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Franklyn D. Resort & Spa
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Reviewed March 29, 2014

Fdr is simply the best!! Thats all you need to know. All inclusive. All your food, all your drinks, all your top shelf liquor, every ice cream cone, every half drunk kids slush drink, included. We have been going there for 10 years. This is the only place I have ever been with my young kids that I felt like I was actually on vacation. You know how it is when you have kids. You just take all of the crap and lunacy with you and hope to get a couple of minutes each day to relax. You swap off with your wife with the kids like some dumb game of tag and try to find a spot to maybe read For a min. Not here!! Here you have a nanny for your family that is just for you. She is there from 9am until 5. You don't share her with other families. She will be anything you need her to be. If you need her to be with the baby and change diapers all afternoon while you chill with the older kids, she's there. If you need an extra set of hands by the pool, you got it. If one kid wants to swim while the other two want to tie dye, no problem mon. She also doubles as your personal concierge. If you need a bottle of white or a six pack you just ask. Cheerios in baggies for the kids, yup. Give the kids a bath while you watch the sun set on the deck with your wife, you got it. She will come back every night to babysit so you can go eat diner with that person that you married ( oh what do you call those...oh right, wife?). We don't even need all that anymore. Our kids are 14,12,and10, they are out later than we are playing with the other kids they met. We are tired from having so much fun. Did I mention the diving? World class dive sites 100 yds offshore. Boat leaves from next to the pool. The kids don't even miss you and your bride when you are gone for the hour dive because they are with the nanny and all their friends. this is the best place ever. Btw Stacey gives the best massage ever at the sea grape spa.

Room Tip: They are HUGE rooms. All have full kitchens,deck and den. Cannot go wrong with any of them
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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5  Thank RandallBurba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2014

Two big questions come to mind after staying here for a week: 1) Why haven't other vacation destinations cashed in on this idea of offering a full-time nanny? and 2) If you have kids under the age of ~8, WHY HAVEN'T YOU COME YET? Hello, NANNY!!!!!!!!!

THE SHORT VERSION:
We were blown away by the nanny and the fact that we (the parents) could actually get a true vacation here! The grounds were beautiful, our room was fantastic, the staff was friendly and attentive, and the many activities provided were a great way to stay engaged and busy (when we wanted to) and have fun! The food is nothing to write home about, but everything else contributed to one fantastic vacation for both parents AND kids. I think a big part of being so impressed was this: we read many reviews before going, and basically kept our expectations low. And we were blown away when we arrived and throughout our trip. We would definitely consider coming back another time!

THE LONG VERSION (if you like all the nitty-gritty details):
If you had asked us if we thought we'd spend a week in Jamaica last year, a very quick NO would have been our response. But after thoroughly scouring the internet for vacation options early this year, FDR was the ONLY one with the HUGE perk of a full-time nanny included with the price. After reading all the gushing reviews regarding the nannies, it was pretty much a no-brainer. My husband, son (21 months) and I came here in early March from Sun-Sun, and we could not have asked for a better vacation. Our son had a blast enjoying all the resort has to offer, and my husband and I got to not only spend time on our own exploring and getting some culture, but also getting some much needed R&R!

WHAT THE RESORT IS LIKE:
FDR is a pretty small resort - 4 restaurants, 3 pools (one being for small kids), 1 big waterslide, a small beach area - but it was good enough to serve our purposes. The grounds are quite beautiful, very lush and verdant, and clean. All the staff are great and make sure you have everything you need.
Each day by the pool, there is a chalkboard that lists all the activities for that day...and they offer a very wide variety of things for both adults and kids! Among the many amenities on the resort aside from the pool include: Yellow Bird kids club (where kids get a chance to play inside out of the sun and heat), a pond where kids can feed fish, hopscotch and shuffleboard, basketball court with both regulation and low kiddie hoops, full tennis court, a spa for massages, fitness center above the bar (pretty decent but gets pretty hot), playground, bunny cages, arts&craft tables, a computer lab, big kids pool with a water slide, big floating mat you can swim out to and sunbathe or play, kayaks to take out, snorkel gear, scuba gear, bikes, and I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting.
You can walk around one side of the resort and access the beach at the neighboring resort's beach (Jewel), which is more typical of what you think of for a beach vacation - long and wide, white sand, etc. You can keep going past that resort to a public beach, and you will find locals swimming here (kids mostly), crafts stands (they are a little pushy but bearable), and then a local bar/restaurant called Flavours - definitely worth a visit for a Red Stripe!
We were a little surprised to discover a good majority of the guests were Canadian...they must have discovered this awhile back and spread it more efficiently than those in the States! Most families had 3-4 children it seemed, but still there were a lot with only 1 or 2. MANY were repeat guests and/or part of a group of families that come down together each year.

