More about Franklyn D. Resort/ All-Inclusive
Only All-inclusive Resort in Jamaica with Nannies
It is probably one of the only resorts that take even babies for the kids club. To each room is a nanny assigned which takes care of the kids (even if the are under the age of 2 years), just marvellous.
The complete story....
We just completed our eight-day stay at the Franklyn D resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica (I am typing this during the flight back to pass the time). All things considered, it was a nice vacation and we would definitely consider returning.
The accomodations were slightly age-worn but comfortable. My wife, 10-year old son and I rented a two-bedroom suite. It was spacious and on two levels. The downstairs had a kitchenette, living room with two chairs and a sofa, and a TV with cable. This room opened out through french doors to a spacious balcony overlooking the main pool, which was somewhat of a problem for us as the week went on because the pool turned out to be the activities hub for the resort and was often quite noisy (more on this later). The two bedrooms were located on the upper level. Each had its own full bath and room air conditioner. These rooms were pretty quiet, particularly with the windows closed and the AC on.
The bathrooms had marble tile in the showers, which could have used some re-grouting.
The food was very good. Breakfast is a buffet, with eggs cooked to order. The french toast was delicious. The coffee was OK, a little too weak for my taste, but I'm a Starbucks coffee snob; if you're not one as well you'll be OK. The dining area is well-appointed with cloth tablecloths and napkins. There is ever-present attention from the staff; you won't have a used plate on your table or go thirsty for very long. Lunch is also a buffet. There is also a grill that bridges the time before lunch and dinner, so you won't go hungry if you get back from a tour or golf after the end of official lunch hours. All of these dining areas have a nice view of the ocean, which by the way is beautiful in this part of Jamaica. The bar is open all day. Try the dirty bananas.
For dinner you will have two options: With the whole family at the main restaurant ("The Veranda") or adults-only at the Pier, which is literally built on a pier that juts out from the west end of the resort. Dinner at the Veranda is usually ordered a la carte from a menu except on Saturday and Wednesday nights when they have buffets (I would have preferred a buffet option every night). Live entertainment is provided just about every night, usually a band that plays subdued dinner music for the first few hours, then cranks it up later with reggae music (consisting mostly of Marley hits that have been sanitized for family listening) until about 10PM.
The adults-only Pier is styled as a nice Italian restaurant. The menu options are limited, and the food was just OK based on my three visits over the past week. The wine selection consists of "house red" and "house white." Don't count on your favorite Merlot or Cabernet being available. Last night, the only appetizer was ravioli, and the only soup was the same ravioli in a weak broth. Fortunately, you weren't limited to ravioli as an entree. There was also some redundancy between the food that was available at the antipasto bar (which varied in quality from night to night) and what appeared on the menu. I ordered the steak last night and it was so tough that I couldn't eat it.
Perhaps this was an isolated incident, but I'd recommend that you stick with the pasta, chicken and seafood selections. The view of the ocean and the sound of the waves provides a very nice and romantic setting, and the service was excellent. My biggest gripe about the Pier was the music that was being played. There is no real sound system, but they had a cheap $19.95 boombox set up next to the antipasto bar that was set to a local radio station playing what I would characterize as screechy 70's pop. Maybe I've come to expect too much, but I found it really tacky. (They did turn it down at my request, but I had to ask again each night.)
The resort is smaller than some other all-inclusives (my best basis for comparison is the Boscobel Jamaica resort when it was owned by Superclubs), but there are plenty of activities. Our 10 year old would disappear for hours with his new friends, and we didn't worry because everything was so close. There is scuba, snorkeling, kayaks, pool and beach swimming, a water slide as well as all kinds of scheduled activities, which I felt were overdone for reasons explained below.
