Old Reviews – Club Ambiance

  Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay   Ali & Martin ~ UK

November 2008

Once again we have had a wonderful stay at Club Ambiance, Gilbert and his staff really excelled in looking after us. Although the afternoons were a bit rainy, we nonetheless had a great time and were never bored. The hotel itself may be older than its neighboring hotel, but the service is second to none, food delicious and varied, and most important of all on our list- CLEAN. We have been to lots of hotels in Europe (and Dominican Republic once), to have stomach upsets ruin our holiday, this has never been a problem at Club Ambiance.

We had a few days out with Fabian in his taxi, he has excellent knowledge of places to visit, including a day out in Montego Bay area, where he took us to a bird feeding station in the rain forest, we had Doctor birds feeding from our hands!

We are already planning our next trip, and cant wait to eat Red Snapper and the delicious soups amongst other food on offer. Also the A la’ carte lobster we had was out of this world

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  Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay   Terry & Denise ~ Canada

February 2008

Arrival – We arrived for our 4 day stay just before lunch and were told our room was not ready. We then were told we were being upgraded to a honeymoon suite for a portion of our stay and booked in right away. The room overlooked the ocean with a view of the courtyard bar.

Rooms – The property is very old, and the bathrooms need to be upgraded. The a/c appear new, are quiet and work well. Our honeymoon suite had a king size canopy bed and room was very large with a seating area. After the 2nd night we were told we had to move to a a]smaller room which we preferred as the bathroom was better, had a window and much better lighting. The bathroom in the honeymoon suite was in poor shape, really high counter tops and no fan. Although the entire property is old the furniture is newer and everything is kept very clean. There was a wall safe but had to pay $3.00 a day for rental. Most other resorts are free. We did gets lots of bites overnight, not sure from what.

Restaurants – The buffet food was very good, always hot, lots of variety and different themes every day. Variety of salads and desserts as well. We have stayed at other resorts with a higher rating and the food at Ambience was better. The breafast were very good with someone to make your omelet as you liked. Every night they had someone make a special dish at the end of the buffet bar. Pasta nights were especially good. The beach bar was also good and we had grilled sandwiches from there. They served pizza at 11:00 p.m. every night just after the entertainment ended and the disco started.

Bars – They have a pool bar which we never used and the main beach bar. They have a menu board posted with all the common drinks they make. Alot of the fancier drinks were premixed in jugs they kept in the cooler. The pina coladas etc, were in slushy machines and not mixed individually each time.

Beach and Pools – We stepped into the pool once and it was slightly cool but clean. There was a hot tub out by the beach completely surrounded by bushes and trees. The beach was sandy and separated into 3 different areas. One of the areas was clothing optional. The beach areas are all very small and are man made. They have made a rock dam to protect the swimming areas from the crashing waves. The water is only waist deep in most places, the bottom is somewhat rocky and you had to maneuver between the weeds. There is nowhere to walk along the beach or on the property. You cannot see the sunset from this resort. It appeared that few people used the beach area and very few seen in the water.

Grounds – The grounds are all taken up by the hotel, pool area and beach bar area. There is an outdoor pool table, shuffleboard, and ping -pong area. You can walk out on a walk-way towards another small bar. The grounds are all very clean, but there is no where to go outside the property for a walk. On the other side opposite the beach area there is a small parking lot next to the busy highway leading to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.

Activities – The activity staff attempt to have activities every day and do real well at trying to keep everyone entertained. They also look after the entertainment shows at night which were your typical all inclusive entertainment. Only went to disco for a short time one evening, loud and smoky.

Tours – They have a tour desk set up in the hotel lobby. We booked a tour with our tour rep. The Ocho Rios Highlight tour which takes you to a Jamaican craft market, the Coyota Botanical Gardens, the Wasi Pottery factory, shopping at TajMaHal in Ocho Rios and then to Dunns Rivers Falls. The tour was a whole day tour and very good for the money, well worth going on.

