Second visit for my family. Daughter 5, son 4, relaxed Mommy & Daddy had a wonderful 11 days of fun again. Check out my profile & click on my Forum Contributions for the many many answers I provided over the years on Pebbles and even FDR in Runaway Bay. I’ll try to write here what others have not.
We rarely vacation the same place twice since it’s a big world out there with too much to see. However, this family resort has it figured out…provide a private nanny for each family and a successful vacation is almost guaranteed. The facilities are simple but CLEAN, the latter is a definite requirement of Mommy.
There is good food with LOCAL FLAVOR. I go on vacation to experience the world, not to eat hamburgers & pizza (although yes, they are still available here). You can always ask for plain grilled fish or chicken if you don’t like the sauces. They’ll even cook up lobster purchased on the beach from a vendor. Ask your nanny or pool guys for a reliable vendor. And a few bucks to the chef afterward is a nice touch.
The resort shut down Fall 2008 for refurbishment. It got a nice coat of paint & varnish, some general sprucing up, and rebuilding of the pillars at the pool bar area. So pictures won’t really show the improvements everyone asked me to document.
The nannies here are the big draw. I know, you’re saying like everyone, “There’s NO WAY I’m leaving my little Precious Angel with a stranger in a foreign country!” Yeah, so did we the first time. It took all of 3 minutes to get over that! Our nanny last time was Shafay, who went to school for her childcare certification and is now promoted to Nanny Supervisor. Congrats to you, Shafay! Try to meet her during your visit. She is charming.
Since Shafay wasn’t going to be our nanny, we asked her to place us with the best available who could handle my dainty daughter and overly-energetic son…quite a tall order. Enter our new friend, Cornelia! She waited for our after 5pm arrival so she & Shafay could greet us. She hugged my kids and off they went while we unpacked. OK, so less than 3 minutes this time to feel comfortable.
Cornelia was great. She originally worked in the main restaurant as a server, loved interacting with the kids so much, went through the training, and landed the coveted Nanny job available only to the select few. I will endorse every nanny there that we met. Ammoy, Kimberly, JudyAnn, heck every nanny and their kids played so well with our kids guaranteeing a great time.
Cornelia arrived on time daily at 9am. We’d get her a meal ticket from the front desk so she could eat breakfast with us. Definitely do this. The nannies all appreciate it, plus they help with your kids’ food at the buffet. She stayed almost every evening ($6/hr plus round it up for a tip) so we could eat dinner alone or with the other “stunned” parents who didn’t know what to do without a tantrum throwing child at the table! Bring plenty of cash so you can pay your nanny each evening, plus a nice tip at the end of the week. She gets to keep it all, so it’s greatly appreciated. Work out what nights to stay in advance so she can plan her home life…they have families, too!
My kids thought it was their chore to feed the goats & horse every day. After breakfast, Cornelia & the kids were gone. My son is now a proud accomplished fisherman after catching 3 fish in their little pond. OK, so success is almost guaranteed, but he still loved it. Rest of the day was occupied in the fun pool or on the waterslide, playing pool games organized by the staff, making sand creations on the very safe beach (check out our mermaid & turtle pics), catching crabs both little & HUGE (thanks to Yushane), or in the fun newly located Kids’ Club. It’s larger, a/c, with plenty to do for all ages. Yes they have video games for all ages, too.
Our ultimate experience was not found at the property. We asked Cornelia if we could visit a local grade school & show our kids how others in the world are different yet so similar. She arranged for us to visit her 6 year old daughter’s (hi SashaLee) school, Granville Primary. It’s only 10-15 minutes away, across the highway & into the hills. Our driver was Mr. Ransford Bent, who parks just outside the security gate on the main road. “Ranny” is such a kind older man whose sincerity will take you in. His prices are so much lower than the resort tour desk that they better figure it out why nobody buys their tickets. Walk outside the gate & pay a fraction of the tour desk price.
