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Home > Destinations > Jamaica > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Jamaica - Trip Reports

DR Pebbles Resort in Falmouth, Trelawny

We just returned from a 7 night trip to FDR Pebbles resort in Falmouth, Trelawny June 13-20, 2001. Our family consists of 2 adults and 5 kids ages 6 to 16. We saw the resort under construction on our first trip to Runaway Bay in January 2000. Checked out the website www.fdrholidays.com and talked with Go Classy. Go Classy was great as usual and we were very satisfied with their service. We all had a great time, found very little that we would like to see improved and can't wait to go back! This is the first time we've taken the family to Jamaica. In the past my wife and I have been to both Hedo II and III, so that is the basis for any comparisons we may make. This report is probably longer than what we'd normally write, but there seemed to be so little info available other than their web site, we wanted to make it as detailed as possible.


We flew Air Jamaica out of Baltimore. We left on time (third time in a row), great service and good food. They were very accommodating with special meal orders for our youngest two. Had an in-flight movie, arrived on time and overall very happy with the service we've gotten from Air Jamaica. Immigrations and Customs was hassle free, but took a LONG time. Probably ½ an hour to get through the immigration line. After leaving the Customs area, turn right and go to the last desk on the left. This is where you check in for transportation to the resort. The resort name is not on the sign, but it is the same one you check in with for Wyndham Hall (which is on the sign). This was the first time we didn't get any offers to buy smoke while at the airport (probably because of the kids). The bus ride was nothing special. The driver did talk with us the whole way, pointing out areas of interest. Now here's the good part, the ride was only about 35 minutes!


Check in was very smooth, quick and hassle free. Typical forms to fill out, return flight info and away to the room. There was fruit juice and rum punch available at the front desk while checking in. This is also the point that you get introduced to your 'Vacation Nanny'. We got all of our stuff into the room and asked the nanny to meet us after we got a bite to eat. This is also when we realized that we did not have the keys for our luggage! Maintenance was very prompt in coming to the room when we called asking for assistance breaking into our luggage.


The rooms were just as depicted on their web site. We had 2 rooms in block 4 which overlooks the pool, the pool bar and the beach. Great location! The rooms had an interior connecting door which made things very easy. The air conditioners were the remote controlled variety that we've run into at other resorts in Jamaica. There was a TV with about 8 channels or so. CNN, Disney, some movie channel and others that I don't recall. There was always hot water available and there was no problem with the pressure. There are no blow dryers or irons in the room, but are available on request. Also, there isn't an in-room safe. There is a safety deposit box at the front desk available that we did use. The lost key fee for this is $100 dollars, so keep track of your key. There is also a refrigerator in the room. You select from a menu each day of what you want stocked (sodas, cheese, crackers, fruit etc).


Overall, the food was good. There is a main dining room that is buffet style. Breakfast there had cook to order eggs and omelets, smoothies and a toaster for bread and bagels. Lunch had a pasta station that the kids really liked. Dinner usually had some sort of beef, lamb or chicken that was being carved and served. The service in the main dining room was excellent. Water glasses remained filled, bar orders taken and always accommodating with the larger table we needed to have set up.

There is a dining area for the kids (pretty much set up for kids under 12). This was only available for dinner. The hours were 5:30 til 7:00. There were items such as hot dogs, chicken tenders, pizza and french fries. There was also a selection of fruits and deserts. Our nanny usually took the 2 younger kids here while we were getting cleaned up and ready for dinner.

There is also a pool bar and grill. It opened at 10am and was open til 5pm for drinks and food. From 5pm til midnight it was open for food and non-alcoholic drinks. The food here was outstanding. The usual hamburgers and fries. Jerk chicken and pork available any time. A daily special as well. The special consisted of things like fried chicken (best I've ever had), fried fish, curried goat, oxtail stew and other local dishes. The service here was nothing less than outstanding. With all the people at the resort, Carl and Susan were able to remember everyone's name and favorite drink. There was also a 'drink of the day' special (one for adults and another for kids). We ate lunch and late night snacks here almost every day.

The Italian Restaurant is located at the far east end of the resort right on the water. This is supposed to be for adults only, but we did take our 16 year old there one night. After all, we did pay full rate for him.:) My wife and I ate here every night they were open (closed on Wed and Sat). The food and service here was great. The chef and manager would routinely walk around talking with the guests and keeping an eye on things. The menu changed daily, so if you see 2 items you'd like to try, don't think you can wait until tomorrow to try it. Ask for a half order of each that night! There is a small bar adjacent to the restaurant. The bartender would come over to take drink orders, including wine. There is also an anti-pasta bar. This place is very similar to the other Italian resort restaurants we've been to and we liked it very much. Donna was great!

