Club Ambiance – Runaway Bay

First of all I would like the sincerely thank Club Ambiance for their generous offer of staying with them to write this review, because if they had known up front that I don’t really support the all-inclusive resort lifestyle maybe they would have thought twice.  I’m more of a “go local” person and I’ve never had the resort experience. Having said that I’m prepared to now offer them an extensive and glowing review because the experience was great!

 

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I did my research and read their whole website before arriving.  I also read other online reviews and everyone seems to love it!  I think I’m a harder sell than most because I’m not into this type of travel or lifestyle, but I found after my stay that everyone else is right.  The resort is much smaller than those mega-resorts like Riu and Sandals, which is fabulous because the service is a lot more personal.  It’s true the bartenders DO remember what you’re drinking, and sometimes they even tell you long, drawn out stories about how to kill, season and cook an octopus so that you’ll actually want to eat one!  And I loved their drink recipe sign hanging above the bar…they spell the drink names as they would say it, complete with Jamaican accent. Notice a Grasshopper is a Grassapper!

 

Drink menu at main bar

 

Upon check-in I was informed I had been upgraded to the Honeymoon suite…totally unexpected.  After the fact I was glad because my travel partner got a regular room so now I could compare and include both in the review.  When I entered my room I was charmed to see that it had rose petals scattered all over the bed!  However, I found out the regular room had the same thing.  Nice touch.  Both rooms had king size beds, mine was a 4-poster. I also had a loveseat versus just a chair in the regular room.  And I had a little gift basket of Jamaican spices and seasonings to take home in my room.

 

Club Ambiance honeymoon suite

 

View from Club Ambiance honeymoon suite

 

The most noticeable difference between the two rooms was the spectacular ocean view in the honeymoon suite!  The most amazing way to wake up for sure.  The other room had a garden view which is also very pretty.

 

Regular room at Club Ambiance

 

View from regular room

 

Our first evening dinner was served in a main outdoor area in front of an entertainment stage.  There was a large buffet with both western and local Jamaican food.  I just ate the Jamaican food, I can have the other stuff at home any time.  I enjoyed jerk pork, jerk chicken, festival, rice & peas, all my usual favorite Jamaican foods.  The main bar is located in this same area and I was never thirsty, always had a drink in my hand.

Also on the first evening the show was centered on native and cultural entertainment.  It was very upbeat and fun to watch, and they did their best to encourage guest participation.  My favorite was the guy who danced with and ate fire!  Another one of my favorite things about the entertainment on both nights was the MC, Marie.  She did a fabulous job of keeping the guests engaged and having fun, and has a really funny and outgoing personality.

 

female dancers

 

fire man

 

bamboo dance

 

We enjoyed a couple hours at the swimming pool at Club Ambiance as well.  It was very refreshing and there’s a poolside bar to enjoy that opens at 10:30 AM, although we managed to get our first rum of the day at 9:30 delivered to us in the pool!

 

pool

 

Breakfast was served indoors in the restaurant and we enjoyed a typical western breakfast complete with pancakes, French toast, potatoes, bacon and more fruit than you can imagine, fresh juices, etc.  Dinner on our second night was also served in this restaurant with some very nice touches.  We were celebrating birthdays that evening and our server was more than happy to bring out a piece of cake and candles at our request.  They even sang happy birthday with us. And to top off the birthday meal they brought us a big ice bucket complete with two bottles of chilled wine. We had a very nice birthday dinner!

 

View out the windows in the main dinig area

The entertainment that evening was great!  Club Ambiance is an adults only resort and the show was definitely geared towards the adult crowd, and was hilarious.  It was all guests putting on the show this time and the games were a riot, as was the MC Marie!  We sat back, watched and laughed at the fun while enjoying our drinks from the bar.

This portion of the evening ended early with the staff and guests all moving out to the pier bar called “Legends”.  It’s out at the end of a long pier into the water where they were still serving up the drinks and Marie fired up the karaoke machine.  That girl can sing too!  Several guests sang with her and it was a nice time.

 

Legends Pier bar

We had planned on going to the hotel disco this night as well but it wasn’t open, so this is where the “local” me came out and we decided to cross the road and try out the go go bar.  For those of you who’ve not been to Jamaica yet, yes there are plenty of go go bars and they’re a lot of fun if you’re into more local entertainment.  They usually aren’t too busy and they play great Jamaican music, and the females who dance there are pretty talented in my opinion. Something to try if you’re brave and you can easily stumble back across the road to your room afterwards.

