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Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #51 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 February 2012

Very nice resort.... clean rooms, wonderful service. I have to say it's a very long trip from Calgary. Our only complaint would be the terrible pillows (I found out the last night you can upgrade the pillows but why would you have to?).

Room Tip: We were half way between the lobby and the ocean.... we found it ideal
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank teresaschikurski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,389 - 6,395 of 10,581 reviews

Reviewed 22 February 2012

We just got back, My fiance' and were here from 2/16/12 till 2/21/12. The resort overall was nice. Don't think that you can carry your own luggage cause they won't let you. The pool area was bad with the towels being put out there, but if you want sun and be by the bar 8:00 is early enought to get out there. Remember to bring a big drinking mug from home cause the little 12oz plastics don't last long when its hot out. ( will bring mine next time) They will fill them just no glass by the pool. Diner was good, Don Pablo over rated, was good but not great. El Olivo was great! The BBQ was just a buffet, ok. When shopping just look at all the shops first and compare. We found stuff that was as much as $10 cheaper if you do a little looking first. We didn't realize the shows were that good at the Tropicanan Theatre till it was at the end of our trip, When planning your trip figure that you will waste one day getting there and one day when you leave. Don't plan on ever being in a hurry cause no one else is. You might havce to wait a Dominican minute, about 15 mins american. I know they say that you don't have to tip but If the service is good and friendly a dollar or two makes a differents. Average worker at the resorts makes $200 U.S. a month.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Mike K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2012

My girlfriend and I just just got back a couple days ago staying from Feb 14th to the 19th for 5 nights. Overall the place was really great.

One thing you need to understand about the Gran Bahia resort in Punta Cana is there about 5 "resorts" inside the whole complex. There are 2 family restaurants (Punta Cana, and Bavaro), the adult only (Ambar) and the Emeralda, and Premier. I can't comment on the last 2, but I am really glad we chose the Ambar. If you stay at the Ambar, you have no kids (we like kids, but not screaming ones on vacation), but you STILL have access to everything in the main resort (restuarants, lobby, bars, pool), but not vice versa. People from the main resorts, could not come visit at the Ambar. The crowd at the Ambar was a bit older (we are in are 20s), but it was nice and quiet and not crowded. When we wanted to be with some craziness, we went over to the Bavaro pool. (2 min walk).

Room-
The room was decent. Clean, and pretty nice bathroom. The bed was OK, fairly stiff. Jacuzzi tub was nice, shower was nice, everything was nice, and I like clean.

Beach-
The best part of the Gran Bahia resort is the beach. The beach is nice and clean (they clean the seaweed often), and the thing about it is they have a bunch of covered little cabanas you can relax under right near the beach, with palm trees all around. NO OTHER resort on the strip has it. The Gran Bahia resort has by far the nicest beach to relax on. Palm trees and the cabanans are great. The other resorts, are just empty sand, and some chairs around. This was about my favorite thing about it. The only thing that was nicer about some of the other's resort beaches, is the resorts farther north have better surf waves for body surfing, etc.Come early to get a seat.

Pool- Very nice as well. Clean, large, not crowded. Swim up bar, friendly service. They come around and offer you drinks. Come early to get a seat.

Food- This is my only complaint about the place overall. The food at the buffet wasn't bad, but bland. Everything was OK to eat, but didn't taste like much. Breakfast was fine, but the other meals, were so-so. I didn't like it much. My recommendation is to make sure to make dinner reservations at the restaurants (we did via email). We went to the Don Pablo (excellent), Mikado Japanese (decent), and Portofino (italinaish). All were decent, Don Pablo was really good actually. Not the best still, but good.

Overall, a very nice resort, and we were very pleased. Lots of people working, and cleaning the place. It felt very well taken care of, people were friendly, you could tell the management cared to try and make it a nice place.

Room Tip: Definitely ask for rooms near the water. If you get a room near the lobby or towards the start of th...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank Peter L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2012

