We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe AMBAR hotel from March 18 up to March 30, 2013.
The entire resort is huge as it contains several hotels (Bavaro, Esmeralda and Ambar).
The Ambar part of the resort is clearly the most quiet as it is adults only. Through the entire resort is a network of little shuttle trains, as you have the possibility to have dinner in any of the resort’s restaurants. Walking around can be really nice too and it is the best way to enjoy the scenery.
The hotel premises were very nice. Colonial style, spacious and light buildings, clean and classically decorated, luscious gardens in pristine condition. The cleanliness of it all deserves to be called 5 star.
In the Ambar part of the beach where we stayed, everything was quite clean however, I did find some glass and plastic pieces of cups buried in the sand on several occasions. Service at the beach is OK, the chairs are a nightmare. The canvas is pulled so tight over the chair they always flip open and trying to lie on your stomach certainly takes some practice and flexibility. Towel service is pretty lousy. On 3 occasions there were no clean towels available and we had to wait until the next day.
Chairs at the pool are way better than the beach ones. Although there is a no-reservation policy according to the hotel flyers put on every sunbed, at 7 (seven yes indeed) in the morning almost all sunbeds under the parasols are “taken” by people who leave their towels or books or clothes, even though they only appear 3 hours later….there seems to be no follow-up by the hotel staff or management, so people just keep on doing this. The poolside gets crowded and is pretty noisy. For peace and quiet better go to the beach.
We went to the Spa on 4 different occasions and had a Facial, Caribbean massage, Lymphatic Draining massage and a Pedicure. The girls at the reception counter spoke English, but the girls providing the services did not. Treatments were ok.
Rooms are spacious and clean, even though they lack a bit of contemporary style, but they are acceptable. We changed rooms after our first day, as we asked for a room with a king size bed and this was not available upon arrival. We spent quite some time running around, talking to several people before we were moved to another room. Largest rooms are the corner rooms that have a slightly larger balcony. We stayed in building 66 and onwards in building 63, which was close to the lobby and at an acceptable distance of the pool and beach. (5 minutes)
The walls in the bedroom and the communicating door are hardly isolated as you can easily hear anything happening next door. The echo when people are talking outside in the hallway is also clearly audible in the room. All this can be quite unpleasant....especially at 3 in the morning...use earplugs if you are a light sleeper.
RECEPTION AND CHECK IN
Staff at the reception were not very customer friendly, even mildly arrogant, maybe the fact that we only speak basic Spanish was held against us. We do speak French, English, German and Dutch. So no gold stars for the reception crew, apart from an apprentice called Pia who was helpful and charming. Check-in time was acceptable as was check out.
A general procedure at arrival is to make the reservations at all the restaurants you wish to visit during your stay, via the client service department. We did this and had no problems with the times we wanted as we are used to having dinner late (8.30 – 9.30).
The Palmyra buffet, where we took our breakfast at the Ambar hotel , was offering a great diversity of hot and cold dishes even though the warm food was often cold or tepid. Food 7/10, Staff 7/10
The Las Olas snack bar next to the pool offered on occasion good service and on other days pretty lousy service. At one point we had to take our own used plates to the counter because even though waiters pass your table 5 times, they clearly had their eyes on other things.
In the restaurants, we encountered recurring issues : food served cold or only tepid, staff taking an order and completely forgetting about your further existence, serving dishes in the wrong order….overall quality of food and staff not very high.
The Don Pablo restaurant , we were told is the Gourmet restaurant of the resort and we were expecting a lot of this restaurant as were are real foodies. Unfortunately, this restaurant soon turned out to be a huge disappointment. Not only did we have to wait an eternity between different courses, but the food was cold. On two occasions I had the lobster and it still had the intestinal canal in it. On another occasion we took the chateaubriand and the vegetables served with the meat were stone cold. In my tuna tartar I found a fly and reported this to the waiter, who didn’t seem impressed at the least…he told me he was going to inform the chef and that is pretty much where it ended….one night I didn't have the small plate for my bread, so when the bread man came over to our table, he noticed the missing plate and made a U-turn to never return....my husband wasn't entitled to any bread either...We witnessed staff getting into a quarrel as well…all too silly for further comment...very professional indeed… Food 3/10, staff 3/10
At other tables people were sending their food back, at one point a guy called over a waiter and told him to stick his fingers in his coffee as that was cold too….we initially had 4 bookings, but after 3 lousy experiences where always something seem to go wrong, I was so fed up, we just had dinner at the buffet instead.
We tried the Takar (Chinese) restaurant where we had twice the experience of staff not understanding what we were saying, nor in French neither in English. They do nod and say YES when you address them, but clearly are completely clueless. Food 7/10, staff 5/10
The Japanese restaurant , Maiko, was quite good and so was the service. Maybe we just got lucky because we had a waiter speaking English and French ! Only negative point was the noise at the restaurant. Food 9/10, Staff 9/10
The Italian restaurant Portofino was of good quality, staff not very welcoming nor motivated. Some food at the buffet was cold even though it was supposed to be served hot. Food 7/10, staff 6/10
The Italian restaurant El olivo, same story. They managed to serve the chicken ala Diavola, (on the menu it says black olives, fresh tomatoes and garlic sauce) with a port sauce. ???? When asking for the difference I could have used sign language or spoken Chinese, but none of the waiters had a clue what I was talking about…..the story becomes boring as I seem to have to tell it over and over again. Food 7/10, staff 5/10
At the Italian restaurant Bella Italia, staff was very welcoming and the food was good. Food 8/10, Staff 8/10.
Only issue is that staff changes from one restaurant to another, so there is no consistency at all. The service can turn out to be OK or a complete disaster….
Our overall experience had too many negatives in the sense that at a 5 star hotel you have certain expectations as far as service and food quality are concerned and in the case of the Ambar hotel at staff level there is a serious structural problem that is not being acknowledged by management, as you see the managers walking around without making the slightest remarks. The staff are clearly in dire need of proper training, they were not professional at all and definitely not competent enough to work at a 5 star hotel.
The overall food quality can be found in any European 3 star hotel and is also in desperate need of improvement before it can be called 5 star quality.
We enjoyed ourselves because the weather was nice and we really did our best to take all the mishaps in our stride, however we will never go back to this hotel nor would we recommend it to anyone else as it is simply not worth the price compared to what you get in the end.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with KIPPIN S.A Lussemburgo Cadempino Branch, Booking.com, Expedia, BookIt.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, Cheap Tickets, Cancelon, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com and HotelQuickly so you can book your Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana