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“Very Poor” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Westin Playa Bonita Panama

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The Westin Playa Bonita Panama
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Road to Veracruz Km 6, Panama City, Panama   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #29 of 111 Hotels in Panama City
Calgary
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Very Poor”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2012

My family (seven of us) had the unpleasant experience of staying at this location on the all inclusive plan from December 20th to December 28th. Our all inclusive plan lacked several key items that were part of the purchase price.

Business Center - Business Center was unreliable. We went to use it three times and the computers only worked one of the times.
Wifi Connections - No one in our group who had Blackberrys could use the Wifi connection. With the Business Center not working properly this was quite a nuisance.
Fitness Center/Health Club/Sauna - The gym/sauna were not open. We were told to go to the Intercontinental to use their gym.
Spa - The spa was not open. We were told to go to the Intercontinental to use their spa.
Restaurants - Few of the restaurants were open. There was only ever one buffet open per meal. Starfish Grill was only open for 1 lunch hour and then it did not re-open for the rest of our stay. Only two of the three a la cartes were open (Asiana and Tierra Y Fuego). The ice cream shop did not open while we were there
Snack Bars - No snack bars were opened in the 7 days we were there. There were multiple times throughout the day when there was not a single restaurant open for food.
Mini-bar - Our mini-bar was never stocked in the 7 days we were there
Unlimited Domestic Drinks - On the first day we arrived they ran out of Panama beer (in Panama, REALLY?) - they never did receive any for the rest of our trip. On the second and fourth day they ran out of pina colada mix (replenished the next day). On our fourth day they ran out of rum and made all of their iced drinks with tequila (it was replenished the next day). In addition it was very difficult to get a bottle of water. Many times we were turned down for requesting this. As our mini-bar was not stocked we often had nothing to drink when we went back to our rooms or in the morning when we got up.
Swimming Bar - This only opened for the last three days of our trip.
Whirlpools - The whirlpools were never filled while the whole time we were there.
Selected Non-Motorized Water Sports - The variety of water sports really only meant kayaking and not a variety as one would expect
Nightly Entertainment - There were no daily activities or nightly entertainment. The disco did open partway through our trip but did not employ nightly entertainers.
Kids Pass/Kids Club - not open when we were there.

I can easily say I have never had such terrible service at a SPG property, I am actually struggling to recall such bad service at any hotel I have stayed at. I have never experienced this poor of service before. My wife and I travel quite frequently are appalled at how substandard the service was. We’ve been to significantly less expensive hotels that had considerably better service.

A few of our low lights of our experience were
- Upon walking into the buffet the greater would take you to your seat. We would sit down and wait for a server to come and fill our water glasses and take drink orders. The first couple of days we waited and 20 to 30 minutes would pass before someone would come and speak with us. Most of the meals we ate were without water or being asked if we wanted any drinks. We finally got tired of this and started to bus our own tables, pour our own water from the staff’s water jugs and go and get our own drinks from the bar. The lowest point was that during one meal I was filling my family’s water glasses and one of the servers came to the same tray and grabbed another jug of water and left me to once again pour my own water at his work station. I was completely transparent to him. He didn’t even try and correct this. This indifference from the staff happened at practically every single meal! The majority of the staff were completely indifferent to the guests.
- Equipment commissioning issues such as none of the elevators working on Christmas day
- The day that all of the elevators stopped working (December 25th) we needed to take the stairs from our third floor room. Not a problem, that is until we went to the stair wells and found that none of the hardware for the doors had been installed rendering the stairs, and fire escape I might add, completely useless. Not only is this inconvenient it is a significant safety hazard. We ended up taking the staff stairwells as this was the only way off the third floor
- Four of the seven individuals from our group got sick. The sickness lasted less than 24-hours for each individual (all on approximately the same day) but it definitely put a damper on the holiday and the choice of hotel. My wife and I have been to an all-inclusive resort every year for the last five years and have never been sick at any of them so this was quite a surprise for us.
- There were no shade umbrellas on the premises until December 28th. There were a few areas to get some shade (a handful of outdoor futons with sun protection and a few pergolas built). However, a number of the pergolas had to be taken down as they were not constructed properly and were unsafe to stay under.
- Visa and debit card machines were not working so paying for room service during checkout had to be with cash only

My final comment is that this experience took place with only about 1/3 of the hotel filled. For you folks coming down in February or March when it is planned to be 100% open I hope they hire significantly more people, and train them otherwise it will be a complete zoo.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Westin_Playa_Bonita, General Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
We apologize that all the things we worked so hard to offer you were not fully operational during your stay. As a newly opened hotel there are growing pains and your visit, during our soft opening, was very early on in the hotel's existence. In order to offer the level of service and quality we strive for, we had to make the decision to keep certain amenities and restaurants closed until they were fully prepared, staffed and ready for guests. Unfortunately, this difficult decision when running a hotel does limit offerings, but our goal is to choose the best possible option. These are not excuses, simply explanations, and while it may not serve as any consolation, we appreciate your feedback and the concerns you expressed have all been addressed. Thank you very much for your comments.
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904 reviews from our community

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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
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

I guess I am very easy to please and decided that I would have no preconceived notions as to what to expect and you know what??? I was NOT disappointed. There WAS a night club, though it would seem NO one wanted to go... I don't know why!! I had fun there. The reason you had view of the cargo ships is because it was not far from the Canal. If you didn't want that view you should have booked somewhere else. YES, there were a lot of things they still needed to do, but I am sure they tried their best to get done. And things got better and better each day. I had no issues

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
New York City, New York
1 review
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

