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Latest review

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posts: 313
reviews: 7
Latest review

OMG..... why the nasty review of the royal decameron. I'm already booked so not much i can do now.

i know it's not the ritz carlton but is it as bad as the last reviewer states?? I was told my best bet was to book beachfront and the person says oceanview is best.

i'm confused yo!

posts: 81
reviews: 8
1. Re: Latest review

I know, I also posted here about the recent bad reviews today. Hoping Ron will put our minds at ease. It is scary to read them for sure.

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 78
2. Re: Latest review

Okay, for the both of you regarding the last review. Let's look at that first (this may be a two part answer or a very long post).

Firstly, a very important point, one should never expect five star anything paying 3 star rates. One always gets what they pay for. AND most people get a fabulous (cheap) rate to take this trip and stay here.

Let's take a few lines from the latest review:

"BUT I completely disagree with anybody who states that the beach is ok or even better than ok.

The beach is the worst I have ever seen. From about 2000 visitors you can see hardly 5 in the water. That's how it is bad. Stinky (rotten fish smell). You cannot see your hand even few inches in, water full of sand (grey/black). The waves are quite big, and I would have fun because of this but not there."

If this poster had done ANY research prior to booking about the country or the beach on this side he wouldn't have been so astonished.....There is black and white sand on this side, this is not new (except for Santa Clara beach, where they actually imported tons and tons of golden sand to build the beach there.) I happen to think the black and white sand and the patterns it makes are quite pretty. Does it make for good snorkeling? No and again with a little research he would have known that also.

Only five swimmers may be in the water at a time.......?.... may be because there were dead fish at this time at the resort.

Waves quite big? YES this is true most of the time and perhaps, because the poster says most visitors had children and were families, the ocean was too too rough for kids. OR it may be that many parents I have seen on vacation (again, anywhere in the world in resort towns and for sure, I have traveled to many beaches in the world) many parents do not want to have to watch their children closely, choosing rather to drink and party, staying at the pools is a much safer option to "vacation" the way they want.

The surf here most of the time is even too rough for me and I love the waves, but see as I age my balance is not what it was, and I have been knocked down with the rough waves enuf times that I stay away when it is rough. We lived also in Florida and the surf was very rough at many beaches there too...same thing and no visibility for snorkeling.

He also said he has traveled alot..........well anywhere near any ocean at any one time there can be dead fish washing up (and even a dead fish smell).

That is just reality and depends on many things; the season, what may have happened somewhere else in the world that caused fish to die, red tide, etc....... There can also be jelly fish, or sting rays in the swim area at different times here or at any ocean beach..... Does it mean it will be that way when you are there? Absolutely NOT..

"Lot of pools, all shallow, full of people with kids, even in adult only pools.

Most of vacationers are from South America... noise, lack of basic eating skills, rudeness, horribly dressed, etc. The average weight including babies is about 250 pounds." This is just mean, in my opinion and perhaps the reader is a bit prejudice against the Latin culture. BUT this is a latin country, and YES most South Americans, and Panamanian people just LOVE to have a good time on their vacation time, and most of the extended

family from both sides and much removed all go on vaca together and it may be very noisy. It is the same with Columbian families who come here to vacation – the entire extended family comes. When we purchased our home here in Panama, it belonged to a Columbian family who only came here for vacation and was sold furnished to us (which is the custom here also). There are four bedrooms and I kid you not, there were

at least 19 beds in the place; packed in and in some cases mattresses were stacked up on a bed in a room to then be placed on the floors for family members because so many of them came on the vacation at the same time. Not to mention the many cots that could be unfolded and set up. It is the culture………

Right NOW here in Panama is one of the biggest holiday weekends ever and in my normally quiet neighborhood, last night there was music so loud coming from two different directions until 3:30 AM, and started up again at 10:00 AM and I fully expect it to go on all day and to the wee hours again. The base sound reverberated my house, it felt like. Right now I can (from the street the other side of a ravine on a street behind me) I hear raucous laughter and the screams of delighted children having fun over the loud music). Panamanians are loud.

