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“What a wonderful vacation !”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #49 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 28, 2009

My review is a little long but I wanted to provide as much helpful information as possible.

CHECK-IN: We arrived at the Punta Cana lobby at approximately 3:00 p.m. We were then shuttled over to the Ambar section. Check-in was a breeze as we were the only people in the lobby.

ROOMS: Our room was plenty big a very clean. We tip our maid several times during our week stay and she kept our room right all week. We also had turn down service most nights and chocolates left on our pillows and fresh towels left.

GETTING AROUND THE RESORT: I do not understand what people are complaining about, the trams are everywhere and they run every few minutes. The trams are wonderful and always stop along the way to drop off/pick up guests. The only time we had a problem with them is around the 5:30-6:30pm time frame when people were leaving the beach the wait could get a little long because often times they would be full with people leaving the beach, when this happen we would just walk.

CLEANING OF ROOMS/ RESORT: During our stay the maid did a fabulous job. Our maid created towel art every day. Our maid was a warm and wonderful person. The resort itself is maintained very well, every second of the day someone is cleaning sweeping and tending to the resort (One night we went down to the pool at like 9:00 at night and the staff was cleaning the pool and the deck to prepare for the next day).

BARS AND SERVICE: Well what can we say, the bars were great, the bartenders were friendly and by the 3rd day they were waving at us and calling us by name. The pool and beach bars were very good with the service.

WEATHER: The weather was absolutely perfect, It only rain a few hours one afternoon. Please ignore all weather reporting on the Punta Cana area it will call for rain nearly everyday. Note it is HOT AND HUMID in Punta Cana so bring your sun block and a hat. and get in the pool.

BEACH/WATER: WOW, again what an awesome beach, I can never get enough of it. You can walk for miles and the best thing was that you don’t have to wear water shoes The water was, however, a little chilly getting in, but once you were in, it was lovely! Love those warm and cool currents.

AMBAR POOL: I read my people complaining about having to place towels down at 6 and 7 in the morning, but we just didn’t have that problem. We went to the pool at our leisure and always found a place to sit in the shade if we wanted. I just loved being in the adult only section we went over to check out the pool on the family friendly side and children were jumping off the wall (I love the kids just not during vacation). My only complaint is that the pool especially during the afternoon was very warm like bath water (I do not believe it is temperature control so if it is hot outside the water will be warm).

RESERVATION SYSTEM FOR BOOKING ALA CARTES: Book your Ala Cartes reservation AS SOON as you arrive to ensure you will be able to eat where you want. We enjoyed the Ala Carte restaurants very much though the service was a little slow because it was so formal (Please note men that you must wear long pants and a collared shirt to dine at the ala carta restaurants).

Ambar Buffet: In a word…AWESOME! Again, I do not know what people are complaining about. The food was always fresh and there was always something for everyone. The Prosciutto (Italian smoked ham) was amazing at breakfast and lunch, I had that most days. The salads were always fresh, the OJ in the morning was the best, eggs, bacon, etc., and everything was wonderful. The made to order stations were excellent. At lunch and dinner they had strip loin steaks, beef tenderloin, shrimp, calamari, etc. At one meal my boyfriend got a chicken taco and could not find any salsa he asked one of the waiters and he asked my boyfriend if he like his salsa hot or mild and went to the back and created a personalized order of salsa for him...talk about service.

Over all we just had a great time and I would go back in a heart bea

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank Alise247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2009

My husband and I just returned from the Ambar after a wonderful two week holiday July 3-17th, to celebrate our 35th anniversary.
Our room was modern, clean and relaxing. I loved the shower and the jacuzzi tub. We stayed in the 67 block near the pool and the Portofino restaurant. Our balcony gave us a view of the ocean and a bit of a rain forest, next door to the hotel. If you want your room cleaned at a specific time, there is a request form in your hotel information binder that you can complete as well as a sign for your door that shows your minibar requires additional items. The "green apple" and camamoille pillows were amazing and th pillow mattress was one of the best sleeps we have had in the Dominican. We didn't use the butler or room service as the buffet and specialty restaurants were excellent.

