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“Good Value” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection

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Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Crta. Arena Gorda - Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #15 of 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
Waterloo, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Good Value”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2010

Date of visit: June 18 – 25
Room# 64208

My husband and I chose the Ambar to celebrate our anniversary this year, and this was our first time in the D.R. We’re normally Mexico people, but decided to switch it up. We also usually don’t travel until November/December… so there was a couple ‘firsts’ here.

We knew going in it was the beginning of their rainy season, but the weather was absolutely horrid. Though obviously no fault of the hotel, it did set the tone for our vacation when it rained every single day and we found ourselves spending more time inside the resort (rather than on the beach) than we normally do on a vacation.

My reviews tend to be quite comprehensive, and this is will be no exception, so I’ll start with the good stuff.

I sent two emails to the resort a week prior to our arrival. One was to request a room, and another to book our a la carte restaurants for the week. I requested a corner room in building 64 (the middle of the 3 buildings closest to the beach), and on arrival I was pleased that request was honoured. I’ll address the 2nd email later…

The property is undeniably gorgeous. The grounds are beautifully manicured, lots of greenery and pretty flowers everywhere, walkways are kept clean of debris, well lit at night, and it’s just a very serene, peaceful atmosphere.

The beach is amazing. Picture postcard perfect. Really.

I’m not a pool person so I can’t say, but we heard from other guests the pool is fantastic. Water is nice and warm, very clean, etc.

The rooms are spacious and immaculately clean. Having a corner room, we had a nice big balcony with a great view of the pool and the ocean (through the trees as we were only on the 2nd floor). The A/C in the room worked GREAT and actually found myself a little chilly at night. With the extreme heat/humidity during the day, being chilly was a welcome thing ;)

The maid service was fantastic. She was consistent and thorough. Because of the constant rain, we left our room at different times each day.. but it didn’t matter what time we left or came back, we just put out our ‘clean me’ sign on the door, and our room was done when we got back. Even if we were only gone an hour. That’s always a big plus for us.

The staff for the most part was friendly and eager to please. We found the overall demeanor of the people different than in Mexico, I can’t really define it.. not quite stand-offish, but maybe a little less ‘warm’ and eager to converse? We’re pretty generous tippers and tip everyone we come in contact with around the resort, and it didn’t seem to make a difference.. so it’s probably just a cultural thing.

Now for the not-so-good stuff. There are a few things that (in my opinion) prevent this resort from being a 5-star property.

If you’re traveling in ‘low season’, as we did, you could find yourself very hungry between the hours of 10:30am – 12:00pm, and 3:30pm - 7:00pm. There is nothing open between these times, and although the literature says the snack bar (Las Brisas) is open from 10am to 10pm, this isn’t the case. They do serve an early morning buffet though, which I think is the best kept secret on the resort because it’s always quite empty. Due to our room practically overlooking the snack bar, I just happened to notice people eating in there one morning and we figured it out. The buffet doesn’t re-open for lunch until 1pm and dinner until 7:00pm, and the snack bar is about the same timeline. So, unless you have a reservation at an a la carte, or feel like wandering around the sister properties looking for food, don’t plan to eat before 7:00pm.

We’re not particularly fussy eaters at all-inclusives, but we do know good from bad, and the food in both the main buffet and snack bar was mediocre at best. Of particular concern is the preparation of the food. On 2 different occasions I bit into chicken that was pink in the middle, and meatballs that were practically raw in the middle. For the first time on a vacation, both my husband and I got sick (food sick, not cold/flu sick)… and we were sick for 3 days. Not pleasant.

The a la cart restaurants… lol, where do I begin. So the 2nd email I mentioned sending prior to our arrival was to pre-book our a la carte meals for the week. Not a fan of the reservation system at the best of times, but this takes it to a different level. So I received an acknowledgement of that email, stating they received my requests, and as soon as the schedule came out for the week they would book them. I never received a subsequent email with reservation numbers, so I wasn’t hopeful. The day after we arrived, we went down to Guest Services to confirm what I had booked in the email, and of course we weren’t booked for any, nor did they have any record of my email. I showed them the email on my cellphone and got the ‘blank stare’. So, the restaurants I wanted, on the days I wanted, and the times I wanted were not available, and we basically had to take whatever was available for the week. For the record, I really don’t enjoy eating dinner at 9:00pm.

