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“Time well spent”
Review of Club Ambiance

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Club Ambiance
Ranked #12 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Reviewed 19 February 2012

Having been to Jamaica many times but never stayed at an AI I did my homework and secided to give Club Ambiance a try.You can read all the reviews but at some point you have to see for yourself.My work background is in hospitality with many years working at hotels in resort destinations..

Landing in Montego Bay late at night it was a fairly easy trip to the resort.This despite the fact Celine Dion was in concert there that night.

Check in was a breeze with none other than the manager taking care of things.When I presented my credit card he told me that would not be necessary.Next upon inquiring re safe lock he told me the fee was no longer in place.

Gibbs the night porter grabbed my bag and I followed him to my room for the next 2 weeks.It was room #91.After a long day of travel I was in bed by 2:00 a.m.

Coming from winter in Toronto to Jamaica I was fighting a bit of a bug and wanted to sleep and rest a bit.The largest complaint I offer was the lack of any semblance of routine with the maids showing up somedays as late as 5:00 p.m.Again no big deal,in fact 2 days there was no service at all.

Well the first morning the maid was knocking at the door pretty early and I told here I was sick and wanted to sleep and she should come back later.Not 5 minutes later the phone was ringing to find out if I was o.k and if I needed a doctor.

Once I got moving I was quick to realize that my room was not the honeymoon suite.Located next to the "gym" with a view of the back of the snack bar.I am pretty easy to please so I unpacked and got organized.The worst part of this room was the dampness and humidity.My clothing was always damp and the floor was never quite dry.The maid told me to leave the AC on.That might have been fine had the weather been hotter but I had actually woken up chilled on my first night.Compound that with a full day of rain and I could really feel the dampness.All of this caused some kind of funky mold to form on some of my clothes.I showed this to the maid and the items were cleaned and returned in 2 hours.

The weather was a bit spotty and I had come prepared with 4 novels.Moving from place to place there are lots of different places to hang.You don't have to park in 1 spot you can get all the sun or shade you want.

When I was planning the trip I had plans to do this and that.Guess what,only left resort a couple of times to go to shop.This was easy talked to tour desk lady,she makes a call and you give the driver a good tip and your back in short order.

As the days rolled by the staff get to know your name and you in turn get to know them.Like many other reviews have made mention the staff make this resort.It really is true.Never more so than on talent night where staff from all departments got to show there stuff.That was one of the highlights for me.The other notable event was the opportunity to see how loved Bob Marley is as February 6 was the anniversary of his birthday.

I never had any issues with the food.Did wonder where canned.peaches in syrup was doing on the buffet?!Would like to have seen a little more local produce and island fruits that we generally don't see.Best item hands down were the jerk chicken and pork that were served on Jamaica night.I love hot and the jerk sauce was not lacking.

The entertainment crew does a good job.The best by far was the Jamaican night.Limbo,fire breathing Mr.Chin just great stuff!!

So time rolled along and I had to go.Will I become a "returner"? It was a good stay and if I could get the same kind of deals that I heard others speak of it would be a no brainer.I like the size it is not a mega resort.As I have written they are in tune with their guests and can still offer a good guest experience for a pretty good price.

As I was sitting in the lobby waiting for my transfer back to MoBay I had pulled my luggage out to the entrance.The security guard asked me if I really wanted to leave that badly and I should go have another beer before he cuts my wristband off.

I looked up and saw Stacey the bartender.She said goodbye to me by name.At this point the bus was pulling in and it was time.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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6  Thank bonzoboxer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 February 2012

This hotel is perfect for a relaxing holiday in a beautiful location. The beaches are small but lovely and the sea is really clean and clear. There are plenty of sunbeds both in the sun and the shade. The bedrooms are a good size and the bathrooms are fine. I did find that the water temperature fluctuated a bit but it wasn't a big problem. The drinks were delicious! I loved all of the cocktails and the beer and wine was also really good....the best AI I've had for sure! The food was fine but some nights were better than others. The Italian evening was definitely the best! Breakfasts are really good, especially the fresh omelettes! The staff were all really friendly and we went out on the glass bottomed boar which was really good. The only negatives were that the entertainment, especially in the evenings was too loud at times. It's only a small resort so it really wasn't necessary. It made the walks to our room vibrate. The only other thing that we noticed on our last day was that behind out bed there was a plug socket hanging off the wall with wires hanging out of it and lots of dust and dirt there. This was acreal shame as the rest of the room was spotless! Despite the two negatives this was the perfect holiday and I would definitely love to return one day! I can't recommend it highly enough!

