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Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue
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Reviewed May 27, 2012

I am here along with my twin sister and we have had an excellent stay. All, and we do mean all, of the staff have made our vacation the best. We arrived May 24 and will leave May 31. We no next to nothing in Spanish but have been able to communicate very well with the staff. If you come with an open mind to other cultures, you will have no problems here. The grounds are clean and well-maintained. We ate at Don Pablo and El Olivo restaurants which had excellent food and service. Our absolute favorite by far is the Palmyra, the buffet. Every meal is an adventure. If the world wasn't so big with many more places to vacation, we would definitely come back to the GBP Ambar again.

Room Tip: Read all trip advisors comments, the good, bad and ugly. When going for alacarte meals, don't forget to take your reservation slip. We read that on here and it was most helpful.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank JanJean F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2012

My husband and I along with my mother and father went the Ambar section of the Gran Bahia Principe for 7 days. The two main reasons were that it is all-inclusive and adults only. It was OK. Upon arriving at the airport, first of all, we were greeted with people playing music (wonderful by the way), but when we got closer to them, they didn't just have a basket for tips, but they literally kicked the basket at people for tips. I heard tipping was appreciated, but I didn't think it would be like that.
Once we arrived at the Ambar section I expected warm greetings and a drink. We had to ask for the drink ourselves after 5 minutes of no one offering. My husband and father got a drink at the lobby bar (Murphi at that bar was one of our favorite bartenders!) while my mom and I decided to make a reservation or two for the restaurants (I read the reviews about how hard it was to get them). That is one thing I wish were different, but I guess with the sheer size of the Gran Bahia it should've been expected. (The complex is ENORMOUS and maybe not for everyone as it took a while to get used to and the shuttle service was at times unreliable- we missed our first excursion because the shuttle service that was supposed to run "every 5 minutes" took over 30 minutes...next time we would've just walked) We had to make 3 of the reservations the day we arrived and if we hadn't we may not have been able to dine at the Don Pablo (our favorite! We LOVED the Caribbean lobster).
The rooms were awesome! Everything was very clean and comfortable. The showers were really nice and seemed new. Maria and the housekeeping staff were extremely friendly and kept everything neat and comfy for you. We had turn down service (as long as you don't put the do not disturb sign up) every night and came back to the room with chocolates and fresh flowers in the bathroom.
Overall everyone was really nice (we loved David and Christian @ the swim-up bar!), however, the service at the Bella Italia was well below average. When I book an all-inclusive vacation, I expect to be treated well and greeted with a smile wherever I go. For the most part, this was the case, but there are always exceptions to every rule.
My least favorite part was the tipping. I read reviews that tipping was appreciated, but if we went back, we wouldn't tip as much. I really don't think that it should be recommended to tip at any all-inclusive resort. I understand that the employees work hard, but at times it made the trip less enjoyable.
The drinks were pretty good and NOT watered down at all, which is nice, but the frozen drinks weren't frozen at all. I'm not sure if the machines were broken while we were there, but they were very watery. I saw many people with insulated mugs, so if you like your drinks cold, I would recommend that. Be careful with the mama Juana! It's dangerous at the resort (it's MUCH different and less potent when you purchase it other places).
The gift shops had some of THE most expensive things I've ever seen on a vacation. The prices at the Ambar side were pretty outrageous. One gift shop at the Bavaro section had the best prices for everything, so I would say look around before you purchase because almost all the shops had the same items, but VERY different prices. I didn't like walking around to the merchants around the resort, because they were very pushy.
The beach, for me, was much too windy and rough. The water was beautiful and clear, except for near the shore, which prevented me from going in. With the swim-up bar in the pool, though, we didn't see a reason to leave!
The food, in our opinion, was just average. The Don Pablo was the best, the Pescador was pretty good, Bella Italia OK, and the "Japanese" restaurant Maiko was pretty awful. I understand that there were two Japanese and maybe the other was better, but if you like Japanese food, (teppanyaki and sushi) then this is NOT for you. One of the "sushi" maki rolls they served was (we were almost 100% sure) filled with canned tuna. But I suppose you don't go to a resort in the Dominican Republic for Japanese food. The buffets were pretty decent and had a good variety, but there weren't many changes from day to day.
By far the best part of the trip was the Bavaro Runners excursion that we took. I highly recommend it and it allowed us to see the real Dominican Republic with a funny, knowledgeable guide ("Sammy" car wash).
Overall, it was just average. For the money, it was a pretty good deal. We did have a pretty enjoyable time and met some great people. We wouldn't go back though.