We ate at El Olivo twice, Don Pablo once, and El Charro (TexMex) on the Bavaro side once. They were all pretty good, with Don Pablo probably being the best meal we had all week. Husband had the lobster and I had the filet mignon, both prepared quite well, nice presentation, etc.

I feel they are being unnecessarily pretentious with the whole a la carte reservation thing, making a big deal about availability, when the restaurants were never more than half full on any of the times we went. Our 2nd trip to El Olivo, she even had to do our reservation in 2 parts (1 person at 7:45 and 1 person at 8:00) because they were just THAT packed. We arrived together at the same time (8:00) and of course there was 20 empty tables. Pretty funny, really.

A few other items that put this just outside the 5-star category is;

No beach butler service
No in-room wifi (lobby bar only)
No in-room iPod docking station
A couple airplane-sized bottles of liquor in the minibar rather than the cabinet system.
Minibar ‘snacks’ consist of one daily bag of potato chips
No nightly turndown service. We did get turndown service one night, but we weren’t even expecting it.. so we didn’t leave a tip out or ‘pre-tidy’ up or anything. That was kinda weird.

If you have lots of things to plug in, you might want to bring one of those multiple-outlet plug adapters. There’s ONE outlet (not even the 2-plug type, just one) in the bathroom, and ONE outlet bedside, which the alarm clock is plugged into. My husband has obstructive sleep apnea and uses a CPAP mask which needs to be plugged in, so we went without a clock radio all week. There’s another outlet in the corner of the room that the floor lamp plugs into. That’s it!

Also, the lighting in the room is very week, I think they use like 20-watt bulbs so if you like to read at night, bring a battery-operated reading lamp… or a miner’s hat ;)

So in all, notwithstanding the crummy weather and mystery illness, it was a good value for the money. I wouldn’t go with the expectations of being a luxury 5-star resort, as I see it listed as on travel sites.. and considering this trip cost about a quarter of what we normally spend for a week I’m not too disappointed. If you want a beautiful, clean resort with a nice beach and aren’t overly picky about food, it’s a good deal :)

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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English first
Milford, Connecticut
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2010

We loved our room in building 60, which was the best since it was close to both the pool and the beach. The trams ran frequently so we could get around easily. The pool and pool bar were perfect, the beach a bit messy from stormy weather, the food was average, the staff were very nice. The weather was very humid and rained almost every day but it certainly did not stop us from going into the pool daily.
Our cabin service from "Constan" was enjoyable since he provided us with a lovely filled bubble bath spa with rose petals and candles on our last night there. He also fixed our suitcase when the zipper came off the track. Very nice man.
The food and service at the Don Pablo was absolutely the worst. Not enough menus given, water not poured for everyone and though we asked 5 times - we never received either. It took almost 2 hours for the full meal to be completed and lobster was overcooked and poor at best..sigh. Service in all other rest. was quite good and food was average but certainly did not stop us from having an overall good time.
We went on the "swim with dolphins" tour ($139 per person) and were taken to the water area in an open truck (raining) which had plastic curtains that came down. Unfortunately that plastic was covered with mold. The dolphins were great but once the tour was completed, we were told we had to get moving since we had only 10 minutes before our transportaiton would be there. Almost one hour later, our moldy truck came to get us. One hours is a lot when you are on vacation and trying to make every minute count. All other hotels had very nice vans picking their folks up and they all came on time. I believe this is more Apple Tours than the hotel but still was very poor.
The ride back to the airport was a little confusing as you had to go from the Ambar to the Princess and then to another van for the airport. Overall a very enjoyable trip.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2010

We stayed the week of June 13th in building 60. Closest building to the beach and beside the pool so very central. I got that building by sending an email to the resort and they were very happy to accomodate.

The grounds are beautiful and artisically done. Constantly being maintained and groomed.

Room was clean, we always had clean towels and bar fridge filled daily by about 11 am. If that is too early for you simply request another time and they will try to honour it.

