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“Good, Bad, and not so Ugly overall !”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #48 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Bloomington, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Good, Bad, and not so Ugly overall !”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2011

My wife and I have visited 7 all inclusives in Mexico over the past decade, but decided to branch out this Spring Break of '11 and try Punta Cana. While we had an enjoyable experience, overall, we feel our all-inclusive experiences in Mexico surpassed our Ambar experience of March, 2011, as we felt an inability at Ambar to effectively communicate with hotel staff at all levels, and didn't sense a real staff friendliness at Ambar when we compare our Ambar experience to our Mexican experiences. We enjoyed the adult exclusivity of Ambar and its pool area, and the constant security presence that kept the place as such. The spaciousness of the grounds made for enjoyable walks and runs, but we were bummed on two occassions when a bartender at another part of the resort would not serve us a drink given the color of our wristband. Don Pablo, El Meson, Mikado, and El Olivio provided outstanding dining experiences that were distinct, tasty, and well served. We felt the service each a.m. for breakfast was mediocre when it came to requested hot beverages. Drinks at the pool bar were fruity and icy, with drinks in the lobby bar before and after dinner well prepared and well served. Our room, convenient to the lobby in Villa 63, was noisy late night with returning guests, but comfortable. We disliked the fact that our maid rearranged and moved personal items inside our room. We felt on two occassions, upon returning to our room, that our belongings had been gone through, and we still cannot account for an item we purchased. We were glad to have been able to have use of the in room safe. We felt the vendors in Pueblo Principe and the vendors brought onto the resort Tuesday night were outlandishly aggressive in attempting to sell their items. We were disappointed upon arriving at 3:00 pm but not having access to our room until 4:30 pm, being told by the staff at the registration area "15 minutes" over and over again. Frankly, we sensed they didn't care that our room wasn't ready, and were not too concerned when, upon our room being ready, the door keys wouldn't function. Overall, a good place to stay on many levels, but some concerns on our part about that we wanted to share with others. PS: in reviewing pictures others have taken and posted, it's amazing how many of the same sort of pictures we took!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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2 Thank SpringBreaker52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2011

Traveled to GBPA in October 2010 with my husband and 2 other couples. We had an amazing trip. The hotel was beautiful, food was great, the beach was breath taking. The entire trip was wonderful..... except for one thing ! The vendors !!! This could have been avoided for sure, they did not bother us on the resort at all.... we went to them ! We plan on going back to GBPA again this year but we will definitely stay away from "walmart". I wanted to buy souvenirs and I really wanted to support the locals..... unfortunately they were far to aggressive and drove me away empty handed.
When we first arrived at the beach they came flocking toward us and grabbing my arm to lead me into one of their shops/stalls, "here lady come look" I had picked up a child's golf shirt and asked how much? He told me $50. I was stunned and told him that was ridiculous.... then he tried to go down by $5. increments until he got to $30. I told him I could get a better quality shirt at the hotel for $18. When I finally threw my hands up and walked away he chased me down the beach telling me $15.I was so annoyed that I just went and bought a beer and sat far away down the beach and waited for everyone else to finish being mobbed ! The rest of the group was irritated by it too but not nearly as much as I was.
So I learned my lesson and will not be buying from the vendors when I return to the Dominican ! Which is really unfortunate, as I really would like to support the locals !
Great trip all around other than this !
We did three half day excursions.... Dune Buggies (would not recommend this one) the ride was boring and slow and didn't go off road.
Zip Lining- was a great day loved every minute of it, felt very safe, the staff were very supportive as I was quite nervous, the equipment seemed top notch. The tour guide talked to us about local history, politics,food, culture and education ! He was fabulous !
Swam with sting rays and sharks and went snorkeling- wonderful day would highly recommend !
Love GBPA and can't wait to return !

  • Stayed October 2010
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank rayne01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ILLINOIS
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2011