Room Tip: We had a third floor (highest level) room. The steps weren't bad at all, but if you were expecting an ocean view room, I heard they don't actually offer them at the Ambar.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Kristen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marco P, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for visiting Gran Bahia Principe Ambar and sharing your experience.

Thank you for our feedback, we are very sorry to learn that your experience was not up to the level that we intend to be, we assure you that we will take your review as an improvement tool for future guest.

Guest experiences and opinions are very important to our team, we use these comments and suggestions to strengthen and develop our services. We understand that not every experience can be perfect and that guest experiences can vary from guest to guest. We try to evaluate each opinion and try to compare them in a general sense to measure if certain changes will allow us to meet guest expectations.

I have spoken personally to our Food & Beverage staff and management with regard to your experience and the appropriate steps are being taken to ensure guest satisfaction. In addition, please know that tipping at the resort is optional and not mandatory. We leave this gesture entirely up to the guest if they wish to do so.

We hope that we have a second opportunity to better serve you and that your next experience is completely different to this one.

Look forward to your prompt return to Gran Bahia Principe Ambar!!

Sincerely,

Marco Peña
Resident Manager
gerenteresidentegbpbpamb@bahia-principe.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2012

We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar from May 11-18. This was our third time in the D.R. and the first time at this hotel. We absolutely loved the quiet setting of this adults-only resort. If you like large resorts, as we do, you will definitely enjoy the property. The grounds are immaculate and so well manicured. There are four pools on the property but we only stayed at the Ambar pool. Absolute thumbs up to David, Christian and Juan at the Los Corales pool bar for making the best mojitos ever!! The beach was as beautiful as always in Punta Cana!! It was also nice to have your own private beach at the Ambar and it wasn't as crowded as it was on the Bavaro side.
We had dinner at three a la carte restaurants, the Bella Italia, which we was very good, the Don Pablo, which everyone on Trip Advisor recommended. We thought it was just okay. I had the red snapper that was good, and my husband had the filet mignon, that should be very tender, but it was stringy and tough. Although the waiter wanted to replace it, my husband declined and we just struck it up to "just one of those things". Could happen in any restaurant...not a big deal. Our favorite restaurant was Maiko Japenese. The food was fantastic!! We sat at the show table which always a plus. We had the chicken, shrimp, and beef teriyaki....sooo good! The buffets were also very good, although smaller than most resorts that we've been to, but we always found something to eat and never left hungry.
We went to two shows and the Michael Jackson tribute should not be missed! The dancers were amazing!! At the end, they asked the audience to come up for pictures with the cast and there was such a crowd waiting you would have thought it was really Michael Jackson performing! We've never seen that response in any show. We also went to the Circus show which was so well done, similar to a "mini" Cirque du Soleil.
The staff at this resort is the BEST we have ever seen! Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Always with a smile...they will do everything possible to make your stay enjoyable!!
Shopping on the site is a real convenience although we found the prices fairly high. The small vendors at the Pueblo are very aggressive so we did our best to stay away and did our shopping in the stores. We would have liked to have had a logo store on site, selling coffee mugs, hats, more variety of t-shirts etc. We were able to find was a beach towel with the GBP logo.
I realize this is a long review but needless to say, we would definitely return to this resort and recommend it highly to everyone.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank P_M155032
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marco P, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2012

Dear Guest,

Warm regards from sunny Gran Bahia Principe Ambar, we thank you for your recent stay and sharing your comments.