Staff are really friendly and they try very hard to please even though we don't speak Spanish. It's amasing how much can still be communicated and how much fun it is. Special thanks to Wesley (butler) and Francy (bellmen).

5 Dinner reservations were booked for us upon arrival but you can easily change them at Guest Services. No complaints about the food. Lots of variety. They even have a vegeterian and diet corner at the buffets. Don Pablo Gourmet Restaurant, Maiko Japanese and Garden Steak house were my favourites.

As an Ambar guest you get full use of all the Gran Brahia resorts except Esmeralda. You can eat at the Esmeralda restaurants but not drink at the bar before dinner?!?

Bulter service was nice. Wesley could not do enough for us and even planned a birthday surprise in our room. Wesley was a nice combination of friendliness and professionalism.

Beach was not as nice as it was 3 years ago. The hurricanes and earthquake in Haiti changed the landscape. Beach is not as wide and alot more seaweed. The staff work very hard to keep it clean by grooming 3 times a day. It's still a nicer beach than most just not as nice as it was. This is not a complaint just an FYI.

The Beach vendors stay in their huts on the beach and don't walk up and down the beach trying to sell their goods - to the right of the resort if you're interested. If you want to shop and don't want to walk that far see below about Peublo Principe.

Peublo Principe is like a town square on the resort near the Bavaro main building. They have a casino, sports bar, shops (yes you can barter there too) and local vendors set up nightly.

For transportation, they have 3 shuttle lines that run from the beach to the main buildings. Red, green and blue line. Blue line is nearest Ambar. The shuttles run every 5 minutes and they have bus stops to wait in. The shuttles to do not run parallel to the beach so you need to walk across the resort.

They also give you a map at check in (and you will need it) . What is cool is the map compactly folds to a size of 1 inch by 2 inches. I brought it with me everywhere.

My only disappointments were the coconut slush drinks and the infamous towel game.

The resort doesn't use any coconut flavour I know and it was nasty. They advertise beach service but we never saw anyone serving on the beach. They do have a little hut with juices, coconut flavour, ice tea and water so we brought our bar fridge liquor bottles and pop down to the beach, ice from the ice machine and mixed our own. Or you can go to the pool bar.

As others have mentioned the towel game is very frustrating. We'd show up at the beach by 7:30 am and the first 2 or 3 rows of palapas would be reserved with towels. The towels would sit on an unoccupied chair till the afternoon as others walked around trying to find cover. The first couple of rows are the best not just for the view but the breeze off the water.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2010

We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar and it was fantastic. The staff was amazing. I will definitely remember Hipolito at the pool bar and Felix, the sweetest bell boy I've ever met!!! The main pool bar in the Bavaro section was busy and full of fun. What's nice about being in the Ambar section is, you can relax on the beach in the quiet section if you just want to sleep on the beach, or you can move over to the other part of the beach (which is VERY busy) or the other pool and meet new people. Being in the Ambar section, you have to take the trolly to the Punta Cana section for the disco, but I didn't mind. The disco doesn't open til midnight which is a bit late since we wanted to go right after dinner, but we got used to it. They play a bit of everything but definitely a lot of merengue, salsa and reggaeton, which I love. :)

Definitely book the a la carte restaurants, I think the hotel automatically books three reservations for everyone, even if you're not in the Ambar section, but if you go to Guest Services in the lobby (Ambar), you can book more if there is availability, which is great! I LOVED the a la carte restaurants, they were amazing. Especially the gourmet restaurant, I think it was called Don Pablo. I much prefer the a la cartes over the buffet. I am assuming the Ambar restaurants are better than the Bavaro or Punta Cana ones, but I don't know that for sure. What's nice though, is that when you are staying in Ambar, all the restaurants you're booked in are near you, so you don't have to go searching too far.

One thing you have to know, is the Ambar section is adults only and it's a much older crowd. So if you're young, hang out in the Bavaro or Punta Cana lobbies for drinks, but I'd still recommend Ambar as it's a nicer part of the resort and you're closer to the beach!

