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“Romantic getaway” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cala Mia Boutique Resort

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Cala Mia Boutique Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Isla Boca Brava, Gulf of Chiriqui, Boca Chica, Panama   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Boulder, Colorado
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Romantic getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

Cala Mia is located in a beautiful, serene setting. Vittoria and her wonderful staff make you welcome and comfortable at all times. Time slows down here. The cabanas are bright, inviting, and make you feel connected to the gorgeous surrounding environment. The cuisine is delicious and varied, and served in the relaxed restaurant gathering area. Kayaking to pristine beaches and Pacific mangrove seasides is an experience not to be missed. This is a getaway for luxury and adventure minded adults.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CalaMiaResort, General Manager at Cala Mia Boutique Resort, responded to this review, 3 weeks ago
Dear Guests,

Thank you so much for your generous 5 star rating and for sharing your experience in such a lovely way!

Your feedback is very important to our team; we firmly believe that we can only succeed if we truly listen to what our customers are saying about us, we are totally committed to learning from our guests’ experiences.

Our staff is looking forward to welcoming you back for a new memorable Cala Mia stay in the near future.

Cala Mia Resort Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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85 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, Costa Rica
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2012

My trip and experience to Cala Mia was marvelous! Beautiful retreat with everything that you need, the perfect place to relax, unwind and renew yourself. Stunning private beaches where I was free to go with one of their kayaks. I enjoyed very much the little wooden island on the ocean with chairs, it was a need place to chill, you can swim from the beach and then relax in the ocean…I love it. The dining experience was amazing, the scenery and superb food made the evenings truly unique. the friendliness and attention from the staff was very impressive, we felt very welcome and part of Cala Mia family. Their line of advertising goes: "where you don't need keys and shoes are optional": I would say; bare-foot elegance!
Very relaxing. My words do not do justice to this wonderful place in the middle of the nature, you have to experience yourself.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lafayette, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2012

First the good part:
Wonderful place, very private, beautiful cabanas that are very nicely furnished, nice ocean, completely private beaches, excellent staff, especially two guys called Ray and Fofo who go out of their way in making the guests feel welcome and well cared for!
Now to the bad part:
The hotel advertises itself as a five star place and it does not live up to that. I don't mind staying at simple, basic places in the least bit, but not when the prices are those of a five star hotel.
The main issue is the fact that there is not one option to get food here which is at their restaurant. The dinner is fixed price and expensive for what itis. There is no alternative, you either eat or you don't. The menus repeats after 5 days and the food is very average.
During our stay they kept running out of food: day two on forward no espresso, day three on frward no nuts which they advertise they will serve you as a free appetizer, day four on forward no yogurt fr breakfast no more bacon, mildew on the bread roles...
The wait staff is very apologetic and it is clear that they feel bad about this. It feels like the owners who live nearby are to blame for the situation as they clearly are not taking care of restocking the missing items even after we politely ask.
it feels like they are burned out by their hotel venture, can't wait to sell the place and want to make as much money before they do so. Example:'a fourty dollar charge to bring us to a beach by boat that is 5 minutes away. As I said, that all would be fine if you called yourself a three star place, not so much if y insist on the five star though!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco, ca
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2012

My wife and I just spent 7 nights at Cala Mia looking for a beach vacation in Panama. We are experienced travelers having stayed in both upscale places around the world as well as very basic places. Cala Mia has a unique location with many spectacular qualities. The privacy, water views, access to small islands and isolated beaches are its biggest attributes. We spent a few days on our own dropped off by boat to remote beaches without seeing anyone else all day.

The hotel is easy to get via a short flight and boat ride and the arrangements were easy.

The disappointment with Cala Mia was with the food quality, choices and poor planning. The kitchen often ran out of certain menu items and one quickly determined it was not for lack of availability but just poor management. There is only one restaurant here and no other place to eat except the hotel restaurant. The quality was average and the choices limited. Being that a guest has no other options,, the owners should provide better choices and prices. We found the prices were too high for the portions and quality.

The service and accommodations were very good but I would be inclined not to return given the poor food service.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CalaMia, Propietario at Cala Mia Boutique Resort, responded to this review, February 13, 2012
Dear rons1951,

Thank you very much for your comment and your recent visit!

We appreciate very much your feedback; this can only make us improve. We are thrilled that you enjoyed our privacy, water views and the access to all the beautiful islands around the area. We feel truly sorry about the service that you received in our Restaurant. We hope you are sympathetic to the fact that, due to the remoteness of our location, certain items in the menu can be temporarily not available. I would also like to let you know that we have a change in our management and we are very confident that this will result in avoiding the inconveniences you experienced.

We hope you will give us an opportunity in the near future to experience the improvements we are making in Cala Mia.