If anyone cannot find something at the buffet that they like, then I don't know what they must eat at home. Breakfast offers pancakes, french toast, caviar, yogurt, oatmeal, omelettes of your choice, boiled eggs, bacon, muffins, donuts, the list goes on. We were there for two week, never got bored with the food, tried most everything and never got sick, but we felt stuffed most of the time and now it is time to exercise. The specialty restaurants are truly 5 star in terms of presentation, quality, service. We have eaten in 5 stars in Toronto, Europe and some of these could not compare with the Ambar, plus it is all inclusive and I saw very few people leaving tips. These meals would have cost an arm and a leg in Toronto and would have to have the tip to match. If you want more than one appetizer, I don't know how you could eat more than one, make another reservation as we did and go back and try another. In Toronto, if you want more than one appetizer, you would have to pay for it. Chateau Briand, Filet mignon, bananas flambe, chocolate fantasy, heart of palm salad, yummmmmm!!! We spoke with one of the waiters and he talked with us about how life in the Dominican can be very tough, but since he started work at the Bahia, his life is far better. He was very emotional and so were we. Remember that when you complain about the hotel. I really believe that a number of people become ill because of the change in environment, heat, too much alcohol, too much food.
My husband and I are really pool people. During our first week there was no problem getting a seat in the shade around the pool, even at 10 am., but during the second week the "hogs" must have arrived. Towels were placed on the seats before 8 am, people never showed up at those spots often 11 am plus. Some people mark their spot down at the beach and the pool, not very nice. My husband and I were tempted to take away the towels of people who didn't show up for two hours. The hotel was quite good trying to keep the area exclusive to Ambar clintele, but as mentioned there were a few people who did arrive with a different colour bracelet. Usually it was dealt with quickly but sometimes the response the security got was not 5 star behaviour. During our last week, there were people who had a different colour bracelet, but they were staying at the Ambar in our building. Don't know why they had a different coloured bracelet.
For the second week, we booked the Tropical Storm Catamaran trip and had a great time. It was the first time that I have ever snorkeled. Having the fish come right up to you and swimming in a coral reef was excellent.
We didn't participate in the night time entertainment as we were often just too tired. They have a one week cycle, so if you are there for two weeks, it would be a duplication
Our only difficulty was with Air Transat on departure. They forgot to pick up the 20 people waiting at the Bavaro!! We waited over an hour and 15 minutes in 90 degree weather until it was resolved. No Air Transat rep to be found. Where were you Emily??? Their client service attitude is appalling. The fellow who finally did get Air Transat at the airport to believe us, was told that he was at the wrong pick-up, that he and his wife were the only ones missing. This happened to us a few years ago with Air Transat in Cuba. We made some suggestions, obviously not implemented. Their rep needs to be at the pick-ups, have a list of people needing the transfer and maybe like Sunquest, go to the airport with the travellers and make sure they get off OK. The hotel staff were very helpful when trying to resolve the pick up problem. Next time, we will go Sunquest. Also, I agree with one previous reviewer, the Club Class booths were not open in Toronto and the Dominican location was either not open or taking regular fares. We don't mind paying the extra for the Club Class service because once you're on the plane, it is great and it is nice to have your bags come off the plane first too.
All in all, a wonderful vacation. Would go there again in a heart beat or to another Bahia. Our favourite part was the "adult only" concept. Love kids, but the pool and lobbies at the Punta Cana and Bavaro were crowded and not what I needed for this vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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13  Thank NewBrunswickCarol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2009

First let me say, this resort was better than we expected!
Now if you do not have childern with you, I highly recommend the Amber upgrade which is near the beach. Now we love kids, but the beach in this area was nice and relaxing without little ones running around. Also the pool in the Amber was void of little ones and was adults only. Now the other areas of the resort had plently of little ones in the pools and common areas. Plus the Amber area was not crowded as the the rest of the resort.
Now there are two trams that run the lengh of the resort to get to other parts of the resort, never had any problems going to and from at all. Casino and night life is at the front of the resort so you will need to take tram.
Rooms were exceptional, left a few dollars each day and our room was taken care of. Also with the Amber upgrade 24 hour room service is included for free, and in room safe was free also. On that note, I recommend taking $50.00 or so in ones for tips....very helpful with bar tenders and waiteress!
Buffet food was good too, very wide range to meet the tastes of all folks from different parts of the world! Also you might want to bush up on your Spanish, very few spoke english and most of the guests were spanish speaking. There was a scattering of Americans but not many.
Make reservations asap for all Al carte resturants, same day you get on the resort! Avoid the Japenese, it was not good at all. The Garden Grill ( steak house) was the best of the bunch!
The grounds were void of any flaws, very well manicured and clean!
Staff was very helpful, but again spanish attempts help!
Overall this was a fantastice resort and I would return to any of their properties!

Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
10  Thank jvgaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2009

Our group of 2 couples stayed from June 29-July 6, 2009. I'll try to keep my review simple.

Beautiful resort, extremely clean. Beach was very well manicured. We had no problems finding palapas near the ocean, not always front row, but always with ocean views and cool breezes, even in sweltering heat. Ocean water was beautiful, clean, and cool. The seagrass that accumulated overnight was raked early every morning. The loungers were swept of sand daily and the terra cotta pots that were used as ashtrays and trash refuses were emptied daily and they would be making constant rounds to pick up any cups, straws, paper, etc. We have been to may resorts and no others have paid this much attention to this issue. No sand flea or mosquito issues at the Ambar. The only mosquito bites I got were on the tram ride from the main lobby to the Ambar lobby on the night we arrived.

We requested either room block 60, 64, or 67 and received 2nd floot in 64, perfect! One note, these are the closest to the pool, however, blocks 67-70 are adjacent to the non-adults only section. This would only be a problem if you are on the side of the blocks that face the other section because the tram route is right outside your balcony or patio. Housekeeping service was great and reliable, always seeming to know our schedule and never inconvenience us. Same goes for maintenance, two tiny issues, both resolved in record time followed by courtesy calls to ensure our satisfaction.

Food was above my expectations, which I had set at mid level. The buffets had huge selections. Be sure you don't overlook the chef stations which offered some fabulous options. Drinks, both alcololic and non-alcoholic, were a bit slow to arrive in the restaurants. The quality of the drinks, though, all thru the resort, was top notch. After a few meals at the a la cartes we decided to opt for the buffets. This was just our preference because the service was just too formal and the details, although very classy, such as the constant switching of glassware, silverware, and presentation plates and platters, made the event too long and drawn out. Being somewhat simple folks, this really exhaused us. Others may find this to be a hilight of their trip.

The pool was amazing, very clean, but as others have said, the water temp was way too warm. Not sure what could be done about this, if anything.

Throughout the resort we never encountered any children issues. One child did manage to sneak into the pool area with his parent. Security immediately removed them. I did notice a few adults that did not have the Ambar braclets at the swim up bar. They stayed low and kept their braclets hidden and were served. This realy wasn't an issue because the occupancy was so low. Just a "principal of it" kind of thing. They didn't pay for the Ambar section. Enough said.

This is the one thing that I found very strange about the resort, many of you may actually love it for this reason. Now I realize that I booked an adults-only resort, but I believe this resort is geared more towards couples who want to spend quiet time only with themselves. The evenings were very quiet and low key. The only options for entertainment (withing the Ambar section) were the lobby and adjacent patio section where the music was piano/jazz selections. The pool and pool bar close at 6-6:30. Many people will love this concept, but for us it was just too quiet and formal in the evenings. We did venture to the Punta Cana lobby one evening but only had one drink and came back because it was so crowded and so many kids running around. In addition, the tram ride was just too much trouble. The Ambar lobby and patio area were very uncomfortable in the evenings. Hardly any air moving. I would have loved to see a larger beach bar that was open later in the evenings where people that enjoyed peppier music could have gathered more casually. It seems such a waste to have such a beautiful beach area where the cool breezes blow and not utilize it. This area is at the complete opposite of the lobby so I don't think there would be a risk of disturbing the quiet lobby environment for those who enjoy it. I'm glad we were traveling with another couple because it was hard to meet and enjoy other guests without feeling like you were intruding on their privacy. I don't mean that other quests were stand-off-ish, just that design of the resort didn't encourage group socializing. I really missed not having new friends at the end of the trip to keep in contact with and reminise (?sp) about our trip with.

We were told that the resort was only at about 30% occupancy during our stay. We pretty much had our run of the place. The weather was fabulous. It rained one evening late and overnight and a few days later a quick afternoon shower (we didn't even bother to leave the pool), other than that clear skies and beautiful (strong uv) sunshine.

