We were fortunate to stay primarily at great places during our recent 10-day (5-hotel) stay in Panama but we did have one dud (which I kind of predicted in advance. Here’s the three places we stayed in and around Panama City:
Gamboa Rainforest Resort – gorgeous tropical resort in the Panama Canal zone about 20 miles north of Panama City, lush jungle setting with green landscaped lawns stretching out to a muddy river and densely forested jungle-like hills beyond; nice pool; red, orange, purple, yellow Bougainvillea everywhere (and some of the world’s largest rodents called Capybaras that look like a cross between a pig, porcupine, and rat…ick) ‘,knowledgeable and friendly guides who took us on a tour of the Embera Indian Village about an hour away. Didn’t have time to take the aerial tram or visit Monkey Island, alas. Banquet food so-so.
Intercontinental Playa Bonita – another gorgeous resort west of downtown Panama City on the Pacific Ocean with a great view of the city and huge ships approaching the Panama Canal; more pools than I could ever swim in (five – and I didn’t find the fifth until we were leaving); large clean attractive rooms. Banquet food so-so.
Gran Hotel Casino Soloy – we knew this probably wouldn’t be great (it was only $99 and we picked it primarily for its downtown location, close to the location close to the airport we were flying out of the next morning and because we were arriving late and leaving early) and we were right. At least it was clean and the staff pleasant. But it was very noisy (definitely pick a room NOT overlooking the street where the activity was loud and nonstop until about 3 a.m.) Other issues – soft mattress, very limited hot water (we got only a lukewarm shower in the early evening), two bath towels (no hand towels, wash clothes, floor mat), no toiletries beyond a bar of soap. The free breakfast, though, was surprisingly pleasant.