In my opinion, The Ambassador in Paradise Resort (AIPR) is simply, the best overall resort in Boracay. The title of my review is not a typo; I have visited many exotic places and resorts all over the World, yet I don't recall experiencing the level of service and attention that I got from AIPR. What I experienced at Ambassador made me feel like I own the whole resort, and not just a guest. Here, you're treated like family; It was this "non-commercialized" genuine service that made my experience unique. The staff and management were all polite, helpful, respectful and hospitable. They worked just like a well-coordinated orchestra, with Janes, their amazing resort manager at the helm making sure everything is synchronized at making your stay the best it could possibly be. The level of communication and coordination among the hotel staff and management is impressive; future requests made on a whim is never forgotten. I will highlight the details on my full review (b) below.
My review of Ambassador should not be taken lightly; I normally do not leave reviews of my trips. I do so only when my stay is either extraordinarily good (at least 4 stars), or it's really bad that I need to warn other travelers of my trip experience. For this particular resort, I decided to write a review because my experience was extraordinarily good; it was simply awesome and unexpected.
Initially, I was going to extend my stay for one additional day only (from the original 3-day trip). I was going to book the extension via Agoda, but thanks to Suzanne at the hotel front office for suggesting direct booking with Ambassador and staying four more days (better package and longer vacation, a win-win deal)!
Before I start with my review, I must point out that Ambassador was one of three Boracay hotels that I narrowed down from a list of eleven. My two other choices were Shangri-la and Discovery. I was close to booking Shangri-la for two reasons: First, I am a member of Shangri-la's Golden Circle Club, a loyalty program for frequent hotel visitors, complete with exclusive privileges and perks. Second, a few days before my Boracay trip, I stayed at Shangri-la Mactan for the Cebu leg of my trip (see my separate review).
Additionally, my brother, who is a frequent Shangri-la Boracay visitor, advised me to stay in Station one area (this narrowed down my choices between Ambassador and Discovery, as Shangri-la is on the other (end) side of the island; it's remote and hilly that the fare of tricycle going there (should you try to publicly commute), is more than double (P150 pesos, as compared to tourist rate of P60 going downtown)).
Finally, after checking reviews, I decided to book my trip with Ambassador in Paradise resort.
I must say that my decision to stay at Ambassador during my Boracay trip was the right choice; I also visited Shangri-la and Discovery hotels (to check what I might have missed), but I was not that impressed. I knew that I made the best choice based on my particular trip!
I divided my reviews to two parts:
a.) IN A NUTSHELL - Summarized review for those in a hurry and want to quickly decide which hotel/resort to book the soonest.
b.) FULL VERSION - More complete review with details on why I think this hotel is the best overall. This is more for those travelers who want to take their time before deciding which resort to book.
IN A NUTSHELL, based on my experience, I must say that:
1.) The resort is luxurious, clean, and well-managed - My family and I managed to stay in a total of 3 rooms. We normally have food leftovers on the table after room service or after eating vending refrigerator snacks; not once did I see any insects or crawling bugs, as one reviewer mentioned.
2) The resort is centrally located in station one (the best station area in Boracay). It was a perfect location for me, as I could go to DMall (where nightlife - bars/clubs, restaurants, stores, etc. are located) and still have some privacy at the resort's exclusive beach. It's basically close to every place in Bora. This is a big plus if you plan to party the night away. Staying in hotels that are so isolated (and located on the other side of the island is not advisable or practical, if you plan to night life at DMall (party place).
3.) Beach front hotel - you are steps away from the beach. The moment you stepped out of your room, you'll be walking on fine, white sand. The coconut trees right at the beach added to the beauty of this resort. There are chairs and umbrellas right in front of the hotel, close to the restaurant; you can order drinks while relaxing/gazing at the aqua green ocean.
4.) Great beach side restaurant (award-winning) - you can swim and come back to restaurant to try their excellent entrees, foreign or native. At night, the coconut trees are illuminated by lovely lights that made beach-side dining romantic and relaxing. The Halo halo (popular Filipino dessert, consisting of shaved ice; milk; and all other ingredients including fruits, beans, etc.) in this hotel is the BEST; it is better than those found in supposedly halo-halo specialty places, like Razons and Mang Inasal, etc..
5) Large and spacious rooms - The rooms are huge! My brother, a frequent Shangri-la Boracay visitor, told me that Ambassador's room size is more spacious, luxurious and unique.There is also a nice veranda overlooking the beach. An optional bed is also available, which I needed for this trip. This is a plus for those traveling with children.
