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Saturday, January 3, 2009
We have just returned from our Jamaica xmas vacation. We left on xmas day and returned on new years day. I have to say it is one of the best vacations I have ever taken. I think Ryan and Fay would say the same.
We went to an all inclusive resort in Jamaica about 1.5 hours from Montego Bay airport. The resort is called FDR and as I mentioned in the previous post, the cost of the hotel room includes all the food and booze you can consume as well as your personal vacation nanny.
The resort far exceeded our expectations. They really know how to run resort focused on family enjoyment. I felt there was equal attention paid towards ensuring that the parents, teens, little kids and babies all had fun. For the kids, it was like a camp -- there are young staff that bring the kids on excursions like horse back riding or biking or snorkeling. There is a playroom, playground and beach area dedicated to the little kids and babies. There's even a disco for the teenagers to enjoy late at night.
Each day, Fay's nanny would show up around 9:15 and encourage Ryan and me to go off and have fun. Ryan and I mostly sat by the pool or swam in the ocean. We also went for a run on the beach together and took a brief "bike-tour" around the neighborhood. We would pop in and visit Fay with her nanny, and take her during the one hour lunch break. Also we took her on the glass bottom boat and in a soft kayak, which she LOVED!
I had so much time to relax, that by day 3 I had finished the ONE book I brought to read and had to scrounge around and borrow another book to last for the rest of the trip.
The resort had fantastic rooms and a great layout for the grounds. Every room was a suite of rooms. Ours was a one bedroom suite consisting of a master bedroom, bath, kitchen and living room that could sleep three kids. The two bedroom suites were divided into two floors for an even better layout. And all the rooms had balconies. Ours directly overlooked the beach and ocean. On the one day that it rained in the morning I was perfectly content with the prospect of reading on my balcony all day.
The resort had 3 restaurants to choose from: the main restaurant which served much of the food buffet style, an Italian restaurant and a Jamaican restaurant. Also there was a "grill" that served hamburgers and phillies all day long and a kids section that served kiddie food (pasta, pb&j, pizza, chicken, etc...). And of course the bar was open all day long.
They also provided free glass-bottom boat rides, snorkeling trips, bike tours, lead running/jogging trip and I'm sure a lot more. There was always this feeling of excitemetn by the pool as someone was always leading some sort of event such as bingo, swim aerobics, Jamaican trivia...whatnot.
Fay's favorite part of the trip was going down the Big Blue slide with Daddy and Mommy. She loved the sliding part, but wasn't so keen on the splashing part at the end.
It was really easy to meet people because everyone seemed to be in the same stage of life -- surviving and enjoying raising kids. During the day you could chit-chat by the pool with a couple and then see them later at the kiddie buffet with their kids, attempting to get the kid to just stay in the high-chair for once. We met a ton of folks from the NY and NJ area. I'm not sure why.
And it seems lot of people made little couple dates for dinner to socialize more. We never did this, but would do it if we thought ahead enough to plan it. Also there were a lot of returning guests who maintained friendships with other families from year to year. Many people we met had been coming to FDR for 10-15 yrs. We were the "newbies".
I can't say enough good things about the place. I would definitely go back. It would be really fun to bring my family down there. I know my sister and her girls would LOVE it. I overheard a family saying their kids like FDR better than Disney. :)
Go to the Flickr set to see all the photos: Jamaica Photo Set
Happy New Year!