El Panama Hotel | Travelers find exceptional hotels in Latin America

Travelers can choose from many quality hotels throughout Latin America, but will likely return again and again to those they feel offer an exceptionally good stay.

Although the definition of an exceptionally good hotel stay varies from traveler to traveler, there are generally a few standards most travelers agree on, according to Langley Steinert, chairman and founder of TripAdvisor, Inc.

TripAdvisor provides a comprehensive travel search engine that helps consumers research their business and leisure travel plans via the Internet. The company’s website TripAdvisor.com, which was awarded Forbes Best of the Web, also post thousands of hotel reviews for properties worldwide that are either written by former guests or by professional reviewers.

“Service is clearly the most important to the majority of travelers,” said Steinert. “A caring staff makes the difference to most hotel guests who often comment on such things as good maid service or a helpful concierge.”

Room quality comes next in importance, with travelers giving hotels high marks for comfortable beds, nice views and large, luxurious bathrooms, Steinert maintains. Good restaurants and attractive outdoor facilities, such as pools, are also frequently mentioned.

“Whether a hotel is exceptional or not to travelers is really about whether it exceeds their expectations,” he added. Three qualities distinguish Radisson hotels in Latin America, according to Michael Turner, president of Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Latin America: Radisson’s YES, I CAN staff training program, the company’s STAY YOUR OWN WAY program, and its excellent distribution throughout Latin America. Two new hotels were added in the region in 2004, the Hotel Radisson Decapolis in Panama City, and the Radisson Ciudad Empresarial.

Radisson’s YES I CAN training program aims to provide all staff with the power to surpass the expectations of guests in an efficient and effective way.

“Radisson is very proud of the quality of service of its employees, who make a difference within the hotel industry. The YES I CAN program is constantly offered to all staff, so every employee who joins the hotel gets this training before coming into contact with our guests,” Turner said.

Radisson’s worldwide STAY YOUR OWN WAY offer personalizes guests’ experiences by granting them the freedom to enjoy the hotels with services tailored to their needs.

To accommodate the needs of executives who travel throughout Latin America Radisson currently has 10 award-winning hotels located in El Salvador, Guatemala City, San Jose, Panama City, Bogota, Quito, Sao Paulo, Montevideo and Santiago. New Radisson hotels will soon be added in Cali, Colombia, Lima, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Exceptional hotels strike the perfect balance between their quality product and service elements, according to Jeff Karlson, regional director of sales and marketing for Hilton International in Latin America. Hilton operates 10 hotels in Latin America, which are located in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Belem, Caracas, Barquismeto; Isla Margarita, Quito; Guayaquil and Cartagena.

“Hilton Hotels in Latin America are from the onset strategically designed to be ’special places’ where guests can always expect a more exciting and rewarding experience,” Karlson said.

Hilton guests rave most about the personal recognition they receive at the hotels and the unparalleled reward system Hilton provides through Hilton HHonors[R], Karlson added.

“Our staff are trained to create personal ties with guests that go beyond the business relationship,” Karlson said. “We understand the need of travelers to feel a sense of belonging and personal attachment as they travel around the globe.”

The Hilton HHonors program is unique in allowing travelers to earn both hotel points and airline miles at more than 2,500 hotels worldwide.

“It is one of the few programs which does not make travelers choose between earning miles and points,” Karlson added.

Hilton International recently outlined plans for a unique five star resort development scheduled for completion in early 2006, which is to be situated at the heart of the Amazon Rain Forest in Brazil.

Guests of the Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi in Brazil particularly appreciate the luxury hotel’s friendly and helpful staff that maintains its professionalism without seeming mechanical, according to Luis Perillo, resident manager.

“The feedback that we have received from guests in the extensive surveys we have taken showed that they place a premium on the service of our staff because they are friendly and helpful, but still very professional,” Perillo said. “This is extremely important to us because we encourage staff to be themselves without a lot of restrictions in the belief that they will make guests comfortable if they are happy and proud to work at the hotel.”

The 485-room, elegantly appointed hotel, which is owned and managed by Hilton, was the first of the group’s hotels in Latin America to offer futuristic guest rooms that provide changes in ambiance and decor to facilitate sleep, work and relaxation.

Work areas feature high-speed Internet connections, ergonomic furniture and office supplies, while the bedrooms offer panoramic windows designed to make the most of natural light and plush goose feather comforters.

The Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi, which opened in October 2002, also is home to the award-winning Canvas Bar & Grill, where chefs create culinary works of art on big white, square plates–emphasizing texture, color and flavor. The restaurant–which was named the “Best Business Restaurant” by Latin Trade in 2004 and received a coveted star from the Guia 4 Rodas Brazil 2004–also hosts exhibitions of local artists’ work that rotate every 45 days.

The Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi has received several prestigious awards, including “Best Business Hotel in Latin America” from Latin Trade in 2004; “Best Luxury Hotel” from Guia 4 Rodas Brazil 2004; and “Best Meeting and Convention Hotel in South America” from the World Travel Awards.

Marriott International specializes in exceptional hotel stays with an unrelenting commitment to meeting customer needs through a tradition of excellence in quality, caring, personal service and warm hospitality that started 75 years ago with the founders of the company, according to Susan Tompkins-Payne, regional director of field marketing, Caribbean/Latin America Region, Marriott International.

