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Historical Traveler Reviews Club Ambiance Runaway Bay
What a honeymoon!!
We stayed at Club Ambiance on our honeymoon at the beginning of December 02. I think the word brilliant springs to mind. The staff were fantastic, friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Accomodation was superb lots of attention to detail which made our honeymoon even more special. Being a fussy eater was nothing to worry about, we enjoyed fantastic food every day and night. I know I can speak on behalf of us both when I say that we will DEFINATELY revisit Jamaica and as far as I'm concerned there is only one place we would consider staying.
You Get What You Pay For.....
The Food and the Safari Club are great, but beware all thosewho are allergic to cats.They come out of nowhere at dinner time and if you're not an animal lover you won't like this place.Most of the staff members were nice,but had a problem with one who wanted me to "show how the ladies in Boston take their clothes off"; mind you,this was a comment made during one of the games guests participated in during a dinner show. I am not a prude but felt this was very tacky...went to Hedo III in April and wanted to get away in July, so I chose Club Ambiance because it was less expensive. Well, I went back to Jamaica in October and headed straight for to Hedo III. Now that's a real hotspot! Planning for next year already.....
Save Your Money and Go Elsewhere
Just got back from a very disappointing vacation to Jamaica at Club Ambiance. (December 2002) I will start with the few positive points. Yes the temperature is in the 80's and the nice breezes are welcomed. One of the local bands was very good. Some of the staff there are very nice. Jason and Lincoln to name a few. Others are only nice to you if they know you're a big tipper (even though tipping is not mandatory). Then they will always be in your face. Otherwise they will not go out of their way to be genuinely nice. Rooms are adequate. Do not take food or sweet drinks into the rooms. You will be swarmed with ants. Take your own face/wash cloth, because you will not be provided with one...only a hand and bath towel. Air conditioner worked fairly. Hotel came and swapped out the air conditioner with no change in the second unit. Don't know why they came to our room because we didn't make a complaint. After inquiring with the front desk about it, was told it was routine. Yes the room comes with an ironing board, but you are charged daily for the iron which you get at the front desk. Beach area is extremely small. Actually it's more like a small lagoon. Take your own snorkeling equip. Free rentals on their equip but when asked about sanitation methods they said sanitizing soap, but none to be found at equipment area. They have activities there, but not many people participating. You will be bored after the first couple of days unless you're willing to dish out the extra money for excursions. Rafting excursion is a joke. Forget any white waters. The river/steam is very calm and locals are trying to sell you things there too. Would not recommend excursions. However some of the staff at the hotel are willing to take you places for about $20.00 or so. May be your best bet. Make sure they stay with you during the outing. The drinks are fair but very watered down( which I didn't mind because I do not strong drinks.) The bartender made me a banana daquiri which was good. He p
would be able to drink cause I do not like a lot of liquor. However, it tasted like a virgin drink. The beer is called red-striped beer which is local. It is fair tasting beer. The food was fair too. Snacks in between meals consisted of mostly ham sandwiches with cheese, tomato and lettuce. Sometimes bacon was on the list. One day they had baked chicken wings which were tasty. They alternate dinner being served indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, they have some stray cats on the premises. The also have signs saying do not feed these cats. They tend to linger if you do feed them and they fight over the food. The atmosphere outside is nice with candles on the table and the evening breezes with nice music in the background. If the food tasted better. it would have been a positive point. The indoor setting is nice with tablecloths and open windows but it is hot inside if you do not get a window seat. And again the food leaves something to be desired. Not much to choose from. Lunch which is always served outdoors on the outside terrace is your best bet. The fruit even disappointed me sometimes. I thought that being in the caribbean would allow for some really good fruit. The fruit was fair to good. Sometimes you can get some really good pineapple. The watermelon on the fruit tray ALWAYS tasted old. The soup, which is always offered with lunch and dinner is usually good as is the bread/rolls that accompany the meals except breakfast. Water is drinkable there. Best souvenir would be the duty free cheap liquor at the airport. You can get a wonderful bottle of cognac for a very reasonable price. I would probably never go back to Jamaica, but if I had to I would definitely not go back to Club Ambiance. It feels like a compound! If you have to go Jamaica, go to Negril where they do have a stretch of beach you can at least walk on. And stay at a nice resort. You definitely get what you pay for.
Fine, not luxurious - problems with noise
plusses: clean, friendly staff, well laid-out grounds with a fair amount of activities, decent food (lotsa fresh fruit), located centrally to different excursions (Blue Mountain Tour, Dunn's River Falls)
negatives: the resort is situated right on the main highway and across the street from a very loud bar and go-go club. Our room, which faced the road, was *EXTREMELY* noisy. Usually we didn't get to sleep until after the bar closed (Sat. night I think that was 4am-ish) and then we'd be jolted awake by loud trucks and/or horns. Maybe some of the other rooms are quieter. Also, be forewarned that the town of Runaway Bay pretty much consists of a supermarket and a post office. The beach is pretty lame.
A very nice stay
Club Amibance was really nice. I think that for the price and what we received for it, the deal was fantastic. Our deluxe room was very spacious, with a sitting area, king sized bed, french doors to the patio, view overlooking the sea, etc. So here is the lowdown on what we liked and didn't about the club . . .
- Mainly European, adults only. My wife and I are fairly quiet and were looking for some relaxing times away from the US. Club Ambiance offered both.
- The snorkeling was unreal. Why they don't mention this more, I don't know. There is a shipwreck just out from the club (maybe 100 yards) in about 20 feet of water. It was really something to explore! Also, there is an abundance of sea life, including sea turtles, beautiful fish, coral, squid, octopus, etc. There are also fantastic, colorful and large coral reefs with canyons and holes just 30 yards or so off the beach. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the trip. It was truly amazing.
