We decided to stay here last minute because our other plans fell through. We managed to get the special internet rate – $95 + 7% tax, which sounded too good to be true. It included a day/night tour, kayaking on the Chagres River, free use of the jacuzzi and gym. Like I said, too good to be true. We were told our rooms were down the street in the historical "Village" and we could go down after they checked our rooms, which I assumed meant it was clean enough to inhabit.
The "Village" consists of old subdivisions built for former Canal workers. Historical I can go for – I am in a rainforest afterall (this can also be disputed), but 5 star hotel quality is so far from the reality I almost turned around and left. My husband convinced me to stay since we only had 2 nights left in Panama and our sole purpose was to get to the rainforest. It was low season so we were a part of maybe half a dozen unlucky patrons to be put in the "Village" area. Walking down the street at night was incredibly eerie. It was like walking through a fake stage of houses at Universal Studios backlot. I felt unsafe at night and refused to go out unless I was with my husband.
Our accommodations included a living/dining room, bedroom, small kitchen and a bathroom. The furniture looked relatively new, but the rooms itself looked like it had not be renovated and/or cleaned since the Canal workers last lived there. The floors were sooooo dirty (we know this because not only did it feel disgusting, we watched the maid sweep the floor up the next day and it was seriously GROSS). The toilet barely worked, we had to flush 3-4 times to even get toilet paper down. Talk about being a "green" establishment. Also, granted we're in the rainforest and bugs get in, but that doesn't explain the dead carcasses littering the bathroom, and the moldy, stained shower curtain – I thought they checked the rooms??? I seriously gag thinking about it.
The TV had plenty of (English) channels, but it was a super small model probably manufactured in the late 90's that came with a universal remote that stopped working and my husband had to re-program. The hot shower also stopped working after day one, but it was because someone didn't tell the maintenance guy we were in the room and he shut off the circuits. The AC also had like three settings. AC/Fan/OFF. Two which worked. AC and OFF. We didn't bother with the Fan setting since it seemed to spew equally cold air as the AC. Also, no internet out in the "Village." You have to hike to the main lodge to hang around the lobby to get spotty internet.
So, the room was severely lacking, but we thought we might as well take advantage of the free tours that were included. DO NOT bother going on the night tour. It was the most pathetic tour I have ever been on. We saw one rodent (they are so common around the area you can see them yourself if you have eyes) a bird, which may have been a duck, but the tour guide dismissed us because he didn't know what it was and continued to point out the sand that was imported in, the aerial tram, the animal/reptile/orchid exhibit, the marina, the former mini-golf course, and what used to be the former beach for the Canal workers. They should rename it the "facility tour" because we saw and got more explanation of the hotel grounds than we saw wildlife. We didn't bother with the day tour. We also scheduled for the kayaking on the Chagres, but it was rained out.
What we really wanted to do was get to Pipeline Road, which leads to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. We went up to the friendly people at the tour guide desk and they asked if I wanted to hire a driver to take me there. I insisted I wanted to walk and I just needed directions. They had no idea how to walk there, but provided with me a map that wasn't much help. My husband and I ended up walking about approximately 16km roundtrip. Totally worth it.
We ate at the one restaurant (not the fancy one, don't think they were even open while we were there) which was overpriced. Everything tasted fine (had the cheeseburger, sancocho soup and the salad), just not worth the price. Pool area is amazing. Jacuzzi was just meh. The views are pretty spectacular, this I will agree as being a 5 star view.
They don't have a business center where you can log-in to print out your boarding passes. They said I could use their printer, which was no help since I had to actually check in first on a COMPUTER. They finally got it, but said I could use the customer service desk computer if I paid $2.50 + 7% tax for 15 minutes. FAIL.
In summary, don't come here if you're going to book a "Village" room. I've stayed at nicer Motel 6's/hostels in my time. Don't come here if you want to experience rainforest, unless you're willing to hike/hire someone to take you there.
Might be worth it if you're not in the "Village" and you're looking for a place to drop some cash to tell your friends you spent your vacation in the rainforest without actually really being in one.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.