The main bar was adjacent to the dining room. Well stocked, but the service and quality of drinks were inconsistent. The most notable was 2 attempts at a vodka slush. We think he must have used gin instead of vodka and just couldn't seem to get it right. No problem, just drink some rum cream on the rocks.

The disco bar was not very well stocked and not always attended. It was a very short walk to the main bar, however. We never did see the piano bar open during our stay. Again, a short walk to the main bar.


The watersports people were great! Since the resort is located on the north coast, there is ALWAYS alot of wind and waves. When we were in Runaway Bay in January we were told it was only windy in the winter. Not so, apparently. If you wait til after 10am or so to do watersports you most likely will not be allowed to take the sailboat out alone. There are also kayaks, sail boards, snorkeling gear and the glass bottom boat available here. The snorkeling gear was in average condition. If you are really into snorkeling, take your own. You could snorkel off the beach or take the glass bottom boat out to a reef to snorkel. I think this was once a day. As I already mentioned, it was quite rough and our youngest two did not like the boat ride and there was no way they would be able to snorkel due to the waves.

The scuba diving was also wonderful. One tank dive per day is included in the resort price. Additional dives or night dives are extra. Our three oldest took the resort course. I am certified, but went through the resort course with them as sort of a refresher. The instructions were top notch. We also emailed the scuba contractor ahead of time and got a very timely and informative response. ( http://www.scuba-jamaica.com ) I ended up going on 4 dives. Each to a different location with something different to see each time. Only one of my kids ended up diving in the ocean. One was just too small (10 years old) and the other wasn't feeling very well (congested etc.)

There is also a spa/salon, gift shop and an art shop. Did not buy anything at the gift shop or art shop, but the offerings and prices seemed comparable to what we've seen at other Jamaican resorts. My wife did get a massage and my daughter got some braids put in her hair. The massage was thorough, but maybe just a bit rough for her liking. The braids were $2.50 each, $60 for a whole head.


The web site covers in good detail the available activities. I will only comment on some that stand out one way or another. The Entertainment Coordinators do a great job and were always very friendly.

There is a tennis court (unlighted) available for use along with rackets and balls. The last half of our stay there was a visiting pro doing lessons. The resident pro was very good and adjusted for your playing level. Only played tennis twice. Just too much like work for a vacation!

The fishing area is only there for the kids. It is a small pond adjacent to the sewage treatment plant that is stocked with small fish. They used cane poles and hot dogs for bait. The little ones enjoyed it.

There was a large chalk board at the main pool that listed that days activities. This is mainly for adults and older teens. There is another activity board in the childrens center for kids mainly under 10. Another activity board for pre-teens was outside the childrens center and the activity board for teens in the game room. This is a good time to point out that those last two boards only showed up the last couple of days we were there. We think management realized a little late that they had a significant number of 13 to 16 year olds at the resort that weren't getting the level of attention that they should. They did make a great recovery though, and pretty much appointed one of the entertainment coordinators to be the teen coordinator. The teens ended up taking a trip into MoBay. They went to Margaritaville for the water slide and go carts. They then stopped at Burger King and a video rental place on the way back.

There are two caming trips. One for the younger kids (under 10) on Monday night. They set up tents, had a bonfire and played games right on the beach. The other trip is off resort on the Martha Brae river on Wednesday night for the teens. You need to sign up for this trip on Tuesday and it leaves the resort on Wed at 3pm.

The pool side activities were what I'd imagine is typical for a family resort. Treasure hunt, drinking games, name that tune, trivia contests, bingo etc. Different types of rum and coffee were given to the adult participants and the teens that participated won hand crafted items. Lots of fun and laughs.

The only off resort activity we went on that was included was the trip to the crocodile farm. It was a very short drive and everyone seemed to enjoy it. For $10 you can even feed a live chicken to a very hungry crocodile! The other included off resort trips were shopping in Falmouth and Montego Bay. Apparently, the trip to Dunns River Falls is no longer included, and their web site has been updated to reflect this. Trips to almost anywhere were, of course, available. (Dunns River, Swim with the Dolphins etc)

The children's center was where the Nintendo, crafts, TV and nap area was located. The staff did make the Nintendo's off limits for periods of time during the day (I liked that) so the kids didn't just sit there playing games for a week. All the arts and crafts activities were well coordinated. There are some very talented people working here and it must get difficult at times dealing with all those kids.

The disco was for the pre-teens and under until 9pm or so. After that, teens and adults. Pretty much adults only after midnight. The Piano Bar looked very nice, but never seemed to be used as a Piano Bar during our stay. The teens did have a couple of movie marathons up there during the week.