Is our group glad we went? Absolutely! Would we return? If we find that they make some changes to give the evening a little more pep and not encourage you to retire at 9pm, sure we would. If not we'll probable keep searching for that perfect resort and enjoy them all for one reason or another along the way. We'll never quit returning to Couples Negril every year or two and continue to sample others in between.

Go and enjoy. Even with my few issues, this really is a top-notch resort that lives up to it's Golden 5 1/2 Apple Vacations rating at a great value.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank tanline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2009

I read all reviews before I left and of course was worried given some of the poor reviews. Needless to say I would go back in a heart beat as it was a wonderful vacation. We travelled from Pearson Airport with Transat Hoildays the week of July 9th-16th this is obviously low season, so the resort was only about 1/3 full. We arrived at the resort and were asked to sit down, relax and have a drink while our reservation packages were gathered. What a great start . . . class act. I had emailed the resort two weeks before our trip and requested the room/villa and a la carte dinner reservations and they accommodated everything for us. Our room was fabulous just like the pictures that people posted. We stayed in the corner room of villa #67 right beside the pool and closest to the beach. The room was always clean and we had daily towels, mini bar restocked without any issues. We tipped the cleaning maid a couple of dollars a day and had also brought special items from home for his family. He was thrilled by the small gestures and we received warm wishes every morning as we started our trek to the beach. We stayed mainly at the beach each day as there was a breeze by the ocean, the weather was exremely hot and humid and the pool water temperature was far too warm 95' would be my guess, so no cooling off there, hence the beach was the best location. We loved the adults only section at the Ambar as it was so relaxing and peaceful. We ventured over to the other section for nightly entertainment which was a lot of fun. The food was very good and we enjoyed both the a la cartes and the buffet. The service was excellent and felt our needs were always met. As with any tipping, you tip based on service, we tipped the bar waitresses who were always friendly, happy and also the evening dinner service, but not breakfast or lunch buffet though. I have no complaints and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank Cosmo29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2009

My Husband and I recently took our sixth trip to Bahia Principe, this time to Ambar (3rd visit there) and had an excellent vacation.  Before we travel we always go through all of the listings for Itravel2000, Last Minute Club and Expedia etc and ponder other locations but here we go again back to Ambar.  We just love it and know we can count  on a clean, quiet, relaxing trip, with no surprises!    We tested out Ambar's helpfulness almost right upon arrival when we went to collect room keys and bracelets at the brief meeting, my husband suddenly realized that HE had left our two carryon bags in the overhead compartment on the bus that took us from the airport to hotel.  Last thing the bus guy said was make sure you don't leave anything behind on the bus!  Bad news was that it contained my insulin and other very necessary items and the bus was long gone.  Well, thats where Ambar stepped in, the Air Transat  rep Erica got on the phone immediately, after many calls and much persuasion she had the bags were returned to the hotel very quickly.  The man who was running the meeting (not sure of his name Jorge?) for our arrival also got on the phone and I'll tell you they turned something that could have been a disaster into a laughable experience.I'll just mention that it is extremely hot in Dominican in the summer time, the good news is that the beach or the pool is only steps away!Now, to the hotel,  beautiful room, could have been a bit cooler, but well put together, nice bathroom, maid service was good, often room was done by the time that we got back from breakfast, loved that, I am a fan of the afternoon nap and hate waiting for room to be cleaned.  Lobby area was spotless, staff were pleasant.  Pool was very warm, we bought floats in Canada and had a great time cruising on them around the pool.  Service was good at the pool bar. Carlos was great, tell him that the Honda guy said to mix you a good drink!! I would love to see those bartenders in t-shirts or golf shirts when working at the pool.  It is just too hot for sleeves, it makes me uncomfortable just looking at them   The pathways and gardens throughout the resort were lined with beautiful blooms and unusual plants, I would love to know what they are(signs?) As our first visit to Ambar was a week after it opened, it has been interesting to see how the plants have flourished in the past couple of years.  All of the grounds are meticulously maintained  and in premium condition.  I even saw one fellow washing the white stones out of the planters in the front of the lobby, now that's clean!  Marble floors gleamed, (watch your step) and brass is polished-beautiful lobbies in each part of the hotel.  Food, buffets mostly good, I pick and choose as I am a bit fussy, if in doubt I stick to things that I  recognize, however we have never had any stomach problems at Bahia.  We went to the Japanese twice, Italian twice and Garden Grill twice,  Food was mostly good, service sometimes good but these restaurants were seriously hot, the temperatures were very high when we were there, and they didn't have the air conditioning on in the Italian ( we asked and they said that they weren't allowed, even the ceiling fans were off) Garden Grill was also warm.  Japanese was good but noticed they used alot of salt, very noticable particularily on our first night.The beach wasn't busy and was particularily clean this time, nice, refreshing break from pool.Don't like the vendors in the Pueblo square, make me uncomfortable as they are quite aggressive.  It limits my time there.Note: re Air Transat, they have changed their setup in seating in planes, I don't know how but you have much more leg room and seats were wider.  and Erica the rep from Transat at the hotel was great, she checked in with us frequently to make sure that we had all that we needed and were happy.  She was so nice and helpful, the best rep i've seen at any hotel we have travelled to.
We shop at the Dollar store before our trips and really enjoy buying things to give to the maids and to others around the resort, it is a poor country and even if they could afford to buy things there is little available to shop for. Personal items,kids things and anything canadian are all good, they love Canadians! We tip frequently when we get good service. Thank you to Jorge, all the bell hops and butlers, guest services etc.All in all, it was the same wonderful vacation that I expect from Gran Bahia Principe Ambar, after staying in adults only I am completely spoiled and can't go back.  I really do like kids, just not on my vacation!!   Great staff, beautiful resort, see you again in December!! 
Laurie & Jeff

