Vacationed here from 20 Jan to 3 Feb. Pleasant 1 hr bus ride from airport. Club Ambiance’s 3 star rating is correct, it does not pretend to be anything fancier. Is it rundown? You bet, with lots of areas needing work. We are seasoned travellers, and knew not to have high expectations. We are used to staying in nicer places, but chose this place as a last minute getaway for the great price and the positive reviews. At first glance, it was certainly a real let down. However, eventually our opinion changed somewhat. Best way to describe Club Ambiance is to say it is like a 90 room roadside motel back home which has not only a pool, but also an ocean in its backyard. Negative things aside, we got what we paid for – the basics. As per our tour rep, hotel is approx 40 yrs old, same owners for last 17-18 yrs, and under new management for the last yr. We have it on good authority from returning guests that it is for sale, but we do not know how long it’s been on the market.
Our room was big and well appointed. Everything worked well, despite water from shower head spraying everywhere, including onto ceiling. Maintenance was very quick to replace the part, worked better but not great. One of the things that I was disgusted with was the amount of calcium on all of the bathroom taps. I’ve never in my life seen it this bad. All it would take is some elbow grease and CLR to keep them looking decent. Apparently many of the rooms are like this. Bathroom towels were nice and thick, large face cloths also provided. Mattress was nice and firm, however with very little cushioning, so you feel the springs. This being a no frills hotel, you will not be supplied with toileteries, lotions, or facial tissues; only with shampoo in wall dispenser. Fridge will be empty; will not be supplied with pop, water or beer. Tap water is drinkable and tasty, that’s what you’ll be served with your meals. Bottled water for sale in gift shop. No DVD player. Very well insulated rooms so you won’t hear your neighbours. However, you will hear road traffic from just about every room, unless you are a heavy sleeper. Rooms by the pool (where we were) are more quiet as they are furthest from nightly entertainment. Staff would talk loudly in the parking lot, as well as when they walked the hallways during the middle of the night. There was no consideration given to their sleeping guests. Smoking is not permitted in the rooms. Saw a faded sticker on patio door advising guests that smoking only permitted outdoors. This policy is not enforced. Our room stank of smoke, but it wasn’t as bad as 2 others I walked past that absolutely reeked.
Restaurants and Bars:
Food was very good, no complaints. Choices are limited, but the variety is enough to keep you well fed. Keep in mind that this is a very small hotel, so you are not going to find choices as you will at large resorts. Menu repeats from week to week. Buffet dining room for all 3 meals; as well as terrace grill for lunch and late afternoon tasty burgers, sandwiches and fries. Only other dining option is steak and lobster at $20 pp. Wed and Sat, the dining room is closed and dinner is a BBQ event under the moon and stars.
Pool is small, nice and clean. Chairs in great shape, as are umbrellas. When folks said the beaches are small, they weren’t kidding. Neither are they the kind you can stroll on. There are 2 tiny manmade beaches, one on each side of the walk to pier bar. Both sides have rock walls against the ocean side to protect them. To get a visual perspective, visit resort website and check out the layout map. Smaller beach has a clothing optional section separating their chairs from the rest by lattice fencing. You will see the nudists in the water or sitting on their chairs. An adults only resort, so it’s not a big deal. Water is only waist deep, so not swimming beaches. Both offer access to the ocean should you wish to snorkel on the other side. Snorkeling was fine for a beginner, however not much to see otherwise, at least when we were there. Variety of little fish to see inside beach areas along the rocks (feed them bits of bread), as well as baby barracuda. Eels were seen daily, as well as occasional adult barracuda. What was most disappointing at the beaches was the condition of the shade palapas. From the 15 or so palapas, 90% of them are in extremely bad shape and look like hurricane victims. No excuse for this as the problem can very easily be remedied, and at basically zero cost since palm tree branches are plentiful. Majority of chairs are also in horrible condition with meshing sagging terribly, and/or ripping. Bahia Principe located next door, but cannot walk there along the beach.
Other Comments: Service was very good from all staff members. House band was very entertaining. Neither of us was sick, nor did we hear of anyone else complaining of illness. Few bug bites, not a big deal, never used insect repellent. Never saw them fumigating.
Met some nice folks from Austria, Germany, Holland, UK, USA and fellow Canadians. Being a small resort, was nice to get to know your neighbours. Overall we enjoyed our holiday, despite the areas that very obviously need renovations and repairs. In some cases, even a fresh coat of paint would make all the difference. There were 3 days out of 14 where there was no water for short periods. There were also 2 nights where fire alarms went off in our bldg, strangely however no guests left their rooms. Congratulations and well done go out to the staff for very good service, and to the kitchen staff for keeping us well fed. If not for them, we would have probably moved to another resort. We agree with the 3 star rating. With necessary renovations and a lot of elbow grease, Club Ambiance has the potential to be a jewel.