I want to thank all the helpful people that were so kind sharing and giving info on the Amber, especially John(Bubba). Now I would like to share our experiences at the Amber with you. We went 2/11-2/18/12. The airport was insane! we have been to Punta Cana 6 times & never seen the likes of this, 6 planes unloading at once! took 2 hours to get through! they need to hire more people to process quickly!then another 40 minutes to the Resort, where we were dropped off at the main building(not Amber) and took a tram to Amber, front desk lovely, got building 67 I requested ! I don't want to repeat what everyone else has saidYes it is a beautiful resort(amber side)beach, pool, lovely. buffets, restaurants Amber side charming good food, & plenty. The room is dark bring a flash light! tiles are slipery, so becareful when walking around. I saw & spoke with 4 people who had fallen and broke arms & one poor lady broke her leg in 4 places! walking into the pool! so hold on. Plenty of beach chairs & huts, we got to the beach around 8 or 9 am , & I noticed during the day plenty of chairs & huts on the Amber side! however when you walk down the beach to the right the family part of the complex its crazy packed in like sardines! I always avoided that, and walked to the left! I found that if you needed to use the bathrrom on the Amber side, it was a walk to the beach bar or to the buffet where they have a bathroom, most inconvientent, The resort is spread out so there is alot of walking to & from lobby to room to beach to pool to bathroom, I did not mind , but hubby has mobility issues and was not to happy about the amount of walking. Now the Amber lobby is beautiful, however no entertainment, music one night keyboard, I was expecting a singer, or sax player or piano player for a relaxing , romantic evening, nothing. I did not want to leave the resort having been to the main lobby (not Amber's )with people & kids everywhere , it was a zoo, and I would not stay there it I got it free,! the shopping is there & all the night like, casino, we did take the tram to the Esmeralda section to eat at the Bella, it is beautful, however in the beautuiful restaurant what do we hear but a screaming baby at 8:30 pm ! that was a turn off. Back to the Amber lobby had a drink, sad no music. with this being said we have traveled to the Excellence PC PCPrincess & the Catalonia Royal, Iberostars, Secrets(Mexico) so I believe it depends on what you like in a resort.We want a smaller ,more intimate stand alone resort that offers everthing, with out leaving the resort. also we enjoy a more tropical vibe, so next year it will be back to Excellence or PC Princess for 10 days, not that we didn't have a great time & the resort is beautful, but not what we are looking for. Hope this helps you. Enjoy & Safe Travels!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank NewHampshireOgleman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We just returned on Feb. 19th from the Ambar section of the Bahia Principe Hotel complex.
We will break this down for you so that it is easy to imagine.
First off - we had read many reviews that said that people couldn't get the room that they requested and had even been sent to other hotels due to overbooking. We were nervous about this and sent an email in Spanish (Google translator) with our requests for a king bed on the third floor with an ocean view close to the beach. We did this one week ahead of going.
They replied with a form email that stated that they couldn't guarantee our requests until our arrival and that it was all hinging on availability. We sent a second email in english that continued in a kindly stated tone that we understood and hoped that they could help us out with our requests.
On arrival we were thrilled to find that they had fulfilled every one of our hopes - due to the email??? - we will never know. Our room was amazing - #60301 - building 60. The number 3 in the room number signifies that the room is on the third floor. If you find out at the desk that the third number in your room number is a 1 and you hate the first floor, don't leave the desk. Stay there and debate right away. Once in your room, it might be harder to get moved.
We saw people on our last morning there that had come in late Saturday night on Air Transat who had been shipped to another hotel to sleep their first night. Their rooms were being prepared for them Sunday after other guests checked out (overbooking!!!) Genvieve, the Air Transat rep, seemed very nice and the people didn't appear to be upset about the situation.

