I spent a week at Holiday Inn Panama Canal. Having a car was useful, for the hotel is outside Panama City, close to the Miraflores locks (apparently you cannot walk to them). It is also a good starting point for various excursions for instance to the Camino Plantacion (see separate review for Soberania National Park). For international civil servants, it is also at a walking distance from various UN offices: I noticed UNDP, OCHA and the World Food Program.
Being a gold member of the priority club, I was granted a nice room on the 6th floor, i.e. well above the tree canopy, with a superb view over the canal. It allowed to watch big and small vessels in transit between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. This was great (thanks Graciela). Reviews on Tripadviser show that some reviewers are delighted, others "not so impressed" by the Canal. Obviously someone from Los Angeles, Houston, Shanghai or even Port Said may find trivial all the fuzz made around the Panama Canal, while someone living in Armenia, Bolivia or, like me, Switzerland, i.e. in landlocked countries, would be impressed. Nothing to wonder about it!
The room was spotless, well equipped with safe, fridge, coffee maker, free internet, spacious wardrobe, iron, and so on. The king bed was comfortable. The a/c was functioning but proved rather noisy and worked well too often because of the poor thermal insulation of the window: mine had a split of almost half a cm on the side allowing hot air to flow in, while the double glass met at best the 1970s standards. Result: even when maintaining a 25°C room temperature, the a/c was running almost without interruption in late afternoon. Electricity was flying out directly. I don't know the price of electricity in Panama, but if it happens to be close to European levels, the replacement of windows would offer undoubtedly a sizable and rapid return on investments.
Staff was nice. Breakfasts were generous, varied and good, with an efficient and helpful guy named Luis for the service. Plenty of safe parking places around the hotel. No newspapers available but I could read my home newspapers on the internet.
It is true, as underscored by other reviewers, that tiled hallways (in opposite to the thickly carpeted ones in most other hotels) reverberate each and every sound made in reaching or leaving rooms. On the 6th floor, some of the guests realized that and were careful not to slam doors. This was not the case of the cleaning staff who were yelling at each other across the floor, holding apparently long and difficult negotiations on cell phones and slamming doors so often that you would believe that there were hundreds of rooms on that floor. It is also true that the surroundings are not silent: a major road and the Panama Canal Railway run in front of the hotel. But tell me: aren't Holiday Inns by definition located close to communication roads? The hotel management recognized this situation and provides guests with earplugs. Well thought, thanks, I used them. But is this sufficient a move for justifying what I can only consider as an abuse?
Indeed, during two evenings, "events" were held on the seventh floor, i.e. the floor above the guests floors. In my room (602) which was yet at the far end of the hallway, the noise level generated by the party managed to exceed that of the air conditioner. Further, people participating in the party invaded regularly the hallway of the sixth floor (I guess waiting for the elevators, as elevators do not reach the 7th floor) laughing, calling each other loudly, some even whistling with the music played on the floor above.
As a first note, I should say that as a matter of safety for hotel guests - if not their comfort -, a place for "events" open to the public must have a separate and direct access: in one of the instances, I happened to be in the lobby when the party guests arrived and can testify that there was no control: people stepped out of taxis and went directly to the elevators to the 6th floor, without even a glance from reception. Then a stream of people was climbing - do you believe silently ? - the stairs to the event premisses. Any potential "wrongdoer" could have mingled with them, stopping on the 6th floor and start operating unnoticed thanks to the noise generated by the party. Management should consider corridors as guests' common but private places to be protected, not as a public spot for everybody. In my view (and experience), the participants in the party should at least have been requested to show their invitation cards in the lobby. Better: their names checked against a list provided by the event's organizer. What happened then was against all safety rules and practices.
As a second note, I wish to underscore that in a place so poorly insulated as the Holiday Inn Panama Canal, management should not allow such parties on the same premisses as those rented by guests for working or resting. You cannot have your bread and eat it. And further hope for an additional smile. It is difficult to overcome a feeling of contempt by the hotel management in such a manner of treating its customers. In other words, such events should take place in a separate and soundproof facility. Or not take place at all. The present practice is not acceptable.
A bit disturbing also was the fact that the hotel had decided for me that I would take almost cold showers during my whole stay. Indeed, hot water was running normally in the sink, but only slightly tepid water - in fact very slightly tepid - was available in the shower. I mentioned it twice, in Spanish and English, to reception but received only a smile in response. With days, I more or less got used to it and remembered my doctor mentioning something positive about cold showers. The fact remains however inexplicable to me.
Should I recommend this hotel to dear friends? Tripadviser does not allow "yes, but" or "no, but" answers. They know why. But before making a recommendation, I would undoubtedly assess carefully the reasons for my friend's stay at that place. Should she/he decide for Holiday Inn Panama Canal because of the proximity of the locks, the view and the kindness of staff, she/he would be made fully aware of the "details" that have seriously tarnished my own stay.
- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn At The Panama Canal Hotel
- Holiday Inn At The Panama Canal Hotel Panama City
- Holiday Inn At The Panama Canal Panama City
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Travelers looking for Panama hotel deals will appreciate the great location and outstanding array of amenities found at the Holiday Inn® City of Knowledge. Located just minutes away from some of the best attractions and businesses in Panama, our property offers both convenience and great value.Leisure guests are often drawn to our family-friendly Panama City hotel's close proximity to several of the city's best attractions including the visitor center at Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal, the Albrook Shopping Center (with free shuttle service from our hotel), and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. But our guests don't even have to leave the hotel to enjoy our sparkling outdoor pool in a beautifully landscaped courtyard, the well-equipped 24-hour Fitness Center, or our gift shop for a souvenir.Just minutes from the Tocumen International Airport our Panama City hotel's location is perfect for business travelers who are in the city for work. Also our hotel is only a few miles away from Panama City's banking district where many international transactions take place. Our fully-staffed Business Center provides guests with everything they need including copying, courier service, personal computer, and high-speed Internet access.When you're looking for great Panama hotel deals we offer the best. Make your reservations today to get the best Panama travel deals around at our Panama City hotel. ... more less
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