My Official Review
I’m not even sure where to start with this one but if I had to choose one word to describe it, that word would be “home”. I’ve had a few villa experiences in Jamaica now and this one just screams comfort. I had all kinds of plans to get out into the community of Runaway Bay while staying there for a few days but we just didn’t want to leave the comfort of this villa!
From the first minute inside Villa Ambiance it was more than we expected. It’s located right on the main highway in Runaway Bay and right next door to the Club Ambiance resort. From the road there’s no indication that a villa even exists so the caretaker Tony met us outside the large wooden gate to guide us into what would be our own private haven for 3 nights. I drove through the gate, parked on the driveway right up beside the house and Tony was ready to give us a tour through the villa.
First impressions are everything and the minute we walked in we were greeted with the wonderful smell of baking chicken and a wide open living room, dining room and kitchen in the common area. The villa chef was busy inside the kitchen and welcomed us each with a Red Stripe as we continued our tour.
Villa Ambiance consists of three large bedrooms, each with their own beautiful ensuite bathroom with more than enough linens and a hair dryer in each bathroom. All the bedrooms have king size beds, their own lock and key, flat screen TV’s, AC, and tons of storage space to unpack your bags and live comfortably during your stay. The two front bedrooms have sliding patio doors that walk out onto the pool deck. The entire villa also has wireless internet access and daily housekeeping included.
The common area of the villa is an open concept with lots of seating in front of a huge flatscreen TV and entertainment unit. Although I have no desire to watch TV in Jamaica we made good use of the iPod dock attached to the main sound system in the living room. There’s a double patio door that opens onto the pool deck from the living room and we had plenty of our own music playing to the outside using the sound system.
The dining room seats 6 people but aside from our first night’s dinner we never used the indoor dining area. We favored the huge outdoor patio table which we barely left in three days! We ate all our meals outside on the covered patio area in front of the pool.
The kitchen is big with an electric range – different for Jamaica because most places have gas cooking facilities. This kitchen has absolutely everything you would expect to have in a place you’re calling home, away from home. There are plenty goodies in the “starter package” including coffee, tea, milk, eggs, bread, butter and spices/seasonings. For me this was a welcome surprise and added bonus because I’ve stayed in villas where it was expected that the guest is responsible for all of these items.
At Villa Ambiance there are two meal options – the self-catering plan where the guests purchase all their own groceries, or the second option where guests pay a flat fee per person per day to have the chef shop and prepare all meals for them. We opted for breakfasts only since we had some day trips planned which would keep us out during lunch times and possibly dinner times. We did invite a group of other friends over one evening for “dinner at our place” which we cooked ourselves.
The evening we checked in it was already after dark so we got the villa tour but didn’t have any idea what we would wake up to the next day. In the morning I woke to the most breathtaking view of the Caribbean sea just steps away from my bedroom.
We also woke to freshly brewed coffee by chef Simms who was already busy in the kitchen preparing our breakfast which we had prearranged with him the night before. I’m a person who doesn’t stay put in one spot very often in Jamaica – I had all kinds of plans to get out and really see what Runaway Bay has to offer in the three days I was there. But I admit we hardly ever left the patio table at all, besides our road trip to Hellshire Beach one of the days. This villa was just a great place for gathering with friends and enjoying each others company.
On my first morning at Villa Ambiance I took plenty of time walking around the yard with my camera. Just beyond the pool and down a few steps was a private sandy beach with a few beach chairs, perfect for sun worshippers. And a few steps beyond that was the ocean. Just beautiful. The property is full of lush green shrubs and trees. It was really hard to believe that directly outside the property gate is the main highway because the place feels like a private, secluded oasis.
Runaway Bay is a fabulously convenient location for anyone who wants to do sightseeing. It’s only a 20 minute drive east to Ocho Rios and about 40 minutes west to Montego Bay – easy enough to do day trips in either direction and still be home in time for dinner if you want.
From Villa Ambiance you can walk right into the center of town at Runaway Bay in less than 15 minutes, where you’ll find ATM’s, supermarkets, local restaurants and bars, and every convenience you’ll need. If you don’t drive, transportation is a breeze to and from the villa because it’s located on the main highway. I had my own vehicle but I’m sure I could have arranged transportation with the villa in advance if needed.
MANY THANKS to the staff and management at Villa Ambiance for making our stay most enjoyable! We really just wanted to move in and never leave – we were sad to pack our things and give the place up to the next guests coming in. The villa comes high recommendations from me and my group, for comfort level right down to the little extras I’ve learned to look for in accommodations. I can’t think of a more suitable name for this vacation property! For bookings and more information please see the Villa Ambiance website and go “like” their Facebook page.