Dated rooms with budget furnishings and hard, uncomfortable mattresses
Mediocre food with a limited selection -- bar openings depend on occupancy
No in-room Wi-Fi
Few services or attractions within walking distance
All-inclusive drink and food options are underwhelming and limited
Club Ambiance - All Inclusive is surrounded by other resorts along Jamaica’s busy A1 -- the main thoroughfare connecting Montego Bay to Kingston. The two-pearl property offers all the amenities travelers would expect from an oceanfront all-inclusive -- a beach, pool, dining, and even a nightclub -- but every aspect is dated and maintained with the bare minimum level of care. Rooms are done in budget furnishings and, aside from private balconies and mini-fridges, feature few notable amenities. Depending on your travel style, the hotel’s strict adult-only policy is either a big draw or one more reason to stay away (yes, there is a clothing optional section). The nearby Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean offers more amenities in a cleaner, newer environment for less cash.
Small, adult-only resort with a tired budget-honeymoon vibe
The 90-room Club Ambiance is a budget resort that feels like a budget resort in every way. Decor is a mishmash conglomeration of Spanish colonial and generic Caribbean aesthetics. The resort offers all of the amenities most travelers would expect of an oceanfront all-inclusive -- a beach, pool, restaurant, tiny spa, and even a nightclub. However, every space feels as though it’s hanging on by a thread, with notable maintenance issues and a general lack of attention to detail. We noted crumbling pavement around the pool, beach chairs in need of replacing, and salt-worn walls, fencing, and furniture. The adult-only policy is strictly enforced, with no children under 18 allowed on the property. With one of the area’s only nude beaches and Playboy TV as the default in-room television channel, it’s hard to imagine any parent would want to bring their kids here. The hotel's main demographic is vacationing couples looking for a cheap, alcohol-fueled getaway.
On a busy beachfront road amid dozens of other resorts
Located directly on Route A1 -- Jamaica’s main highway that connects Montego Bay to Kingston -- Club Ambiance is miles from anywhere. Aside from other resorts, there are few services or attractions in the vicinity. Ocho Rios is a 30-minute drive east while Montego Bay -- including Sangster International Airport -- is at least 60 minutes west by car.
Rental car counters from several major agencies are available at or near the two closest airports. For guests looking to venture off property, this is likely the only viable option. Island taxi service is affordable but can get expensive if relied on solely. For travelers who don’t mind sharing their ride with a dozen other passengers, shuttle van/bus service is Jamaica’s most common and cheapest mode of transportation.
Dated rooms with budget furnishings and minimal amenities
Room decor is sparse, with budget furnishings and fixtures throughout. The furniture is an eclectic blend of bland oak-veneer armoires and desks, aging wicker seating, and white IKEA-esque nightstands. There are pops of tropical color in the form of wall art, bed linens, and patterned cushions, but the overall aesthetic feels cheap and not cohesive. Expect to see tried-and-true '90s-era details like tropical patterned bed skirts and matching chair cushions, along with old tube TVs.
All three room categories feature one-room floor plans that are larger-than-average, relative to comparable area hotels. Entry-level Standard Rooms are the smallest of the three, with only a single double-bed configuration available. Mid-range Superior Rooms offer a virtually identical layout and square footage with either two double beds or a single king. Honeymoon Suites are marginally nicer, including a four-poster bed and a private, ocean-view balcony. Standard amenities in all rooms include a mini-fridge, air-conditioning, and a private balcony. Expect fees for use of a safe. Wi-Fi is only available in the lobby, and we found the service slow and unreliable. Beds are widely reviewed as old, firm, and uncomfortable.
Bathrooms are similarly dated. The brown tile flooring and pale, pink marble on the walls might have looked stylish 20 years ago. They include shower/tub combos and a bit of counter space around sinks, but are otherwise compact. Aside from a few bars of generic hand soap and a small hairdryer, no additional amenities are available.
A rough beach, a basic pool, one buffet restaurant, and a tiny spa
Club Ambiance offers a decent number of resort amenities, including a basic beach (with one nude and one clothing-optional section), a pool, a single restaurant, and even a spa. While each one is functional, all suffer from maintenance issues and an overall lack of attention to detail. Keep in mind that while the hotel is nominally all-inclusive, guests can't expect this to include a wide selection of beverages or food. Also, there is only free Wi-Fi in public areas, and it isn't always functional.
A narrow, rough beach with all-nude and clothing-optional sections
On the plus side, the hotel’s beach is private. Three distinct areas target nude bathing, clothing-optional bathing, or a “normal” beach which the hotel calls the “prude” section. Unfortunately, the usable section of sand is minimal, rocky, and rough. The crumbling concrete, man-made jetties, and aging lounge chairs and palapas provide a distinctly low-rent feel. The jetties do serve as a breakwater, however, ensuring that the ocean water is calm and swimmable. A small awning at one end of the beach provides free access to paddleboats, kayaks, and a row boat.
The hotel’s only outdoor pool is adequately sized to accommodate its guests. Like many areas of the resort, the pool is functional, reasonably well-maintained, and ordinary in every way. A few dozen plastic chairs and a handful of umbrellas provide shaded lounge space around the deck. A half-wall on the beach side affords slightly obstructed views of the water. The unnamed bar at one end serves a drink menu of beer, wine, and generic liquors. However, it frequently closes based on the season and occupancy of the hotel.
One buffet restaurant with mediocre food and a limited selection
Cafe Calypso is the resort’s main restaurant with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. All meals are served buffet-style in a casual dining space with no dress code. Like much of the hotel, the decor is mismatched, with Caribbean colors on the wall, traditional dining booths, and painted floral murals on the walls and ceilings. The menu is a typical mix of general, mostly Western fare (guests are typically from the U.S. and U.K.). Unfortunately, food quality and variety score almost unanimous low marks, and the selection can be especially limited in in the off season. On select nights throughout the week, the outdoor Terrace Grill hosts Jamaican and BBQ nights with live music. While afternoon and evening snack hours are offered, and included in room rates, quality is likewise a miss.
Tiny gym with a handful of dated machines and equipment
Given the hotel’s two-pearl category, the on-site gym is a surprise. The tiny room features a small stack of free weights as well as a handful of dated, but mostly functional cardio- and strength-training machines.
The spa is located in a tiny, single-room hut just off the beach. A full menu of treatments (including Swedish massage, body scrubs, and body wraps) is available, as is a hot tub a few steps from the spa entrance.
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