We just got back from PC on March 2, 2012. Our overall trip was great. We arrived at the airport and had a private transfer with Olympic Tours - they were great. Hotel: The hotel was great overall as well. We went for my husband's 40th birthday. They had balloons, a bottle of rum and a fruit plate waiting for us. We were on the third floo of building 69, but no view of the ocean. Great building location, but I think I would stay on the first floor in the future. With that, our friends were in a first floor room, but it was a bit musty. They changed rooms day 2 to another first floor room and it was great! Food: We made one reservation before we left and the other when we arrived. I recommend making them in advance. By far, the Don Pablo restaurant was the best. Not a fan of Olivio. Makio (sp?) the Japanese place was good and the steakhouse at the Esmeralds was good. The BBQ was just ok. I wish we could have gone to the Italian place, but no reservations were available. Thursday night is the seafood buffet at the Ambar - my husband was in heaven...especially after 4 lobster tails! Overall, I was ready to get home to have different food! Toward the end of the week, i felt I was eating the same things...but they were all great! Entertainment: We went to the casino one night - it was fun. Spent time outside at the karoke bar, which was fun too. The flean market comes into the hotel on Monday's and Friday's...definitely barter. Go into the shops to get prices, them barter down with flea market guys. WE did not watch entertainment on stage any days. Pool: The Ambar pool is great. LOVE the swim up bar. I suggest bringing cups with you - we brough the insulated ones with the screw on top and straw - saves you from going back to the bar 100 times during the day. They have some top shelf at the pool. If you are looking for something specific, ask the bar tender if he will be there all week, then slip him a $20 and he will have it pool side. Only negative thing...people put towels out by 8am...so if you want a chair, I suggest doing so as well. Bar: Hotel lobby bar in Ambar has all top shelf. If you go to the other loby's you will have to pay for top shelf - so get your drink before you leave if exploring!!! Excursions: We went with Olympic Tours, since they transferred us from the airport. I felt we were lied to by the rep. We go on several vacations a year with several excursions. By far this was the worst experience. I recommend booking before you go (Mike's Adventures) or look to book with Apple or another tour group. Overall, great trip and we would definitely go back!
Let me preface this by stating my wife and I do not buy anything without reading the reviews, so I give myself instant credibility for my take on this resort. haha. But really, we stayed at this Resort (Ambar) for $2200 (for both of us), all inclusive. We got every bit of our money’s worth. If you are confused by the 3 different Bahia Principe Resorts you see on this site, it is because the entire place is set up as 3 different resorts all connected, offering a different experience at each, this one in particular being the most Luxurious. It's Adults only, and when they say All-Inclusive, it IS. We didn't spend a time for anything. They only thing we thought about purchasing were Internet for our Room but we didn't. They have wireless in the huge Lobby area, and it has great connection. You have access to Ambar's "beachside grill" (which is 10 times nicer than the other two, and has more options), but you also can eat at the other two as well. Everything is FREE. The pool is really nice but fills up really fast, so you would need to grab a chair early. We spent the whole stay at the beach. Which leads me to the other thing that is nice than the other two. Ambar's beach front is set up as a relaxing experience, with little "hut like" umbrellas with chairs and tables under each. Compared to the other 2 beach fronts that were littered with kids, and beach chairs, on top of beach chairs. We loved our place. If you came for a crazy "Spring Break" atmosphere you won't get it at "Ambar", but you can definitely stat at one of the other two, they are really nice as well, but just not as luxurious and relaxing. A added a photo, so you can see the umbrella huts in the background, and a picture of us at the Don Pablo restaurant. (Be sure to make your reservations right when you get there for each night. And there are no limits on how many restaurants you visit at night. You can do one a night for the length of your stay.) Anyway, we loved it and would go back in a heartbeat.