Marriott was recently named the most admired company in the lodging industry by Fortune magazine, which polled 10,000 executives, directors and security analysts who judge companies based on “innovativeness, employee talent, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment and quality of products/services”.

“Over the years, our guests have provided us with many challenges. Misplaced passports, lost luggage, and in one instance–the odd for gotten pair of dress shoes,” said Tompkins. “In this case Marriott arranged for size 10 black wingtips to be brought to the guest’s room immediately. On another occasion, a guest had forgotten his wallet half way across the world. Marriott retrieved the wallet, shipped and delivered it to the guest overnight.”

Marriott has 36 locations throughout Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and the Caribbean.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Spa Collection in Mexico provides a truly exceptional hotel stay for those who enjoy being pampered in style. All of the hotels in the collection are centered with the philosophy of the Seven Pillars of Wellness–a global vitality trend that incorporates the essential facets of health, beauty and inner peace that provide a well-being approach to fitness.

Spa Collection hotels–which are available in Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta–offer a distinctive portfolio of spa amenities and services: They are home to the luxurious Temazcal treatment, Nopal Wrap and Mystic Mayan Massage.

Guests who experience the Temazcal treatment enter a special chamber heated by rocks. When boughs of herbs are laid over the hot rocks and the rocks are doused with water, a richly scented steam begins the sweating process necessary to relax and purify the body.

The Mayan Mystic Massage is a full body technique using specially blended oils and the healing power of quartz, while the Nopal Wrap uses cactus leaf extracts–ideal for those who have had too much sun, sea or wind.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide–Latin America Division operates 43 properties in 10 Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.

Across all of its brands, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) sets itself apart from other international hotel chains through an ideal blend of international standards, and local flair. The internationally regarded IHG family of brands (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites) includes some of the most recognized and respected names in the industry. As the most global hotel company, with a presence in 100 countries or territories and 535,000 guestrooms IHG’s brands are among the most familiar name in the global hospitality industry.

In Latin America, IHG has, or is about to establish a presence in virtually every major financial center in the region, as well as numerous other cities in key countries throughout the region. IHG, with its roots in Latin America, and nearing its seventh decade of existence, is renown for its ability to balance the complex needs of today’s traveler, be it business or pleasure.

“Corporate and leisure travelers both have grown accustomed over the years to enjoy our standards and amenities across the whole of our brands,” says Alvaro Diago, area president of InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America. “That is why our brands continue to rank amongst the most preferred in the region.”

IHG provides guests with the option to select their hotel needs based on their available budget. And IHG continues to promise the lowest Internet rate guaranteed for all its brands. IHG offers one simple loyalty program, Priority Club Rewards, which provides guests with the option to accumulate points or airline miles across all its hotel brands.

Some of Central America’s finest hotels, personalized five-star service and the best locations can be found in Real InterContinental Hotels brand.

The visual impact of all six hotels represents only the beginning of their many pleasures. Inside, along with the warmth of the colorful lobby and the soothing atmosphere offered by the staff, guests will note the exquisite charm of the award winning restaurants and bars.

Tastefully decorated in warm tropical colors, the spacious guest rooms begin at the deluxe level, followed by Junior Suites that may feature Jacuzzis and spacious living areas, while Club Rooms provide private lounge benefits for members of InterContinental’s Ambassadors Club. A stay on the executive floors ensures the utmost in privacy and personal service, including complimentary buffet breakfast.

Always situated in the heart of the city, Real InterContinental hotels are at walking distance from the country’s largest malls and other entertainment options.

When You Travel with Your MasterCard Car, Exceptional Service Is Routine

In a world in which travel has become increasingly complicated, MasterCard offers exclusive amenities that make every trip simpler and more enjoyable.


Planning a trip abroad can be confusing, Do you need a passport or vaccinations? MasterCard premium cardholders can obtain complete destination information by calling the MasterAssist[R] service.

Platinum cardholders can call the MasterCard Concierge Service to arrange car rentals, restaurant reservations, tickets to events, and more.


On your day of departure, you may be able to avoid the crowded gate area and wait in privacy and style at a Priority Pass Airport Lounge, if you are a Platinum cardholder.

And if shopping in the USA is on your itinerary, take MasterCard along. All cardholders from Latin America can take advantage of the convenience of shipping purchases back home with MasterDelivery[TM]. With this exclusive service, you can send “proof-of-receipt” packages to MasterDelivery facilities in Miami, which will handle customs and arrange for delivery to the address you designate.


Cardholders who travel abroad can rely on MasterCard Global Service[TM] for emergency card-related assistance–any time, anywhere, any language,

Has your card been lost or stolen? With one toll-free call, you can file a report, and request a replacement card or an emergency cash advance to cover immediate costs. You can also call Global Service for account-related information or directions to the closest cash machine.


In your home country, call your card issuer for service. From the United States, the Bahamas, Canada, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands, just dial MasterCard Global Service at 1-800-307-7309. From Mexico, call 001-800-307-7309. From Brazil, call 0800-891-3294. Or call collect to the United States at 1-636-722-7111.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Freedom Magazines, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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Source: VIP Panama