There is only one real pool (I don't count the small pool that is the landing area for the water slide) and you shouldn't plan on a quiet day reading beside it (or anywhere near it for that matter). A very, very powerful sound system mounted on wheels is usually deployed next to the pool. When no activities are being announced or taking place it is used to play pool music, which I generally enjoyed although it was a little loud if I was in the pool or sitting nearby. Unfortunately, a gregarious activities coordinator/carnival barker periodically appears to announce one of the upcoming scheduled activities. Taking the microphone that is attached to the very, very powerful sound system described above, she turns the volume up until feedback screeches from the speakers and the sound of her voice is distorted to the point of being hardly recognizable. These announcements can literally be heard out on the reef where I went to dive. At 1PM yesterday, the "event" was adult musical chairs (I'm not kidding about this). There were about twenty people, mostly adults reading and making conversation, around the pool when it started. Several saw what was coming, packed their things and went elsewhere when she started. After about five minutes of cajoling the announcer managed to have about five people volunteer to play musical chairs beside the pool. The event lasted for about fifteen more minutes and was broadcast to the entire resort over the sound system, irrespective of the fact that the activities coodinator running the event was no more than ten feet from the participants, didn't need the microphone at all to be heard and the vast majority of the other 150 people at the resort wanted nothing to do with it. At 3PM there was twenty minutes of family bingo at about the same decibel level. If you're looking for a nice quiet beach vacation while the nanny watches the kids, go somewhere else. This isn't it. You can find a few places to read quietly (the end of one of the piers or one of the two hammocks near the base of the east pier), but you had better get there early to claim your place.
The beach situation at the Franklyn D is quite interesting. The resort itself doesn't really have a beach, just a pair of manmade coves, one for the watersports boats and the other a swimming beach for the preschool set. Grownups won't want to swim here. The good news is that there is a beautiful beach right next door at Superclub's Breezes Runaway Bay Resort. Under Jamaican law, the foreshore area between the high and low water marks on the beach is public land, so FDR guests are free to step around the barrier wall that is between the resorts, clamber over a few rocks and and use Breezes' beach up to the high tide mark. The bad news (for those of us with kids, anyway) is that the portion of Breezes' beach that is immediately adjacent to FDR has been designated by Breezes as a nude bathing area. This area is clearly visible from the pier on the east end of FDR, which is used as a lounging area and to give massages. The nude beach is heavily used, and it is not unusual for innocent eyes to witness nude couples "getting close" in the chest deep water just off the beach. Breezes has a normal beach further down, but you have to walk through the nude area to get there. Like I said, interesting.
Our nanny was quite nice. She kept the suite clean and loaded up the fridge with snacks and soda for us courtesy of the resort. Having only a 10 year old, we didn't need her that much. I can see where they would be more useful to parents who have younger children.
Find your niche here....
Let me start with how surprised I was of Jamaica in the first place. I have been travelling for many years and have always hoped to visit Jamaica but never did. This trip was a last minute idea and when I booked FDR, I was totally unsure if this resort would fit my family. We love the all-inclusive holiday especially for my kids, but we were unsure if it had what we were looking for. My kids are 15 and 11. This place felt like home away from home for us. The property is not small but not large either where you think you will not know where your kids are. They are always within view. Let me also say that upon arrival, you meet your nanny. We did not need her because my children did their own exploring. They visited the teen center where they played video games and my son said they were quite advanced in their choices of games and movies. They participated in the activities all over the property. THe entertainment staff, in particular, Alando and Wayne kept my kids so busy. These two boys felt like part of our family. They even came on a few trips with us(which were included, can you believe that?) The last night, my husband and I wanted to try the adult only restaurant(Italian food on the pier by candlelight). We felt bad for leaving the kids to eat alone(they didn't care) these 2 boys said to go on and enjoy ourselves, theywill eat with them. We met up with them much later and they were playing pool, dominoes and cards and totally unaware we were back. The activities and tours were great too! Every morning after breakfast, we walked on the adjoining beach(due ours was quite small) and went into the water to feed the fish. Beautiful. One day, my kids and husband went deep-sea fishing and I stayed back to have a massage(outside and on the water) and then had a pedicure.