Horribly dressed? They say that about Americans and travelers from the UK on vacation also. Overweight people? Statistics say that about Americans also…………I don’t like to generalize a culture…………that is like saying all Canadians are cheap and extremely bad tippers, even for great service………….another thing I hear often.

“The resort is big, but nothing to explore, nothing interesting, we walked around everyday few times, nothing else to do. I have been in much smaller resorts but much more exciting. No pool bar, no piano bar. The lobby bars are opened just evenings for a couple hours. The other bars (beside the pools) are bad.” Bars would close earlier and

there would be less activities in this, the low season, and it was low season when the poster stayed there.

Yes, the Decameron is huge and seems always to be packed. They have some absurd number of guest rooms and when they're all full, which is most of the time (even in the rainy season), people are everywhere. Young people, middle-aged people, old people, people that are so old they don't even look like people any more, you get the idea.

“Security, well, the beach towel was stolen in a minute, ha-ha” Interesting comment, that one, as the following new reviews all said there was mucho security and one said that security seemed “militant”. I don't know of security at any resort pool anywhere in the world where a security guard is watching who's towel is whose. As far as the militant comment, I have noticed that about many security guards in many latin countries…..they are very serious about their job.

I have found that if you speak to them with a smile and in Spanish, they are less formidable.

Also remember the guards and staff encounter 2000 new guests a week here. Being any kind of a staff member at an all-inclusive resort can be taxing, I know. They have to deal with hordes of people, many who somehow feel like you owe them something. While the guests are indeed entitled to what they paid for, they often act in ways they shouldn't - in ways that are offensive to the staff: Hey Paco or Pablo or whatever. Hey, yeah, bring me some of that pork-o chop-o over there will ya? In the other new reviews they complain of service. I think that a good staff at an all-inclusive here is simply one that shows tolerance and perhaps fakes a smile here and there.

Again, with research the poster would have found that the Panamanian culture is NOT known for their “service” and not in any way to be compared with North America’s customer service, but I have heard lately that that is fading away also.

PLUS this resort and all the other All-Incl. in Panama are isolated. The staff therefore are comprised of locals, some who don’t even go to school and are very poor and have had basically no training for service, nor know one lick of English, so don’t expect that.

I am actually surprised that the poster didn’t complain about that.

“We walked few time to the village, it was much more interesting there.

Shopping in Panama city - wasted time.” Perhaps the tour people out of the resort only take you to certain places to shop –very mainstream places, like malls and therefore disappointing to those on the “shopping tours”. I think there are amazing markets in Panama City – if you know where to go, and it took living here awhile for me to find them; like the wonderful fish market and the public market full of every known fresh green produce that grows here and the vendors and small markets of Artisans on Avenida Balboa to mention a few.

I've said it before: I don't think Panama is a good place for people who like perfect, pre-packaged, Disney-style vacations. Unfortunately, the demand for such type of places will eventually transform Panama, I am afraid. Decameron is just one of the early efforts in that direction.

There is a lot to see and do in Panama, and a lot of beautiful, authentic, un-spoiled places to go where one can experience the culture and wonder of the Panamanian landscape and a kind and loving people. It does take planning, much research and time plus ingenuity to plan such a trip. It is just easier to pick an all inclusive, where all the planning is done for you, I am afraid. And again, much cheaper.

I'm sorry also that such a large number of tourists take Decameron or other all inclusives here as their impression of “Panama.”

And this writer said it himself when he stated the “ nearby village was much more interesting” there than Decameron. Hell-loooooo, and guess what, there are many many villages like that out in the countryside of Panama, and wonderful places to shop where the locals do, for the best deals, but staying at an ALL-INC you don’t see these places for the most part.

Someone should have told the poster he could just walk down the beach and a mere 5 minute walk from the end of the Royal Decameron property he would find a “Canadian” bar called Woody’s owned by former Canadians where he could even eat his native “pouton” and he could pretend he was in Canada complete with the usual “North American” prices too. With research, this experienced traveler would have known about Woodys’ too.


“Except one young couple everybody I spoke to (Toronto/Montreal) actually hated the place” That must have been one hell of a time (NOT!) with a resort full of “haters” and all that negative energy, lol !

“ I think it was the first trip for that couple, so they do not know what resort and beach can be. I consider myself experienced traveller. This one was the worst I ever been.” “Real” experienced travelers would have done research (even a little on these forums) and would know that the beaches on the Pacific side do not compare to prestine Caribbean white sand beaches and crystal blue clear ocean.

“Do not buy rum in the village nor boutique, cheaper in airport duty free.” Nearby village and “boutique” are used to “gringos” trapped at nearby all inclusives (suckers) willing to over pay for rum, other liquors so the prices are much more there, but are are much cheaper in the larger supermarkets in Panama, Super 99 and El Rey, than even duty free. Really “experienced” travelers would know this is true (anyplace in the world).

“Room Tip: Corner suits are better because the other has the doors between, and you can hear everything.” This is an old resort, so being soundproof is not one of its selling points and for the price one pays for an all incl vacation, many resorts are built this way.

“Oceanview building is better than beachfront. Too much traffic and noisy for the last one.” Beachfront is also pool side and at every place I have ever stayed at in the world, pool side was always noisier…..

In any event, you have already booked…………..too late now to read the many “just okay” posted in the last years or really bad reviews of the place. It is what it is.

Just bring a positive attitude and the determination to have a “wonderful vacation” and stop fretting about it for months before your trip.

There is nothing you can do now…………..the horse has already left the barn, so to speak.

One last word for the latest reviewer:

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” - Michener

posts: 240
reviews: 2
3. Re: Latest review

Hi donna 123 and beanerm

OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!!!! What the HE double hockey sticks (HELL) are they talking about? I totally agree with everything LN posted. Just read all the reviews before that and compare that review AND come to a conclusion of - OMG were you at the same resort!!!! Do not fret about the resort as it is a fab place and you will have a great time. I guess this poster went down with expectations of a superior 6 star hotel and anything less (and looking for complaints) would not have satisfied them. We never encountered any fish smell on the beach and many, many people were in the water. What The H. were they talking about????? When you see a lot of reviews of 3, 4 or 5 stars and then you see a 1 star, please think to yourself, what and where was the person staying and what were their expectations. The room privacy was totally fine and no noises from around or below us. You will have a great time and remember, a vacation is what you make it. If you go with a negative attitude and expect to be treated like a rock/reality star and do not receive it, than STAY HOME!!! Do not worry, I would not be going back if I thought it was like described from that post. Any questions, ask again.

Happy Traveling


posts: 313
reviews: 7
4. Re: Latest review

I'm good Ron and LN. you people are totally awsome!! well said LN. Come on March 5th!!

thanks so much for taking the time to put our minds at ease although i didn't beleive most of the negative comments anyway. i realize it won't be perfect but i am looking forward to meeting the people of this country. I would never judge Panama by the decameron. If i don't like the decameron for some reason, which i doubt, i would just book another resort next time i go. Pamama looks simply amazing to me. We have booked the jungle tour and plan to see Panama City. Such a beautiful skyline.

Been to many high end resorts(sandals) where you get white glove service. but beleive me we paid BIG time for that and then thought why did we bother. Bunch of snobs. I always treat the staff with respect and love meeting the people of other countries and i always try to learn the language and do a tour of the country. People who go there expecting the red carpet roll out, (i have a sister like that) Just stay home.

posts: 313
reviews: 7
5. Re: Latest review

BTW..... when are you going Ron?

Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Panama City
posts: 3,188
reviews: 72
6. Re: Latest review

I would second LN's opinion - the poster did not do a very good job of homework before leaving - probably was expecting a Caribbean island type setting.

LN - Colombia, Colombia - haha - sorry for being the spelling police.

Both LN and I are from Florida - by Florida standards I would call the beach and the clarity of water substandard - or at least nothing to write home about in the RD Playa Blanca area - there are much better beaches in Panama - just none with AI's. But for you frozen Cannuks - you will probably find the beach great. Don't expect water clear enough to snorkel in - the Banana boat is a lot of fun though.

Also there will be a ton of Latinos vactioning there - if they are anything like my neighbors here in Medellin - expect a lot of partying until 3 am, all day people in the pool - kids going crazy and adults drunk by noon.

You get mostly upper middle class Colombians that go to Panama - the rich jet off to more exclusive locals - but middle class Colombians work 6 days a week for not a lot of money - probably their only vacation for the year or maybe they save up and go every other year - they are there to have a good time - so go with the flow and develop a taste for aquardiente and you will make new friends.

Go with the attitude that it is a 3 star resort - and realize that good customer service is not a Panamanian thing - not just with gringos but with fellow Panamanians.

it is a hike back into PC, I always suggest thet people open their wallets a little and pay for a night or two in PC - easier to see things and cuts down on your travel time - great restaurants , clubs, casinos - good shopping if you know where to go -

posts: 240
reviews: 2
7. Re: Latest review

Hi donna 123

We are leaving Toronto on Feb. 6th (stay overnight on the 5th at the Crowne Plaza - let the party begin) and come back on Feb. 20th. We have done a split this year of hotels. We stay at the Royal Decameron for 11 days and the last 3 days stay at the Radisson Decapolis Hotel in Panama City booked with Nolitours). We want to experience Panama City after getting a taste last year with a day trip into the city from the Royal Decameron. It looks like you will be there after us in March, so I will save you some sunshine, hot weather, food and libations. Thank you for that nice compliment, donna 123.

Happy Traveling


posts: 313
reviews: 7
8. Re: Latest review

awwww..... thanks Ron, would have been nice to have met you and some nice Canadian folk there. Have an awsome time !

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 78
9. Re: Latest review

No worries there will be plenty of Canadians there to party with (and are nice). I try to think of most people as nice. If you come Coronado way, we can have lunch over here. Let me know if you come this way and in the meantime, enjoy the anticipation of a great winter vaca away from the cold, brrrrrrr.

CDY, okay okay.....

CDY, there are alot of Panamanian families who go to Decameron too, and they whoop it up too. Meanwhile the party continues here today with kids all over with three wheelers, horns, dogs going crazy, cars up and down our street (and we usually never have anyone on this street unless they live here) fireworks (even during the day......don't get that one.), whoops, loud music, having FUN on their holidays! AND too many complaining gringos! We say YES to it all, and either accept the culture or move the hell away and do us all a favor!

In Florida when people would say many times "We did it like this or that up North". There are bumper stickers they sell there that say "If it was so great up North, there's I-95 - get started north and dont come back". Or something like that, Anyway,

The dead fish thing is NOT common here, either, don't know what that was about....he could have made it up for all we know. Does the word Looooooossssser come to mind?

hehehehehehe Peace out...........

posts: 313
reviews: 7
10. Re: Latest review

Thanks LN cool!! if we head that way i will be sure to let you know.

i have no idea thou where are how far you are from the decameron.

Thanks for all your tips and i hope your weekend is a little more quiet then the rest of this week as been for you.

We will be doing Carls jungle excursion where i guess we go to some marina and then boat to the canel and then off to the jungle as well as Panama city for sightseeing. is that anywhere near you?

Yes it will be getting pretty cold here soon. we have been lucky thou with yesterday being 14-16 degrees. we will be in the minus before too soon.

blah!! take care.