Home for 4 days now in 20 dagree weather, wishing I was still at the Ambar. The Ambar is in a very large complex of other Bahia resorts. We did not have a problem with that it is down by the beach and they have these cute little trams for you to ride if you would like to go to the other parts of the complex.
When we arrived we were checked in right away our room was ready,you don't check in at the desk your concierge checks you in at a private table in the lobby. I have stayed at other resorts and waited up to 4 hours to get in a room. We had a first floor room facing the pool it was great for easy access to our room.Friends were on the 3rd floor right above us.
The room was very nice, clean ,and big.Wish my bathroom at home was that big.I did use the Pillow menue and got very nice pillows but the pillows on the bed were nice anyway.We had no problems with the electricity going out the AC was good too.
The food was very good we ate at the buffet most nights.. I have to say it is one of the best buffets I have seen. Plenty of choices every day.There is 2 outside buffet for lunch and breakfast also.We did eat at the Don Pablo 1 night it was 1 of 3 reservations they had ready for us when we got there.
Okay the important stuff .The staff was very nice and efficiant. Our concierge got me champagne one night and wanted to run a bath for me. we had fruit in our room on arrival.
We stayed by the pool most days its quiet there they only play music around 3 or 4 in the afternoon.There is that game of saving chairs at the pool but they have security, if you leave anything before 8 and leave they will move your things to the towel hut.
I have never stayed at a resort with such a nice sandy ,clean seaweed free beach.It does get a little crowded down there but Ambar guest have there own section.we never had trouble finding a chair. The weather was absolutely gorgeous I was surprised there was no humidity.We had a few sprinkles of rain a couple of nights but if you didn't see it you missed it.
Well i guess that covers everything.I just want to say don't listen to the petty bad reviews go and check it out for yourself.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GAMA-K06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2011

My wife and I are in our late forties and are regular island holiday people. In the past in the D.R we have visited the Majestic Colonial, the GBPBavaro and the Palladium as well as other Mexican and Caribbean resorts.

Recently we returned from the Amber and would like to pass along some of our thoughts. This is a lovely hotel with many positives, but not the "5" Star - top - very exclusive "Don Pablo" it promotes. At best this is a good "4" Star resort.

Pros: The staff is great
Common areas are very impressive
The pool area is very nice. A little loud at times, but then you can visit the beach
The beach and ocean like almost any Punta Cana/Bavaro resort are excellent
Vegetation and grounds are lovely and beautifully maintained
Everywhere is clean - rooms, grounds, beach, lobby etc.
The buffet is OK - enormous selection - no one will ever starve
There are unlimited beach towels, no cards are necessary
The rooms are a nice size and the bed and bedding comfortable
Check in and Check out are a breeze

Cons: Because of space/area limitations on this massive complex the Amber section
has been squeezed into the GBP's most desirable section which is closest to the
ocean. Unlike the less expensive GBPBavaro or Punta Cana sections where the
buildings are spread out in a more park like meandering fashion, the Amber units back
on to each other. So one feels as if you are in a tenement. There is no view and little
pleasure in relaxing or reading on your balcony because there is a set of buildings like
yours a baseball throw across the way. Except for a very special few corner end units
there is no ocean view.

Before leaving on our vacation we read a Trip Advisor - Amber review suggesting air
condition governing or switch-offs occurring between 2:00 am and 6:00 am. I assumed
this was a "silly" complaint from an irate guest. On the first night our room became
hot and stuffy. We called the front desk around 2.40 am to complain the A/C was off.
The desk person said a technician would be over. We tried opening the balcony door,
but that shut the ventilation system off completely. Also because there are no screens
on the sliding doors the bugs started to enter. The ceiling fan provided a little relief, but
it was only moving "dead" air. At 5:45 am I called the desk again and asked where was
the service man? We could hear the night manager talking to the service person in
Spanish. He came back on the line and reported to us what the technician had told him.
He explained the air conditioning system is always off between 2:00 am and 6:00 am
and that our room would be cool in 15 minutes. Sure enough, all was well in about 25
minutes. I contacted management during the next 2 days and received all sorts of
"stories" about the situation. They finally sent a representative to our room to check the
thermostat and ensure the door latch mechanism that controls the A/C power and the
slip card entry key control device was working. Later management reported as far as
they were concerned everything met their standards.

Needless to say early every morn around 2:00 am the room became hotter and stuffier
- until 6:00 am. I have shortness of breath and my wife and I could almost tell time
without looking at the clock. I understand hydro costs must be a major expense in the
Dominican and I realize businesses must try to minimize costs. What I do not accept
is why potential guests are not informed about this. No literature or promotional material
I have seen indicates this. If this was the case I would have paid a reasonable surcharge
to have complete air conditioning.

My final concern is again what I believe to be cost related. Why does the GBP Amber
promote the availability of some top shelf liquors: Stoli, Smirnoff and some of the better
gins and rums. Depending on the time of day, the bartender, how generous your tip
was or which particular bar you visit they attempt to give you the sugar based headache
causing cheap Normandy "hootch". GBP Amber please don't tell me I am going to your
premier level, 5 star "Don Pablo" establishment if this isn't the case. During this holiday
I heard many guests from all over the world complain about this issue.