Everything you ever need is on this property. We were only there for 6 days(not enough) and we never left the place except for the tours. You must try Dunn's river falls(included). Best time. I have to say, my kids were literally teary-eyed when we left. My daughter didn't speak the whole way to the airport(1 1/2hour drive). We are looking to plan our next visit to Jamaica and the place most definitely will be FDR!!
Great for families!
After reading the reviews about FDR for the last 6 months (and hoping what I read was true!) we finally completed our 10 night stay at FDR.
My wife and I brought our three children, a 9 year old girl and two boys ages 7 and 3. It was everything that we hoped for and more. Our nanny, Raquel, was caring and attentive and our children loved her.
Raquel made sure that the kids were busy doing whatever they wanted to do such as swimming, playing in the playgrounds or in the Kiddie Center. She also guided them into joining in on the many kids activities(such as soccer, pier fishing, tennis, snorkeling, contests, and martial arts to name a few) and working on many crafts including necklaces and tie dyed T-shirts. Our nanny ended up spending most of her time with our 3 year old as the other two were usually able to play indepedently. The resort is small enough that you feel secure that your children are safe venturing out on their own.
The Dunn's River Falls trip is excellent and our nanny came along to look after our 3 year old while the rest of us climbed up the falls with our guide. The Ocho Rios shopping trip was a little rushed however and we could have used a little more time there.
Contrary to what some some reviewers have mentioned the food was excellent at all the restaurants (except for the occasional overcooked meat dish). Our family sampled from all the dishes offered. The jerk chicken at the Sea Cotton Grill is highly recommended. Our children were allowed to basically eat whatever they wanted and always found something they liked whether it be a made-to-order pasta dish or grilled cheese sandwich. For a family dinner we usually headed for the main restaurant at around 7:00 in order to catch the end of the kiddie buffet at the grill and still dine with our kids in the main restaurant. A bonus was the fact that no smoking is allowed in the restaurants.
My wife and I were able to become SCUBA certified while staying at the resort through the friendly and attentive PADI dive shop. We found the canyon reef wall and wreck diving to be very exciting.
Some of the recreational equipment at the resort is a little worn out and could use some updating/ maintenance such as the windsurfers, bicycles, air hockey tables, and pool tables. Another minor complaint is the fact that smoking is allowed at the pool deck. A couple near the end of our vacation who was chain-smoking cuban cigars and cigarettes at pool side was particularly annoying.
As noted by others the resort beach is small but excellent for toddlers venturing into the water. I regularly visited the beach at Breezes resort next door each morning to take one of our children snorkeling and to feed the fish at the reef.
We had booked a one-bedroom suite for our trip but were upgraded to a two-bedroom unit at no charge (presumably because the resort appeared to be only about 1/3 full at this time of year) It was a very spacious two level suite and suited our needs perfectly. As a suggestion I would highly recommend obtaining an e-mail or phone quotation for a visit to the resort rather than booking online in order to obtain the best price.
We will be back to FDR in the future!
Great place for families
Excellent place for families with kids. Our nanny Shernette was great with the kids. I will request her again when we return. We loved FDR.
Some suggestions: although tips are not officially permitted, after asking about salaries and cost of living, we decided to give a tip at the end of our stay to our nanny, and also left her items we didn't need (toothpaste, diapers, advil, etc; you need to write a note that the general manager will sign so that she can take the items off the property) which she greatly appreciated. The nannies are also not permitted officially to eat the resort food, and are reportedly given very very mediocre food. It became clear that many families surruptiously brought food back to the room for them, also much appreciated.
Just Booked 5 year in a row
Well I just booked my 5th year running at FDR. Needless to say - we love the place. We are welcomed back like family every year. The staff is so helpful and nice. We are welcomed with a heart "welcome home" from everyone there.
