This was our third trip to Dominican Republic and our first trip to Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar.
Overall we had an amazing time with no issues at all. A few things to remember and understand about Dominican Republic, the folks that work at these resorts/airport transportation companies etc only make about $300 USD a month, yes you read it right $300 a month. Take plenty of single dollars for tips, they really work hard and deserve the extra money. The workers also work 13 hours a day/6 days a week and a lot of them share a room at the resort [approx 10-12 people a room!] so they only see their own families a few times a week. With that said, if you do encounter an employee that may seem grumpy there is plenty of reason why. However, we did NOT encounter one employee that was not happy to see us!! They were all amazing. And finally, I read some past reviews about service being slow, as I tell ANYONE I have ever talked to about Dominican Republic, you are on Dominican time now and they are a lot more relaxed than other parts of the world [especially North America] so take a few breaths and enjoy your time there don't get uptight if your drink is not filled and you are having to wait on another one!!
On to the actual review. We arrived late afternoon to the main hotel at Luxury, we were then transported by golf cart to the Ambar. This is actually really nice because no big vehicles can get to the Ambar from the main lobby of the 'big' hotel. I found this nice and more personable. Check in was a breeze and we were taken to our room. Room was spacious and cool, we were on the third floor and had no issues with a/c or anything.
We ventured out to the beach and the beach is very pretty, there are quite a few trees where the Ambar beach is. If you don't like all the trees then walk down to the beach towards the volleyball net area, they have a lot more open beach area. However there are a lot more people and tons of kids.
Pool area is amazing although we only went to the pool after 3 and after a long day of laying lazily on the beach. It is nice to round out the day in the pool and chat with other folks there. Our favorite drink at the beach/pool bars was the coco loco. Make sure you try it. Also, if you have not experienced shots of mamajuana then make sure you take a few!! You can buy it to take home at the lobby shops. Speaking of shops, we ventured up to the 'big' hotel main lobby and they offer approx 30 shops [give or take a few] so no need to leave the resort to shop. We walked the shops twice and did a 'free' off resort shopping excursion and overall the shops at the resort was very reasonable. But make sure you go thru all the shops first because there were a few variations on prices, go for the best deal.
We didn't try any of the speicalty restaurants, we don't like to be on a schedule so we ate the buffet every night. Always something new there every night. We ate lunch at the buffet right next to the pool and that always had great choices. If you do decide to try one of the restaurants then email them about a week before to get your reservations in. You can also email about what building you would like to stay in [no guarantee but you can try] we were in building 68 and it was close to the pool yet far enough away to not hear any noise.
We are early risers and turn in early. We did place towels out on the beach chairs about 6:30 am, yes that is early but the sun comes up early and it gets warm quick! We were in the chairs laying out by 8:30 every morning. The sun sets early, around 7 pm maybe? Keep that in mind because this is more of their off peak season.
Tips!! I tipped everyone, I tipped the maid, the bartenders, the bell men, the drivers everyone!! I took a few small gifts for the maid as well. If you have the option to get butler service then do it! We talked to a family who ranted and raved about how great their butler is. When I worked with my travel agent we never saw the option to get butler service, maybe it was sold out? We booked our trip only 1 1/2 months out and we normally book about 5 months out.
Flight out - the airport is a lot more packed than our first visit 6 years ago. Currently there are two terminals for departures. Ours was in terminal one where a lot of the stores are at. There are places to eat between the two terminals and places to buy snacks. This is some advice everyone should know, if your flight is due out of terminal one it is not air conditioned so it gets very warm and uncomfortable. However terminal two is air conditioned. So walk over to terminal 2 and sit there to wait till loading time. Then give yourself a few minutes to walk back to terminal 1 to load your flight!!! That way you are not all sweaty by the time you finally get on your plane. All of the planes are boarded outside so you do have to walk outside and the planes get really warm in the inside until your flight leaves. Best to keep in the a/c as long as you can!
Finally, have fun and relax. I kept reminding myself to enjoy every minute of the trip because it goes by fast and you don't want to regret any of the time you are there!!!
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana