The hotel meets all of the basics: clean, not a violent neighborhood, wifi. It is located in a very working-class neighborhood. A meet-the-basics kinda place like this needs something to set it apart to make it feel like you could come back again, but it doesn't.
What killed it for me were two events. 1 although I had asked the same staff not to clean my room in the 4 days I was there, they still knocked on my door at 8am several times, entered once when I was there without knocking - AND entered and cleaned as I was away getting breakfast.
Killer # 2 On the day of my checkout I was asked to give a deposit before going to breakfast, with the manager giving me a sour face from her office. I got the impression that they've had some people run out on them without paying and I think that the manager summed me up as much. Wow. What an insult. I bet I've been around the world 30 times over than she has - oh, and always payed my way - even in 5-star hotels.
One thing that could've avoided any grievances is simply a Do Not Disturb sign: this is the first hotel I've EVER stayed in that doesn't have one. I cannot suggest anything that would help them trust their Guests more.
Overall, the place is clean, the showers work well, TV is small and 90's style and there are few channels, but they are clear. They have very reliable, easy-to-access internet in the rooms, which I rely on completely. The staff is decent: If you ask a question they try to answer with whatever knowledge they have in their heads but do go beyond that. The receptionist did kindly ask me for any other comments. With regards to sleep: it's all relative. The street is rather busy with cars if you want to sleep early, but other than that there is no noise. I was able to sleep just fine.
Taxi's know Hotel Benidorm. If they don't, you just tell them "Avenida Perú, delante del (in front of) Machetazo" Machetazo is a well-known department store.
The working-class neighborhood is about a 45-minute walk ($1.50 taxi) to the Casco Antiguo and also from the hotel area with all of the nice restaurants. You will find you are only 3 blocks from the pedestrian bridge that takes you over to the "Cinta Costera" or the boardwalk. From there it's a straight, pleasant zip down to the Old Town or, conversely, up into the high rises.
If you like to feel the working class and get the sense of what real life is like in Panama - that was my mission here, actually - then this isn't a bad area since it's also not far from major city areas. You cannot expect foofy food options in this area. But mom-and-pop places and medium-sized older restaurants abound.
The best that I found in this area was a street food permanent kiosk (meaning, it doesn't have wheels and actually has a cooker) where the 4 ladies working at it refer to you affectionately as "cariño" (sweety). This is can be found on the hotel's main street, Rd 29. If you have Machetazo in front of you and the Hotel to your back, go right. A few blocks down you'll have the National Archives building and then to your right a park. Just after the park you'll see this little shack. Stay away from food under the lamp anywhere, but at this kiosk they have a steaming hot "sopa" that in Puerto Rico would be called "sancocho" a soup with, in this case: pork, corn and roots such as carrot and yucca.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Individual remote controlled Air ConditioningComplete bathroomsPhone service with direct international callsCable TVFree Wi-Fi connectionElectronic card locksRomanaccio Restaurant specialized in Italian cuisineMeeting and Conference center up to 200 people24 hours front desk and bellboy serviceFree of charge safe deposit boxFax, photocopier and courier service24 hours taxi serviceIndoor private parkingRoom serviceLaundry servicePublic PC with internet connection in the lobby ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Benidorm Panama/Panama City