NANNIES:
This is what people come here for! I do think we saw 1 or 2 couples (a little older in age) that did not have kids, and we were a little curious as to why they chose this location. The nanny is 110% worth it - they are fantastic! Trustworthy, fun, safe. You do NOT need to worry about your child(ren) when they are with them, so RELAX and GO HAVE SOME FUN! Our nanny, Latasha, was great! The nannies work from 9am-440pm with a 1-hr lunch break, typically 1230-130 but they will adjust their schedule to whatever you'd like if you want to go on some trip somewhere or do something requiring you to be gone during that time. I gave our nanny a written approximate schedule that my son is used to at home so she knew what to expect, and she was great working with that. I also talked to her when she arrived in the morning to let her know our thoughts for the day so she knew. She'll do anything you want - if you want to play with your kid she can stay with you or she can go clean your room (she's your housekeeper too). Or you can say "we're going to Blue Hole for a few hours" and she'll be cool having fun with your kid and may even give you some tips for your trip. She'll feed them, bath them, put them to nap or bed, make sure they have sunscreen, everything. Being your housekeeper, she'll also keep your fridge stocked with whatever you want, so fill out the little sheet each morning if you need anything. We liked to talk with her about her lifestyle and also get info about the small trips we wanted to do...she was easy to talk to and we enjoyed her company! She had been working there over 8 years, so we knew she knew what she was doing with kids. From what I heard, most nannies have been there a very long time. From what we saw, you can get an additional nanny if you have more kids, but I couldn't tell you anything about the cost of that. If you want to have some nights "out" or after the 440 mark, you just pay her $7/hr. On 4 of the nights we were there, Latasha took some time off in the late afternoon and we would play with our son around the resort, take him to dinner, and then around 7 or so she'd come back to play and put him to bed so we could spend time out on our own with a nice meal, drinks, activities at the main bar. We paid her each evening, and then on the last night gave her a large tip for the entire week. We'd definitely request Latasha again!

FOOD:
4 food options. One 'restaurant' - The Grill - is open basically all day long for small meals and snacks (my hubbie lived on Jerk Pork and Jerk Chicken for lunch and snacks here) and also serves as the kid's restaurant with a kids' buffet in the evening ~5-730pm. One of the main restaurants, The Verandah, is where breakfast and lunch are served and dinner on most nights. Breakfast is very solid - buffet style and like what you'd get at a nice hotel, but with Jamaican offerings along with the staples. Lunch also is solid here. Dinner is where this restaurant became dicey for us...one evening we tried the Grilled Tuna and the Sirloin...and BOTH were AWFUL - like you could not even identify that's what they were. We couldn't eat more than our first bite. The entertainment and the flowing wine kept us there for the evening though. The two other main restaurants (Overproof and The Pier) alternate which nights they are open. Overproof is a local-style Jamaican restaurant, quite good. The Pier is an Italian restaurant, not great but not awful either. In the evenings there was a list near the Verandah that showed which restaurants were available each night, so check this out and plan in advance how you want to spread out your dinner meals!
On Wednesday is a beach buffet - absolutely do this! Basically like a luau - great food, entertainment, lots of fun. Saturday night is a Jamaican Buffet at the Verandah, again definitely worth going to. Kids can go to either one of these too and will have a great time.

BE SURE TO DO:
**Take part in the activities provided! The chalkboard by the pool that lists all the events offered throughout the day. Some of the good ones we did include: karaoke, yoga, crab races, tie-dye-ing shirts (bring a white tshirt for your child), scavenger hunt, bike tour, Limbo Beach Party for the kids, etc. You can wine prizes! (i.e. jamaican jelly or rum!)
**GO to the Wednesday night Beach Buffet!
**GO to the Saturday night Jamaican Buffet at the Verandah
**Check out the Evening Entertainment, typically at the Verandah. Khoruso sang awesome Reggae on Saturday during the Jamaican Buffet - he rocked it! Yea mon!!
**Go on the bike tour
**Realize that anything you need or want anywhere on the resort can be accomodated. It took
us 3-4 days to really feel like we had the hang of things...if you want something you don't see, No Problem! (i.e. PB&J sandwiches - no where listed, but they have them) Just ask.
**Be friendly with the other guests - you will see many of them over and over again. Meet some new people and share in the enjoyment of having someone else take care of your little one!