Have an amazing time over there -- the grounds are gorgeous, the beach is amazing, everything is perfect. Also, do the Marinarium tour - swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays and snorkelling -- it was a lot of fun! I miss it already!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plano, Texas
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2010

My wife and I spent six days at the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar in Punta Cana from June 11 – 16. We both give both the resort as well as the Punta Cana area a solid five star rating!!!

I did a lot of research on the Punta Cana area as well as the various resorts in the area before we made our final decision. I probably read over 400 reviews on this site. Everything I read about the Punta Cana area was extremely positive. However, the reviews on the various resorts were all over the board. I finally started focusing on the Grand Bahia Principe resorts as a potential location.

We finally made our decision to stay at the Ambar resort. My wife and I are both in our mid-60’s so the adults only feature of the Ambar was very appealing. Plus, we still had access to everything in the Bavaro and Punta Cana resorts so we really couldn’t lose. That turned out to be a great decision for us.

As I then re-read many of the reviews on the Ambar, I started to have second thoughts about going to Punta Cana at all. There were comments such as the lack of friendliness of the staff, poor quality of service, lack of ability of the staff to speak English (neither my wife nor I know any Spanish), quality of the alcoholic drinks, etc. However, we finally decided to make a reservation at the Ambar. And are we ever pleased with our decision!

We found no evidence of any of the negatives mentioned. We even reached the point of trying to find persons on the staff who were unfriendly, provided a poor level of service, or evidence of poor quality in general. For the life of us, we couldn’t see how anyone could make the negative comments some of the reviewers made. The staff was extremely friendly, everyone always said “hola!” (at a minimum), and the quality of everything was nothing short of exceptional.

Arrival

This is a large complex consisting of four hotels each with their own lobbies (Bavarro / Punta Cana / Ambar / Esmeralda). Our arrival was very well organized. As a guest of the Ambar, you are delivered to Bavaro lobby on arrival and then shuttled to the Ambar lobby as larger vehicles cannot access it. Upon departure, you are taken back out to the Bavaro lobby to catch your transportation to the airport. They had transportation waiting when we arrived at the Bavaro lobby so it was no big deal.

Grounds

The grounds here are gorgeous and lush and the Ambar section is very compact, nothing is too far to walk to. The buildings and grounds were extremely well kept and very clean. They are always being maintained and the grounds people do an incredible job.

Room

The room we had was a corner unit on the 1st floor. The room itself was very large, clean, and had a nice tropical feeling to it. The bed was a king size and was as comfortable as any we have ever had in a hotel room. The room also included a large couch, small circular table with two chairs, a chair with an ottoman, a small desk with a chair, a dresser, and a suitcase stand. At night, the room is the darkest of any room where we have ever spent a night. The combination of the darkness and the quiet made for great sleeping.

The air conditioning worked absolutely great. The system requires that a room key (credit card type) must be inserted in a slot near the door in order for the air conditioning to work. The purpose is to shut off the air conditioning whenever the room is unoccupied. However, with the heat and high humidity, if you did this, your room would be very uncomfortable when you returned. The answer is to get an extra room key and keep it in the slot at all times.

The bathroom was spacious and very modern. It has a Jacuzzi tub and a separate stand up shower with a swinging glass door. The water pressure and temperature were always good regardless of the time of day. The resort supplies a wide selection of toiletries which includes most anything you might need. The commode is separated from the main bath by a swinging glass door as well.

The safe is large enough for a laptop computer and most other items you want to lock up. It was free and was easy to use (as I did my research on resorts in the area, I noted that many of them had a nightly charge for use of the safe). The two beach towels are provided and you can exchange them for new ones when required. We never had a problem getting new towels.

Our minibar was restocked daily. Initially, it was stocked with two cans of beer, several non-diet soft drinks, two small bottles of water, one very large bottle of water, a bag of chips, and mini-bottles of rum, vodka, and scotch. Since neither my wife nor I care for beer and we prefer diet soft drinks, we called the “Express Service” and requested that the beer and non-diet soft drinks be replaced with nothing but diet soft drinks and water during our stay. The changes were made within a very short period of time.

I have seen reviews stating that you can hear doors slam in the villas and also hear the people in the room upstairs walking around due to the tile floors. We never experienced any of this. Sometimes you could hear people talking as they walked past our door but this was always usually the early evening and didn’t disturb us at all. Of course, we weren’t in our room during most of the morning and afternoon.

