stuff so everything was always very clean.
As others have already said, the main pool is large, but the bottom is flaking pretty bad. I can imagine that fixing it would be a significant undertaking since the onsite beach is not very good and the public beach is a little bit of a hassle to get to with little kids. But needless to say, it needs to be fixed at some point. Didn't affect me too much since my kids couldn't touch the bottom in the shallow end anyways, but I do understand those who have complained in other reviews.
Kids activities are plentiful. Adult activities are pretty impressive for such a small resort. Special thanks to Asha (gym) and Tamika for always offering the adult activities even though my wife and I were the only ones sometimes. The upside of going in slow season is that they seem pretty open to winging it and offering the activities when people want to do it rather than at specific times. As others have said, the gym is not up to par with what you have at home, but even if you are a real fitness buff, you should not have a problem getting a good workout in with the range of equipment that they have.

Overall
If you really want the 5-star experience (for which the Caribbean has no consistent definition anyways), then I'm pretty sure this is not the place for you. For us, the trade off was more than worth it, given the fact that we both actually read large novels on vacation for the first time in 5 years and had some nice walks and dinners and not only did we not worry about the kids...we knew they were probably having more fun than with us!
Highly recommended resort.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF Bay Area
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2011

We visited FDR in the last week of Dec 2010 on the recommendation of a relative. Did not research it well other than seeing that it's rated above 4 stars on tripadvisor.

Pros:
- Excellent Nannies
- Hardworking staff (servers, musician, entertainment)

Cons:
- Mediocre food quality. No variety at lunch (same buffet everyday)
- Mediocre drink quality. Margarita was served with rum!
- Rooms are dated. Ours had leakage in both bathrooms after rains. TV and Coffee maker did not function properly.
- Jacuzzi was not hot. Apparently it is solar heated!
- Game room is dated. Almost all equipment is in need of repair.
- Need to plan for peak traffic. During our stay, they were always out of beach towels.
- Does not have a good beach. Walking over to the nearby breezes beach is unnecessarily painful.

I agree with some other reviewers (who have rated this resort as 4 star), that this resort is not for everyone - read the reviews and make sure this is right for you.

If an important part of your vacation is to be able to leave the kids to a nanny so you can enjoy a quiet dinner, by all means choose FDR. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2011

Let me just start of by saying that our nanny SANIQUE is truly amazing. She took excellent care of our daughter, and we felt very comfortable.
The resort needs a lot of updating as it is older, but the staff is in a league of their own. Compared to another resort we stayed at in Montego Bay, which was a lot nicer, but their customer service does not even come close.
The best way I can describe the experience is, it felt like camp. At first you are unsure of leaving your child with the nanny, and the appearance of the resort, but you quickly realize how caring and nurturing the nannies are and how charming a smaller resort can be. By the end of your stay, your are already planning your next return. Our nannie Sanique made sure our daughter always had sun tan lotion on, and played in the sand with her while we went on a snorkel trip. The nannie stays with you from 9am to 4:40pm with an hour lunch in between from 12:30-1:30pm. And you can request a particular nanny as well. You can request that your nannie come in earlier and stay later for an additional US$6 per hour. Which is well worth it, since our daughter is only 14 months old and goes to bed early and naps during the afternoon. The resort has a daily activity board for adults and teenagers where the outline all the different for the day, such as Aquacise, Bike tours, Yoga, Bingo, Cooking Classes, beach volleyball etc. For the kids they have goat races, craft sessions, fishing and so on. In short I would highly recommend this resort if you have children, and you would like to relax on your vacation while traveling with your family.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Okemos
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2011

Our group of 12 included three generations with 4 children aged 2-4. Our goal was to have no schedule and no responsibilities, and be able to meet and greet each other and play games any time we wished. This was accomplished beyond my expectations. The children went off with their Nannies when their parents wished, but were always easily locatable or visible.

What particularly struck me was the lack of chaos in a small resort so filled with children. If a child was upset, it lasted only for seconds. There are many resorts that welcome children, but this one is DESIGNED for children from the layout of the rooms to the kiddie buffet to the beach toys to of course the Nannies.

The personnel is ALWAYS quietly cleaning. I believe the staff/guest ratio is 1/1 and it's obvious. This is such a unique spot. I'd highly recommend it.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2011

We had a great experience at FDR last year and decided to return. The second time was even better because we didn't have to spend time learning our way around and figuring out how things work ... we were able to quickly shift into "relax" mode. We were shocked by how many employees --- and guests --- we recognized (and who recognized us) from our first visit. Many, many people seem to come year after year. A sign on our door welcomed us back, and balloons were festively tied to the bed posts.

The room: Our room was a suite with a kitchen and a separate bedroom and tiled floor. It definitely has some miles on it ... nothing fancy, but very clean. Our three-year-old son slept on a single bed in the main room. We had the same room as a year ago with a balcony overlooking the ocean. If you're looking for a posh room ... this ain't it. But it is very comfortable.

Activities: I joined the group run every morning (3-mile, hilly route)... the group included two guests who I met during last year's runs. A 21-year old guy who ran with us said he's been coming to FDR since he was five! We were disappointed that Donovan, the personal trainer, is no longer working at this resort. I'm sure his new employer is very happy to have him. I went SCUBA diving to a wall (about 30 feet down) just off of the resort. Nothing spectacular, but a nice reef with some colorful coral, sponges and fish. I saw several lion fish, a big, fat moray, a couple flounders and a small ray. The dive team at the resort couldn't have been nicer or more professional. My wife had a relaxing massage at the Sea Grape and worked out in the gym each morning.