BE SURE TO AVOID/DON'T:
**Grilled Tuna at Verandah
**May not be a "don't," but we weren't too wild about the Ocho Rios Shopping trip. Our driver was AWFUL. You stop at 2 locations - a touristy area that is ok but the people in stores are pushy, and also the "Craft Market" - aka welcome to EXTREME PUSHINESS to get your business. It was an eye-opening experience, so if you want culture, go for it. We did find a
souvenir though.
**DON'T be afraid to leave the resort! We left completely on 3 occasions - to do Blue Hole, Dunn's River Falls, and the Ocho Rios Shopping trip, plus went to the public beach next door
on several times, either with our without our son.

OVERALL:
If you are willing to let your kid(s) go and let yourself relax, you will have the best time! It's no wonder FDR has such a strong following - they have mastered this type of vacation and truly earn repeat business! Yea Mon!!

Room Tip: Room 38 is FANTASTIC!! Beachfront and on the first floor, so you can walk right out from your oversized deck onto the sand to play. Also had a jacuzzi tub. Our nanny told us this room and the one next door used to be used for entertaining or something, and were redesigned in the last year, so new too! WIFI is quite poor here, but you're on vacation and will be UNPLUGGED right??? They have a computer lab near the pool that has much better signal if that is needed.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank z311rules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trishawana, Director of Sales at Franklyn D. Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2014

We appreciate your very comprehensive report on your recent stay with us at FDR.

We have carefully noted all your suggestions and rest assured that we are working to
improve these areas.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your review with us and we look forward to hosting your family again with us in the near future.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2014

My family of four just returned from a week long stay at the Franklyn D Resort and Spa and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The resort is small but the grounds and view are beautiful. The beachfront area is also small and perfect for letting young children play on the beach. However, access to the Jewel resort beach next door is available and is perfect for snorkeling and lying out on the sand. Our suite (room 102) was large with kitchen, living area and balacony downstairs. The balcony had beautiful view of the ocean and was perfect for sitting out and having a cup of coffee or drink in the evenings. Upstairs, we had two bedrooms and two baths. The hotel has two restaurants and a grill which is available all day. One of the restaurants is only open in the evenings for adults only and the food was outstanding. The food and the main restaurant was similar to what I have had at other all inclusive resorts - good and plenty but not gourmet. Once nice feature is that there is a separate kids buffet every night with the foods that kids love. Entertainment at night is terrific and varies - my family enjoyed them all. The activities throughout the day are plenty for kids - arts and crafts, games, activities. They have two small boats which will take you out twice a day for fishing or snorkeling at no charge. The large water slide was a big hit with my family as well. The staff are friendly and helpful and the service was always exceptional. The highlight for us was the Wednesday night Beach BBQ where the tables and food are set up on the sand. I can't say enough about the nannies. Our nanny Natalie was terrific and has been working their 8 years. One of our daughters has Down syndrome and can be difficult to deal with at times but Natalie handled her like a champ. Your nanny is provided as part of your stay and I would recommend getting a second nanny ($25 a day) if you have kids with varying interests or needs. Even though there were many families and kids there, I never found myself being annoyed by the kids because the nannies were keeping the kids busy and under control. My husband and I took advantage of the Spa service massage which is excellent. If luxury is important to you however, this is not the place for you. While it is clean, some of the areas were not maintained perfrectly. Couch in the room is a little worn, etc. It was fine for us but might not be satisfactory for someone use to pristeen, luxurious resort. Many of the families we met were regulars at this resort and we see why. We will definitely be going back again.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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4  Thank Maddison06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2014

My husband and I (40,39 yo) usually take a warm vacation every year without the kids. However, this year we decided to bring them and try FDR. As we pulled up to the resort we looked at each other and said "Where in the heck are we and what are we doing here?" We'll, we're thinking about going back! We saw several rooms that had "welcome back" signs in them and talked to people that were repeat visitors. We'll probably be one if those.
Our nanny made the vacation for us. Our kids (9,8,6,4) absolutely loved her. And I am not going to mention her name cos I want her when we go next! She started at 9:00 and ended at 4:40, taking a 1 hour lunch break and cleaning our room, which turned out to be 1 hour too. That's one thing I think they should change- housekeeping and nannies should be separate people. By the time our nanny ate Lu ch and cleaned the room our afternoon was gone. We asked her to skip cleaning our room since we only bathed and slept there (just needed some fresh towels) and the days were much better after that. The nannies will work extra if you want them to for $7/hr. We never did that though. And actually, at 4:40 she would then go to our room and get extra towels and restock with food/beverages/whatever if need be. So she was actually there for longer.