Your compliments demonstrate to future guest that will visit our resort, our commitment and our efforts to provide "Exceptional Service".

We hope to have the opportunity to pamper you at our property in the near future and that we can once again “Exceed your Expectations”.

Sincerely,

Marco Peña
Resident Manager
gerenteresidentegbpbpamb@bahia-principe.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2012

We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar for 5 nights May 13-18. It was very nice to get away but i don't think this resort was for us. We are in our early-mid thirties and pretty laid back so despite the things we didn't care for we still had a great time.

THE GOOD:

Jacuzzi tub comes standard in the room. Most other places don't have that so it was nice.

Balcony comes standard, also a nice bonus.

The food was very good for an all inclusive. The best of any place we have been. There was a lot of things that were prepared fresh, tons of fresh fruit and the seafood was delicious. We had the pleasure of dining at Don Pablo one of the nights and it was out of this world. Definitely top-notch cuisine.

They are not stingy with the pool towels like some other places we've been.

The pool was awesome and it had a swim-up bar.

The ocean was gorgeous. Clear and the perfect temperature.

If you hang your 'please clean the room' tag out they come clean and make the bed, even if they already came and cleaned your room once. The first night we got turndown service with flower petals and chocolates on the bed. Very nice.

The grounds were impeccable. Not a blade of grass out of place. Everything was very clean and well kept.


THE BAD:

The resort was very big and it was difficult to figure out what was going on and where. We heard the Michael Jackson show was good (which it was) so we made a point to go. One thing said it was at 9pm, one said 9:30. We got there at 8:45 to be safe and it was actually at 9:45. We decided to sit at a cocktail table in the back and have a drink before the show. At 9:44 a very loud rude group of 20-somethings came and stood right in front of the cocktail tables so none of us could see. When one of the other guests asked them to please move they got very nasty and tried to start a fight. I know it's not the fault of the hotel but there seemed to be more than a few trashy guests there. At breakfast the second day we sat down, ordered coffee and left our stuff at the table to go get something to eat. When we came back there were people sitting in our seats. When we let them know that it was our table they were really rude and said that the hostess sat them there and we would have to find another table. They didn't seem to mind that my beach bag and my fiance's sunglasses were sitting there. Again this is not the hotel's fault but who does that?

The beaches in the Dominican Republic are public, not part of the resort. Be prepared to be bothered by vendors peddling their wares up and down the beach. Most are not too bad but it can get annoying because if you buy one thing they keep coming back and won't leave you alone. The beaches are smaller compared to some of the surrounding resorts. While we had no trouble finding a lounge chair, Its pretty much impossible to get a spot on the beach with shade. If you go to the pool late enough sometimes you can get one.

When we went to make our reservations for dinner the second day we were there we were told everything was booked and we could only have dinner 2 nights. After begging and pleading they finally "squeezed us in" at 9:30pm the following night. When we got there we were one of 5 tables in the restaurant. It was like this all 3 nights. I don't know what's up with that.

The body wash, lotion and shampoo that they give you are really watered down. I'd suggest bringing your own.

One night they had vendors set up in the piazza by the theater. We decided to take a walk through to see what they had. I would advise against doing this. Stay far away from the square if the vendors are there. They are like vultures. I've been to Jamaica and Mexico and they had the same sort of thing but they didn't harass and practically accost you like they do here. When we said we were just looking one of the vendors called us something i can't put on here. It was very not cool.

We opted to skip the time-share presentation after we signed up for it. they sneakily got us to sign up under the guise of guest services or something like that. They proceeded to call our room very early the next morning and tell us how important it was that we go blah blah blah. Every time we walked past the desk in the lobby they bothered us. We finally just started lying and telling them we already did it. That was probably the most annoying thing about this resort and the reason we won't return even though the food was amazing.

I paid for the deep-tissue couples massage at the spa. I don't think my masseuse has any idea what she was doing. It definitely wasn't deep tissue. She spent more time rubbing my arms than my back. Then there was no hot water in the spa shower afterwards. The experience was nice but don't pay extra for the deep tissue, it's not worth it.

