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“Marriott is already turning this around!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

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JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   340 Calle 3ra Buenaventura | Cocle, Rio Hato, Panama (Formerly Bristol Buenaventura)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
FREE Wi-Fi
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Rio Hato
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Paris, France
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Marriott is already turning this around!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

Marriott is already turning this around! We were there mid-January for only one night but the visit couldn't have been better. I have to believe that many of the horror stories that took place before, during and shortly after the changeover from Bristol are true. Today though things seem to be starting to move more smoothly. All of the restaurants are not reopened yet because management wants to get one "perfect" before moving on to others. We met the new chef, there only one week, and the reataurant manager...the seem to get it.
The pool area and beach is fantastic with attentive bar and snack service. The room was perfect!
The Breakfast Buffet and Dinner were both perfect. We had the grilled corvina and it was outstanding.
Marriott will do a great job.
One annoying thing that we handled with minor trouble...the signage to find the place is between horrible and non-existent. Supposedly a political issue is involved.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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

Review collected in partnership with Best Western

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438 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Jackson, Mississippi
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

I just spent a week at the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort. The property just went under JW management in December. The General Manager was in day and night, coming around talking to us, making sure everything was good. The service at the hotel was excellent. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere was extremely spa-like; very relaxing. Alfredo, our concierge, was wonderful. The GM told us they would be bringing in an English teacher after Carnival in a few weeks, so that English speaking guests would feel more comfortable. However, we had no problem with communication as there was always someone to assist. In addition, the JW Marriott is in the process of placing signs directing guests to the property more easily. Just remember to turn left into the drive that says "Bristol" between markers 118 and 119 across from a cemetery.

The only advice I have, has to do with actually driving from Panama City to the property. I would suggest getting a driver if you are not familiar with the city. We drove and kept getting lost. The city has a lot of construction going on and for someone who does not speak Spanish, driving and asking for directions was extremely difficult. We finally paid a taxi driver to lead us to the TransAmerica Highway.

I am excited that JW Marriott has taken over this jewel and I will definitely return.

Room Tip: My room was on the back side overlooking the lagoon and it was magical during the day and at night...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama City, Panama
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

This hotel has recently been taken over by Marriott. The hotel itself is wonderful and on the whole the staff members are friendly and efficient. However, if you expect good service in some of the restaurants you may be disappointed. We started an evening at the sushi restaurant where the offerings were basic and expensive but we were in Rio Hato so if you want sushi there is only one choice. We ordered a few rolls just as a snack with a bottle of sake - their only bottle. How can a sushi restaurant only have one bottle of sake? After being underwhelmed at the sushi restaurant we headed to Prime 19 where we ordered drinks and two of our group ordered steaks. After 30 minutes we reminded the waitress about our drink order and asked about the steaks. After a further 30 minutes we were still without drinks or food. In one hour we had received absolutely nothing. When I cancelled the order and said I was leaving all I got was a shrug of the shoulders. The staff just don't care and management oversight apprears to be a major problem. the apathetic service severely soured my experience of this hotel. I will never return to this restaurant or hotel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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cmtk767
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

Nice hotel overall, well kept. Great environment, close to the beach. Most of the service staff speak very limited English. The gym is ok but does not have a sauna or a steam room which is unusual for a 5 star hotel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

We loved this hotel -- it is very new and is combination of condos and hotel. There are a lot of affluent Panamanians who spend there summer here and the local ownership makes it different to the usual chains. The rooms are beautiful - the staff is exceptionally well-trained, and the food was great. The main pool is spectacular, and the beach is sandy and huge.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

beautiful beaches, lovely pool(s) set-up, great indiviudal lounge areas surrounding several pools.
Villas quite spacious, lacked a washer & dryer. Individual heated plunge pools on each patio overlooking lagoon.

Most outstanding of all ( we were a family of 13) was the concierge service. Alfredo and Daniel were always pleasant and accomodating-best assistance one could ever want!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

Just spent six days there, a few weeks after JW Marriott started to manage what used to be known as the Bristol Buenaventura and is now known as the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort. The interim chef is keeping the restaurants doing very well and the rooms are still luxurious and comfortable. The new management seemed to be absent, however, particularly at the beachfront El Faro Club. One of the main attractions of this hotel is its beautiful, sandy beach, just a few feet from the pacific ocean. By 8 am, many guests were at the beach, trying to find a lounge chair on the sand or on the club's deck. However, what we found were wet, dirty chairs without any covers, wet and dirty towels from the previous day and few, if any hotel staff to assist. The few staff available, although always pleasant and gracious, did not seem to be trained to proactively help the guests. We were told that clean chair covers and towels would not be available until later in the morning. When they did, we had to ask staff members to bring them or we had to go to the club house to get them ourselves. There were also no cold water, drinks or snacks available for several hours every day because the kitchen did not open until 10:30 am. Considering it was 95 degrees and sunny every day, having cold drinks available earlier in the morning would seem like a no brainer. We ask to speak to a manager twice and never heard from him. Let's hope JW Marriott gets their show together soon because otherwise the hotel will soon lose many customers.

Room Tip: rooms on the second or third floor all have views of the beautiful pools and ocean. rooms in the fi...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

Address: 340 Calle 3ra Buenaventura | Cocle, Rio Hato, Panama (Formerly Bristol Buenaventura)
Location: Panama > Cocle Province > Rio Hato
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Rio Hato
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 132
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the Pacific coast of Panama, Bristol Buenaventura is a luxury oceanfront destination resort and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. The resort sits on 1,000 acres of natural splendor, nestled between rivers, lakes, lush vegetation, and pristine beaches. Blending old world glamour and tropical elegance, the resort is reminiscent of a Spanish hacienda. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bristol Buenaventura Hotel Farallon
Bristol Bueneventura Santa Clara
JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort Rio Hato

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