The Nannies are Awesome. We had the same nanny for three years, however she left. Last year, we had claudette and she was the best! My son has grown up here and considers the nannies "his cousins"
If you have young kids, you cannot go wrong staying at the FDR.
Needs a concierge
I spent New Year's Eve at FDR. The grounds were gorgeous and the rooms were very clean and attractive. The staff was very friendly. The food was excellent. I didn't reserve my trip until a couple of weeks before departure, so my choices were slim. I wasn't traveling with children. I knew ahead of time that FDR was child centered. I thought all I would need was the sun and beach. I was wrong. It got quite warm by 9:30 each morning, so by 1:00 I was looking for something else to do. All of the guide books on Jamaica were full of exciting ideas. Let me tell you, it wasn't very easy or cheap to get somewhere. It was very windy the whole time I was there, so swimming was the only thing we could do in the water. No snorkeling or boating. The FDR has a tiny protected beach perfect for children 3 and under. Not a place for adults to swim. The hot tub wasn't working. I had no problem passing the nude beach next door and swimming in front of Breezes. The FDR does take free trips into Ocho Rios shopping and to Dunn's River Falls, but I was hoping to see more of the island. They also advertise other excursions. The week I was there we just couldn't get the hotel to commit to any excursions.
You have to go to 3 or 4 different people or places each day to see what they might be planning. Most often very few people signed up, so the event was cancelled the morning of. Or worse yet, they wouldn't even tell you it was cancelled and you would spend the morning wondering. The other choice I had was to ask one of the very nice taxi drivers to take me somewhere. They sit outside the FDR all day waiting to take people places. The 30 minute trip to and from Ocho Rios to go tubing was 80 US dollars - not counting the tip. Our 15 minute trip to Cranbrook Gardens was $40 and our driver was over an hour late in picking us up. The children are kept really busy, so it left some parents in a new position - - childless for hours at a time. I found them looking for more for adults to do as well. One other note...As I said earlier, the FDR is very family orientated, the newly single moms really had a hard time. One last thing, if you do stay at FDR DO NOT USE THE FDR RECOMMENDED LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR!!! It is an international satellite company that charges about $10 a minute to call the U.S. !!! If I had children and didn't need to do anything but spend quality time with a family I would give FDR all 5 bullets. All of the families were having a great time.
Great Resort, not so great beach
First of all, i have to ask...Why would you stay here if you don't have kids? All the bad reviews i've read were from adults complaining about things that were their won faults to begin with. The place is for families with kids!! Another reviewer complained that jamaica is "very thrid world" and "scary" Had this reviewer stepped outside of her shell she would have realized that alot of charming places in the world are poor, and have unpaved roads...they cant all be like tampa florida. The resort itself is very charming. We had a two bedroom suit, and it was great. Very spacious, the balcony had a really nice veiw of the pool.
the beds were comfortable, the water pressure was ok, not great, but good enough. The place had a warm, fun atmosphere. We had a 13 year old and a 3 year old with us. The staff made it easy for my 13 year old to hook up with a bunch of kids her age, and my the nanny was great with my 3year old. The only complaint i have was thebeach. As you can probly see from pictures in brouchures and online, the beach isnt up to par.
But everything else made up for it. And if its really important to you to have that serene beach time, just take a short walk up the beach, no big deal.
Can't wait to go back...
"We had such a relaxing time..."