By email, we also booked our restaurant choices and received all but Don Pablo, which we had asked for for Valentine's day and were told that it was booked solid - a week in advance!!!
Our first morning there, we tried to book Don Pablo again for any day of our stay and we were told that the only opening was for 9:00 p.m. all week. We don't eat dinner that late...so forget that!
Our room:
It was beautiful and very large and kept very clean. Quite often the maid didn't get to us until late in the day (maybe since we were on the third floor). We left 2 dollars a day on the bed and on the first day, 2 dollars in the mini bar. Mini bar was kept well stocked with bottles of water and minis of assorted alcohol, chips, beer and pop. Towel displays - hearts, flowers, welcoming display with a large bottle of rum on the bed were all very nice touches.
Resort:
This place is huge!!!
Anyone with walking issues will be happy to know that there is a trolly to ride to the theatre and all over the resort. We enjoy walking, for exercise and we walked the perimeter of the resort each day after breakfast. It took us about 45 minutes each time. We also walked the beach, which goes for miles and miles in each direction. To the right of the hotel, about a 20 minute walk on the beach, there is a market literally on the water's edge (the waves lap at the front steps of the shops). Much of the stuff is touristy junk but fun to look at and barter for.
We bought a carved mask that started out at 50 dollars and ended up at 15. Barter, but be kind as you do it. These guys see a million smart mouths a day, I'm sure.
Pool and beach:
We never sat at the pool since we are beach people, but if we had wanted to, we would have had to get out of bed before 7:00 a.m. to claim a spot. When we went to the beach to mark our chairs with towels and shirts at 7:00 a.m. each morning, there wasn't an empty chair around the pool anywhere to be seen. Security will remove all markers before 8 a.m. so people go down and lay on the lounges and sleep there until after 8 a.m.. Then some go back to bed or to breakfast or whatever until they return later. The beach towel game is much less intense, but it is still in effect.
Food:
Where to start?
What a beautiful display they put on. Food is very nicely presented from morning until night.
Breakfast has almost all you could want and then some - pancakes, pastries, omelettes made to order, trays and trays of items like sausage links and cheeses. Many hot items to be found!!!
Anyone who says that the selection is poor is crazy. Don't even get me started about the incredible desserts at lunch and dinner!!! My partner and I are foodies and we always enjoyed each trip to the buffet. If you choose something different each time and don't heap your plate with an assortment of everything present, you can make each meal completely different than the last.
The beach grill restaurant has a nice selection of salads and hot items too! The items, such as pork, chicken, pasta, etc, would be present every day, but style of preparation would be different - eg. pasta primavera one day and fettucine alfredo the next or roasted chicken breasts one day and chicken fingers the next.
I was nervous about eating salad items but people had said that all was washed in bottled water and was safe. I ended up eating salad with every meal and let me tell you it was delicious with so much to choose from I could hardly control myself.
One item that they got totally wrong was pizza at the buffet. Who puts corn or peas on pizza?!!!
Also, at the Steak house, the caesar salad had canned mushrooms? mixed with lettuce and a bowl of anchovies on the side. I watched one staff member pour a ladle of something that didn't really resemble caesar salad dressing in a glob on top of the mess. The steak and its accompaniments were excellent though and are highly recommended by us.
One misnomer would be that my partner ate seafood on the third day and began a 5 day run of the not-too-terrible-runs. I was fine until the 6th day when my stomach rolled over and I got the runs, again not too terribly, but let's just say that a Pepto Bismol a day keeps the runs at bay!!!
Why these places cause this still, in this day and age, who knows? We are not heavy drinkers and we didn't overindulge in fruit or heavy fiber so it had to be the food. All water is bottled and ice is made form that too.
Gym:
Small but has enough to get the job done.
Casino:
Small but has enough to get the job done.
The 1st night there, we won 65 dollars in 5 minutes on the Jackpot Party slot machine. We had invested 20 bucks. Two nights later, we won 135 dollars in about 8 minutes on two seperate Jackpot Party machines. Again, we had started out with a 20 buck investment. Last night there, we won 115 dollars on the same machines in about ten minutes. Each time, we started out with 20 dollars as our limit for the night each. The attendant had to come over and pay us cash each time, but it was easy and we departed happily with the dough as soon as we won, since we know that the easiest way to lose it is to keep on gambling!!! We only went these 3 nights.
Shows:
The circus show and the Micheal Jackson show are great! The circus guys are very talented and use their muscular bodies to do amazing stunts. We skipped the rest since we had heard that they were mediocre. On our way to other places, like the casino, we would pass the theatre and realize that we had made the right choice by not going. Sometimes it just sounded and looked like a high school show.
My partner and I are a gay male couple who have been together for 17 years - married for 15.
We have travelled quite a bit (not as much as we would like) and like to think that we can judge a good holiday destination.
We have been to the Mayan Riviera, Cancun, Peurto Vallarta, Cuba, also on Princess Cruises and Celebrity many times. The staff at this hotel treated us graciously and with dignity the entire time that we were there and they were well aware that we were a couple. We also saw at least three other gay couples there.
In summary, we had a great time. We went to Dreams Punta Cana two years ago and we found it to be a little bit better in many areas but the rooms were tired and dated. If we went again, we would probably choose Dreams over Ambar. We hope this helps someone with their decision.
For more info, email me at phil.beatty7@gmail.com

Room Tip: Building 60 is closest to the beach.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank phil b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