The resort had activities throughout the day and evening for kids and adults. The waterside was open from 10-12 and 2-5 I believe. For the tie dying kids activity you have to buy t-shirts from the gift shop. I don't know how much those are cos my kids weren't interested in doing that. I would re of end getting a room far away from the pool/eating area because at night there is activities for adults like karaoke and it can be loud til about 10:30. And even though your farther away, its still not far cos I bet it takes only 3 minutes to walk from end to end. Free fishing and snorkeling trips. Kids can fish off the pier with bamboo sticks, fishing line, and a hook with pieces of hot dog. However, its frustrating for the kids cos the fish mostly just eat the hot dog off without the kids even feeling anything. If your kids really want to fish, I would recommend bringing your own pole.

The other thing I would change about the resort is the food. A my husband said, its edible. We aren't picky eaters. We were never hungry, but we were only satisfied 2x I think. Jamaican night where food was served on the beach was very good. Other than that, eh. If they upgraded the food and made the nanny and housekeeping jobs separate....perfect! Oh, by the way, make sure you don't leave anything behind at the family restaurant in the evening. It will disappear and you can forget even looking at lost and found cos it won't be there. My jacket was stolen and so was somebody's camera while we were there. Just be some sketchy workers during the evening. Sad. However, during the day we were completely fine leaving our beach bag with valuables by the pool.

There is an open to the air exercise room above the bar. The hours were supposed to be 7am-5pm, but my husband went a couple times before 7 and it was open. There's free weights, about 4 treadmills, an elliptical, a couple bikes, a weight bench with bar and weights, and a couple other weight machines.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank luvthecarribean!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trishawana, Director of Sales at Franklyn D. Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2014

Thank you very much for taking the time to write and convey your kind comments and observations following your recent stay with us at the Franklyn D Resort & Spa.

In addition to fishing from the pier, we offer a family boat fishing trip with Captain Harry every morning at 7:00; we provide fishing poles and bait on the boat.

We do our best to cater to the varying tastes of our discerning guests and we have been receiving wonderful comments on our food since we welcomed our new chef in December 2013.

We tried unsuccessfully to locate a report on your missing jacket. After checking with the Bar Manager, the Restaurant Manager, The Housekeeping Manager and your nanny, there were no reports at all of a missing jacket. There was however, a report of a missing camera during your stay and we posted notices in the hotel to try to locate same to no avail.

At FDR we are committed to ensuring that our guests have the most memorable vacation. We all look forward to welcoming your family again soon.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2014

I'm a single mother of a wonderful two-year-old boy. After the brutal winter, I really wanted to get away for a few days to the sunshine. I wanted to take my son with me, but A) wasn't sure how he would like the idea of going on vacation, and B) knew that he wouldn't share his mother's enthusiasm for being out in the sun all day (he still naps for 2-3 hours each afternoon). FDR turned out to be the perfect solution. We came for a short stay -- 3 days/4 nights. although given how much fun we both had, I wish that we had stayed longer!

Each day we woke up at 6:30 and ate fruit on the balcony before going down to the beach to play in the sand before the sun got too hot. We'd have breakfast and then my son would play in the shaded playground with his nanny while I snorkeled/sailed/sunbathed until lunchtime. He's too young for the kind of group activities that they have at a Beaches or Club Med, so having someone who could watch him at the playground was perfect. Then we'd have lunch together and go back to the playground until his nanny returned to watch him while he napped and I went back to the beach.

In the evenings, he and I would play on the beach, have dinner together, bathe, read stories and both be asleep before 10pm. It wasn't exactly a wild and crazy vacation, but for a single parent who is looking for a holiday where she can both spend time with her child(ren) and enjoy some much needed R&R, I can't recommend it highly enough.

It is true that single mothers aren't the norm at the resort -- although the owner told me that they were trying to reach out to us. And, I was conscious that I wasn't a great deal for my nanny -- I never asked her to work evenings, as I would rather spend the time with my son than eat alone, even if his dinner conversation is limited to "I want more bread" or "I pooped, I need to go back to room RIGHT NOW!"... And, despite my intentions to go running, I ultimately didn't have her come early, as my son and I really enjoyed eating fruit and reading stories together in the morning. (The nannies' officials shifts go from 9-12:30, 1:3-4:40, but for $7 an hour, you can ask them to come early/stay on longer while you go out to dinner at the "adults only" restaurant, which I, alas, never tried.) I am crossing my fingers that her next clients want to eat out a lot.

Finally, if you are arriving on a Friday in spring time, I would advise paying for the MoBay VIP pass at the airport. It took us over 1:30 hours to get through security!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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9  Thank DCsinglemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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