Conclusion – Alot of the people staying at the resort said they were repeat customers. It seems a popular resort for people from England. The staff are friendly and all seem happy. For the price the value is very good. We had just come from Negril and ended our holiday in Runaway just to see what this part of the island was like. We would not return to this resort as we like the beach and swimming in the ocean, walking along the beach. We also found the weather was cooler here, windier, and ocean rougher than Negril. If you want a cheaper, quiet, no crowds resort, and spend your time by the bar or leaving the resort to go on tours this would be fine.

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  Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay   Christie

January 2008

Just returned from Club Ambiance for a Girls Get Away Weekend. I was a bit concerned about this resort because of all the mixed reviews.

I have to say that I ended up being pleasantly surprised. The food was good, the staff was wonderful, accommodating, and friendly, and they didn’t skimp on the alcohol. This is by no means a fancy resort, but it was certainly clean and tidy. We had a double room, that wasn’t too big, but certainly all we needed. We were able to get TV stations out of NY. Most of the visitors seemed to be from the USA or England

If you like long walks on the beach, this isn’t the resort for you, since it is a man made beach and you can’t walk more than 500 feet at a time before running into an obstacle. They do offer a free bike ride every afternoon that takes you to the local public beach and you can walk there. Excursions to Ocho Rios & Dunns Falls are only about 20-25 minutes away and cost about $10/pp for the shuttle ride.

If you like more of“small town” sort of atmosphere where you can get to know the people around the neighborhood and you don’t want to drop a lot of money, this is the place for you. If you’re more “big city” and extravagant you may want to choose another place.

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay  

November 2007

We just returned from a week at Club Ambiance. Save your money and go somewhere a little more expensive as you get what you pay for! This resort needs to be BULLDOZED and start all over again. It is old and needs major overhauling. Our bathtub drain did not go down and was reported immediately. The next day the water began to seep through the tile on floor and flooded the entire room. Not a good situation when you have electricity that does not work properly (lamps flickered on and off, etc.) and tile flooring that is extremely slippery, not to mention the unsanitary condition of the dirty water. They came in and mopped the floor and told us it was fixed. Not true!! The following evening the room flooded again. This time we were given a new room. This room had a bathroom door that did not shut at all, no privacy! But after packing and unpacking 2 times, we decided to make the best of it. The flooding began again the next day. Not quite as bad as the first room, we were able to contain it with the bathmat. Also, the room above ours in the first room had a flood, toilet problems. To compensate us for our aggravation, we were given a basket with a $2.00 bottle of rum cream and a grater to make our own hot chocolate. Not even an apology from the management. This was a total insult!!! On the b

righter side, the wait staff, bartenders, etc. are the best! The so-called beaches are only knee deep which we were aware of at the booking. It does make for a tough time to get wet and cooled off. The food was good, but drinks were weak.

Once again, save your money for a better place!!!

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Gary & Ann

September 2007

it was the first time to jamaica for us and we had a fantastic time at club ambience. The resort although small gave it that homely feeling. The staff were brillant and went out of their way to make you feel very welcome and could not do enough to make your stay special. Of course some of the staff became our favourites. This included bar staff, restaurant, entertainment, reception staff some of them will know who we mean.

The hotel was kept spotless and rooms were cleaned every day. The beaches i liked, couldn’t get on with snorkelling but hubby was well away with it. Wish i had done the scuba diving, but never got around to it or the glass bottom boat. The entertainment is good and the disco is worth going to, sometimes they have athemed night. Need to try the cocktails of course you end up with your fav. Between the two of us we worked through the cocktail list plus some advised by other guests. Many i did not like but i tried them. Being all inclusive not really waste of money as they are included. But hubby liked most of them any way so not much waste.

Views from our room of the ocean were great. Wonderful listening to the ocean and waking up to the jamaican sea air. Food was great and the BBq were good. Loved the Red snapper and miss having it. We can’t get it in England which is a shame cause i would have it regular here. All the food was good and cooked to perfection.