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank elizabeth0ttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2009

My apologies as this review is really late and it is a long review.

We were a party of 4 that travelled to the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar in beautiful Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This was our second visit to this lovely resort (first visit was April 2008).

DEPARTURE: Off we went to Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto on April 16, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. for our Air Transat flight to Punta Cana. The Air Transat personnel were checking in people when we arrived that apparently were sitting in economy (a party of 8) in the “priority boarding” line, so we had to wait longer than we normally do (hubby was a little annoyed, as were another couple behind us). Reason I am mentioning this is that is supposed to be one of the perks of booking Club Class, priority check-in. Once we were on board the flight, it was lovely as usual. The choice of food, wine, beer, etc. is well worth the money that you pay for the little extras. The flight crew were nothing short of amazing round trip, another “Best Crew” award to Air Transat. You can be sure we will always book Club Class seats again whenever we travel. As a rule we always use Nolitours or Transat Holidays for our vacation. Woooo hoooo, on our way to Punta Cana for 14 days of much deserved R&R.

ARRIVAL IN PUNTA CANA: Arrival at Punta Cana International Airport was perfect and immigration was quick and efficient. We arrived on time, went through immigration with no problems and picked up the luggage, which, I might add, was the first off the flight (part of the Club Class extras).

TRANSPORTATION TO RESORT: We booked private transportation through IBK Servicios (we had booked them last year) and our driver was there waiting for us with the sign with our name on it. Once we loaded up the van with our luggage, we were off to the Ambar. Wonderful and courteous driver, would highly recommend this company.

CHECK-IN: We arrived at the Punta Cana lobby at approximately 9:10 p.m. We were then shuttled over to the Ambar section. Check-in was a breeze as we were the only ones there as we had arrived ahead of the tour bus to the resort. We were put in Villa 60 (see below). Staff at check-in had a bit of an attitude (and if any of them are reading this, never speak Spanish in front of people, as you never know what languages they speak), but we asked to deal with the manager the next day and it was perfect.

ROOMS: We given a room in Villa 60 and it had an extremely bad smell of mildew...we spent one night in the room and then spoke to the Manager and he arranged another room for us. Don’t get me wrong, I like the smell of the south, and as a rule it doesn’t bother me at all, but this was so bad that we couldn’t breathe the next morning. We were both stuffed up. We changed rooms around 1:30 p.m. the next day and then we unpacked and settled in (Room 60105). The rooms are large with a very nice sitting area (the corner rooms are much larger as that is what we had last year). We had a king size bed and a beautiful view of the pool. Couldn’t see the ocean very well as we were on the first floor, would have preferred second or third, but that was fine with us as we don’t spend much time in the room anyway. The beds were not as comfortable as I remember from last year, but it was o.k. We felt it was the perfect location to the pool, pool bar and beach. It was less than a 5 minute walk to the Ambar lobby and the buffet. They have two beach buffets, tried both and preferred the Las Brisas vs. the Las Olas. We ordered two types of speciality pillows and decided to keep the ones originally given to us in the room. We also had turn down service most nights and chocolates left on our pillows and fresh towels left. Our butler service was fantastic and they did everything they possibly could for us (we had 2 butlers).