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank flobo5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2012

Hi
We stayed as a couple at Club Ambiance the first week of Feb. I have been checking the reviews and just can't let the previous review be the only one on for almost two weeks. We were there the same time as they were and really had a much better experience! This is a small resort that doesn't have the food menu that the large resorts have but there was always something good to eat if you looked at all. There was a great book in the room that explained how everything worked and was very helpful but you had to read it. Maybe the previous person didn't have one in their room or didn't look at it. Our a/c froze us out if you set it low. You had to control it with a remote mounted on wall by bed. The disco entrance was by the gift shop. Our shower worked great and had lots of pressure and hot water. They said the safe was not included in the literature when we booked. I figured the $21 for the week was a tip for the hotel because at the price we booked the resort didn't make much on us.. We enjoyed going to the nude beach to suntan and didn't think it was obtrusive at all. Nothing kinky just suntanning! This is an adults only resort and we enjoyed it immensely. Others on the plane back mentioned all the screaming kids at their resorts. Great if you are taking kids but not great if you just want a nice laid back vacation. The weather was not great when we were there. Windy and cloudy but the sun broke out everyday and we managed to get all the tan we needed. Last day was glorious. Did not see any seaweed?? We loved seeing the little crabs on the rocks. They didn't bother you and tried to hide from you. This is the ocean!!
We thought the drinks were fantastic but if you are super fussy about brands etc I suppose they would not satisfy. They have their house brands and only Red Stripe beer. I loved it!!
The thing about towels is not true. We never took ours back until check out and never got charged. People lounging topless and smoking OH NO what is the world coming to@!! Sorry Houston this is not an attack on your review. We just had such a different experience that I just had to report on our trip. Don't be afraid to stay here. I am sure Sandals is nicer but compare prices. This was a great place for the price!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Gerry G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

This was our 3rd time to Jamaica and our 1st time at CA. We had previusly stayed at the RIU in Ocho....huge contrast to CA.
We arrived after a great ride from the airport on JTL. We got to the resort around 3:00p.m. Check in was fast and shortly after we were in our room. We booked a Deluxe room and we were very happy with it, it was really big with a great patio and a great view. The room had a sofa, loveseat, desk and chair and a fridge.
I had done alot of research into CA so I was very aware that it is a small place, it was very different than what we were used to, but in a good way!!! After a couple of days we were lovin it. We really liked how the beaches were laid out, and that there is plenty of shade if you want to get out of the sun. The water is calm and beautiful.
The food was really good....I thought for a small place they really try to appeal to all people with the choices to pick from...I can honestly say I never left any meal hungry, thats for sure!!! I especially liked breakfast with the fresh fruits and french toast and potatoes as well as eggs, an omelet station and always a jamaican dish or two, also fresh breakfast muffins...yum!!
Our housekeeper was great, always stopped by to see what we needed and quickly took care of any requests.
The two best things about Club Ambiance was....NO KIDS and 24 hour coffee. I love coffee so that was a big plus...even at other resorts we havent been able to get coffee when we wanted so the coffee was great.
After 5 nites here we had to leave to go meet up with family in Negril, where we stayed at the RIU there for a few more days before we left the island. Immediately we missed the peace and quiet of CA and found ourselves wishing we were back on their beach instead of milling around thru 1000 or more other people looking for loungers or trying to find a table at dinner, etc.
The layout of Club Ambiance is really nice too, everything is close and to get anywhere on the resort from your room takes no time, as compared to the bigger resorts.
I would have to say that we would definitely return to CA. Hopefully soon!!!!