The nanny: We were very yhappy with our nanny, Natalie. She is outgoing, very loving and took great care of our son. They bonded immediately. Every morning at 9, she knocked on the door and the two of them walked off, hand-in-hand to play on the beach, swim in the pool or tie-dye shirts at the Kids Club. We used her twice for evening babysitting while my wife and I had an adult dinner together.

Size matters: One of our favorite things about FDR is its size. It's big enough that there is plenty to do, but small enough that you recognize all of the guests and their kids by the second day. And even though you're lying under a tree with a book, you know your child is very close by. (Nice to finally read a book that isn't about a curious monkey!)

The food: The food is generally pretty good buffet fare ... but there are sit-down options at night. Breakfasts include lots of fresh fruit and breads, an omlet station and a person making smoothies. But we'd like to see more traditional Jamaican food. I could live on the Jamaican chicken served at the pool grill.

The focus of FDR is the kids ... they are treated like royalty. And if the kids are happy, the parents are able to relax and enjoy.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wahiawa, Hawaii
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2010

Bottom line up front: this an old but very clean hotel and the nannies are as fabulous as everyone says. There is a sand beach to play on, but 2 feet into the water it is rocky and full of coral. You'll be disappointed if the main thing you are looking for in a vacation is white sand beach. If you are family with young children (mine are 2.5 and 15 months) and you are looking for a vacation that will allow to have great family time as well as romantic couple time and relaxing alone time, then this is the place for you. If you want ammentities, then the FDR will not be a good match.

We just returned from our trip 11-18 December 2010. I read all the reviews and was torn between FDR and Beaches. I selected FDR because of the nannies and the cost (it was 30% - $2000 less) than Beaches. This was the right decision for our family. First, it rained a lot which made the nannies even more of a godsend. I could have been at the nicest 5 star in Jamaica and it would have been miserable in the rain with 2 toddlers. The nannies kept my kids busy (thanks Lisa and Nicola!) and even got in the pool with my son in the rain. All while my husband and I sat under a large umbrella drinking pina coladas and reading until the rain stopped. My kids are in day care everyday and I would not have been happy dropping them at a kids club on vacation. With the nannies, they could be with us, go do a craft, come back, go to the beach, come back, pet the rabbits, come back. My 2 year old loved calling the shots and we loved the options having a nanny gave us.

Rooms. The huge rooms might not have been new but the were sparkling clean. We had the least expensive room and it was giant. 2 full baths, a large living room where the kids slept, seperated from the master bedroom by a galley kitchen. That separation allowed my husband and I to have some romantic time alone that a traditional hotel would not.

We were givien 2 nannies when we arrived. I found out later that most of the families with 2 under 2 were. The nannies basically do this for free when the resort isn't full in the hopes of earning a good tip, because that is what they live off. They are also hoping you will hire them for extra hours at night. I originally was going to have the nanny stay every other night, but when I realized that was how they made their money I decided to have one stay every night for 3 hours. It was the best decision I made. For $20 a day my husband and I enjoyed more child-free dinners in one week then we had in 2 years. Even at the family beach dinner my son got to stay with us and enjoy the show while the nanny walked our fussy baby. After dinner nanny would bathe and dress our kids for bed while we went and enjoyed a couple of drinks at the bar. Doing it every night made it even more of a treat and made our vacation extra special. TIPS: I polled most of the other familes and we were tipping our nannies $20-25 per day at the end of the week. You pay for babysitting each night.

The pools are old, but very clean. The tiles are slippery (as I am sure you will read in other reviews) but the owner, Frank (who is there everyday), is replacing them with textured concrete and non-slip tiles. What Frank really needs to do, though, is a complete rebuild of the main pool, toodler pool and adult jacuzzi. It is time for these to be re-done especially since the the resort does not have a swim beach. If the swimming pools were redone I would give the hotel 4 stars, instead of 3, for facilities.

Food. We enjoyed the food 80% of the time. One night the Italian restaurant was the only one open and that was disappointing. Had the seafood pasta been as described, it wouldn't have been so bad. The Jamaican restaurant was only open one night. It was excellent and we would have liked to eaten there again. The beach grill is very good and my kids enjoyed the children's dinner buffet. Servings are small, but feel free to ask for another entree or appetizer and they will happily oblige. Personally, I liked the small servings...I only gained 5 lbs instead of 10!!!

We had no complaints about the transfers to and from the hotel. Some of the seatbelts were misssing, but the van was clean, on time, driven carefully and we were able to buckle our kids.

The kids club, playground and most activities are designed for younger children. I would not recommend the FDR for families with children over 8, however the tweens who were there were having a great times. Several had been coming for years, a couple had special needs and preferred having the nanny to play with as the went crab hunting and played. Goat racing and crab racing were big hits. The goat race had been cancelled due to rain, but my husband went and talked to the manager and said "hey they are just goats, they live outside. It has been raining for 3 days and my kid has been promised goats," 20 minutes later the goats were there and every family came out in the rain to enjoy the game. Experiences like that make the FDR special and that is where they need to continue to focus.

My husband's perspective: a great place to relax. Don't look for action and adventure in the resort, but a quiet family break with excellent opportunities for couple time. If you are a gym rat, come with modest expectations. For the hungry husband, the staff is willing to let you double up on entrees and put a double shot in your drink. Great for extended families wishings to vacation together and groups of friends with kids.

We will be going back next year and we hope to travel with one or two other families. It is such a small resort and the groups that were there were having a fabulous time.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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

Address: Main Street, Runaway Bay 99999, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Runaway Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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:
#1 Family Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 Spa Hotel in Runaway Bay
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Franklyn D Resort & Spa 3.5*
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. 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

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