We originally booked what we thought would be the Golden part of the Punta Cana section of the resort as a last minute booking through First Choice in the UK, but arrived to find we (& 5 others) had been upgraded to Ambar when we got there, which we were pleased with as had read good reviews about it on here before travelling.
The upkeep and build of the resort is really good. It's spotless, has beautiful planting and is well maintained. Having picked people up from other hotels in the area on a trip and seen how scruffy their grounds and buildings were, we agreed that the resort is great in that respect. The rooms are a good standard & the maids did a great job of keeping the rooms spotless and added petals to our towels most nights, which was lovely. However our rooms keys played up a lot and required a few trips to reception to reset.
The service from the staff is speedy and courteous. Though we did tip, we didn't feel any pressure to do so from any of the staff. Drinks from the lobby bar were good, you could get some branded drinks, such as Baileys. They were your usual all inclusive standard from the poor / beach bars.
The food at the resort was disappointing. The buffet food in Ambar looks fantastic, but it didn't deliver on both taste but more importantly heat (with the exception of the fab omelettes freshly cooked by the lovely smiley singing chef each morning) - even freshly cooked food brought out & replaced in front of you was lukewarm. Our experience with the a la cartes was mixed - we liked Bella Italia in Esmerelda. Don Pablo was so, so (the ceremonial lift of the plate covers only to find 3 small bits of lamb and slither of onion on my plate made me chuckle). Maiko - OK. Garden grill - steak was nice, starters were poor - my corn chowder had absolutely no corn in it ;0)
Our other disappointment was the thin stretch of beach in front of the Bahia - a short stroll to the left made us envious of the beaches the Majestic, Barcelo & Hard Rock had. I appreciate that the Bahia can't do anything about this, as natural processes have eroded their stretch, but if you're looking for a wide stretch of beach with calmer water the Bahia doesn't have this.
We did wander up to the theatre one night but left after an hour - there's only so much dancing and mimed singing you can take. Ambar could do with some of it's own entertainment other than the occasional singer / band - it's no wonder loads of people were making the most of the free wifi in the lobby on their smartphones & tablets (which we really appreciated). We didn't like the shop / bar area in the Pueblo Principe - we went in the day & it felt a little run down & seedy, so didn't return at night - especially as drinks aren't included up there & the sellers won't take "no gracias" for an answer until you’ve said it at least 3 times.
Overall we had a nice time as a last minute / cheapish break. However it just wasn't for us, as we felt the resort was too big & impersonal for our taste (I only discovered this after booking & looking on here - the brochure implied a single hotel - booked too late to change).
I doubt we'll be going back to the Dominican Republic either. Having been fortunate to visit most of the islands in the eastern & southern parts of the Caribbean we'll stay on that side from now on, as the begging bowls and pushy sales tactics don't come out as often as they do in the Dominican (the forced souvenir picture before security control in the airport just about sums it up) and I prefer the sound of steel drums to trumpets - but each to their own :0)
- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana
- Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel
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