Housekeeping

We found the housekeeping to be excellent. Our room was usually cleaned in the morning as we put the card on the door and they did a great job. We never had a problem getting towels or face wash clothes. The nightly turn down service was a luxury we don’t get at home and so it was nice.

Beach

The beach was gorgeous! The Ambar beach is adults only, marked by signs and a white fence. Security patrols the beach and if there are any children in those areas, they are quickly ushered away. It was lovely to have a peaceful, quiet spot every day. We never had any difficulty in securing lounge chairs in the shade on the beach. We usually arrived on the beach around 9:00 am but noted that there seemed to be plenty of lounge chairs available throughout the morning. This would have been a bigger problem if you were looking for seating for larger groups together (more than two persons).

Pool

The pool is very large and is clean, quiet, and has plenty of lounge chairs although there is very little shade around the pool. The "hot tubs" at the pool aren't really hot tubs - they are smaller pools where water spins like a hot tub but the water temperature is the same as the pool since it is directly connected with the pool. The pool bar was open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and the service and drinks there were excellent.

Lobby Bar and Nightlife

We were frequent guests of the Lobby Bar after dinner every night. Yes, you do have to pay additional fees for some alcohol, but it is all clearly marked - there are no surprises. We saw no reason to pay extra for any alcohol as the drinks were excellent using the house brands.

As for nightlife, the Ambar is set up to be a place of relaxation. The lobby bar closes at 11:00 pm every night. If you want to continue drinking, you have to go over to the Bavaro lobby - the trams pass frequently and it isn't an issue. Over on the Bavaro side there is a casino, sports bar, karioke bar, disco, and several areas where entertainment occurs every night. The casino is open from 4:00 pm - 4:00 am. However, it is extremely small and we didn’t frequent it.

The Bavaro and Punta Cana resorts (all which you can access with your Ambar bracelet) have tennis, miniature golf, pools, 11 restaurants, pool bars, etc. We stayed mostly on the Ambar side except at night.

Internet

The resort provides great access to the internet and it was free. Four computers are available in the lobby. You have 15 minutes use per room per day but it wasn't really enforced so if it wasn't busy they didn't mind if you used it more than that. The lobbies also all have free Wi-Fi which is a nice touch.

Service

The overall service within the resort was very good. We were especially impressed with the front desk and guest services. They spoke excellent English. We used Guest Services for a la carte restaurant booking and to change reservations. The wait was very minimal.

Shops

The Ambar section has a few small shops but it is worth walking over to the other stores in the Bavaro/Punta Cana section as they have much more variety and the price for the same thing was cheaper in the other sections.

Tram (Runs 6:00 am – 3:00 am)

The trams were excellent. They ran very frequently and you could get anywhere in a short period of time. We used them approximately 15 times and never had to wait more than 5 minutes for one. While it is a large resort, you walk basically anywhere from the Ambar in 10 – 15 minutes.

“Palmyra” Buffet (Open 7:00 am – 10:30 am / 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm / 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm)

This is the indoor buffet that is open for three meals a day. The buffet was clean, tidy, well-organized and had a great staff. The staff could not do enough for the guests. We found the selections on the buffet to be very good. The quality was excellent and there was always plenty to choose from. The food was well prepared and tasty.

Breakfast has everything from pancakes, French toast, cereal, yogurt, and make-your-own omelettes to fresh fruit, smoothies, and veggies. Lunch always has pasta, pizza, and a carving station (beautiful rotisserie chicken!). Dinner every night of the week is themed (i.e. Mexican, Italian, Chinese, etc). There is a grill every night where you can get steak and a variety of fish. Also, there is a pasta bar every night where make-your-own pasta is available. There are lots of dessert options at every meal.

Beach Buffet

The beach buffet is a much smaller version of Palmyra buffet. There are no "make-your-own" options but there are always salads and a cold cut bar, nachos, fish, pasta, meat, and pizza. We ate lunch there every day.

A La Cart Dining

We tried four of the a la carte restaurants. Note that the dress code for dinner at all of the a la carte restaurants requires that men had to wear long pants, shirts with collars, and closed toe shoes.