We are frequent travelers and have stayed at many resorts in the Caribbean. I try to be very fair in my reviews as I know that it impacts business. The Good: The resort has a beautiful beach with lots of white soft sand. It was great for walking. There are many palm trees and areas of shade. The resort also has many palapas but it is not always easy to get one close to the water. People reserve them by putting a towel on the lounge chair. They frequently leave the towel on the chair but never come out. Technically you are not supposed to be able to reserve a palapa. The lounge chairs are comfortable. Very nice pool although the jacuzzi was not too warm. Christian, the manager is a really nice guy and does his best to please guests. I will talk more about Christian later. The entertainment is generally better than average. The circus show which is a take off on Cirque de Soleil is excellent. There is also live music for dancing which was nice Restaurants: Olivo is the Mediterranean type restaurant. It is generally pretty good. I would give it a B+. They have a very nice buffet of appetizers. The service is good. Don Pablo is the gourmet restaurant. I would also give this restaurant a B+. In general there is very nice service and nice presentation of the food. The house wine is the same in all restaurants and is not great (C rating). I wish they had more selection of the house wines. I don’t drink any mixed drinks and really only had the house wine as an option. Breakfast buffet is average, nothing special but definitely adequate. We did not go to the main buffet for lunch or dinner so I cannot comment. Mini bar in the room was well stocked. We did not use it but it seemed to have a lot of stuff in it. One night we went to the Spanish restaurant which is not part of Ambar (Meson Restaurant) and it was terrible. The rooms are spacious and very clean and the maid service was adequate. There is a firm mattress on the bed. No problems sleeping and the bed was comfortable. The Bad: The lighting in the room is very poor. In one corner there is a nice desk but the lighting above it is poor and there are no electrical outlets near the desk. The rooms definitely need more electrical outlets. There is only one in the bathroom and few in the room. The patio door never locked. We asked to have it fixed which we thought had been done but it still did not lock. Room Service: It was often difficult to get them on the phone. One AM we ordered but the coffee never arrived. On another occasion, we could not get them on the phone. It was frustrating. Now for the we shouldn’t have to fight so hard part: When we arrived and tried to book the restaurants that were part of the Ambar ( Don Pablo, Olivo and Portofino), we were told that they were booked for that night and most of the week. We were given reservations for restaurants within the Gran Bahia complex but restaurants that were not adult only and not as upscale as the Ambar. This immediately frustrated us as we paid for the more upscale Ambar. We wanted to get what we paid for and did not want to go elsewhere for dinner. Nevertheless, on the first night we eat at the Spanish restaurant (Meson). The food was not good. There were lots of children in the restaurant. It was not the adults only atmosphere we paid for and were expecting. We tried to get our concierge to put us only in the Ambar restaurants but we were given a very difficult time. We finally asked for the manager, Christian who managed to give us a reservation for either Don Pablo or Olivo. Apparently Portofino was closed the entire time during our stay. We don’t like buffets so we never tried the dinner buffet in our hotel. The restaurants were never even half full so we can only assume that they don’t like to give guests reservations for the restaurants in the hotel because they are more upscale and clearly cost the hotel more money. It feels like a scam. We ran into a similar situation when we stayed at the Iberostar in Mexico. They tell you that the restaurant is full when it clearly has plenty of free tables. Wi Fi is only available in the lobby. It is free in the lobby. The hotel does not have WiFi or internet in the rooms. We had checked on this prior to booking at the Ambar and were assured we could have internet in the rooms. You can have internet but you have to rent a modem which is $15.00 per day. This is not part of the hotel. You go to a store in Punta Cana and rent the modem. This added about an hour to our first day in Punta Cana. It was not what we were expecting. I understand that the hotel is planning on providing internet but it is currently not available.
