FDR Resort, Jamaica

FDR is a little on the folksy side of things.  That is to say that it’s charm (I am told) isn’t meant to be found in a fancy pants mega-pool of the Iberostar type resorts.  This is all about an ambience of “simple and child friendly" with signature feature of the resort being that every family is assigned a full time nanny at no extra charge for the duration of their stay.

It all sounds great.  Which is of course why we went.  We are parents that have no grandparents that are within easy visiting distance and thus we don’t have the support that many parents do.  Therefore, the thought of childcare, the idea that we too as parents might be able to “rest” while on vacation was a thought that we - well - salivated at.  

Our nanny was nice enough.  She was over 15 years experienced and it showed.  She was highly professional.  That being said, our daughter (then 21 months) simply did not warm up to her and our son (then 6 years old) was not thrilled either. There were not very many other kids there our son’s age at that meant that if the nanny had both kids that he would effectively be hanging out with toddlers.  I couldn’t blame him in being frustrated.  

Our kids are not especially difficult to win over so the ‘miss’ on the nanny was something that left us scratching our heads a bit.

Now this is the key part.  We had a nanny assigned us to us for the duration of our stay that our kids really didn’t want to be with.  Even so, the nanny stuck with us, doing her best to help in any way she could.  Who could blame her, this is her livelihood.  It felt like we had a stranger with us while on vacation desperately trying to win over our kids.  It was excruciatingly uncomfortable at times.  We finally had to tell her to leave us be for most of the day.  Not a fun conversation.  We were paying big bucks for an uncomfortable and tense situation - I get paid to deal with this as work!  And here I was paying them dearly for the ‘privilege.'

Back to the resort itself.  It can only be described as a summer camp.  Signs for the pool are hand painted, everything is in slight disrepair but safe and the food is basic but palatable.

There is a clear tradeoff in selecting FDR for a vacation.  You give up on the typical tropical paradise and beach serenity and what you get for that is childcare.  They are banking on the notion that you’ll be so over-the-top relieved to have a break from your kids that you will overlook the general disrepair of the resort.  I simply couldn’t get past it.  Incidentally if you look in the photo above, you will notice pieces of the fence missing.  It’s a metaphor for the general state of things at FDR.

It’s not cheap to visit FDR and the principle of a nanny while on vacation does admittedly still sound compelling to us.  I am just not prepared to compromise on just about everything else to get the help.

There is every possibility that another family would find this as heaven, as there were some 5-9 time returning guests there during our short stay.  That is to say that there is most definitely a ‘cult following’ for FDR.  Some parents will be far less sensitive to the tradeoffs.   If that it is the case then I can see that they would be okay with it - but what is a complete and total mystery to me is the degree to which some people looooove FDR.  In the end, I can only offer a cliche… to each his own.  

Finally, we offer one important tip for all parents traveling to Jamaica.  There is an expedited customs service available for airport arrivals called Club Mobay.  It moves you through customs at lightning speed and is worth every single penny you pay for it.  The customs line was otherwise an estimated 2-3 hours for us and we were done and out the door in 25 minutes.

The photo below is of the children’s play area that contained in the departure lounge for Club Mobay (if you also purchase the outbound expedited service).  It saved us!  


© Paul-Sarah 2013