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

Just got back from Club Ambiance this week and I was very disappointed in the resort. I had read all the reviews and was so excited about going. This was our fourth time to Jamaica but we normally stay at Sandals Inn. However, due to work, we had to do our spring vacation in February and Sandals was booked. We like the smaller more personal resorts over the big sprawling ones so we thought Club Ambiance would be a good choice. The user reviews were great and they seemed to have a large number of repeat guests which is a good sign. To start with, I felt like we got very little info when we checked in regarding where and when to eat, activities, and layout of the resort. We were pretty much on our own and had to learn as we went or ask other guests. I never did figure out where the disco was. We were in room 5 which I thought was a pretty nice room but there was only a shower and that's a big negative with me. The air was running but never did get the room as cold as I like it. One huge plus was the big oscillating fan in the room which we weren't expecting. We sleep with a fan year around so I was estatic to see it. With it running, the room was comfortable. Other than the shower and air, the room was very pleasant. We walked out our patio door and the big bar was only about 50 yards away. If you want to use the safe in your room, you have to pay like $3 a day upfront to get the lock and key. I thought the resort layout was very nice. There were a lot of lounge chairs with tables. Other than the nude one, there were two other beaches but the only thing separating the nude beach from one is a lattice wall. They share the same water. Then you have the concrete pier that has the Legends bar at the end and on the other side is another beach. The water here is about 2-3 ft deep. The water on the other beach (by the nude one) is only about a foot deep. Not really useful for anything. Each beach is surrounded by rock walls and there were small brown crabs crawling all over the rocks. Twenty or thirty of them and it gave me the creeps. The water is not as nice as what we were used to in Montego Bay. Lots and lots of seaweed. I realize these things are not the fault of the resort but they are things that are important to me. I love the clear torquoise water and there was not any at this resort. So the quality of the beach was bad. One of the other things I did not like about Club Ambiance is that there is not food available 24/7. Breakfast was served from 7-10, lunch 12-2, and dinner 7-9. The beach bar was open from like 11 till 5. So there were a couple of hours at different times of the day that you had no access to food. The buffet did not have a lot of choices so I lived on cucumbers, lol. They did serve a late night snack at 11pm which I thought was the best food they served. The bars only served Pepsi. I don't personally drink rum and coke but my husband does and he said that rum and Pepsi was not the same. I am not a water drinker but I think I drank more water than anything because I don't care for Pepsi. The first drink I ordered was a Miami Vice but they put blue Curaco in it so it wasn't good. I did order one dirty banana, which was good, but the bartender said I could only have one because they were out of bananas.
My husband and I felt out of place most of the time we were there. It seemed like there were a lot of clicks and if you hadn't been there before, you were on the outside looking in. I did not find the staff or other guests to be friendly. We encountered one staff member that actually talked to us and asked us if we were enjoying ourselves. I found this to be so odd after reading the reviews of other guests. We usually make friends right away when we go. We have staff that we are friends with from our very first trip to Jamaica. This place was not like that at all.
They give you a card when you check in to get one towel each day for the pool/beach. They never told us where to go and get them. I was told by another guest (so I can't say how true it is) that if your towel is not turned in by 5, they will charge you $25. Like I said, I can not personally speak to the validity of this. I got in the pool one time and thought it was nice and clean. There was people lounging topless at the pool. There was also people smoking pot around the bar at night so there doesn't seem to be a lot of rules.
We were booked for 6 nights but due to a medical emergency, had to leave after three. Unfortunately, I wasn't that sad to leave. I did not hate this resort but it definitely wasn't what we were used to and we won't go back. I think a lot of it depends on what you are used to and we were treated like family at Sandals Inn. Club Ambiance fell short of our expectations based on the type of vacation we were used to getting from Sandals and Jamaica. Some of the reviews complained about the appearance and decor but I saw absolutely no problem with the way the resort looked. I think location is a major factor as far as the quality of the beaches and water and the farther away from Montego Bay you get, the rockier the beaches are. You will definitely find the best beaches from Montego Bay toward Negril. Hope this helps someone.

Room Tip: I think the rooms around the pool are the most coveted. They would be quieter. Not all rooms have...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank garnetfire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Club Ambiance

Address: Main Road | Saint Ann, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Runaway Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Runaway Bay
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Runaway Bay
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
Price Range: RM709 - RM1,304 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Ambiance 3*
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shuttle Bus service attract an extra charge. Airport Transportation attract an extra charge. Free internet service only in lobby area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Ambiance Hotel Runaway Bay
Ambiance Hotel Runaway Bay
Resort All Inclusive Ambiance
Club Ambiance Jamaica/Runaway Bay
Club Ambience Jamaica

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