The Ambar is one of many resorts in One BIG resort. I was looking at the various resorts and their ratings on Trip Advisor and on Bahia website. The impression I had was that each resort is separate. After my trip I realized that this in fact is not the case at all. Furthermore, when you visit and stay on your little resort, you will miss many other activities that go on. The best way to explain this is when my wife and I walked the properties of Bahia Principe we found them to be like boroughs and that each borough has a Main hall where the guests of that particular borough can check in, get guest services, help and have access to other specific services and tours. We suggest you take a walk, a ride on the little trolley trains and get to know the shopping, casino, and theaters at the Bavaro (if you are not staying there). To fully understand the resort and to get a heads up before your vacation, I have made a video explaining the complete resort and posted it on YouTube. YouTube Video at http://youtu.be/BYLkRjYpdjk Would I Go Back? Yes and no. It was clean and had everything with respect to beach, pool, dining and drinking (all you can drink). My wife and I do not drink anymore and eat very healthy so we will be looking for resorts that offer more activities such as archery, horseback riding, arts and crafts etc…
But in conclusion, there was nothing that happened that would keep us from going back, especially if a bunch of friends were to go.
We travelled with Air Transat and they took care of the connections and orientation.
Rooms: Facilities: We found the rooms, grounds and all things extremely clean and well kept. After visiting the other resorts, the Ambar is the most luxurious, especially because of some of the added features that their guests have and the other resort guests do not have. An example of this is that the AMBAR guests can eat out at any restaurant every night that they are there (reservations required) while the other resorts allow only 3 night out per week and the balance must be in one of the many buffet style restaurants either on the beach or in the main lobby entrance area.
Restaurants and Bars: Food: We found the food from good to great depending at which restaurant or buffet that you visit. As you will see from the video, this place is HUGE! So the challenge of preparing food that everyone likes is in my opinion almost impossible. For example, we had reservations to a fine Italian Restaurant one night. The menu offered many wonderful choices from stuffed fillets to pasta and more. However, we noticed the people next to us ordered a Pizza? So as you can see, they have to cater to all types of appetites and they seem do it well. In fact, my wife and I eat very healthy at home (Green Smoothies, no wheat, red meat etc…) and we were worried that we would get sick. That was not the case at all! In fact we did not even gain a pound. Additionally at the Ambar, there is also 24-hour room service. With all that said, the restaurants that take reservations offer a fairly good meal but because there are so many people to serve and to sit every evening, the meals are rushed and served quickly, almost head spinning quick. For example, at the Japanese restaurant, we had reservations for 7:15 and as we sat down the waiter took our order. The soup arrived within a minute and the sushi plates about three minutes thereafter. By 8:00 we were done? That is a little quick. I have had better Miso Soup but the sushi was great! We found the water is safe to drink and their food cleanliness is excellent. When entering any dining place, there was always a woman to greet you and you had to have disinfectant cream squirted on your hands before you entered the restaurant. I do not think that people have to worry about getting food sickness other than eating and drinking too much.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach and Pool: Remember that the AMBAR is for adults only so the guests from other resorts cannot enter but the AMBAR guests can go everywhere. So there are no children at the pool or on the beach directly in front of the AMBAR.
We thought the beach was one of the nicest we had seen and the pools are lovely. There was white plenty of white sand on the beach and huge pools with sit in bars and so on. We are not the type to sit around in the sun at the pool side or the beach, but we did notice the towel reservation game that happened every morning between 8:00 to 8:30 whereby people would place their towels to reserve a lounge chair on either the beach or pool.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Excursions: We did the Dolphin Adventure and a Snorkeling Adventure. I have videos available for both if you are interested in planning a similar trip. Both trips were fun and we did not experience and problems at all. Remember to bring water and sunscreen! Dolphins – http://youtu.be/ZbLMFe0kAGE
Snorkeling – http://youtu.be/U0x1ztGeTo4
Other Comments: The Staff: Obviously most of the staff speaks Spanish with little or no English except for the waiters. However, we found that they were all very friendly, professional and helpful. We speak French and English but wish we spoke Spanish to better interact with the staff and locals. Tipping: You are expected to tip and tips are much appreciated. For example, I spoke to a guest services representative one evening who told me that she was a student from Costa Rica and was completing her education program by working there FOR FREE for six months to get experience. They host her in a small room with 6 other women. So you can imagine how she would appreciate a few extra dollars. Generally I was tipping about 5.00 USD each meal and personally gave it to the waiter or server who provided me with the service. Additionally, I had brought baseball cards (new in small packs) and handed those out for tips as well since they really like baseball in Punta Cana.