When we checked out of Club Ambiance we were provided with a transfer back to Sangster airport in Montego Bay.
I quite enjoyed staying at Club Ambiance and I know there are plenty of things at the resort that I didn’t get a chance to try out because my stay was so short, but I would be more than happy to return to the hotel and stay longer!  With all-inclusive rates from $65 per person (at the time of this writing) how could you NOT go back?  I think that’s extremely reasonable considering I’ve stayed in wood cabins with nothing included for $50.

The atmosphere at Club Ambiance is very laid back and relaxed and seemed quiet for the most part.  There was a good mix of guests and the staff was great for the most part.  No complaints about the food and definitely no complaints about the drinks! Remember I’m not used to the all-inclusive environment, it was a treat for me.

 

A few notable things about staying at Club Ambiance:

  • There are a few computers with internet access in the lobby.
  • There’s an ATM in the lobby but watch out for the whopping $6 USD service fee for each use!  That’s on top of whatever your own bank charges you.
  • You can walk to the town of Runaway Bay in about 15 minutes in a straight line. 
  • There are plenty of little shops and bars on the road outside the resort as well, if you feel like going for a walk.  It’s completely safe to go for walks off the property.

Once again, I would love to thank Club Ambiance for their hospitality and would like to thank Alex in particular for making all my arrangements.  I will definitely be back. 

 

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17 Comments

  • EmpressDoms says:

    i swear, the next time i visit JA I’m gonna have Jamaica My Way as my personal travel guide!

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  • JC says:

    ANY ANY time girl!!!! I’m always looking for an excuse to go and have fun somewhere on that island!

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  • sherry says:

    Great review!
    Everything you said is true!
    If you like to throw your money away on the 5 star treatment be my guest but the service, hospitality and personal attention you receive at Club Ambiance is a galaxy away from them.
    Consistency in everything they do to ensure that you are having the best time ever is never failing.
    They do what it takes to make sure you are happy!
    And if you’re looking for some local flavour as you mentioned, it’s right outside your door and very safe indeed!
    The locals love and respect all the visitors that come to make memories in their home Jamaica!

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  • JC says:

    Hey Sherry, thanks for your comments. I agree with all you said for sure. Even though I “don’t do” resorts (LOL) I’d definitely go back to this one for a few nights just to spoil myself. The price is definitely right!

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  • i am going down for my anniversary and i can’t wait every day i am browsing the site to see pictures

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  • JC says:

    That’s awesome Garfield! I’m excited for you and you trip.

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  • angel says:

    I too have to thank you for giving Club Ambiance a fair shake, as well as a fair review! CA is our second home. We love the staff as though they’re family. Kudos to your post, review and. Love for the island.

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  • Seveen says:

    someone in jamaica made a fortune on those bedspreads and curtains – i see them everywhere – lol

    nice review!

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  • JC says:

    @Seveen – LOL! Gotta love Jamaican decorating.

    @Angel – Yes I have to admit I really liked it there. I think in part, because it’s small and more personal than a mega-resort! And even though I didn’t pay for my stay the rates are VERY reasonable!

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  • Reggie and Tricia says:

    We have never been to Club Ambiance, however we will be going in August for the first time. We would love it if we new of more people going during our stay. August 4-25.

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  • Kristi says:

    You guys will really enjoy this little resort and you’ll definitely meet other people while you’re there. I encourage you to go out and walk around Runaway Bay, it’s a cute place. Lots of things to enjoy there.

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  • Jill Bennett says:

    Love, love, love this place. Maria is no longer there, but I still keep in touch with her. I have heard there have been changes lately, as the resort has been sold. We loved mingling with the staff and miss them very much. We visited CA 8 times, and were even married there. Thanks for the great review!

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  • Kristi says:

    Wow Jill you’re a veteran there then! Great to know you like it as much as I enjoyed it. Was a great place to stay and so much more personal than a mega-all-inclusive.

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  • Tone n rosa says:

    We just came back from a 2 week stay at CA and it was awesome! The staff the food the atmosphere was great. Its a nice getaway if you are looking to get away from those informal large resorts.
    Will be returning, it was what a ‘getaway’ is supposed to be like.

    We highly recommend it.

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  • Kristi says:

    Glad you guys liked it! I’d love to go back sometimes and try it again now that it’s been years since I stayed there.

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  • Jessica Payne says:

    Hi Kristi, Sorry the long delay between blogs. We had a long weekend and went camping. So, I’m back looking at your website and reading your wonderful reviews about resorts and where to stay. This place looks amazing! I have contacted them directly to find out rates, and I am looking forward to reading more of your reviews. I wanted to ask you, is this resort far from the airport? 🙂 Talk soon, Jess

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  • Kristi says:

    Hey Jessica, This place is less than an hour from the airport and located right on the main highway. Super easy to find.

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