If you are considering the Gran Bahia Principe and are traveling without kids, definitely choose the Ambar. It's peaceful atmosphere and proximity to the beach make it completely worth it. We booked our trip through Apple Vacations and traveled to the Ambar from February 4-9, 2012. Based on the wealth of information I found here, I e-mailed a week ahead to request a king room in building 60 or 67, nearest the pool and beach. The shuttle bus ride from the airport was long as we were the the first on and last off (it stopped at four other resorts first), but the Apple representative on the bus was pleasant and entertaining, as well as informative. The shuttle did drop us at the Bavaro lobby but we were quickly taken to the Ambar lobby where check-in went seamlessly and a bellman showed us to our room on the second floor of building 60.
The room was simply lovely. The king bed was comfortable and the bathroom was fabulous with whirlpool tub and roomy shower. We used the safe based on recommendations here and had no problems whatsoever. The mini-bar was restocked every day and when I requested extra diet coke (which tastes much different in the DR, by the way), three out of four days they got it for me.
The staff was friendly. The pool was gorgeous, though more crowded and far hotter than the beach. I swear the temperature drops ten degrees with that breeze! We spent nearly all our time on that gorgeous beach. I've read lots of complaints about "the towel game." We are morning people and liked to drink our coffee on the beach so we got out there fairly early (8:00ish) and never had a problem getting a palapa in the front row. But a row or two back there were PLENTY of chairs and the Ambar section, which sits back from the water, always had open seats. We did not attempt to secure pool chairs so I can't speak to that.
We thought the drinks were great, especially those in the lobby bar.
The food was what you should expect in a foreign country: a little different but lots of variety. Once you get the "lay of the land" at the buffet, it's easy to find something you like.The a la carte restaurants were good. The portions are small but tasty and the service at El Olivio and Don Pablo was great. We ate at Maiko, the Japanese restaurant at the Bavaro, one night and were unimpressed. We were also underwhelmed by the tiny casino, though we weren't there to gamble so it wasn't a big deal.
Overall, we had a wonderful stay at the Ambar and would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation.
Tips: Definitely take thermal mugs! They keep your drinks cold AND save you trips to the bar! Take lots of one dollar bills for tipping. The staff is truly deserving and appreciative. If you use 30 sunblock at home, take 50 or higher, that sun is HOT!

Room Tip: Rooms in buildings 60, 64 and 67 are closest to the pool and beach.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank juliamy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

Gran Bahia Principe Ambar 2/11/12 – 2/18/12
We are a married couple, late forties. Fourth visit to Punta Cana. First time at GBP.

Won’t bore you with the airport details other than to say it was the usual jostle of people and buses. Arrived at the hotel around 4pm, and the room was ready, third floor corner as requested.

Room details: Top floor corner, nice room, king bed, clean, A/C on and functional. TV/cable working. All lights are CFLs. Some may find the bathroom lighting a little less bright than you’d like. Room was cleaned every day. We left a couple dollars every other day with a request note in Spanish about more beer and water….it was fulfilled. Hot water always, towels always. Balcony nice….although only item of note was the solid balcony wall height…sitting in the chair you could only see the top of the other buildings and the sky…..as a reference, we were at the Majestic Elegance last year and their balconies had railings which allowed you to see all below…..I guess some might find the solid wall to their liking. All in all, a very nice room.

Food: I hate trying to detail the food because everyone’s preferences are different. That being said, we found the food overall to be very good. We did visit the Santa Fe tex-mex twice as we enjoy Mexican themed food. 'Arricife' steak house was okay. Maiko was good. Don Pablo was fine. We had a late reservation. The food was good, but I would not consider it “gourmet”. The seafood Gala at the Palmyra buffet was easily the best meal of the week. Bottom line for us….no shortage of something good to eat at each restaurant/snack bar.

Scene: Lobby bar is the central watering hole. Post 5pm guests trickle in to grab libations…and enjoy the music; sometimes DJ, sometimes live. We walked down to the Punta Cana and Bavaro lobbies a couple nights…much more crowded and louder. Along with Spanish, we found it useful to learn words such as, ‘eh’, ‘tuque’, ‘ya’, and ‘oot’…..made talking with the all the Canadians easier….LOL.

Pool: We have no interest in sitting around the pool, so can’t really comment. It looked very nice walking by….seemed like towels on every lounger by 8am. Lots of people drinking, having a loud good time. Music daily in the afternoon.

Beach: Solid disappointment for us for a variety of reasons. I understand that beach erosion is out of the hotel’s control, but the beach in front of the GBP has been reduced. This causes crowding from the water back inland. It was way too jammed with palapas and people. A constant stream of people walking by you weaving in and out to get to ocean, to the bar, to the pool, etc.….we tried to sit in a different location each day and it was always the same. As mentioned in many places online, the towel game is on. That’s not to say you couldn’t find a spot. As a result of limited space the volleyball court sits down close to the water and does on occasion get waves lapping at it. The court itself was crummy regardless of the location….tiny and the net was too high. Bummed us out to walk down the beach and see just about every other resort have great volleyball going. I’m afraid to say that this alone will make us stay elsewhere. Also, there was at least one group of people who were drunk and loud a few days, and for us, well...we don't enjoy that. Just our opinion....

Staff: Vast majority were extremely pleasant. You might encounter a gruff individual here and there…but hey…they’re at work….I know I can be that way at work sometimes as well. A polite “Hola!” always works.

Overall, I would recommend this resort unless having a relaxing, uncluttered beach area with good volleyball is important.

Room Tip: Request a corner room for a little extra space.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank cbgb00
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

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:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#31 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#47 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#48 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $246 - $680 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 (free) 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 (free) 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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