My husband and I recently returned from our 7-day honeymoon at BPA and it was FANTASTIC! Although, as sort of busy-bodies, 7 days of relaxation may have been a bit long :), it was a week of complete paradise. Overall: In general, the facilities and service at BPA were great! The grounds and buildings were perfectly kept and there are workers everywhere, always friendly and smiling. As a smaller, more laid back adults-only resort within the larger Bahia Principe complex, Ambar provided the perfect mix of quiet relaxation with activities, shopping and shows. Compared to some of the other resorts within the BP complex, Ambar was definitely more low-key, older clientele and more high-end than say the BP Punta Cana near the front of the complex. We definitely preferred the Ambar after visiting the main Bavaro lobby. Not great bar service, more smokers, more kids, more people who annoyed us in general in the Bavaro lobby. Glad we were at Ambar :) Anyway, we loved it! Not many Americans, not many young people, so probably don't plan to make "vacation friends" if you are young and American. Definitely not a wild party crowd. Rooms: We were really happy with our room. It was thoroughly cleaned daily (even mopped!), except when we put the do not disturb sign up. One of the drawers in the dresser was off track, which we didn't complain about, but someone came to fix it anyway one day. They decorated the room a couple of days with flowers and towel animals. Also, I asked a cleaning person for an extra bag of chips when I saw her but she didn't have any on her cart, which was no big deal. When I got back from the pool later that day she had left 2 extra bags at the door! We brought our own portable safe, so I can't comment on the room safe, but I felt totally secure and not worried at all. We were on the first floor, which we were nervous about because we had requested the third floor considering noise, but there weren't really any problems with hearing the people above us and it was very convenient to just walk right out to the pool/beach/lobby. We were in building 68, which was in a great location. Close to the pool, not too far from the lobby. There aren't any beach front rooms, but buildings 67, 64, 60, 68 I think are the closer ones to the pool and beach entry. All good choices if you can request them. Service: I have to say I was so impressed by how cheery and willing to serve all of the staff were. From the bell hops to the waitstaff and bartenders, everyone is clearly there to please you. I could see that many workers had super long shifts (from like 10am to 11pm) but were still always happy and smiling. The pool bar would sometimes take a few minutes to get you a drink, but they have a couple of women walking around taking orders too, so its really not that big of a deal to wait a little bit if someone is bringing a drink directly to your lazy butt! A la carte service for dinner was excellent and prompt, as was service in all of the buffets. Food: I don't want to comment too specifically on the food, because I feel like tastes vary so much from person to person, country to country. I will say that there is such a huge selection at each buffet that you go to (lobby and snack bar) that you are sure to find at least a couple of things that you like. We were a little over the buffets by the end of the week, but the chips and cheese and fries were reliably good (can you tell we're American?). The A la carte restaurants were all a good experience, although we liked some better than others. Don Pablo at Ambar: Our favorite by far. Delicious steak, good lobster, generally high end feel. El Olivo: Pretty good. Half buffet (for apps and dessert) half menu. I think I got some sort of fish that I wasn't into, but it was okay. Bella Italia: Half buffet/half menu again. AMAZING apps. Order pasta, not anything with seafood. Garden Grill: Really good steak and ribs. This was probably our second favorite. Makaido: Hibachi style. I was really full on this night, but it was really good, entertaining hibachi show. Probably our third favorite. Portofino: We heard not good things from others, but we thought it was okay. I got red sauce ravioli and it wasn't my fave. Pools & Beaches: The beach was a little windy, but super clean, especially compared to some of the other resorts we walked past (lots of seaweed). Again, workers constantly cleaning, even sweeping sand off of chairs multiple times a day! The Ambar pool was very laid back. Pretty good bar service. There were some activities and music in the afternoons, which was entertaining (water aerobics and zumba). Also, super clean. It's a good idea to wake up pretty early (7 or 8am) to put your beach towels on a chair to reserve them. We did this every morning and never had a problem coming back to our chairs. We actually started leaving our books, sunglasses, etc. by our chairs after a couple of days and felt totally comfortable doing so. Airport transfers and activities: Our private airport transfers were handled through Olympus tours and they were great! We spent a tiny bit extra for private transfers and definitely thought it was worth it. Not sure what non-private would have been, but go for private if you can. They were right there to whisk us away when we arrived at the airport, the driver was very friendly. On the way back to the airport, they were on time again. Perfect experience! Francia was our Olympus tours representative at the hotel. She was there everyday from 9-4 in case we had any questions or wanted to book an excursion. She was super helpful, but very eager to get us into some excursions. We ended up going zip lining, which was really fun and in a beautiful mountain setting. It took about an hour bus ride to get there, but it was okay because we got to see some little local towns and cute Dominican kids. Driving up in the mountains was very bumpy, so not a good choice if you are easily motion sick. We also got a couples massage and scrub at the Bahia Spa at Ambar, and it was amazing. Not too expensive either! Other tips: 1) When you arrive at the DR airport, don't let any of the guys who look like airport workers take your suitcases for you. They just want tips and their help is usually totally unnecessary and they can be kind of pushy. We had to tell them multiple times "no thank you" and we saw other visitors trapped with them holding their luggage expecting a tip. 2) At the resort complex there is a little shopping area with stores. There are Hatian vendors in the middle who are VERY pushy and annoying with their cheap junk. Avoid them. Don't even look in their direction because they won't leave you alone. Over all it was a great trip! Everything was so smooth and stress-free. We definitely recommend the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar!