“Don Pablo” Gourmet Restaurant (Open 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm)

The restaurant had a relaxing atmosphere, excellent food selection, and great service. Both the appetizers and main courses were served a la carte here. We both had the lobster dinner and found it excellent.

“Bella Italia” Italian Restaurant (Open 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm)

This restaurant is in the Esmeralda resort. This is a very new resort but you have access to the a la carte with the Ambar bracelet. It was the best restaurant we tried. The appetizers were severed buffet style and main courses were a la carte. The service was excellent. All of the food we tried here was excellent --- and don’t pass on the chocolate mousse desert.

Note that the tram does not run to the Esmaralda but it's a quick three minute walk and the experience is absolutely worth the walk!

“Maiko” Japanese Restaurant (Open 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm)

This restaurant is in the Bavaro resort. This was the Japanese restaurant where they cook in front of you in groups of 12 people. Prior to the group cooking, everyone got a plate of sushi, a plate of tempura and soup. The chef was entertaining and it was a fun activity as well as an excellent dinner. After the main dinner is completed, you move to individual tables for desert.

“El Olivo” Mediterranean Restaurant (Open 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm)

This was our least favorite a la carte restaurant. The appetizers were served buffet style and the main course was a la carte. While the appetizers were great, we found the main menu to be limited, the quantities to be small, and the quality to be below the other restaurants we ate at.

General Comments and Tips

* Bring lots of $1.00 for tips. They are very much appreciated by the staff. Ten (10) per day of stay should be sufficient.

* Bring lots of sunscreen. It is very expensive in the gift shop! Also, the sun in Punta Cana is very intense. We used a 75SPF on our face and neck and a 50 SPF on the rest of our body.

* Bring insulated cups/mugs. The drinks are normally served in small 8 oz. cups which make for numerous trips to the bar. We brought 34 oz. “Bubba Kegs”.

* While the electric current in the Dominican Republic is the same as in the United States and Canada (115 volts), their outlet plugs are slightly different. You can get an International outlet adapter set at most electronic stores. If you use an adapter plug with a multiple outlet surge protector (which you also need to bring), you will have a sufficient quantity of outlets available for things such as recharging batteries, curling irons, etc.

* The Dominican people are extremely friendly. Any attempt to speak Spanish is very much appreciated by them and they will provide better service for you. It doesn't take much to say "hola" and smile.

* There are always numerous staff cleaning the resort. They really try hard to keep things in tip top shape. The only places where I seen this matched is at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Overall Impression

We found the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar to be an excellent resort and hard to beat for both quality and service. We completely enjoyed our stay, would not hesitate to return, and highly recommend it to others. We have taken many, many vacations over the years to many different locations in the world but few would compare with the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar and Punta Cana.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2010

This was an all girls trip for 4nts, 5days, and I'm thankful we didn't stay any longer than that. I normally don't leave bad reviews but this was the worst vacation ever.

Pros: The rooms and resort was clean. Pool was clean. Didn't have to play the towel game with the pool/beach chairs. The beach is okay, Lots of hard algae. The resort is very pretty.

Cons: The workers don't speak english. It was downhill from the moment we got there. Arrived there at 1pm, couldn't check in till 3pm but the receptionist told us we had reservations for resturants that for every night we were there, which he lied, because the first night we got there, there was no dinner reservsation. Also he couldn't give us our welcome packet until exactly 3pm.

Being that we didn't have dinner reservsations the first night, I called guest services and she gave me reservastions to Miako at 9pm. I called her back 3x to confirm. We get to Miako at 9pm and they said we never made reservsations there. Mind you it took us 30mins to get to this resturant b/c we were asking for directions and no one spoke english and the workers didn't even know where we were on the resort map. Called Guest serivces again, they said we had reservsations at Don Pablo. The food at the resort(s) was mediocre.
The only decent resturant was the Italian at Esmerelda.