My third day in this hotel. We arrived here for our New Year vacation and got very upset. I do travel a lot but never seen this kind of service in "5 star hotel". Service is really bad, you will never get your cup of coffee or tea in the morning, you have to serve yourself. Lunch place is horrible, full of flies in salad and desert area. In a lounge very limited choice of drinks, low quality food in the restaurants. Boring, not a single entertainment. Westin Playa Bonita is just a big disappointment.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westin_Playa_Bonita, General Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write your review. Since your visit, we have already made vast improvements to our early opening days and you'll see the responses and reviews since then reflect that - so thank you for sharing and helping us improve. We strive to provide excellent service and are sorry your experience was not as such. We hope you'll give us the chance to change your opinion in the future.
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Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

We got here few days ago expecting to have a nice vacation, enjoy our stay in a brand new 5 star hotel. What a disappontment!!! Terrible service,food is just not edible, no entertainment at all, we are killing our time just playing cards in our room. Beach...there is no beach here, dirtiest beach I ever seen in my life. You can see cargo ships from your " ocen view room". Waste of our vacation and money. Just terrible, counting days to get out of here.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westin_Playa_Bonita, General Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
We're sorry your experience was not what you hoped for in a vacation. During our soft opening, certain amenities, restaurants and entertainment were opened in stages in order to ensure all were up to standards, which unfortunately meant that not all of our five star features were available during your stay. We apologize for this. Regarding the beach, we have no other reports of the beach being polluted or dirty and samples taken by our staff show that the beach meets the local regulation of environmental standards. We nevertheless appreciate your feedback and have since made and continue to make improvements in order to ensure a positive guest experience.
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1 review
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2011

We arrived on Dec 26, actually 90% of what was supposed to be part of this all inclusive! Resort was missing. It looks like less than a 3 star hotel while we paid for 5 star. The bathroom hasn't been cleaned for the new guest. The food is terrible, service is minus, not a single entertainment for adults and kids, almost nothing but a room! The managers and Air Transat agents not taking any responsibility and just playing a game with the guests. It can't be more terrible.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westin_Playa_Bonita, General Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
We are pleased that you chose to spend the New Year with us. However, it distresses us to hear the experience was not a completely positive one. Please accept our apologies for the issues that you experienced during your stay. While the resort offers both child and adult friendly features, multiple pools and a beautiful beach, there were certain restaurants and amenities that were not operational in the early stages of our opening and we apologize for the inconvenience. We will continue to work hard to make sure our guests are aware of all our services. Thank you for your feedback.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011 via mobile

SUN and POOL that's it. If thats what you are looking 4 then it's good , otherwise nothing eles to do no entertaiment at all not on the pool not anywhere else food is average just eat drink and sleep until the day you go home. For the $2800 pp this was a rip off. Well done air Transat for good marketing. But Sorry is not good enough. you have the canadian travel market why do you scrow people's vacations. NIGHTLY ENTERTAINMENT my foot. We are going to do some excursiones may be that will make up for this!!!!!!!!bad vacation.

  • Stayed January 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westin_Playa_Bonita, General Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
Thank you for giving us the highest scores in rooms, cleanliness and service. We appreciate your approval in those areas. The issues you pointed out have been addressed. There's now live music at Oasis lobby bar from 7:30 p.m. till 10:00 p.m., theme music nights with a DJ at Soleo Lounge from 8:00 p.m. till 1:00 a.m. and Pacific and Starfish keyboard music at our buffet nights. Other activities that we are offering include: aquarobics everyday at 4:00 p.m., beach volleyball daily and activities that change weekly such as: Stretch Classes, Soccer, Cocktail lessons, Daily Quizes, Trivia, Salsa Lessons and Dancing Classes. Please accept our apologies for the inconveniences during your stay and we hope to welcome you back in the future.
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Arlington, Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011

I stayed here from 12/21-12/23. Despite being open, the hotel isn't finished -- things aren't working quite right, outdoor areas/restaurants remain unopened (including no water in any hot tubs). We had a nice view of the water, and the room itself was very nice and modern. The hotel is quite grand with high ceilings, big windows, and chandeliers -- but this grandeur has a rather antiseptic feel, and you often feel more like you're walking through an abandoned hospital or mall.

I didn't eat at any of the hotel restaurants so don't know how those are. I rented a car and went into Panama City. BE WARNED -- do not stay here if you do not have a car. It is in the middle of nowhere, and I heard from someone that taxis to/from the city cost $25 each way. There are no dining/shopping options nearby -- if you don't have a car you will have to rely on the hotel and what it has to offer.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westin_Playa_Bonita, General Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
We are pleased to inform you that the issues you mentioned have been solved and our facilities are fully operational. We understand your suggestion for a car, and it is an option, but there are also a range of dining options at the hotel, as well as, tours available to various parts of Panama. Otherwise, the resort is a place of fun and relaxation for those who want to get away from the city, and offers a wide variety of options so guests don't need to look elsewhere to fill their needs. Thank you very much for your feedback.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Westin Playa Bonita Panama

Address: Road to Veracruz Km 6, Panama City, Panama
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Spa Hotel in Panama City
#18 Luxury Hotel in Panama City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Westin Playa Bonita Panama 4*
Number of rooms: 611
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The personification of the destination: Where natural serenity meets industrial glamour - Westin Playa Bonita Panama is strategically located alongside the Pacific Ocean, on a mile long stretch of golden sand on Playa Bonita Beach, surrounded by lush tropical rainforests, and a quick 20-minute drive from the metropolitan capital of Panama City. Nestled alongside the stunning Pacific Ocean, The Westin Playa Bonita is near celebrated sites like the Panama Canal's Miraflores Locks and just a 20-minute drive from Panama City, the exhilarating capital of the Republic of Panama ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Hotel Panama City
The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Panama City

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