I just got back from our trip and am not disappointed at all. I went with my husband and his two friends for 5 days. It's all inclusive, so the food is just ok. Definitely make your dinner reservations the first night that you are there for your whole trip! It takes a minute but is better to wait in line once then to have to do it everyday! The Japanese place is amazing, but make sure you request a hibachi table, or you will not be able to get the whole experience. Also, the cafe by the pool is 100 times better then the main buffett!! The drinks are endless!! Which was good for us!! Take a tervus tumbler - you will not have to back as often and your drink will definitely stay colder!! I didn't meet a single bartender that minded rinsing it out and making me a new drink =) There are plenty of fun activities to do off of the resort (we went snorkeling with sharks and visited some of the local spots)! There is a guy down at the pool that took care of us!! The water activities down at the beach are awesome too! Overall, it is a vacation!! There wasn't any music at the pool but there also weren't any kids!! The food was ok but it was free. The bed was definitely not the softest but it was clean. So, take it for what it is..... An all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink, no children resort! If you don't expect 5 star food then you will have a great time!! =)
This was our first time to the Dominican Republic, and after many hours of research we chose the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Resort for our vacation. The resort was absolutely gorgeous. We had the opportunity to see other resorts while we were there, and the Gran Bahia was by far the most beautiful and our room was very nice, overlooking the pool and close to the ocean. The beaches and pools were terrific. There is quite a bit of seaweed that washes up daily on the beach, however there are workers out early every day working to rake it up and they do a great job. Get to the beach early if you want a decent spot, the lounge chairs (particularly under the umbrellas) fill up quickly. The Ambar is adults only, and if you're looking for peace and quiet, then this is the place for you. We were very surprised for a resort of this size how quiet it was and that was what we wanted. Overall, we were very pleased with the hotel, but there are a few things that we would like to mention. The pool closes at 6 pm at the Ambar , which suprised us. We thought there might be nightly activities at the pool, like live music, games, etc but not so. If you are looking for nightlife or evening activities, you would need to go to another part of the Gran Bahia resort or to another resort nearby. There are evening shows at the Principe, and there is a small casino as well but in the Ambar section of the hotel once 6pm comes everything is very quiet. The restaurants were so-so. The buffets were wonderful-each night has a different theme night from around the world-American, Dominican, French, etc. Every meal from breakfast to dinner was good, there was a large assortment of food options available. However, we were very disappointed in the sit down restaurants requiring reservations-they were terrible. The menu was very limited, with only a few options available and the portions were very small. The Don Pablo, which was supposed to be the gourmet restaurant and the 'highlight' was extremely disappointing. My husband and I were both looking forward to the Caribbean lobster dinner, and when served there were 5 tiny pieces of lobster and on each of our plates, they were burned, dry and tough. The only restarant that we went to that was decent was Mikado, the japanese restaurant. Everything was very good and well prepared. Due to the fact that it is the off season, many of the restaurants are closed for the season or are only open one or two nights a week. We went on two excursions, the Zip Line Canopy tour and a horsback riding trip on the beach. The Canopy tour was fantastic and our tour guide Manuel was awesome. He was very friendly and informative, and really made our excursion fun. We even stopped on the way back to taste cocoa beans and to taste some chocolate that he had brought along. Be prepared for a "Dominican Massage", the Canopy tour is way up in the mountain and the roads up to the mountain are very rugged and rough. If your tour guide tells you to wear your seat belt, listen to him! The horseback riding on the beach was fun and the scenery was beautiful, but the condition of the horses was very sad, like most animals seem to be in the Domincan Republic, the horses were very dirty and skinny and they certainly are not ridden like they are in the United States. The Dominicans are very rough with their horses and for the price we paid to ride ($60.00 each) none of that money is going towards the horses-they are worked very hard. Beware of the sales pitch at the end--they will take many pictures of you on the ride and will try to sell you a DVD at the end for $45.00-including a lovely selection of Dominican music-but needless to say there were no buyers in our group and they did not want to barter on the price. The money was all going into the pocket of the ranch owner, obviously nothing goes to the care of the horses so we'll skip that excursion next time. These minor things aside, we will definitely be back to the Ambar next year, hopefully for a bit longer. We had a wonderful time and can't wait for our next vacation!