If they didn't speak english just say no comprende or direct us to someone who does. Instead they pretend they do and pionts us in the wrong direction. Another thing is you ask two people the same question they both give you different answers. I asked the other American vacationers if they had the problem with language barrier and they all did! I notice most vacationers were spanish speaking. The resort map isn't updated and there guest serivce book isn't updated, so the times changed regarding when to eat. And if the resturant is even open or not. Apparently we were lookng for the Mexican resturant and asked 5 different people for its location, only to find out from one of the receptionist its closed for the year.

We did the Seona catarman cruise where the tour operator told us we will see fish and starfish. We only saw 1 starfish for 10mins. and no fish. ( I think they had the star fish hiddden somewhere and they just took it out) The food at the seona island was an outdoor buffet which there was many flies touching the food.

Did Parasailing at the beach which was also something we had to fight for. There are 2 watersport section. We went to the watersport section by Bavado, and the guy told us it was $110 for parasailing for 3 people and to come back in 1 hr. We come back and got a different guy and he wouldn't give us the same price. Then we went to the watersport section by Ambar and he gave it to us for $110. *sigh* It was just one thing after another.

The people at the outdoor marketplace by the Casino were very agressive and rude. Before you step into the marketplace they're coming at you and they follow you to the other end of the market place. The majority of workers were rude and made remarks at us. Maybe its because we were the only 3 asian girls at the whole resort?

Waiting for our shuttle to take us back to the airport as another problem. We asked the man who worked for Turniter shuttle service if this was our ride back ot the airport, he said no. The shuttle leaves and So we waited for another 30mins and the same guy that said no comes back to pick us up.

Overall this was a negative experience. I've been to other resorts and this was my first bad experience.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Hopewell Junction, New York
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2010

First let me start with the positive. The hotel is beautiful, the grounds are immaculate and the beach is one of the best in the Dominican Republic. The maid service was excellent...we left a few bucks every day and our room was kept very clean and the maid fussed to make towel art and fresh petals of flowers in the room. The food was good for a carribean resort. The service in the resturants was hit or miss, but most of the time it was good. The entertainment was on the other side of the property and it was pretty good some nights. The Michael Jackson show was probably the best show we ever say in the Carribean. The casino was very samll and not too appealing.

The negatives are the alcohol is terrible.....nothing top shelf or even middle shelf unless you want to pay extra.....and who ever heard of a resort that didn't have any cranberry juice. The beer Presidente was the only thing that was good as far as bar items.

My husband and I traveled with a group of 10 people and they wanted to seperate us at dinner time. They said that they could not accomodate 10 people at one tabel. This was upsetting to us since we made reservations for every evening for 10 people two weeks before we traveled and no mention was made that we could not sit together. When we arrived they said that we couldn't sit together and it took us two days to get the situation settled. We were informed that they would make an exception this time, but this is not their policy. My husband does outside sales as a travel agent and he was not happy about this situation. They did make good for the reservation, but we felt we should have been informed before we got down to the resort. So if you are going down with a large group be sure to get your reservation guaranteed that you will sit together before you get down there. We all had a good time once we got over the dinner reservation delima.

If you are going as a couple or a few people, the resort is fine unless you are top shelf alcohol people.

  • Stayed April 2010
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection

Address: Crta. Arena Gorda - Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#6 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 964
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 1 pool Sun terrace with sun umbrellas and loungers Relaxation zone with Bali beds Outdoor Jacuzzi BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 3 tennis courts, multi-sports court Water activity centre Motorised water sports (additionalcharge) WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment amphitheatre Wedding gazebo 1 buffetrestaurant 3 speciality restaurants 4 bars 1 snack- bar Gazebo de bodas Smokers' lounge with bar service (cigar menu with additional charge) Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole Punta Blanca Golf Club, designed by Nick Price (additional charge) Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, karaoke, disco and casino. Rooms 528 Deluxe Junior Suites Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Ceiling fan Air conditioning Sitting area with sofa Terrace Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub and separate shower, hair dryer Bathrobe and slippers Don Pablo Collection amenities Direct phone line (additional charge for external calls) Alarm clock with iPod docking station Flat screen TV Coffee-making machine Minibar Safe Butler service 24 hour room service Evening turndown service Pillow menu 2 disabled rooms for a maximum of 3 adults Prime location right on the sea front Exclusive lake-style pool Aroma menu WiFi (additional charge) Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana

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