Jamaica: FDR… License To Chill
Well, we made it back! The girls and I snuck off to the island of Jamaica for 7 days ~ barely. Thanks AMERICAN AIRLINES! That was sarcasm.
We found a nice all-inclusive in Runaway Bay, Jamaica called the FDR Resort. Parents, this is the place to be! When they say “all-inclusive” they take the term a little bit further and give you a real-life nanny every day from 9-5. They are the only resort in the Caribbean that does this and one of only 2 resorts in the world (I read) that gives you a nanny. These nannies come highly acclaimed (Trip Advisor) and become part of your family.
Also, you get a small kitchen in your suite and the nannies stock it for you! We had a sheet where you can request any of 6 soft drinks, beer, wine, a cheese and cracker tray, cereal, milk, fresh fruit and more. This was so cool I thought.
To get there, we had to be on a plane at 7:00am. So we had to be at the airport by 6 Saturday morning. We flew to Miami and the girls did great. We were supposed to head to Jamaica but had difficulty leaving the town through a myriad of difficulties with our airplane, at one time wondering if we were going to go at all. It truly was a comedy of errors, yet not funny at all, and surely not one of American Airlines best moments (more to come).
But we finally landed in Jamaica. Due in at noon, we landed around 4:45pm. A very timely shuttle took us to our destination. Once there, our mood quickly turned around as we found our reservation had been upgraded! I requested an OF 1 BR Suite and we ended up an OF 2 floor 2BR Suite. Our new vacation home had a nice big living room with pseudo-marble tile floors, mahogany and cherry wood furniture and fixtures, high ceilings (Ugh!), and more. What a great surprise and a nice ending to a long and difficult day!
I asked for a second floor room in our reservation so we could get an ocean view with no worries of the kids running away at Runaway Bay while we were in the shower. That part was nice. Now, with a two-floor suite with high ceilings, my calves were burning the first two days. Do you realize how many trips you make to a kid’s room? Now that room was upstairs. Those high ceilings made for some steep, steep stairs. I thought I was in shape but my calves were hurting. Be careful what you wish for, right?
We received our upgrade, in part, because I told them that Saturday was my anniversary (it actually was Friday) and also because the resort was fairly empty so they had rooms to spare. Being the middle of September I imagine most of the resort’s target market had just taken their kids back to school this month. FDR had 8 buildings for guests but only the ocean front building was occupied. We had the place to our self!
So there we were! We made it to vacation, finally. Upon inspection of our new digs in Jamaica we found a chocolate cake and a bottle of champagne in the frig with our name on it too. THANKS FDR! To the resort’s credit, the whole staff did go out of their way for you, from the bartenders to lifeguards to maintenance to our great nanny, everyone went above and beyond with smiles on their faces. This was just the beginning we found out.
Further inspection of our upgrade revealed a nice, anniversary size king size bed upstairs. The bed may have been a bit old as it creaked quite a bit; maybe louder than any bed I had ever heard. But it was OK, we were on vacation. No problem mon!
The kids didn’t see ‘king size’ bed but a ‘jump castle’. And so, before we herded them off to bed our first night, we first had to shush them after jumping on OUR bed for 45-60 minutes. That next morning it became apparent how noisy that bed was as I got a high-five, two thumbs up, a wink and a nod from many of the guests down at breakfast. Not all of those gestures came from the men either. Those kids had made me ‘Legend’!
FDR was really built to cater to the kids too; young and old. Skylar enjoyed playing in the Kid’s Zone with our nanny the most. Both girls enjoyed feeding the rabbits and fish and doing crafts. They each made necklaces and tie-died Tee’s. The last day was goat races!
While both our girls like the water, Dylan is much more acclimated to it. She would follow mommy and daddy to the beach and pools in the morning. She made me ask the staff to turn on ‘Big Blue’, the 50 foot water slide, each morning so she could ride it. (Stay tuned) It seemed every day she either surprised or amazed us on her lack of fear and love for the water, including doing flips and floating in 40 foot ocean water. She also made a new friend, Lillya, from Switzerland. While they didn’t share much of the same language (Lillya did know a bit of English at 4 years old) they did communicate by sharing their love for the water, impressed with what the other could do. It was cute to see.
Mom and Dad found a friend too in a secluded sanctuary at the edge of the resort, where we could hide from the rest of world, daring it to find us. We had a good breeze, great weather, and some crystal-clear tropical water to appreciate and cool off in.
The resort had an open-air gym that was actually above the poolside bar. There, the t
readmills dreadmills had a beautiful view looking down at the neighboring beach, water and reefs. In fact, the water was so clear that, while running on this second-floor treadmill I could spot and follow fish swimming in the shallows at this beach in front of me. It may be the best view from a treadmill in its portion of the northern hemisphere!
We did lots of research in shopping for and choosing this resort. Our other choices were a Disney Cruise, a fabulous Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos, and our favorite Breezes resort in Curacao. We chose this resort, relying heavily on all the great comments by past vacationers on Trip Advisor.com. It seemed three out of four commentators on the resort, had been to the resort before and vowed to return again and again. in fact the reviews were so identical that the tourists seemed some sort of brainwashed. Everyone raved on the nannies and called them family. Everyone. They all sounded the same, brainwashed.
But Monday afternoon, 15 minutes into my specially beach-laden Ipod, the therapy started to work on me too. I have a special coastal Ipod I have taken to the Caribbean for the past few vacations. After listening to it for those prescribed 15 or 20 minutes, if you could wring me out, you would get drops of liquid sunshine, a salty coastal breeze, all wrapped up in a Tanqueray and Tonic flavor.
So, with my Ipod, sprawled out in my lounge chair, relaxing quietly in our own little sanctuary by the clear blue sea, sipping endlessly on my T&T, the magic hit me too.
I’m coming back!
These nannies give parents a License To Chill; a rare, coveted document to new and old parents for ‘extended’ relaxation. Not just the 5 or 10 minutes we occasionally get.
Here’s a quick look at one day of our vacation:
We had few other fun things occur on our trip too but my wife made me do a ‘pinky-swear’ that I wouldn’t blog about them.
So take some picturesque Caribbean water, add shots of wonderful Jamaican weather and breezes with a splash of coastal melodies, finish with a scoop of ice and a well trained nanny, shake (not stirred) and you too can have a ‘License To Chill’.
If I haven’t bored you I would like to tell you a few more stories from our vacation over the next few days. Pack your bags and come a long with us!