GETTING AROUND THE RESORT: I do not understand what people are complaining about, the trams are everywhere and they run every few minutes. Beware of the tram you get on though, it may not be going to the lobby you want, but it is only a few minutes’ walk to the other lobby. Most of the time we just walked from the Ambar as it was not that far to the Bavaro/Punta Cana lobbies. The trams are wonderful and always stop along the way to drop off/pick up guests. We never had a problem with them. I truly cannot believe people complain about the tram system at the Bahia and obviously a 2-3 minute wait is too long for them.

CLEANING OF ROOMS: During our stay the maid did a fabulous job. We only had 2 days of towel art which I found unusual as the Bahia in Mexico does it on a daily basis, but it was no big deal. Our maid was a warm and wonderful person. As for the others in our traveling party, they reported that their chambermaid was excellent as well. We left US $2-3 per day, plus little gifts I had brought from home. It was all so appreciated.

BARS AND SERVICE: Well what can we say, the bars were great, but service was a little inconsistent at the main bar (note: a very small complaint) and I do realize that the Ambar is still a relatively new section and the kinks have to be ironed out. Sometimes we just got up and went to the bar to get our own drink, no big deal. The pool and beach bars were very good with the service. The owner was in a few times and service picked up that day and night, but service was still a little inconsistent after that (only at the Ambar main bar). We had no problem with the pool bar filling our 20 oz. insulated mugs.

WEATHER: The weather was absolutely perfect, 14 days of solid sunshine. Most days it was a bit windy, but a welcome relief from the heat. If it wasn’t for the wind, it no doubt would have been too hot to handle. A few days it was pretty muggy, but we just jumped in the water (beach or pool) to cool off.

BEACH/WATER: WOW, again what an awesome beach, I can never get enough of it. You can walk for miles and the best thing was that you don’t have to wear water shoes (unlike the Bahia in Mexico). I would compare Bavaro beach to that of Negril in Jamaica. There is the sunken ship (Astron) that seems to be deteriorating more every year. The water was, however, a little chilly getting in, but once you were in, it was lovely! Love those warm and cool currents.

AMBAR POOL: Now here is where I found this to be a little crazy. While we were walking to the beach to see the sun rise and secure our palapa and loungers (approx. 6:00 a.m. and, as I always say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em), people were actually sitting underneath a palapa waiting to secure their palapa(s) at the pool for the day. They were not allowed to leave the lounges until around 7:50ish. Security the first day was very strict with this rule, but after a few days, the rules relaxed and people would just drop their towels, books, etc. and go back to bed. The days we were at the pool, we were down there at 6:00 most mornings and was getting a little ticked that we sat there and waited (as did others as well), and watched people come down, drop their stuff and go back to bed. Security said that if someone complained, he would have to remove their things and then give the palapa to the person complaining. Apparently it did happen a couple of times where security removed things from underneath a palapa because people were not sitting on the chairs and when the people came back (about 4 hours later) fireworks happened. They were told about the rules, but they still continued to drop and run. Some people are pretty unbelievable.

PUNTA CANA/BAVARO POOLS: We took a walk to the pool on the Bavaro and Punta Cana side and it was extremely busy with children and parents (happy screaming children I might add). It was extremely loud so we hurried back over to the quiet Ambar side. We all agree that we love the Ambar side. The first week we were there, it was extremely quiet at the pool, but the second week, they started to implement water aerobics, ice/fruit carving, dance lessons, etc. I think the pool area needs to be a bit livelier so it was nice to hear some music.

RESERVATION SYSTEM FOR BOOKING ALA CARTES: We had pre-booked from Canada. When we got there we wound up with 25 ala carte reservations…actually it was pretty ridiculous as we kept getting more reservation tickets under our door. So one morning we sat there with Public Relations and got it all sorted out. We felt it wasn’t fair that we had all these reservations as people were being turned away from certain ala cartes because they were booked, so hence us sorting it all out.