We did travel around abit, like to visit places of interest and meet people. So venture off the resort and see this beautiful island. We did swimming with dolphins, one of the reasons we went to jamaica. Dunns river, YS falls, black river, Appleton estate rum factory, Negril 7 mile beach, cliff divers and sunset. Ocho rios shopping and fern gully. Also went to margaritaville at night. Must do if you are ever there in february is the bob marley smile concert, faboulous. Be prepared to have a late night/ early morning finish.

Some of these trips we did with the travel rep on a coach others we did via a reputable taxi driver. We much prefered the taxi driver and when we go back which we are next year we will only use the taxi driver. Very realiable. If you want his details i can give you his mob no. would highly recommend him.

All in all jamaica was fantastic and do not want to go any where else now. Fell in love with the island and its people. Can’t wait to get back there.

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Bev & Jeff ~ Canada

February 2005

We recently returned from Club Ambiance, Runaway Bay, Jamaica. After three snowstorms in one week we booked CA for five days, Jan27_Feb1.

We were in a Deluxe Room (Club6) with a king size canopied bed,fridge,well furnished sitting area and balcony.We have stayed at several resorts in the Carib and this was the nicest room that we have encountered.

The man made beach is small but we spent a lot of time at the pool where there was never a problem getting a lounge chair.

If you drop crumbs in the water fish will swim around your feet. Also, an octopus was spotted several times, near the shoreline.

Food is fine and service and staff are great.

We ventured off the grounds a couple of nights and went to a couple of bars within walking distance. In retrospect, we likely should not have done this, although, we did not have any trouble.

We had a wonderful time and will definitely return.

Some guests had been there four or five times and some were there for a month.

Any questions feel free to e-mail at bevandjeff@ns.sympatico.ca

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Nancy

July 2004

Accommodations, a little rundown. Forget the white sand Caribbean. Beach little more than a puddle, created by a concrete jetty. Entertainment lethargic. Food mediocre. Not the best time I ever had.

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Margaret and Doug

February 2004

My husband and I just returned from our first trip to the Caribbean in January 2004. After a month of researching many resorts, and reading numerous reviews from other travelers, we finally settled on Club Ambiance, Runaway Bay, Jamaica and booked through Signature Vacations. The resort was only rated as 3-star, which concerned me a bit, but it met two very important criteria for us: affordability and NO kids. We also felt that since it was small (90 rooms) it might be more intimate than some of the other bigger resorts.

Of the reviews read, only a small percentage were negative and many were detailed enough that I had a pretty good idea what to expect. For instance, one review mentioned cats roaming around the resort. Yes, there were cats. However, they were no bother. Signs were posted advising guests not to feed them. They only came out at sundown and were never seen during the day. In fact, for late late entertainment one night, we delighted in watching two males square off over a female in heat. Another complaint was the size of the beach. I reviewed the pictures of the resort and a video available on the web site: www.clubambiance.com and accepted this. A long beach walk might have been nice, but I certainly didn’t miss it.

On landing in Montego Bay around 10pm, we found a man holding the sign of our tour company. He escorted us to a waiting shuttle bus. Other passengers from the same plane, all Canadians, also embarked on the shuttle bus. I had been advised that the resort was about 1hr 15 min from airport, however we were not prepared for the traffic jam stretching all the way out of Montego Bay. For me, it was a rather frightening journey, given that I was not used to driving on the left on a two-lane winding road on which lots of traffic drive in the middle or on the wrong side of the road. I would suggest to that any travellers with sensitive stomachs, that they take an anti nausea pill prior to this bus ride. The driver made a pit stop for beer after an hour on the bus for which we were all grateful and we finally arrived at Club Ambiance at 12:03am.