There was also evening entertainment each night. Karaoke, various band and a poolside show on Wednesday night. This show included dance lessons, limbo, juggling and a fire eater. Very enjoyable. The managers cocktail party was on Tuesday evening poolside. Full bar set up, good food and you get to see just how personable all the staff really is.


Each family gets a vacation nanny. I suppose if we had the need, we could have gotten two since we had two rooms, but one was plenty. She was very friendly and the kids loved her. She spent most of her time with our 6 year old daughter. Our 8 year old son was able to keep himself occupied without assistance. The nanny also cleaned the room and restocked the refrigerator each day. She would also take an hour off each afternoon for lunch. If you wanted her to help out after 4:40pm, she'd take an hour off for dinner then come back. This was an additional $3 per hour. Well worth it! She would also go on any off resort excursions that you wanted her to go along on.


The other resorts we've been to it always seems that it's the people you meet that make the difference. This was different. While we met some great people, and very few rude people, it's the staff that makes this resort. With everyone enjoying their family and having different agendas, it was difficult to spend a significant amount of time with any one family. This was fine and we did enjoy meeting a diverse group of people.

There was one couple there without any children. They were led to believe by their travel agent that this was an adults only resort. To top it off, they were lifestylers! They had heard of Hedo III, but had never been there. We told them about it and how easy it would be to go there on a night pass. They ended up going one evening and loving it. Now they can't wait to get back to visit there.

A couple of the negatives we'd read about prior to our trip were the bugs and the smell from the sewage treatment plant. The bugs never seemed to be a big problem. Ant problems once in the room because someone left cheese and crackers out. Cleaned that up and they went away. One time at the Italian restaurant around sunset some mosquitoes came in. The first time my wife swatted at one, the waitress brought her a can of OFF to spray on herself. Our room wasn't near the sewage treatment plant, but I spent a bit of time near it (tennis courts, scuba and fishing pond). It does have a distinct musty odor, but nothing nauseating or overpowering.

Another negative we were concerned about was the food. Like I said earlier, the food was good (except for the Italian, which was very good). There is alot of Jamaican dishes, so if you aren't interested in that, it could be a problem. But, there always seemed to be a dish that everyone would eat. Also, the pool bar is open for food til midnight.

The final negative we heard about prior to our trip was the beach. It is not anywhere as small and rocky as Hedo III's, but not as nice as the beaches along Negril. While there are some rocks and seaweed, you could safely swim without water shoes. Never saw any sea urchins in the swimming area. It is not very well protected, so peaceful floating on a raft is difficult after the wind picks up. The staff was continuously working to keep the beach as picked up and rock free as possible. After what we'd read prior to the trip, the beach was much larger and nicer than we were expecting.

Another thing we did notice was that most of the staff did not wear name tags. I am very lousy with names and name tags sure would make it easier to call people by their name and avoid the embarrassment of calling someone by the wrong name


We never did get our 'eviction notice' on the last night there. I went to the front desk in the morning to find out what time we had to leave. The printout showed us leaving way too late to catch our plane. I got this corrected and had all of our stuff ready to go outside the room. A half hour before our bus, our baggage was still sitting outside the room. Apparently the list of who's leaving when didn't get updated. Our stuff was promptly taken to the front desk and we took the bus to the airport. The lesson here is to make sure you keep track of when you leave and where your luggage is so you don't miss your flight. Minor inconvenience at worst.

Would be nice if Air Jamaica was at the resort to check you in, but the check in at the airport has actually been improved. The departure tax was included in our ticket (I think all Air Jamaica tickets are now). The check-in desks have been spread out better and which line you get in depends on your destination. Less than 15 minutes later we had our boarding pass. The flight was delayed for 50 minutes or so (3 for 3 here, each time we've had to wait for the same flight that was late getting in from Bonaire). No big deal, just don't go to the departure area til you are ready to leave. If you smoke and are in the departure area, you have to go through immigrations just to get outside to have a smoke.

The flight was fine, same good service, in-flight movie and complimentary beer and champagne. We did have to go into a holding pattern over Richmond due to some storms in the Balt-Wash area, but no big deal and certainly not within the control of the airline. Immigrations at Baltimore really left something to be desired this time. Only two lines open and very slow. One agent in particular was less than friendly. Then the long drive home and wishing all the way that we were still in Jamaica!

Overall a great trip and will definitely return next year. Any questions, feel free to email us at gstein@us.hsanet.net

Thanks to Gary and Georgette for this trip report ...
July 2001

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