We stayed at FDR for the first time from January 18 to 24, 2013 with our two daughters 3 and 1 and all of us had such an amazing time, we're still talking about it. From a destination perspective, we have only ever been to the Mayan Riviera, so for this trip we decided to try Jamaica. We were not disappointed - what a wonderful place. Beautiful beaches, kind people and great food and FDR was the perfect resort for a family with toddlers to appreciate the location.
We arrived at the resort at 10pm after an hour shuttle ride from the airport. It had been a long day so we were pleasantly surprised when we were shown to our room and dinner was waiting in the kitchen of our 2 bedroom Oceanview Suite. This is really representative of the wonderful service we received throughout our stay. The suite was really like a condo and perfect for us - 2 floors with 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths upstairs, complete with gate on the staircase (we requested bathrooms with a bathtub as some only have stand up showers), with a kitchen, dining room, living room and walkout balcony on the main floor. The accommodations weren't fancy in terms of decor, but the room was clean and spacious and had all the amenities we needed. No air conditioning on the main floor, but ductless air conditioners in each of the bedrooms, which was enough for the time of year. The TV had a DVD player, so we brought DVDs with us to use during down time from activities. The fridge had been stocked on our arrival with juices, milk, fruit and cheese and crackers, along with cereal for the next morning. As many reviews have mentioned, we were able to ask our Nanny to stock all our favourite snacks, along with beer and wine, during our stay. The suite worked great for us since our girls go to bed at 8pm so we had space to enjoy the evening after they were asleep. The one downside (and this was one of our only complaints) was that there was very little hot water. We routinely ran out of hot water when showering, so remember to keep the showers short. Other highlights - free WiFi throughout the resort and the TV got Canadian stations (we watched hockey on CBC!) :)
The facilities, although probably more 3.5 star compared to other resorts, again were perfect for us. The pool was clean, never crowded and not too busy to get lounge chairs. There was a small shallow area where our girls could splash around and 2 mini slides. A baby slide with a tiny shallow pool was also nearby and a 100 ft slide by the beach. We loved the beach area, equipped with a multitude of sand toys (in fact, we didn't bring any toys for the kids - they were kept busy enough with everything at the resort) and shallow enough for them to play in the clean, clear water. We also spent some time on the beach at the next door resort that we were allowed to use - it had great snorkeling conditions and you could even stand in the waist deep water and feed bread to the fish.
Activities were all included and kept us busy the whole week. We took glass bottom boat rides, snorkeling trips (just off the resort so we were only away from the girls for an hour) and there were a million things for the kids to do - scavenger hunts, play area in the kids area with a ball pit, tie dying, crab races, pageants, arts and crafts, fishing off the boardwalk and more.
We really enjoyed the food as well. The grill had jerk chicken and pork, pizza, grilled cheese, burgers and hot dogs every day (try the jerk pork pizza - amazing!). I really appreciated the local food fare that was served at the beach buffet and even at breakfast. Lots of fresh fruit, but I think they could have used a bit more assortment of vegetables, especially for kids. Personally I loved all the grilled fresh fish and the rice and peas :)
And saving the best for last - the vacation nanny.... AMAZING. Tena was the obvious highlight of our trip. I have to say, after reading all the reviews, we thought we knew what to expect. We thought we wouldn't feel comfortable leaving the kids with a nanny for any period of time. 30 minutes after the girls met Tena, they walked away from us, waving "see ya later"! They really took to her right away and by the end of the trip, they were asking if she could visit us at home. For us it was about having the right balance of vacation. The girls were probably only away from us at most an hour and a half (when we went for dinner or the snorkeling trip) at one time, and the rest of the time Tena was like a member of the family. We would love to go back again and would request Tena again in a heartbeat.
Overall the trip exceeded our expectations - it was the perfect trip for us to take with our young kids. We didn't feel any need to leave the resort because everything we needed or wanted was there and having Tena there allowed us to relax and enjoy ourselves. Jamaica was a beautiful destination and we're glad we found FDR to enjoy it!
- 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. All- Inclusive package includes accommodations are in large 1, 2 or 3 bedroom suites with separate living areas,kitchenette and balcony or terrace. Continental, Italian/French/ Indian and Jamaican cuisine from a choice of 4 restaurants, top shelf bar, kayaking, snorkeling, tennis, 4 pools, 100' waterslide, separate kids, tweens and teens programs with supervised daily activities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Franklyn d Hotel Runaway Bay
- Franklyn d Resort And Spa
- Franklyn d Resort All Inclusive
- Franklyn D Resort & Spa Jamaica/Runaway Bay