6.) Hospitable, Attentive, Respectful and Polite staff (non-commercialized service) - Here they will treat you as if you own the whole resort; everyone is just polite, helpful and approachable! It's something that I don't see everyday back in the States :)! The attributes that I mentioned were genuine; a couple of times that I couldn't give a tip for something that I requested ( I forgot my wallet inside the safe deposit box), I still got the the same hospitable VIP treatment....with a smile!
7.) Complimentary transportation in Boracay (electric passenger carts) - The resort has electric carts to drive you around Boracay. Special thanks to the folks who drove me around - Jerich (?), Pusoy (?) and many more that I couldn't remember the names. They were so quick to cater to my transportation needs; they patiently waited for me when I requested pick up service from downtown.
8.) Unique hotel architecture (roofing made of "anahaw" or Philippine native leaves or something). This made me feel more like I'm on my luxurious vacation home than visiting a hotel. This resort has a feel of being on your own vacation home, not like living in a hotel of some sort.
9.) Communication - Hotel provides blackberry phones to guests, for communication purposes. This will come handy when exploring other accessible parts of Boracay.
AMBASSADOR HOTEL'S TOP NOT SERVICE STARTED WHEN MY ORIGINAL BORACAY FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED:
My Boracay trip almost didn't push through, thanks to Cebu Pacific's notorious reputation for cancelling flights on a whim. I must warn fellow travelers about Cebu Pacific Airline. Yes, this airline is normally cheaper than the competition, but it is also unreliable. One out of my three flights got cancelled, so that's about 33.3% chance of misfire :). You've been warned, but I must honestly divulge this sad experience as part of my review. The trip cancellation almost cost me my hotel reservation which was already paid ($2000+)! IF I didn't find an alternate flight to Boracay that day my trip was cancelled, I might have lost my hotel reservation (maybe, but JR is great, so I don't know for sure :)!
On the day of my flight to Boracay with my family, I got an email from Cebu Pacific informing me of the flight's cancellation due to "Aircraft Situation". With this unfortunate event, I had to find a way to go to Boracay as my hotel is already booked and paid for via Agoda.com. My original trip with Cebu Pacific was Caticlan based (Sunday morning); the new flight that I found via AirAsia was in Kalibo, about 60 kilometers from Caticlan (Sunday Evening). This presented a problem as I requested airport transfer with the hotel in Caticlan. When I contacted the hotel to inform them of the original flight's cancellation, I was surprised that they were aware of it already; they were trying to contact me to arrange for an alternate pickup date and time! The hotel agreed to arrange for pickup at Kalibo, even if it was last minute notification. This was a life saver and they kept my reservation (supposedly, per Agoda, a no show will result in cancellation).
When the plane landed in Kalibo, we were met by hotel representatives and everything went smoothly - all the way to Boracay. When the chartered van arrived in Caticlan, to catch a motorboat for Boracay, two more uniformed hotel representatives met us. They were very polite and guided us all the way. Everything worked like a synchronized watch, thanks to Ambassador in Paradise!
Upon arrival, we were greeted by hotel staff smiling - with glasses of juice and cold towels to freshen us up. They also put some welcome necklace made of sea shells. The front desk personnel, realizing how tired we were, hurriedly checked us in, and before we knew it, we were on our way to our rooms, accompanied by hotel staff. On our way to our rooms, we were greeted with beautiful display of lighted coconut trees on hotel grounds, illuminating the beauty of the resort!
We sampled the restaurant menu on the very night we arrived. The entrees were delicious, both foreign and native. The pizza and bulalo (Philippine beef dish on a semi-clear broth) were fantastic! The location of the restaurant is right at the beach. AWESOME SETTING! You can eat, swim and come back to the restaurant to eat again, should you decide to do that :).
In the morning, I was chilling by the bar enjoying the amazing mango shake (see picture on this review) made by Evan, one of the restaurant's master frozen mixer :). The mango shake is to die for! By the way, for those who want alcohol on their drinks, you can request to have an alcoholic version of Evan's mango shake. You can also enjoy complimentary WiFi within the hotel grounds.
The hotel's exclusive beach is just steps away the moment you get out from your room. The beach chairs are next to the restaurant, so you can order drinks/food while relaxing in front of the aqua green Boracay beach. The beach is never crowded and one of the best location in Boracay!