Ambar Buffet: In a word…AWESOME! Again, I do not know what people are complaining about. The food was always fresh and there was always something for everyone. The Prosciutto (Italian smoked ham) was amazing at breakfast and lunch, I had that most days. The salads were always fresh, the OJ in the morning was the best, eggs, bacon, etc., everything was wonderful. The made to order stations were excellent. At lunch and dinner they had strip loin steaks, beef tenderloin, shrimp, calamari, etc. We ate at the Ambar buffet the first week for lunch and then the beach bar the second week. The Las Brisas beach buffet had amazing chicken, salads, french fries, etc. at lunch and then we would go up to the Ambar buffet for dinner.

Don Pablo: I have to stay the service was perfecto at this ala carte. The food, however, was not our favourite. Both my girlfriend and I ordered shrimp soup and it was more like fish soup, nothing shrimpy tasting about it. Our hubbys had salad. The lobster, well, it was overcooked and while tasty, not big enough. The steak was very tender, but the bacon around it should have been cooked a lot more (actually I don’t think it was cooked at all!).

Garden Grill: We had the steaks and they were excellent. Ours were a little well done (we asked for medium, should have asked for medium rare), but very good nonetheless. Service was amazing here as were the soups and salads.
Japanese: We ate here once. Presentation was excellent and the food was good. Service again was wonderful.

El Olivo: This was excellent as far as I was concerned regarding food and service.
Portofino: Would NOT recommend this one. Service was absolutely horrible as was the food. My girlfriend and I ordered lasagna and I have never tasted anything so salty in our lives. It was terrible, as were the other meals our hubbys ordered. Our salad plates were not removed when the main meal came and after we had finished the main meal, the dishes just sat on our table. We left without having dessert or coffee.
This is just my own opinion folks on the ala cartes. Personally, I found the ala cartes to be far more superior at the Bahia in Mexico.

SHOPPING: We were there to relax on the beach and around the pool and that’s exactly what we did for 14 days, go for a walk on the beach, go for a swim, etc. We did however, go to Caribbean Street and the market at the end of the beach, they had some nice things, but most of it was all the same. We preferred Caribbean Street as they had quite a few artisan shops which were excellent. We shopped at the Pueblo quite a bit and the prices were pretty good. Of course, we also shopped at Harrison’s at the Pueblo.

Always makes me very sad when leaving the any beautiful country, but as my hubby says, there is always next year. Since our flight was leaving at 5:50 p.m., we didn’t arrange for a late check-out. We had our showers and we waited in the Ambar lobby for a while, had a drink and then went up to the Punta Cana lobby. We decided that we were going to arrange for private transportation for our return trip. Best decision, gave us a few more minutes at the resort...well, at least until our hubbies decided that we were to leave the hotel around 1:00 just in case of traffic, so in their wisdom, we were on our way back to Punta Cana International and it took approximately 37 minutes. We arrived at the airport and the Air Transat booths were NOT open. Needless to say it was a very long wait at the airport. You can be sure we will never listen to our hubbies again, will remind them of the 4 hour wait at the Punta Cana airport. The flight to Toronto left on time and we were on our way back home. Club Class on the way home was just as good as the way down. Definitely a more relaxed way to travel.

If I had to dig real deep (besides the service being a little inconsistent), was that the food wasn’t as hot (temperature) in the ala cartes as we would like, just a personal preference.

(Please note that we have been to the Bahia in Mexico quite a few times (and we always travel 2 weeks each time), so hence the comparison)

Beach: Punta Cana hands down – no comparison
Food: Punta Cana buffet was much better (the Ambar side only) while the ala cartes are far much better in Mexico
Service: It’s a toss up
Rooms: Punta Cana hands down (Ambar side)
Customer Service: Punta Cana and Mexico both have excellent customer service
Spa: Punta Cana has a better set up, but both Spas are amazing
Bars: Mexico has much faster service (and more choice for premium drinks without charge) and more staff on hand
Entertainment: Mexico
Shopping: Mexico hands down, only because Playa del Carmen has so many shops and things to see and do, whereas Punta Cana, doesn’t really have as much

So having said all that, would we go back to the Ambar…yes, in a heartbeat! It truly is a beautiful resort and the people of the Dominican Republic are warm and wonderful.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank crane05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection

Address: Carretera Arena Gorda - Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Formerly Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#30 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#42 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $170 - $470 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 528
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:
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana

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