- The food was good and varied, we especially enjoyed the lunches on the terrace. We enjoyed the variety of foods, and the quality was good.
- A waiter will claim you during your first few meals and will cater to you at every sitting in hopes of a nice tip at the end of your stay. This is nice because there is always someone to take your picture, learn what drinks you like, etc.
- The bar was nice, it was easy to get a drink, and the drinks were well made (not at all weak).
- The people were for the most part friendly and helpful, with only a few minor exceptions.
- Some of the entertainment was really fantastic. Fire-eaters, limbo-ers and dancers performed on different nights, and the house band was pretty good, although we noticed toward the last couple days of our 6 nights that we were hearing a lot of the same stuff.
What we didn't like:
- We ended up buying our own snorkelling gear because the equipment they had was out to other guests almost constantly, was leaky, or broken. We bought our own after our second day of trying to get equipment.
- You really can't leave the resort. I took a few walks, but I was taking my life into my own hands, I think. In the resort's defence, this situation is very common in the very poor nation of Jamaica, but after 6 days, we were getting a little claustrophopic.
- One remarkably annoying occurance were the events that didn't necessarily happen, although they were scheduled for certain times. I showed up for a guided bike ride that didn't occur, even after inquiring at the front desk, and my wife twice tried to do pool aerobics but no one came to lead this activity. Along with this, we paid an extra charge on our last night for a lobster dinner which was to be set out in a special area, with other food that was bit nicer than the usual (which was still good, I'm not trying to imply otherwise). The night previous, we had witnessed this and it looked very nice for those enjoying it. However, on the night we chose, they didn't set anything up, and instead served us a dinner in the main dining room which was fine, but we were a little disappointed.
- The beach is extremely small. I would say it was smaller than an Olympic-sized pool deck. It was fine for lying on, but there is no taking a walk.
- We noticed some people having trouble getting beach towels; they were either out to other guests or not clean yet. We didn't have this problem, but saw some people getting quite upset.
- There was no currency exchange at the hotel, although they indicated there was.
- No sailboats. Many resorts have one or two, we would have loved to sail around a bit, but this wasn't heartbreaking. The snorkelling made up for it.
In conclusion, we enjoyed Club Ambiance, and through Expedia paid about 30% of the cost of a similar trip to a couples-only mega-resort, and we probably got 150% of the service we would have received there, and 85% of the amenities. The price more than made up for any trouble we had, and all in all the vacation was remarkably nice. The things that really mattered were great, and I would recommend this resort to anyone.
If you would like to see our photos at any time we have them on ofoto, and would be happy to share that album if you send an email address for the sharing. We have a number of resort pictures that will give you a better idea of the resort than the brochure.
Great if you like cheap
We stayed at Club Ambiance the first 2 weeks of Sept. 2002. It is not very clean (we had ants in our room, and friends of ours had a coacroach problem). The staff is very friendly, and laid back. The food was pretty good for such a c****y hotel. If you are looking for a cheap vacation in Jamaica, and don't really care where you stay...this could be the place for you.
If you like clean places, and good service (prompt, etc.) I suggest you go elsewhere.................
Delighted with club ambiance
surpasses the hype of jamaica as the "no problem" vacation spot-- an exceptional staff of warm-hearted, eager-to please -and assistrecreational assistants, housekeepers, kitchen, bar and waitstaff---- lovely views, romantic settings, terrific, bountiful food and drink, dynamic, humerous, fun in its variety of entertainment, spacious, comfortable accomodations-- not exactly handicap accessible but the most handicapped-friendly environment in a club i've seen in a long time. you will make friends, without question, and probably return, as i soon will ----- kenneth o.
Club Ambiance is Perfect
My wife and just returned from our weeklong honeymoon at Club Ambiance in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. This resort was not as modern or as fancy as some of the others around. What Ambiance lacked in lavishness it more than made up for in friendliness. The staff was the best. If they get your name once they will be calling you by name all week, remember what you drink, and who you have been hanging out with. We highly recommend Club Ambiance and when the opportunity presents itself, we will go back.
Simply the Best
I have been to Ambiance 4 times and planning my 5th trip soon.
I find the hotel and staff to be one of the best in the world.
Everthing about it is laid back, you can be active or lazy it is up to you how much you want to participate in.
Every member of staff rememeber your name from the maid in your room to the Manager Oliver.
I travelled twice with friends and twice alone, although this hotel is adults only not once do you feel like it is all couples like some of the adult only complexes. I feel safe and well looked after when I travel to Ambiance and cant wait to get back again.
When you arrive you will know excatley what I mean, everything in Ambiance is Irie, tell Oliver that Kelly sent you.
Super Adults Only Resort
Just returned from an all-too-short week at Club Ambiance in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Oliver Ramdeen and his staff have put together a really exceptional resort. For once a holiday that delivers more than is promised in the brochures!!!
While not the most modern, fanciest place you can stay in Jamaica, Club Ambiance is probably the most laid back, and certainly the most friendly. It is a favorite with tourists from the UK, and also had couples from Germany and Japan the week we were there.
The food is superb. Never boring, always more than one could expect. The bar or disco are open virtually 24-7 (the disco closes when the last guest leaves).
The real secret is the management and staff. They are are most attentive, friendliest folks you could possibly imagine. Plan to have a few dollars left at the end of your stay, as you will definitely want to "tip" many of these wonderful people.
Highly recommended. P.S. My wife has traveled to Jamaica on business and stayed in several other places there. Club Ambiance wins, hands down.
TripAdvisor Reviews Club Ambiance Runaway Bay
Travel Blogs from Runaway Bay
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