The resort was pretty quiet when we arrived and we were quickly shown to our room. We booked into a deluxe honeymoon room for this trip, wanting the added benefit of a large bed and a nice view of the sea (since we could afford it). The room did provide that. It was not as spacious as the pictures portrayed and we later found out our room was one of the smallest of the Honeymoon suites (H11). The room had a balcony overlooking the sea so we quickly opened the double glass doors leading to it and took in the view and the gentle sounds of the sea. The room was immaculate, although the bathroom could be upgraded. Ours contained a square shower stall and a separate bath. The shower was too small especially for us as we do like to shower together. The room also had a bidet, but it didn’t work. The water pressure was very low in the late afternoons. A lot of guests retire for the afternoon siesta before dinner and so I think the pressure was related to the number of people showering at this time. Most of the time though the pressure was good and there was plenty of hot. Our room also had quick access to the grounds below: a set of outdoor stairs was right outside our balcony. However, this did infringe on our privacy and we had to keep the curtains closed to unsuspecting guests climbing the stairs (Minor really)

We had an opportunity to view other honeymoon suites that contained sitting areas and had much more space. If you’re particular about this you may wish to request H3 for your room. This is a large room on the corner of the main building and has two sets of French doors leading out to the balcony. We saw some of the standard rooms as well. All were adequate in terms of space, but some backed onto the road side of the resort, and there it was noisy from the street.

On our first trip to the dining room for breakfast, we delighted in a table with an open window. The dining room was very nice and open. All meals were buffet style. Breakfasts were served in the dining room from 7:30 to 10am Every morning’s breakfast contained a variety of fruits, breads, hot entrees and a chef ready to make your eggs for you anyway you wanted. We enjoyed this very much. Lunches were always served outside in the Terrace Grill. They had a large patio with lots of tables and some tables under the terrace. We often escaped the sun for lunch. Only a few of the outdoor tables had umbrellas. Lunch contained a variety of salad ingredients, which I enjoyed often, fruit, and a variety of hot entrees as well and some form of grilled meat: hamburgers, sausage, kabobs, etc. Dinners were served in the Dining room and again lots of variety. Something different every day. Thursday night’s dinner was served outside at the Terrace Grill and was a Caribbean night. We really enjoyed this and sampled all the wonderful Jamaican dishes. We paid extra one night for the Lobster dinner served on the Terrace Grill. The menu was limited: lobster or filet mignon, but was served to our table and was wonderfully prepared. The atmosphere on this evening was certainly very romantic.

Adjusting to a laid back relaxing holiday was no problem for me, I quickly settled into the routine of setting up a couple of lounge chairs on the beach, signing out towels, a floating device, and a couple of masks, snorkels and fins. I spent my time going from the chair to the water and floating around the cove. I’d don the snorkel and swim around the rocks to find very pretty little fish. My husband did not sit still very long. He loved the snorkeling. There was a ship wreck not to far offshore and he was out there every day. Some days the water was rough and it was difficult navigating through the reefs, however it didn’t stop him. Apparently the sea life was amazing. When he wasn’t snorkeling, he was playing billiards, volleyball, shuffleboards or chatting with the many guests we met while there. The resort also had kayaks and paddleboats and of course the pool. We didn’t spend any time by the pool. It was more fun on the beach with more to see and do.

The bar opened at 10am and closed at midnight usually. The drinks were great! The bar staff were prompt and very friendly. There were three bars:one by the pool, one at the end of the pier and the coconut bar on the terrace. Nightly entertainment included the resident band who were excellent (although we found it a little loud) and a different special guest every evening, all thoroughly enjoyed. In addition to the evening entertainment, the entertainment staff was always doing something. You were never pressured to participate, but always had fun if you did. The resort also had a selection of board games and cards that you could sign out too.

