El Panama Hotel

January 25, 2008

El Panama Hotel in Panama City, Panama is a remarkable, historical landmark. The facility was created in an era during which there were few serious competitors in Panama City’s hotel market. That isn’t the case any longer.  There are more than 250 high rise buildings going up in Panama City as this is being written.

One lady included in her review notes:  “There were plenty of positive aspects about this hotel. It really is in a great location, and you can walk around the area without worry, the breakfast buffet changes daily…..the staff in the hotel restaurant is nice, too.”

However, then she added:  “Then . . . there are the negatives. I have NEVER NEVER NEVER slept so little on vacation in my entire life. EVER. Panamanians honk their horns while driving, more than they breathe . . . and being located close to a major avenue guarantees that you will hear horns 24/7. I am not a light sleeper, so I was amazed at how much trouble I had sleeping there.”

“There is also a casino/disco attached to the hotel that plays VERY VERY VERY loud music on the weekends that goes until at least 12 a.m. Every time someone walks past the hotel room it sounds like they are in the room with you. It is UNBELIEVABLY loud.”

Okay, so we know the hotelier’s have been turning away the sales reps for the acoustical engineering companies and apparently are receiving enough revenue from their casino; that the sleeping ease of their guests isn’t of concern. What is the real story..?  Is there a difference of the awareness and thereby the effects of long term exposure to high ranges of decibels, so it’s a cultural difference?  I think not.  Has any of the management staff ever slept upstairs?  Perhaps their penthouses do have soundproofing? Or is the staff secretly buying invisible earplugs by the gross?

The owners of this company have the size of punch that they could encourage the Panamanian department of transportation that its newest promotion for the happiness of all Panama City residents and guests is: ‘Noise Abatement Now’ by the enactment of traffic management modernization, requiring auto inspections and an enforced ban on honking in this city of a million residents with – what - twenty traffic lights…?  Now that’s not the long term plan for a fast transit system that Panama City needs, but it would be a start.

This gentleman guest’s review comment reflects my sentiment: “Hopefully one day the Hotel El Panama will quit selling off its real estate…and restore its self back to the glory days…”

El Panama Hotel

January 11, 2008

“a Summit Hotels & Resorts Preferred Hotel Group”

Gee, that sounds impressive eh…?  The El Panama Hotel has been renowned for longer than most people in Panama City remember; but time isn’t always kind to structures and four stars today, don’t necessarily mean four stars forever to an hotelier.

El Panama Casino is glitzy, the costuming of the employees in traditional ensembles is heart warming…and yet there’s a smell of something in the air, something moldy maybe.

In reviewing the real world traveler’s opinions of their experiences in the El Panama Hotel, there were some analyses that seem to have basis in fact.

The saddest words I read were about a lack of simple cleanliness and good maintenance that are unfortunately very common in Panama. This guest wasn’t pleased. “The hotel has a pool area that COULD be really nice . . . with about a full week of scrubbing. Honestly, I’m not sure that they used chemicals in their pool. I haven’t ever seen worse mold buildup on the grout in the pool. This was especially disappointing to me, because I was counting on taking my son there every day.”

But some guests are really enjoying themselves.  “It was a great stay in El Panama hotel. The staff was SUPER friendly and helpful. I would even have to say it was very relaxing for a business trip. I would recommend the hotel to any business traveler or tourist. Thumbs up!” 

You have to ask yourself – were these travelers staying under the same roof?

El Panama Hotel

January 11, 2008

Comparing hotel guest’s reality reports with marketing messages about El Panama Hotel:

The text created by the always creative marketing department says:  “Business travelers benefit from a wonderful exhibition center. Leisure travelers enjoy the fitness room, spa, and the flora and fauna of the nearby rainforest. El Panama is quite close to the city’s shops and exciting nightlife, but it is no surprise when guests wish never to leave the hotel’s amazing private boutiques, casino and nightclub.”

This property in central Panama City is only twenty minutes from Panama’s City’s Tocumen International Airport.   It’s known to the airline industry as PTY - if you happen to be scouting airline ticketing later.

Traveler reviews aren’t so kind in their notes on the hotel…but no criticism of the marketer is realistic, since they probably never sat poolside at the El Panama Hotel.

The most insightful analysis I discovered was the guest paying $250 a night who commented:  “The El Panama still thinks she is the belle of the ball. She is looking tired and service is lacking. I stayed in the executive suite. The two remotes didn’t work, the safety box didn’t work, the bathroom facet was broken, and bath tub was worn. The decor was 1970’s hip in black and white. Austin Powers would have been at home here if he could get service from the bellman and all the amenities worked. The location is good, the service is slow to nonexistence, facilities worn, and the price is on the high end for the value.”

Even if she isn’t still the belle of the ball….it seems reasonable to expect effective maintenance in this four star property…unless of course…there’s a plan to replace El Panama with a new community of properties. Could there be a plan in the old belle of the ball’s future?

El Panama Hotel

January 11, 2008

The average front page review of Central American’s renown El Panama Hotel reads like this:

“It is hard to believe that this deluxe Caribbean-style hotel, set amidst acres of palm-laden gardens, is located in the heart of Panama City. For delicious dining, guests relish the elegant surroundings of the renowned Portobello Restaurant or a barbecue alfresco by the fabulous pool.”

However, floating along on the breezes aren’t just the sweet scents of success, while this Summit property is a four star hotel, the real world traveler reviews are mixed.

One guest stated, “The pool is wonderful, has a huge, swim up bar and I love the layout of this property. It has so much potential if the right owners came along. The food was bad, the furniture in the rooms is old, and the disco stays open until 2 every night and it’s not just loud, it’s blaring all over the place”. 

Another reviewer noted that “the swim up bar is very beautiful, but the pool bar has odd hours, as it isn’t open in the afternoons, when the pool is open”.  Now that seems like a really unusual choice for hoteliers to make…but maybe it wasn’t cost effective to keep the pool bar staffed in the afternoons?

If hotels are considered as ladies, then this one may be a grand old dame, but with so many remarkable new properties being built in Panama City, her name and her history may not hold her in her current four star position.

El Panama Hotel- Panama City

January 2, 2008

Offering a warm welcome, El Panama Hotel is a perfect venue for a pleasant as well as an unforgettable holiday.Location
Centrally located in the city of Panama, El Panama Hotel is 27 kilometres from the airport and offers its guests a warm welcome.

The hotel offers comfortable air-conditioned guestrooms that are well equipped with a host of in room amenities. Specially adapted rooms for the disabled guests are also available for their convenience.

Guests can dine at the onsite restaurant that serves a wide list of seafood and other informal cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

Health conscious guests can work out at the well-equipped gymnasium or relax at the refreshing sauna or take a dip at the relaxing swimming pool.


  • Conference facilities
  • Disabled facilities
  • Gymnasium
  • Laundry facilities
  • Lobby
  • Parking facilities
  • Reception
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Sauna
  • Swimming pool
  • Air conditioning
  • Cable / Satellite TV
  • Hairdryer
  • Mini bar
  • Private bathroom / Ensuite
  • Radio
  • Telephone

Source: Hotel Club