Thank you again for bringing this to our attention,
Sincerely,

Vittoria Ghini
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tiburon, CA
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

My wife and two adult children spent six days here in early January. We wanted to love Cala Mia, but certain aspects of the total experience did not come together to create that special something.

We stayed in a two bedroom cottage that was quite nice in a beautiful setting overlooking the Pacific (although showing some signs of neglect such as the stones falling out of the walkway in the front entrance). However, on our first night, the spread on our bed was not turned down, which one would expect in a luxury resort. Additionally, we used the coffee maker every morning, but the filter was never emptied and the old coffee was left in the pot every day. Small service touches like that make a difference and can be controlled, while things like the chiggers at night and the cockroaches in the bathroom are to be expected in the tropics.

All the staff were very nice, especially the manager, Jasper, and the two young men who served in the dining room, Ray and Fou-Fou. They went out of their way to take care of me when I cut my toe, giving us first aid supplies. The staff was very helpful organizing fishing trips (my son caught a 300 lb black marlin and a 80 pound yellowfin tuna), riding trips (beautiful in the late afternoon climbing the hills and descending to the beach) and snorkeling/beach combing trips (the reefs were pretty dead with pretty poor visibility). It was also fun taking kayaks around the point to a river about a half mile away and paddling up amonst the mangroves.

The food was good, but portions were small and pretty overpriced given the room rates, the Panamanian location and the fact that there are no other options. Breakfast was included, but lunch and dinner are a la carte (they should be included given the room rates of over $500 a night for the cottage). For instance, the dinner price per person is $32 which includes an appetizer, a choice of two entrees and a dessert. Drinks such as a rum and coke are $7.50. For the last three nights, we only ate the ahi tuna that we caught, while donating at least 20 pounds more of fresh tuna to the lodge (by the way, the first day we were there I ordered the fish burger for lunch and was told it was not available), Nevertheless, we were still charged the full $32 a person for dinner. When I complained upon receiving the final check, we were give a total credit of $33 for the 25 pounds + of fish we provided. My 21 year old son described this as "stingy" and I agree.

The owners of the lodge live on another island about five minutes across the water. I believe they visited one morning when we were out. But the general feeling I got is that they are milking the resort for maximum cash flow, so they can sell the place at the highest price and move on to new endeavors. Our overall experience was that their primary marching orders to the staff is to focus more on cash flow than on making sure their guests want to come back another time. That's really too bad, as Cala Mia has a lot to offer and could be a world class resort. Our feeling after six days there was that we would much rather return to the Tropic Star Lodge (another Panamanian jungle resort), where we have always felt treated like family, well-fed and valued as individuals. Perhaps, everything will change if the place is sold and new owners with new energy take over.

One final note: on leaving our family and another couple from Venezuela had to carry our own bags down the steep ramp to the dock. Bon voyage!

Room Tip: The two bedroom cabin is nice for families.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2011

You will not be disappointed. A lovely location, felt very private. The food, service and drinks were unlike anything else I experienced in Panama. Right outside your doorstep, you are in the jungle. Be prepared to feel pampered!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2011

We live part-time in Boquete and own a boat that's harbored in Boca Chica. A must-stop for us has always been the Cala Mia for lunch at least (they do a wonderful job cooking any fish I might catch) - but very often we stay there - often with friends. I may boldly claim that between Panama City and San Jose Costa Rica there is no competing resort in the same class. By Panamanian standards its expensive, by international comparison it well priced. The service has Always been impeccable - the food is very good and creative. I celebrated my 65th birthdays there with 40 friends - amazing that 40 people like me enough to follow an invitation - and it was spectacular.

Room Tip: Use the Pacific side on calm days, the bay side on windy days.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cala Mia Boutique Resort

Address: Isla Boca Brava, Gulf of Chiriqui, Boca Chica, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Boca Chica
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Cala Mia Boutique Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This magical small boutique resort and island resort is located in Panama on the tip of a pristine island that runs into the Pacific Ocean, flanked by untouched tropical palm-lined beaches. At a 15-minute boat-ride from Boca Chica, bordering on the unspoiled, for-you-to-discover Panama's Marine Park "Archipielago de Chiriqui", Cala Mia is the perfect jumping-off point to world renowned sport fishing grounds: Coiba's Hannibal Bank or Islas Las Secas; Islas Los Ladrones for scuba diving and for surfing: Moro Negrito and Isla Afuera! Luxury hotel Cala Mia consists of 11 beautiful Bungalows, or suites, each with its own thatched roof rancho and all within 10 meters from the ocean or the beach/bay-side. Furniture, materials and woodwork are home designed and handcrafted by local artisans blending aesthetics, art, quality and functionality into a new standard!. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Boutique Hotel Chiriqui
Cala Mia Boutique Resort Panama/Boca Chica

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