That morning at breakfast, we prepared for our adventure to Granville Primary. Two nice older ladies ate at the next table & heard us talking. They politely asked if they could come along as it sounded so interesting. Turns out they were children’s books authors!!! They brought their books along to share with the resort kids, but now got to have a great experience at Granville, too. Ranny met us outside the gate right on time as planned. We drove past the Martha Brae river rafting end-of-the-line & he showed us how they load the rafts on trailers for return upstream. Around a few turns and we were at the gates to Granville Primary. Principal Ivanhoe Gordon opened the gates himself & directed us to parking. Then he rang the school bell & announced our arrival to all the children at recess. We took some big group pictures there, then another bell ring and the kids ran to their classrooms. He escorted all of us (my family, Cornelia, our authors, and even Ranny!) to each of the classrooms. We introduced ourselves & told them about Chicago, USA, snow, our new President Barack Obama, and about our kids' school. The students especially loved seeing my daughter's blonde curly hair. We took pictures, some serious & some silly, and emailed them to the school. We all had a great experience.
Principal Gordon is a wonderful & kind man. He humbly requested any and all support of any kind for his school. He has a "Principal's List" comprised of any student that earned three A's in the prior marking period. These students receive an award from him, usually a new pencil or pen, other school supplies, or some fun toy. We told him we'd make a package & mail it to him upon our return.
If anyone would like to coordinate a visit, he eagerly said to please contact him at [-]. The local phone number is [-]. No advance notice is needed for a visit. Feel free to mention us, "Cornelia's visitors from Chicago".
He said to us he is glad to know that our group found the visit to our school enlightening and enjoyable. He considers it a part of the education of their children as they seek to make them citizens of the world. Sometimes he will not be able to take them to the world, but visits like ours takes the world to them.
He is happy for any appropriate gifts for our students and are quite appreciative of all the assistance they can get to make our school more effective. He also stands ready to accommodate other groups on visit to the island, and value dearly all constructive feedback on any aspect of their school.
Other fun things to do include having Ranny drive you 1 mile west to the Luminous Lagoon. Boat ride is $20 per person or $10 per person if you eat dinner at the Glistening Waters Restaurant. Food is fine & not expensive. Just go well after sundown so you don’t get attacked by bugs. Wear your bathing suit & bring a towel so you can jump in. Totally cool experience. Bring an empty plastic bottle to bring back some Secret Water. It will glow when you shake it for the next few days.
I golfed three times at Cinnamon Hill in Montego Bay. About 20-30 minute ride west depending on traffic. Ranny or Blue (another nice taxi driver) took me round trip. Golf after 1:30pm was $99 plus tip to caddie. Includes greens fee & cart & tax. Course was in great shape. Definitely one of the better Caribbean golf courses. Next to it is White Witch (Ritz Carlton) golf course that might be the best in the Caribbean. Didn’t play there because it was $185 plus tax & caddie tip, dropping to $109 after 2:30pm twilite. A little steep for me playing alone, and it got dark around 6pm making it difficult to finish in daylight. Runaway Bay Golf Course offers $65 anytime price to FDR/Pebbles guests. It’s the opposite direction 25 minutes, and the course is just ok if you want a nice easy round in the sun. I saw it last time but passed on playing.
Jamaica Jazz & Blues Fest was on at Rose Hall. Featured Lionel Ritchie, Chicago, and other bands. Pebbles offered FREE TAXI and FREE BABYSITTING if you went. We didn’t go because of bad info. Someone said it started at 10pm with the headliner going on from 2-4 AM!!! A little late for us parents. Turns out Lionel Ritchie went on at 11:30pm and played a great show. Oh well…next time.
The free ride to & from the airport is fine. We found Jamaica Tours desk, told them our name, and they walked us to a minivan. We waited 3 minutes for another family & off we went. No need to arrange a private ride & pay.
Finally, this ain’t the Ritz Carlton or a mega-resort. It’s a sincere, honest, safe family setting where EVERYONE gets a vacation. The sooner you let go & turn it over to your nanny, the sooner everyone will have fun. Also set your expectations with your nanny up front. If you want her to do something at a certain time (take a break, clean the room, eat lunch, etc.), just tell her. I heard a few parents who thought their nanny was a mind reader, so they’d grumble to others at the bar. I told them my tip, and they were instantly happy next time I saw them. We enjoy spending time with our kids, especially in the pool, so that’s when Cornelia was free to do her other stuff. We already miss her. Now we’re back home freezing. Time to plan another trip.
Hope this helped. Pay it forward,
SeaBass & Family
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- Also Known As:
- n-Resort All Inclusive For Adults Hotel Falmouth
- Fdr Pebbles Falmouth
- Fdr Pebbles Jamaica
- Fdr Resorts
- N-Resort All Inclusive For Adults Trelawny Parish, Jamaica