My wife and I stayed for 2 weeks at the lovely Ambar in August. We had a fantastic stay with some minor issues, which we didn't let affect our overall
As indicated in this thread the grounds are beautiful. Careful attention is paid to every detail of the landscaping. Absolutely fantastic!
Here is where we had our first issue with our stay. The first night we could not sleep because the couple in the room next to us had their TV on full blast the entire night. We called front desk and they addressed the issue immediately by calling the room and asking to turn down the TV. The next day we switched rooms to distance ourselves from above mentioned couple. Who keeps a tv on that loud while they sleep? well we figured it was probably because you can hear everything and I mean everything that occurs in the outside hall, the doors are so thin and the hall echoes and projects every single noise from footsteps to talking to people slamming their bedroom doors. Pray you are a deep sleeper or you are in a hall with quiet people, or else you'll be woken up each night.
Do not go here if you are looking to party into the wee hours of the morning. The ambar lobby bar literally shuts down by 11pm and at night that's all it has to offer. Instead take one of the shuttles up to the evening show; Michael Jackson is on Monday and by far the best performance followed by the circus. Some of the shows are silly at the main stage but entertaining nonetheless. Usually the courtyard show starts around 11pm (island time) and is either audience participation or staff entertainment. They do have a disco which mainly the young teenies go too and a casino. The casino is smokey and you have to purchase drinks inside, also you can't bring outside drinks in.
The ambar beach is adults only, however you do get some oblivious people who decide to bring their kids over from the esmerelda to build sandcastles at your feet. Kids are great and all except when you are expecting a kid free vacation (i.e. no screaming, crying etc) which is why we chose Ambar. Security will usually ask them to leave if spotted.
The beach itself is beautiful, unfortunately the BP stretch of beach is susceptible to seaweed and I mean alot of seaweed. The majestic stretch of beach cleared theirs each day using machinery by late morning. but ambar staff use wheel barrows and the task is tediously slow. The seaweed isn't nice to look at but isn't a factor unless you are swimming or walking on the beach, the area with the chair beds is beautiful.
Speaking of chair beds, the most annoying aspect of this vacation is the people playing the towel game. Seriously it is absurd! Management states using many different methods that reserving chair beds is not allowed, however everyday by 7am the first two rows of huts on the beach are reserved by some people putting towels on the respective chairbeds. Not only do they reserve them at 7am, but they stroll onto the beach at 11:30 am to start their day. 4 hours the huts and chair beds are being unused. Well I had enough of these little games by the third day, one morning we headed down at 8:00 to see the first 2 rows "reserved", I took ownership of a hut and two chair beds that we deemed hospitable for our daily lounge. The two towels already there were removed,
folded nicely and placed on some chair beds behind us. Should the party that reserved the beds return in the hour I told my wife we will gladly move. At approx 11:30am a Russian couple started scouring the area, pointing in our direction and circling us. The male pointed at the hut and chairs and told my wife "mine", she kindly responded that we have been here for 3.5 hours and they are ours. Cursing at us (What I assume is cursing in Russian) they took up residence at the chair beds behind us, my wife and I continued enjoying our cervesa's and laughed about something, only to hear the female behind us mock us by imitating our laughter, hmm and then male once again cursed. Ok get over it already. But it didn't end there; all of a sudden the male lifts his chaired to apparently move it and smashes it into the palm leaves of the hut above my wife. That was the final straw for me, as I leaped of my chaired to confront this jerk. I don't think he realized when i was seated that I am 6'5 220lbs, well he certainly realized it when I got in his face and came within an inch of throwing him across the beach. Fortunately I restrained myself as a) I was on my honeymoon and b) I really don't want to spend it in a Dominican prison. I am sure this situation isn't the norm at ambar and is an extreme case, but be warned that people do feel entitled to their reserved chair beds, even if they do show up 4 hours later. So either accept the towel game or be prepared to defend your right.
The beach bar is great! The cups are small so bring a bubba keg or equivalent to keep your drinks cool.
We aren't really pool people but the pool is very well maintained. The pool bar is very popular in the afternoon and you can find some fun people to party
with. Shaded chair beds go very fast at the pool in the morning and the majority or the beds are taken by lunch.
Our favorite a la cartes were don pablo and maiko. The garden grill was also good. The remaining a la cartes were decent but nothing special. Send in your reservations a week before you arrive to secure the 3 restaurants mentioned above. Don pablo also requires long pants on guys, no shorts.
Before you enter the restaurants the staff/hostess will require you to use hand sanitizer. We really liked this policy that the BP has implemented as let's face it alot of vacationers don't practice hygiene. Who knows where their hands have been before they start digging into the buffet.
The buffet was quite good, they have a little something for everyone and some great choices of omelets. Standard buffet mentality amongst the guests here, apparently they feel the food will run out and they need to consume as much as they can. People can be quite rude here, but I guess that's to be expected with this many people.
Great staff. No issues at all.
Sigh. I am Canadian and it's quite apparent why most vacation destinations love Canadians. Punta Cana is often referred to as Punta Canada! Judging by the expressions on peoples faces, the lack of effort to crack a smile or respond to a casual hello you would never think they were on vacation. Americans and Brits were the most polite, fun and enjoyable people. However and I hate to generalize but I will, the south Americans are just plain rude, if you don't speak Spanish or Portuguese or look South American, don't expect any courteous behavior. Unfortunately this kind of rude behaviour/attitude is echoed by French Canadiens, they really do not do a good job of representing our country.
We did the jungle safari. Some of the trip is good, but it turns out to be a cash grab, everywhere they take you there are things to buy, from the typical Dominican house (who sells coffee and chocolate out back) to the school where donations are accepted, even the tour bus guide will sell you something. If I was only here a week I would have regretted doing this tour, but two weeks it wasn't a big deal.
Catalina Island is also a 3 hour coach ride each way before you even get on the boat. keep that in mind if you plan on doing that excursion.
They have a mini golf course which is ok, nothing special. Otherwise non water sport activities at this resort are non existent, so on a rainy day there is NOTHING to do apart from extra curricular activities with your partner or parking yourself at the bar. They also have tennis courts.
Overall the Ambar is a fabulous place and we are so glad we stayed here. We might return but we usually like to try new places. Hopefully you'll experience a better group of people than we did. The Dominican is a wonderful country!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 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 (free) and in rooms (free) 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 (free) 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