The authentic counterpart to Beaches and Sandals
Jamaica is touristy. No doubt. But there’s an authentic side, too. Soak it up at the lesser-known FDR Resort in Runaway Bay.
Nice Digs And A Nanny, Too.
Gated on all sides with private access to a pristine Caribbean beach, the all-inclusive FDR Resort has been privately owned for 26 years—by a friendly local named Frank. A family of four can comfortably stay in a two-bedroom, two-bath garden/pool-view suite (from $304 per adult, per night; kids under 6 are free and kids 6-15 are $30 per night). Request a room away from the main bar area—it’s quieter at night. Most suites are equipped with a kitchen and living room and all rooms come with a vacation nanny (!) who’s available to cook, clean, babysit, and book activities for your family from 9am to 4:30pm daily (she’ll stay later for a fee).
Traveling with a baby? Tell them you need a crib or bed rails, and it will be there on arrival. All outlets are child proofed; the entire resort is stroller accessible; and the gift shop is stocked with diapers, wipes, and various sunscreens.
Count Us In For Rain Dances, Jungle Golf, And Crab Races.
Beyond the usual kayaking, snorkeling, and tennis offerings, FDR offers Jamaican activities like hair-braiding, barefoot beach soccer, and jungle mini golf. Kids can also take a glass-bottom boat ride, drop down a 100-foot water slide, and try a “Rain Dance” in a black-lit room where it actually rains as they boogie to Jamaican tunes. Many head to the kids’ club during the hottest hours of the day, and everyone gathers for goat and crab races in the late afternoon.
The staff can arrange excursions, too. Dolphin Cove tops our list. Spring for the dolphin encounter or swim ($99-$200) if your kids are older; for the littles, consider just paying the $50 entrance fee to interact with exotic birds, snakes, and iguanas on the jungle walk, meet some pirates, and watch the shark show.
Try The Ackee.
All meals (even alcohol) are included in the room price. Menus have a heavy Jamaican bent—fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast with sweet porridge on the side; lunch buffets of fresh veggies, cheeses, and local fare like saltfish and ackee (a lychee-like fruit). With five dining venues, dinner is held in a new location with a fun theme each night. If your kids aren’t into pumpkin soup (it’s a little spicy) or oxtail, there are plenty of chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and meatballs to go around.