In conclusion, this resort is great value for the dollar - an OK resort. But nowhere near
the calibre they tout.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank johnnyWeston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2011

I have to laugh at some people about the reviews they write, and the things they complain about. I think some people are not happy unless they can b****. I have had the opportunity to stay at many very nice resorts because of business, and even the high end resorts make mistakes. The first observation I had, is you have businesses operating in tough conditions and employ locally, which can have its challenges. So don’t be worried about all the negative comments you read on tripadvisor. The Ambar was a great resort! The grounds, the service and the people were very good. The was food decent, but your are in the Dominican and not Canada! Again, I have stayed in nicer places and have had a bad meal. If you want a North American experience then stay there! It is a big resort, so why would you be surprise to find other people by the pool? It is easy to pick out the vacationers that only want to hang out by the pool and the swim up bar for six days, so naturally they are the keeners at 8 am grabbing a chair. This is consistent with any other resort that I have been to, so why would it be a surprise at the Bahia Principe? What we liked about staying in the Ambar, is we always found chairs in the Ambar guests only section on the beach, regardless of the time of day. The chairs are also not nailed to the ground so you can pick them up and move them to where ever you like! The trick to the a la cartes is to book them before hand by email or as soon as you arrive. Each a al carte only has so much staff on hand and they take reservations accordingly. This means that the restaurants are never full, which is not what we are not use to seeing when we go out for dinner at prime time. But because they design it this way, the service is excellent. Overall this is a very nice resort and I would not have a problem in returning.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ksl3429
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
torontocanada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2011

Have stayed at Bahia in Tulum many times and tried Dominician this year...Wow the beach is fantastic,resort excellent.Loved the adult only at Ambar..Wonderful meals, especially the little beach cafe overlooking the ocean,great for breakfast & lunch..Rooms clean, lots of space,bathroom roomy, and balcony overlooking the pool.... some kind of fantastic.Would have liked a bit more live entertainment in the Ambar lobby..Overall would recommend and will go back it was really wonderful..Cheers

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank travelgal0809
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2011

This was my first trip anywhere south and I was uncertain if it was going to be a vacation that I could really get into. I am not used to not having a schedule or a train/boat/plane I need to catch.

It took me all of about 6 hours to relax into the warm ocean breeze and the even warmer welcome from the staff at the Gran Bahia Principe Ambar. I chose an adults only as I wanted peace and I had my expectations exceeded.

Room:
The room (Villa 60) was a perfect location for the beach and pool and the Las Brisas snack bar where we had breakfast and lunch. The pool was beautiful with a swim up bar and lots of shaded places to sit, if you got there early enough. The room itself was large, perfectly clean, well set up with a large bathroom and lots of towels. The room was kept in great order by the wonderful cleaning staff and our mini bar was never low on anything. As a tip - leave something in the mini bar as I think the person who stocks it is different than the person who cleans the room.

Food:
The food was exceptional! I wasn't expecting much as I had heard that all inclusive places don't often have great food - there's alot of it but not always the best quality. The food at the Ambar, and all the A La Carte restaurants, was fantastic. Special mention needs to go out to the Palmyra buffet (in the Ambar lobby) and Don Pablo restaurant. The main buffet had so many items and everything was good. But my favourite was the chef who was cooking up seafood and meat/poultry on a grill right in front of you. It was the best and I went back to im each time I was there. They also have theme nights and Thursdays (I think) are their gala night with lobster. The only place I didn't like the food was Las Olas (I think) which is a beach snack bar for one of the other sections of the resort.

Beach:
Beautiful, clean, lots of palm trees and Palapas (palm thatched huts). We were early risers so we got the same Palapa each day (30 feet from the beach bar and a view of the ocean). I never thought I could spend a whole day at the beach and not get bored or burn. But with the shade from the palapa and palm trees I could always find shade. The beach is raked and cleaned every morning and there are young men who walk the beach and clean up garbage the entire day.

Grounds:
Clean, well groomed, always someone caring for them and greenery everywhere. It was so lush - I wasn't expecting that. Plus the walkways are easy to figure out.

Train:
It's actually kind of a truck and cart thingy but it is easy, extremely frequent and so convenient.

People:
Warm, welcoming, eager to please, kind with those of us that don't speak any Spanish, always dancing and singing and encouraging guests to enjoy everything. Yes, some of them don't speak any English but most do and my few words of Spanish and simple phrasebook were enough.

I would go back in a heartbeat and would recommend this place to anyone wanting a fantastic vacation. If you have children the Esmeralda section is the place to go - it looked fantastic is new.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ninjitsu007
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

Property: 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:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre 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
#41 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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 (additional charge) 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 (additional charge) 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 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana

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