On a more general note about Jamaica, it is a very beautiful island, very lush. The people were very friendly and warm, always smiling. We did an excursion one day. Shopping in Ocho Rios: Don’t pay more than $6US for a T-Shirt or $1US for beads. There is a supermarket in the tourist area of Ocho Rios. Go there for your coffee, liquor or to purchase other grocery store items such as water. Its much cheaper than the tourist shops. Our tour included Shaw Botanical Gardens on the hilltop overlooking Ocho Rios. This was beautiful. There is a fresh water pool in the gardens you must dip into. (Take swimwear). We ate lunch at a restaurant called The Ruins. This is another must. This restaurant has a beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush greens, apparently spectacular at night too. The owner stopped and chatted with all the patrons, a Jamaican Canadian we found out; Very cool. We also went to Dunn’s River Falls which was exhilarating though a little frightening to climb the first time. Another must!

Being our first trip to the Caribbean, we don’t have anything to compare our holiday to. For us, Jamaica and Club Ambiance was perfect. We will definitely be hoping to do it again next year.

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Ray

November 2003

I have been to Jamaica 6 times and last September was my first visit to Club Ambiance in Run Away Bay. My prior visits I have stayed at Sandals, Super Clubs Montego Bay Breezes and the now closed Jack Tar Village. I heard about Club Ambiance from some of my co workers and decided to give it a try. The prices were so reasonable it kind of scared me but from the information I could find in the internet I decided to give it a try. When we arrived the front wall look dismal and the thought crossed my mind that I had made a mistake. Once we entered the resort things change for the better and even got better once we walked into the lobby area. The Club Ambiance staff has to be the most friendly of all resorts I have been to any where. They ask your name only once and they do remember it. After one day of breakfast, lunch and dinner the wait staff remembers your likes and dislikes and pamper you. The resort only has about 90 rooms and is laid out in a very convenient manner. This resort is especially nice for those who have a mobility problem because the rooms, pool, dining area, bar and entertainment area are only all a short walk apart. The entertainment was excellent and every night was different. The beach is small but then again so is the hotel so it is not crowded but if you like long walks on the beach this is not the place for you. One of the beaches and the pool area are topless but it is all in good taste. Snorkeling is very nice and it is only about 100 feet offshore to some very nice coral reefs. We stayed 7 nights our first visit and realized that was not near enough time and are returning for New Years for 12 nights. As I originally stated I have been to Jamaica 6 times plus I have been to St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Kitts/Nevis, Puerta Plata and San Juan and none of the resorts I stayed at offered as much value for the dollar as Club Ambiance. If you want a place that is clean, has good food, great entertainment and is all inclusive for a price that is far less than the others then Club Ambiance is the place you need to be. It may not be the most upscale, most elaborate on the island but value for the dollar no one comes close. I am really looking forward to spending New Years at Club Ambiance and can tell you I am already thinking about how long the next visit will be.

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Patricia Wright — Knutsford, Cheshire, UK

June 2003

Club Ambiance is a small adult, all-inclusive resort that provides quality and service at an affordable price.

We arrived at 4 am in the morning and even though everywhere was extremely quiet, as most guests were by then sleeping, the reception we got was great, the staff were extremely friendly and helpful, showing us everything in our room and checking to make sure that all lights were working etc. The standard room which we had was extremely clean and well furnished, although the bathroom was rather basic. But the room did have a lovely view out over the pool and towards the ocean.

When we went to the restaurant for breakfast the first morning after only 5 hours sleep, we were greeted with smiles and shown to a table looking out at the ocean. We were fussed over all the time, they were constantly checking if we had enough orange juice or tea, or was there something else we would like, nothing was too much trouble, and the food was excellent. We have suffered before in other places with tummy upsets, but not here the standards were exceptionally high.

One thing that we noticed was that all the staff were always smiling and often went about their work singing at the top of their voices. This made our time there a very happy one , we certainly chilled out.

There is a variety of activities throughout the day organised by the entertainment team who were excellent, they were not too pushy if you did not want to join in they left you alone, which made a refreshing change after some other places that we had been.

In the evening the whole place took on a somewhat magical air, the pier bar and pier were all lit and the Ocean bar was brightly lit as was the stage and the pool is also illuminated at night which looks pretty.