My bo and I took half our kids (two missing) over to the Caribbean for a wonderful less than two week break in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. We couldn’t have found a better resort. http://www.fdrholidays.com/ …There are two separate properties…we choose the Franklyn D Resort. We flew Air Jamaica…not the best, but have flown on worse. On arrival we checked in with our driver (transfer was included with the resort package) and we boarded a bus that took us to our piece of heaven. We arrived at 9AM, an hour before check in and were greeted by a wonderful staff! They allowed us to partake in the seaside breakfast and allowed us to be in our room (a two bedroom apartment) by 10.30 AM at no extra charge. Our son was so excited, the facility offers all sorts of children’s activities and each family has a Nanny (per child) that comes to collect your child daily from the hours of 9AM to 4.30PM. The Nanny will take an hour lunch and will work with you if you have other plans for that day that include your child or they also offer a baby sitting service to you if you should decide to go out in the evening for a very reasonable price. Teens have plenty to do too, the staff here are reasonably young and full of life. Very entertaining for everyone, they have shows, and include the residences in games and dancing…it’s a total blast! The booze cruise was a riot! They even have a gym facilty with YOGA classes, loved this! You are sure to have an exceptional time here! We even made friends with the locals and staff here and have kept in touch with them since. Everyone is very formal, respectful and classy. The manager of the property will even join you for meals on some occasions. All of your meals and beverages (yes booze too) are included in the cost of your package…and just to give you an idea of our getaway for two adults a 10yr old and 14yr old with the air for the four of us was around $ 3000.00…So we splurged a little there and took some day trips to shop, or to Bob’s mausoleum, we love Bob Marley, the Dolphin’s Cove to swim with the Dolphins, an experience we will never forget. Now my children want to go there every time we mention vacation! We will be back though…not soon enough, but someday shortly!
Half Moon Bay or Ritz Carton?
Traveling with 2 12 year olds to Montego Bay for a conference in July. Can't decide on which resort. Leaning toward Ritz, as that is where the conference is, but Half Moon Bay seems to have more activities for the kids, especially since they and my SO want to do a dolphin swim. Other on-site activites desired are snorkeling and tennis. Me, I just need to chill out at the beach and see some sites, and maybe catch some SumFest.
We are willing to look at other properties. An AI seems the way to go, although not a priority.
All advice welcome.
Re: Half Moon Bay or Ritz Carton?
I've been to the 'Half Moon' hotel but I'm not sure if that is the same as the 'Half Moon Bay' hotel that you talking about. It is on a bay so it could well be the same place. If it is, I would thoroughly recommend it. It's very large and you will need to hire bikes from the hotel to get around, which is great fun for the kids. There is loads to do, countless swimming pools, games rooms, tennis courts, croquet laws etc plus a beautiful beach that is perfect place to chill out on. Being a fairly new hotel it lacks some character but the accomodation is very clean, modern and well kept.
Re: Half Moon Bay or Ritz Carton?
Thanks for the personal recommendation.
Re: Half Moon Bay or Ritz Carton?
cannot go wrong with the Ritz!
We recommend FDR!
We spent our Easter holiday at the Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay and we can highly recommend them! It's an all-inclusive resort, especially targeting family with small children. The price includes a vacation nanny and they offer a lot of activities for kids. Our son (2.5 yr old) had a blast! You can of course do snorkeling and tennis. Check out http://www.fdrholidays.com/
Re: Half Moon Bay or Ritz Carton?
Ritz Carlton by all means. Better service, very accomodating. If you are looking for activities, you can always go off of property, but arrange it well in advance of your stay. How long are you staying? Take a trip to Dunn's River falls or perhaps Negril for the day (beautiful beach). It you book at the Ritz, call the coincerge for advise on what to do. Dunn's river is about 40 minutes away, Negril is 1 hour. Most importantly, if you are going outside the property you want to travel safely with a licensed JUTA driver. If you need any in the MOBAY or Runaway Bay area, please email me, I'll be glad to recommend a few. Also checkout Tripadvisor.com for other reviews.
Re: Half Moon Bay or Ritz Carton?
Ms Mary, we are still leaning toward RC, as that is where the conference is. We'll be there the week of July 15th.
Great suggestions. A trip to Dunns River falls one day and to Negril on another sounds good to me. Would you recommned private taxi or a tour bus to these locations?
I also hear that Sumfest in MB is scheduled to occur during our stay. My son also wants to a canopy tour.