In Beaches, Punta Cana, Where To, Tips

I’m realizing more and more that going away to a warm destination during winter break is so worth the investment. I had two full weeks off for the holidays, and it truly made me feel rejuvenated. Joseph and I won’t have much overlapping holiday this year, so we decided to splurge a bit for this vacation. We booked 7 days at the Bahia Principe Ambar (adults only) after having it recommended to us by my cousin Paul and his girlfriend Lisa. From the scenery, to the food, the most amazing staff and exciting shows, it was everything we wanted and more.

This Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana is actually a collection of 7 different resorts all in one. Some amenities are shared (sports bar, water parks, theatres, restaurants) but some are not – especially on the adults-only parts. We had one of the best rooms on the property, and we had no problems with it.

We had a swim-up suite on the Bahia Principe Ambar resort. Everything was lovely – clean, air conditioned, good water pressure, nice mini bar, complimentary room service, great patio and pool, good linens, and bathrobe/slippers. The Ambar resort had been completely renovated 2 years ago so we visited at the right time. Everything on the Ambar resort seemed super new and fresh.

They gave us a lovely treat for Joseph’s birthday, which was on the day we arrived. Check out the vlog for more details:

We had a media tour since I expressed interest in reviewing this vacation on my site, so we visited a few other types of rooms on the resort. They were all amazing, and with a slightly more ornate design compared to the modern design of Ambar.

The resort has a breathtaking beach, and the whole area is quite lush. We could always find chairs at the adults-only (roped off) area at the beach and pool. No where was overcrowded, and the entire resort was very clean and well kept. The water was deemed “yellow flag” so quite choppy. My manager was in Dominican the week before us and said she wasn’t able to enter the water at some points – the weather over Christmas was worse than our New Years week. We experienced a bit of sporadic rain, but it was only cloudy the day we left. We also noticed that there was more kelp washing up on the beach the day before we left, which I know can be common in the area. It didn’t bother us, but I understand how more of it can get creepy while swimming.

Each day I enjoyed attending the 11 AM group activities led by Walter. He hosted rum tasting, tea tasting and coffee grinding – these workshops were so convenient, located right beside the pool, and really fun. The entertainment staff is fantastic! They’re so full of life and engaging.  Some of the outdoor fitness activities include aquaspinning, stretching and surf yoga. Despite it being the busiest time of year in Dominican, we never felt that it was overcrowded or hard to find space to sit and enjoy our resort. We enjoyed a few shows at night, including a Queen-themed performance in The Village, some music/dance shows in our Ambar lobby, and one large musical theatre rendition of The Lion King at the Punta Cana lobby theatre.

The gym was fabulous. Tons of high quality, new machines and the guided workout classes throughout the day were nice. I tried HIIT – very challenging.

We had 7 a-la-carte credits to use, which was a total surprise. This meant that we had dinner at a new restaurant every single night. We were able to book all of our dinners on the Bahia Principe web app, which was very handy. Some were better than others, and the newer ones on our Ambar side were exceptional. They felt like fine dining in Toronto. I loved it! Gorgeous cocktails, unlimited wine and 3-course meals that were super generous, fresh and satisfying.

We had dinner at:

The buffets were lovely, and we ate at a variety of indoor and outdoor options for breakfast and lunch. From fresh fruit (hello, passion fruit!) to pastries, smoothies, savoury essentials and cold cuts – nothing was left out.

One of my favourite aspects had to be the coffee shop at Ambar. It was like Starbucks with all sorts of espresso options (included) and jazzier options liked Irish coffee, that you’d pay extra for.

This was similar to the sports bar at Ambar where you could get their local beer which is included (so good!) or imported options for a few US dollars. I also loved how they offered classic bar food like wings and burgers. This would be a fun spot for a group of young adults (esp. if it rains) since they have TVs, foosball and pool tables.

Ah, the tricky subject. We brought American cash to tip in Dominican and left on average $2 per night for housekeeping, $2 to servers at dinner, $1-$2 for trolly drivers around the resort and the bus drivers from the airport. We also would tip $1 to coffee shop baristas and bartenders (in the lobby especially) for taking time to make a fancy drink. We didn’t drink excessively so it was reasonable.

This was a fantastic vacation overall. At our resort there were lots of British folks, Quebeckers, Europeans (Slovenia, Italy) and Canadians. Luckily neither of us got very ill, since we were careful about washing hands and not experimenting too much with raw foods. Visit my post on Cuba to see all of my tips on what to do to avoid getting sick in the Caribbean.

Happy travels! xx

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