Michael Taylor owns this very nice three bedroom townhouse on the golf course at the Costa Blanca Royal Decameron Resort in Farallon, Panama. He rents out the three bedrooms in the Villa to guests.
Let me start off with a standard Panama Guide disclosure statement. I just stayed for two nights at Michael’s townhouse free of charge. Michael is not sponsoring Panama Guide, but I felt obligated to tell everyone right up front that I stayed there for free. Michael called me a couple of weeks ago, after having seen the article I wrote about the Los Capitanes hotel in El Valle and he wanted to know if I would come and take a look at what he was offering at the Decameron Resort. I said sure, sounds like fun. And, as long as you readers know my view could me slightly “tainted” by the free room, then I feel I can rest easy.
That having been said, let me tell you a little about the townhouse. It’s basically a three bedroom house, with one bedroom on the first floor and two upstairs. Each bedroom has it’s own full bathroom and can be rented as an individual hotel room. The first floor also has the living room, dining room, and complete kitchen and a guest bathroom. There’s a door to the living room, so it’s possible to rent the entire first floor with the bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, and then two other parties can rent the other two bedrooms upstairs. There are a lot of different combinations that will work.
Now, I just got my new professional SLR digital camera, so I used this trip to break it in and learn a little about it. I took about 300 pictures around the Villa, golf course, and the Decameron resort. Unfortunately for this article I can only use five pictures, and the maximum size is 300 by 300 pixels, so I’m kinda limited at what I can show you. Michael is going to be using some of the pictures I took to spruce up this website about the townhouse, so maybe you’ll see some of them there.
The townhouse itself is very nice and comfortable. All of the rooms have a private bathroom and air conditioning. The downstairs bedroom has two queensized beds, and each of the two upstairs bedrooms have a kingsized bed. The livingroom, dining room, and kitchen are very nice and comfortable. There is a complete kitchen with a ‘fridge, stove, microwave and all utensiles, washer and dryer, etc. We were very comfortable staying there, and the maids clean up after the guests. As far as the hotel is concerned, the rooms in the Villas are extensions of the hotel. Like, there were towels and little bottles of shampoo and stuff like that. I mean, it’s half private house and half hotel. Different, but very nice…
The townhouse is located just off the right-hand side of the middle of the fairway of Hole #1 of the brand new Mantaray Golf Course. As a matter of fact, his back yard is about 200 yards from the first green, and all throughout the day we saw happy golfers driving by to play their second shot and make their approach. I didn’t realize that the golf couse was open for business, and didn’t come prepared to play. I fully expect to remedy that the next time I go. Doug (the golf pro) gave us a guided tour of the course, and I’ll probably be doing another article about the course before too long, so stand by for that. It’s a very nice course.
There are probably more than 100 townhouses already built, and they are putting up more just as hard as they can. They are selling really well, and for good reason. They’re doing a nice job on the construction, design, and groundskeeping. The lawns are manicured, security is excellent, and the houses themselves are very well built and comfortable. There are several families that live there full time as well as several expats. Most, however, are used as private weekend beachhomes.
Owners, visitors and guests have access to the private and exclusive Beach Club. Guests who are staying at the Decameron Hotel can not use the Beach Club and they have their own facilities. We went through the Beach Club a few times at different times of the weekend, and there were a few people there but it was not jammed packed or crowded. It’s a very nice facility with a pool, restaurant, bar, and beach bohios. We ate there twice and the food was excellent.
But by far the best deal was to buy the “Convi-Pass” at the reception desk of the Decameron Resort. The passes cost $30 per person per day, and it gives you full access to the resort, plus all you can eat and drink from 7:00 AM until 2:00 AM the next day. That’s all you can eat, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and open bar all day. Without getting into all the details, we spent the day between the beach, the pool, eating at the restaurants, and getting hammered at the bar. We had a really good time, took full advantage of the passes, and certainly got our money’s worth.
There are something like eight different restaurants were you can eat dinner, each with a theme (see the Decameron website for details.) You have to schedule an appointment for dinner, and we set ourselves up with a late dinner at the steak restaurant (forgot the name, sorry…) All the food was excellent, all day long. Breakfast and dinner were buffet style, and dinner was sit-down and served. Very nice, well done, and organized.
The hotel itself was packed with guests. There are more than 600 rooms in the hotel and they were all full. It’s a big task for the staff to feed all those people and keep everyone happy. They were doing thier best to meet the challange. One thing I saw that impressed me — there was a chef out and walking around the buffet lines where we ate lunch. He had a radio in his right hand and would relay orders to the kitchen to call for replacements for dishes that were being depleted. As the guests chowed down, he called for more. He was hovering over the salad bar like it was his personal mission to keep it perfect.
Also while we were eating lunch, I observed the table turn-over procedures in action at the table next to us. The people who were seated there finished eating and stood up to leave. As soon as they were walking away and it was obvious they were done, a steward swooped in and cleared the dirty dishes. A second guy came in with clean napkins, utensils, and water glasses. A new group of guests were seated and attended to. The whole process took about 45 seconds. Let’s just say they’re used to taking care of a lot of people.
At this point, it’s late and I’m tired. I’ll be adding more to this article later. But for now, g’night…
(Added on 18 January 2005) Much better. It’s hard to write well when you’re eyelids are drooping. Now, where was I…
After the publication of the first part of this article, I received several emails from Bill Murphy. He owns townhouse #51 at Decameron and wanted me to let you all know that he rents his out as well. His email address is [email protected] and you can call (507) 223-0582 to make reservations. His townhouse is basically identical to Michael Taylor’s.
I wanted to talk a little about the beach and pools at the Decameron resort. We spent the better part of the day just hanging out on the beach, going back and forth between the ocean and taking dips in the pools. There’s basically one long (huge) pool that runs along the front, ocean side of the resort. There are thatched hut bohios on the beach with beach chairs, so you can set up shop in a bohio, then go into the ocean and swim and then back into the pool for a fresh water dip.
There are a couple of showers for washing off salt and sand but really there were not enough. I only saw a couple of showerheads, and one of them didn’t have much water pressure. There was actually a line of people waiting to hose off.
The beach and ocean there is very nice. The size of the surf changes depending on the rising or falling tides and offshore winds. For the most part you can easily get out past the breakers and swim. The water was very warm and nice, and about as clear as the Pacific ocean gets along that part of Panama’s coast. There were all kinds of kids playing in the sand and making sand castles and stuff like that. Classic beach stuff…
There’s an activities hut where you can rent jet skis, small sail boats, and sign up for trips on banana boats, fishing, etc. There’s all kinds of water sports stuff to do there. Decameron is a very nice, top notch resort.
A little about the golf course. There are now nine holes open for play, and the back nine will be open shortly, before the end of February. There’s a lot of water in play, some long holes, tight fairways, and trees and other obstacles that come into play. The course is very well designed and is in fantastic shape. The resort has a dam and manmade lake on the Farallon river and can pump more than 1,800 gallons of water per hour onto the golf course when necessary. The course will be a total 7,100 yards when finished.
SOURCE: Don Winner @ Panama-guide.com
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Source: VIP Panama