We just returned from the Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection for the 4th time so we clearly enjoy the resort and its amenities. What we do not enjoy and truly deplore is their tendency to cite unavailability of rooms (despite reservations made months in advance) as a reason to move you to its sister property (Bahia Principe Esmeralda). This took place on our most recent visit and during our visit in May 2012. In effect, while you are paying a premium to stay at this resort, you spend your first day or more in a uncomfortable limbo - unable to totally unpack or unwind. Management seems to have grown comfortable with this policy because they offer and provide few alternatives or remidies. They do however provide good lipservice to your concerns. Again, the resort is terrific but their policy of moving you to their sister property is NOT!!! Given the other terrific resorts in Punta Cana, it pays to shop around!!!
We arrived at the resort at 3:00 pm on Friday. We were told our room would be ready in about 20 minutes. We kept checking back still no room available. Finally around 6:00 pm we finally got our room. We went to the concierge to book reservations at the restaurants but because it was so late we could not get reservations for that night and had to eat at the buffet. We were able to book dinner reservations for the rest of our trip. After that all went well and we had a very enjoyable vacation. Great service, good food and friendly staff. The bed was comfortable but the room was a little warm. Pools were great. Met a lot of fun people. A good value for the money we paid.
I go off strictly reviews, this Hotel received such good reviews on here and on trip advisor. But sadly we had a horrible experience. This hotel is such a large resort, with a rude staff constantly trying to sell you excursions, and future vacations with them. The staff is continuously asking "do you have something for me?" Meaning a tip, which I don't mind for a job well done, but they ask before they've done anything. When checking in, the second they found out we booked our vacation thru cheapcarribean.com (which we ALWAYS book thru) they want nothing to do with you, because you are not obligated like everyone else to sit thru these horrible seminars, one of the managers there flat out told us, we would not recieve good service because we didn't book thru them. Our room had no air, they sent two people to fix it and they did nothing but throw their hands up and say "nothing we can do", finally after calling The front desk again and again they switched us to another room at 10 o'clock at night . They were not nice about it but at least this room had air and wasn't run down with things falling off the walls like our first room. When we talked with other guests in the morning we found out multiple people changed rooms multiple times, and that this seems like the norm here, you get the run down room until you complain and then they put you in an OK room to shut you up but if you don't complain you're stuck with the worst room they have . Last but not least my husband and I both got food poisoning from something we ate at first I thought we must've just eaten something strange but at least six other couples we talk to you throughout the week got it also, seems like quite the "coincidence". So my husband was unable to leave our room (barely able to leave the bathroom!) for 4 out our 6 days there. PICK ANOTHER RESORT!!!
The hotel shares this resort with five other hotels, by different names but all relatively same place. The Amber blue has majority of its rooms closest to beach, which is great. Also when you are Amber Blue you have access to some of the other hotels amenities, which they don't have to yours , visit there restaurants and pools. So Amber Blue is definitely the way to go as I see it, other hotels on the resort are cheaper but Blue was best that I saw there. The rooms were huge, nice, clean, modern, also bathrooms were huge almost Vegas Style. Walking distance to pool 2 minutes, beach 3 minutes. I have been to many All-Inclusive Hotels and I would have to say maybe this was the best price wise definitely feel like I got my money's worth. I was really impressed by the food and the quality of service, just the dinning hall was much more then I expected, a long with The Brazilian Restaurant and the French Resturant were very good quite surprised with the quality, passed my expectations (need to make reservation, do this first thing when you check-in space fills up quickly.) Pool was ok, average hotel pool with bar, they have other pools on the property that have kids and that are more lively but the Amber Pool was good enough. As for the beach, BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL, the finest sand I have put my feet on. The water is very blue when the sun is out, sometimes you feel a little overcrowded but everyone loves a nice beach. Note: Take singles $1.00 dollar Bills and leave a one Dollar tip It goes a long way!! Better and faster service, they will remember you the next day and pronto everything thing will be quick. All in all I would definitely go back to the Amber Blue ( I checked some of the other hotels on the resort and the Blue and the Principe were the best !!