The Abraham Family’s Journey to Russia to Bring Home Their Daughter

June 19, 2009

The Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay

After spending ten days in paradise, I'll admit it is kind of nice to be back home and enjoying our slower summer routines. As wonderful as our vacation in the Caribbean was - and it was WONDERFUL - we needed nearly a week to rest up from all the fun. We love to travel and rarely go to the same place twice (except Disney), but the kids begged to go back to the FDR resort in Jamaica. We had such an amazing time there 2 years ago, I was worried that we might be disappointed this time. You know how you can build something up in your mind and then reality doesn't compare? Not so with FDR! It was even better in 2009!

We asked for the same room again because it has two awesome balconies, one with an amazing view of the beach and ocean, the other overlooked the pools. The 2 bedroom townhouse "room" was spacious and comfortable and had beds for all five of our kids. The beach on the resort was nice and swept daily by the lifeguards. The “cove” makes it easy for small children to play and they supply all the sand toys you kids could ever want - no need to pack any toys. You can also just walk through the gate to the beach next door for some amazing right-off-the-beach snorkeling. They have three pools with varying size slides. There is something for all ages.

And that goes for the food too. There is a grill open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm and a kid's buffet every night at 5:30 pm. The main restaurant is on the pier and it was so relaxing to eat fresh grilled fish (as part of our five course meal) with the sound of the ocean waves hitting against the rocks and beautiful music playing. Did I mention this place was all-inclusive? That's the only way to go! After eating three huge meals a day for the past 10 days, all outside under huge cottonwood trees or on the pier, with fresh smoothies at our beck and call, and ice-cream whenever the whim hit us, it almost felt strange to sit down at our boring 'ol dining room table again. When the boys starting asking for different meals and asking me to get "this" and get "that" for them, I had to remind them, we ain't in Jamaica no more fellows! Ya Mon!

I really think the entertainment and staff are the best features of FDR. They are truly phenomenal and treated my children like family. By the first day, most of the staff already knew all our kids names. They played with them constantly - whether it was Jenga by the pool, tennis, hockey, soccer, volleyball, kayak rides, slide competitions, fishing, you name it - they always had time for them, and made my children want to move to Jamaica. They entertained Martin and I as well, with competitive games of volleyball and dominos and fun (albeit corny) games like Bingo and Ring Toss. It's these people (Curtis, Kervin, Kevin, Daniel, Sabrina, Tameka), along with the rest of the staff that make the resort so special. The nightly entertainment was great with Limbo lessons, talent shows, fire-eaters and Jamaican dancers. There was also dinner on the beach one night and a Mini-Miss/Little-Miss FDR Fashion Show.

From beginning to end, the service was perfection and the staff's personalities were warm, engaging, and fun. We love how they learned our names and our drinks the very first day and always served up a smile even when Garrett was ordering his 50th grill cheese sandwich and Nolan was ordering his 38th (virgin) Strawberry Daiquiri. You would have thought Lexi was royalty they way she was catered to by everyone. She was appropriately shy, stuck close by my side most of the time, and ran to me with the biggest smile as soon as she saw me coming to get her from the play area, but that didn't stop her from being completely spoiled by all the staff.

We had two vacation nannys, one for the boys and one just for Lexi. They were both very nice and so good with the kids. They helped keep everyone covered up in sunscreen and not one of us got the slightest sunburn this year. Yeah! The nannys helped with arts and crafts, pushed Lexi in the swing for as long as she wanted, made sure they were all feed and had fresh towels every time they got out of the water. They also cleaned our rooms and stocked the refrigerator with drinks and goodies everyday. Lexi's nanny stayed in the room with her while she napped every afternoon so I could spend time with Martin, the boys, get a pedicure, or just relax by the pool reading a mindless magazine (without feeling the slightest bit guilty). Martin and I even got have dinner with each other at the adult only restaurants three times. WhooHooo!!!

The scuba diving was great too. Preston got his Padi certification and he and Martin went on several 40 - 50 foot dives. He found a beautiful conk shell and the staff cleaned it up for him to bring home. We also climbed Dunns River Falls again and went to Dolphin Cove for the 1st time.

I read a recent review by another mom that called FDR "...the best place on Earth". That very well may be true, but I think the best thing she said was: "No, it’s not a five-star resort, but when you have three children who have just had the best vacation of their life and you feel the same, why would you want a stuffy, impersonal, five-star resort? If you are one of those people who won’t be happy unless you’re surrounded by opulence, this is not the place for you and, to be honest, I’d rather you didn’t go because you’d ruin my vacation. If you want your kids to have the time of their life, meet amazing people, and enjoy every second of your vacation, you definitely want to go to Franklyn D."

I'll post more photos soon. I only took 435 photos (and videos) so I'm sure it won't be hard to narrow them to say... the best ten or so.
I will also have a word of advice for fellow APs thinking about traveling to Jamaica using your child's Russian passport. For now, I'll just say life is always an adventure with us!

1 comment:

Jackie said...

What an awesome awesome place!! Now I know where you were.... you were having a marvelous time! I totally checked out the website... thanks for including it!