There is also a massage service available right at the beach. There is also hotel security at the beach. This came handy as I had to leave my things while snorkeling.
Ambassador is located in Station one, considered the best area. Boracay is divided into three stations (1, 2 and 3, with 1 being the best). The hotel is centrally located for both beach privacy and nightlife lovers. Staying in station two is close to where the action is, but it is also more crowded at the beach (and possibly, more noisy). Ambassador's location offers a bit of tranquility, plus a striking distance to nightlife, via the complimentary electric carts of the hotel.
If you are able, you can also walk along the beach all the way to DMall (it's a long walk, but if you want to explore, this is one route).
MANAGEMENT AND STAFF
The management and staff are hospitable, polite, approachable, attentive and respectful. Every time you encounter them, they always greeted us, guests and asked if everything was okay. Management and Staff work like well-oiled machines; they were well-coordinated and always in sync with everything - case in point, I was moving to a room that has a better view. The manager approved the move and told the front desk attendant on duty, to facilitate the transfer at this particular future date. This happened several days before the move. I plan to check on the front desk on the night of my room move, to coordinate/confirm earlier agreed time. However, due to heavy partying that particular night :), I forgot. On the day of the move, at the exact agreed time, a hotel staff by the name of Leah knocked on my room to inform me that my new room was ready. Since I was sleeping at the time, a family member told her to come back an hour later. One hour passed and impressively, Leah came back on the dot, to remind us that our room (with a better view) was ready. Leah also coordinated the transfer of our belongings and everything went smoothly, with little effort on my part!
Similarly, I was in downtown Boracay shopping, and requested to be picked up at this particular time. On the exact requested time, I was surprised that my ride was there waiting for me!
Management is approachable and will go out of their way to talk to you, to make sure everything is alright. If there's a problem, it's best to talk to them so they can assist you. Do not wait until after your trip is over to talk about it.
Anyway, during my stay at Ambassador, I felt at home (sort of); It felt like I was family and not simply a visiting guest ...
Lastly, I was planning of chartering a motorized boat for fishing. Since I didn't want to go alone and no one in my family was interested of going, a hotel staff offered to accompany me on his day off. This friendly staff realized that I was really bent of going fishing but didn't want to go alone; he offered to go with me freely, with nothing in return! This just showed the genuine hospitality and friendliness of the hotel staff.
ROOM SERVICE / ROOM CLEANING (HONEST WORKERS):
I ordered room service because I didn't feel like going out. To my surprise, the food was in my room in less than half an hour. This was actually impressive considering that I ordered pizza and several glasses of halo halo! Granted, my room is only across the restaurant, but it was still an amazing turnaround time considering the foods ordered (and how long to prepare/make them)!
The daily room service was a breeze; four or five hotel personnel came to clean my room, with each person assigned a specific task. When I left the money on the table for tip one day (but forgot to put a note that it was their tip), they never touched it. I had to write a note indicating that the money left behind was for their tip. I was impressed by their honesty; they didn't touch the money even if it was clearly for them.
MISCELLANEOUS - TRANSPORTATION, AIRPORT TRANSFER, ETC.
On many occasion, I was impressed at Ambassador's staff simply because of the genuine desire on their part to deliver great service and assist those in need. One particular instance, a hotel staff named Pusoy who facilitated my parents' airport transfer back to Manila, assisted me while in Caticlan (I went with them). I was having problems with my flight back to Manila, so I dropped by the Cebu Pacific office in Caticlan; Pusoy waited on me and guided me on where to get some items that I needed. He also took care of everything going back to Boracay; I didn't need to fall in line to buy a ticket, or to go through security (he explained to the guard that I'm a guest returning back to the hotel).
OVERALL, my decision to stay at Ambassador in Paradise Resort was an excellent choice. My trip experience went well beyond my expectations; I give this resort a rating of EXCELLENT!
I strongly recommend this hotel! This is a great hotel if you need extra beds for that 3rd (or 5th) wheel companion. The beach, location, rooms, staff and service are top notch! Book this hotel with no hesitations!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ambassador in Paradise Resort is nested in the best "White Beach" location here at Boracay Philippines. We'd love to accommodate conventions, weddings and guests like you who seeks paradise on earth! See you soon! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ambassador In Paradise Hotel Boracay
- Ambassador In Paradise Boracay