THE STRANGE

They serve breakfast from 7:30-10:30 but the bar doesn't open until 10. If you want a bloody mary or mimosa with your breakfast you have to eat late.

We got pillows off the pillow menu and they were great. But then they took them the first day they cleaned. It took 2 days to get them again.

My fiance ordered a vodka martini at dinner. i have no idea what was in that glass but it wasn't vodka. Then he just got vodka rocks and he got rum with 1 ice cube.

Our bathroom didn't have a door on it. It had a spot for a door but no door. then on the 4th day nasty water started leaking from the ceiling. I'm guessing it was from the bathroom upstairs. pretty gross. We called the concierge and they didn't send anyone but they came and fixed it pretty quickly after we called the express services # about an hour later.

Even though it said there was an ice machine on the first floor there wasn't one. We had to go to the lobby bar to get ice.

We paid extra for adults only and our balcony was directly across from people with kids. That kinda sucked I don't know why they would set it up that way.

Room Tip: Bring plenty of sunscreen. The sun is really strong and if you have to buy it there it's $30. Make your reservations as quickly as possible and don't listen when they tell you to go to the other desk for a 'welcome gift' it's just a time share scam.If you order pillows off the pillow menu hide them or they will take them!
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank weeekend_warrrior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marco P, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2012

Dear Guest,

Warm regards from Gran Bahia Principe Ambar. Thank you for sharing your experience with others on Trip Advisor. It’s unfortunate to learn that we did not completely meet or exceed your expectations.

We appreciate that you have taken the time to share your comments with regard to our services throughout the resort. I have shared your comments with our Executives, Spa Manager and staff; serious consideration will be given to your comments and concerns to evaluate the areas of opportunity.

Dinner reservations, I always encourage guest to coordinate their desired dinning choices immediately upon arrival, simply visiting our guest relations desk located in the main lobby. This way our guest enjoy more availability and remove the hassle from waiting to the last minute where at times there is less availability.

Transportation, yes the resort is large but it is simply the choice of our guest to visit or venture around the complex. Although, in my honest opinion, It is a nice benefit for Ambar guest to visit other parts of the complex and have different experiences.

Furthermore, I also wanted to take this opportunity to address another comment from your review just to explain briefly. Some time ago, resorts had ice machines located in each building and it was a great amenity. Here is the downfall if not handled correctly this can be a health and safety issue. If by accident guest start removing ice with their bare hands and not washing this could cause an outbreak of illnesses. This is why in this particular resort we have decided to remove ice machines and allow our trained and certified staff to handle this delicate matter, hope you understand.

Once again, we thank you again for sharing your experience, we hope that you reconsider and we are given the opportunity to welcome you once again to Gran Bahia Principe Ambar.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Resident Manager
gerenteresidentegbpbpamb@bahia-principe.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2012

Beautiful property-immaculate grounds-perfect beach-nice rooms--we've been to other 4-5 star adults only in Punta Cana & this COMPARES WELL..most top shelf liquor-friendly staff
wonderful spa service
dinner reservations a hassle & only 3 adult only choices for al la carte--I would NOT bother having dinner at the other properties--too many kids & poor service! Buffet was varied & good for breakfast & lunch --

Room Tip: building 64 if you want to be near beach & pool
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank oswegolinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marco P, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2012

Dear Guest,

Warm regards from sunny and warm Gran Bahia Principe Ambar. Thank you for sharing your experience on Trip Advisor with furture guest. We appreciated that our resort compares well to other resorts that you have visited and that we were able to meet your expectations.

Thank you for mentioning our immaculate grounds, perfect beach, nice rooms, top shelf liquor, friendly staff and wonderful spa service. These comments are our entire staffs motivation to continue providing exceptional service and continue to build on for future guest.

We hope for your prompt return, we look forward to catering to your needs once again in the near future.

Sincerely,

Marco Peña
Resident Manager
gerenteresidentegbpbpamb@bahia-principe.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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