There are a variety of tours available from the tours desk in reception and Jasmine was always very helpful. She also arranges weddings at Club Ambiance and we watched a wedding take place whilst we were there and it was fabulous.

They have a very good gift shop as well as a small fashion boutique.

The beach is quite small but seemed adequate for the number of people whilst we were there.

I could go on and on, my husband and myself loved the place and we would certainly consider going back again.

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Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay Dianne ~ Houston TX
November 2001

Club Ambiance is a small, all-adult, all-inclusive resort that has succeeded in providing a quality product at an affordable price. We arrived to a gaily-painted lobby and smiling faces welcoming us by name. We were escorted to our room after lunch and given a refreshing fruit punch. the head housekeeper stopped by to see if we needed anything extra or special. We were in a corner suite with a fantastic view, a large verandah complete with lounge chairs and table and chairs. The sitting room was floor to ceiling glass on two sides. A king size four poster bed dominated the sleeping area with side table and lamps great for reading. A small fridge, TV, and large closet, a vanity with large mirror completed the sleeping area. The bath was enormous and included a bidet. there were always lots of fresh fluffy towels available! We were the first of our group of 11, spanning 3 generations, to arrive. All the rooms are large, well appointed, with a/c, satellite TV’s and balcony or patio and ocean views. Our group occupied all category rooms and everyone was very pleased. Housekeeping is fantastic! We always had ample towels and the tile floors are immaculate.

The food is very, very good. All meals are buffet style with something ‘special’ cooked at the grill. The stir-fry was fantastic. Jamaica Night is awesome! The variety of Continental and Jamaican food choices ensure that there is something for everyone including our ‘picky eater’ who never complained once. Dinner is served alternately in the dining room and on the Terrace. Although we were initially a tad concerned about all buffet style meals, we quickly discovered that the food was fresh at all times. the salads were crisp as was the fruits. We had absolutely NO COMPLAINTS! the staff were attentive without being over powering. They learned the guests names quickly and the little quirks! I had sweeten condensed milk on the breakfast table every morning after asking for it the first morning!

The bar drinks are varied, exotic, and prepared on the spot. The glasses are small. Take a large insulated glass with a lid with you.

The staff is a real pleasure! Every staff member we met in all areas was friendly and helpful and welcoming. Management is visible and approachable. Everyone smiles and sings and makes one feel as though they are welcomed guests!

The beach is small, but adequate. There are several sandy areas and we never felt crowded. My husband’s favorite was the partially shaded area with hammocks. The beach area is kept very clean and free of sea grasses. The thatched umbrellas are a welcomed addition to the beach. I would like to have seen more floats available. The beach is shallow for quite a bit out (great for non-swimmers). Snorkeling equipment is available at no cost, as well as ocean kayaks and paddleboats. There is a PADI approved dive operation on the premises.

The pool is large and very clean. There are ample lounge chairs throughout the property. A small bar and towel shop are right at the pool. Beach towels were always available. The pool is the site for some fun filled games as well as water aerobics!

The entire property is well maintained and very clean. There are a couple areas that need some paint, but that’s a never-ending battle in the Caribbean.

There are daily activities for those who are so inclined. The activities staff is highly visible day and night. There is also a game room with table tennis pool, a large TV, board games, etc. The resident band is very good and play/sing a variety of music. There is also a feature entertainer weekly. The guest/staff talent show provided many laughs! The disco provides entertainment after the band stops on the patio at 11pm.

The hotel offered escorted bike rides, exercise classes, a small gym, pool and beach activities, paddleboats, ocean kayaks, and snorkel equipment, a PADI approved dive facility. A tour desk, gift/sundries shop and small boutique are located in the lobby. JUTA approved drivers are on the property and a twice-daily shuttle to Ocho Rios at $10.00 per person.

We took long walks down the beach and hikes to the supermarket on several occasions and felt completely at ease. The website is up-to-date and accurate! The entire atmosphere is laid back and relaxed! Do we recommend Club Ambiance? Absolutely! Are we going back? As soon as possible!

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