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“Still Learning” 3 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   |  
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Ranked #30 of 111 Hotels in Panama City
Kansas City, Missouri
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Still Learning”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Coming back to snow and ice, I'm ready to go back, but not sure if I would go back here. We were there on their (the Playa Bonita) 1st aniversary and helped celebrate. The party was really fun and had a blast! Highlights of the trip was definetly the pools and plenty of good drink. If your looking to go swim in the ocean and have beach time, this is not the place. The rooms were very nice with a great view of the pools and ocean. We were lucky as some in our group got a view of a bus graveyard. Remember when going to this spanish speaking country, most hotel help will not be able to understand all request. You must be able to tolerate this as well as Panama time...... 5 minutes of American time is 15 minutes of Panama time. They will not get in any hurry. I guess that as time goes on, they will continue to work out problem areas and be better prepared to serve their guest.

Room Tip: Definetly request an ocean view.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 31, 2013
Words cannot express our regret for failing to attend to your needs during your stay with us.

Rest assured that the relevant departments have taken necessary measures to prevent similar recurrences.

Please accept our sincere apologies and allow us another opportunity to delight you with distinctive experiences.

Best regards,
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906 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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Essex
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

We arrived late in the evening and the reception staff were quick and efficient. Our room was on the 14th floor with a great view of the beach and pools. I particularly like the idea that you could lie in the bath and look across the bedroom and out to sea as there was an open archway to the bedroom. The room was spacious and the bed was very comfortable. We found the air conditioning very noisy when on full but it could be turned right down. The coffee making facilities were basic and the coffee was awful so take your own! I sometimes struggled to get hot water out of the shower late in the afternoon but mostly it was ok. The cleanliness of the room was not great at times. We worked out that at one point the bath was not cleaned for two consecutive days and the floor probably only twice during the week we were there.

The hotel was full and the lifts were under pressure the whole time. It was normal to wait at least five minutes for a lift at any time of day and sometimes longer. The booking system for the individual restaurants was very odd as we were told they were full at certain times and yet when passing we could see they were half full. I can only suppose that they were unable to cater properly for greater numbers of guests. We ate in the Asiana twice - once was very good but the second time wasn't. The buffet breakfast I found consistently good and the coffee then was the best we found all week.

The pools were very attractive and well cleaned although the painted terraces around them were already flaking badly. The sunbeds were good quality and surprisingly comfortable and the drinks from the pool bar were very tasty. Although we weren't there on the normal all inclusive basis we rarely got charged. This was the case in the upper bar too as the staff seemed to be confused by the fact that those who were there for a conference were not there as all inclusive guests. The large buffets laid on for conference attendees were generally of a very good standard.

I did get quite a few insect bites around the pool despite using the insect repellent supplied but many people had no bites at all. We took the Jungleland tour up the canal and into the jungle and this was an absolute must. We were able to feed wild monkeys that jumped onto the boat and held a baby caiman (like a croc). We had lunch on a house boat hidden away and in the afternoon people were able to kayak to some waterfalls, although we opted to relax in hammocks on the houseboat for a couple of hours - bliss. The driving and roads were pretty bad but it was worth the trip. This was not the trip organised through the hotel.

All in all we enjoyed our stay but although the staff were relatively friendly they were often not really sure of what they were doing and on numerous occasions tills were not working and staff just seemed totally confused. On departure they tried to charge us the whole amount for a meal that had been split five ways - some cash, credit card and I put my part on my room. We disputed this and in the end were only charged for my dinner but it is worth checking the bill very carefully.

Room Tip: Choose and ocean view room away from the lifts
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 31, 2013
Thank you for your thorough review of your recent stay.

Please know that we truly care about your experience and sincerely apologize for these inconveniences.

As we enhance our resort features on a continuous basis we appreciate your feedback and we hope to share these improvements with you in the future.

Best regards,
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Pembroke, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

To start I would like to say I'm an experienced traveller, at least 20 times in the last 15 years.We (Group of 6 adults) traveled to Panama from Montreal. Jan 7-14 2013. I travel every year (sometimes 2) to some all inclusive resorts. (Jamacia, D.R, Cuba, Mexico,) and this was the first trip to Panama. I have stayed at 5 stars plenty of times before. This hotel is truly a 5 star hotel, and I (We all 6) would go back in a minute. Rooms were to die for, staff were helpful, and polite, sure they were sometimes busy but every restaurant and resort gets busy. The food was exceptional, by far the best food at any resorts I have every stayed at. People complain about the beach, lets be realistic, how much time do we spend in the ocean anyway?, when the tide is out you cant swim, so wait a few hours and by noon, you can swim until around 6 pm, thats six hours in the ocean...lots of time I think. No towel cards (what) ya just go get a towel...bring it back get another one?...this almost never happens at bigger hotels. Grab a lounge chair at 8am (what?) no you dont have to get up at 5am to go reserve chairs for you and your buds...there are lots, including canopies. If you like beer like us canadians, its served from a can...yes not draft...a can...and as the week progressed we asked to bring the cans to our chairs as long as we returned them....this was great...sittin by the pool...looking at the ocean and the ships having a cold can of beer...life was sweet. The beach is not like cuba...not soft, and is full of shells, but still you could walk down to the intercontinental and back and it would take a good 20-30 mins. If you like tripping over 500 people at the buffet, having the animation team ask you every 1hr to play a game, listening to loud music screamin over the speakers, the rec staff talking to you in 3 different languages over the mic, and lame evening entertainment...then this is not the place for you. If you like a relaxing low background music, once a day salsa dance by the staff, good service (somtimes at you chair), beautiful views, great food, good beer (3 kinds), and girly drinks of course, an amaizing room and the bed...OMG...I want one...BEST SLEEPS EVER. Then this is the place for you. Again if your the typical Canadian traveler...you will like this place...I have stayed at the RIU in Mazatlan,and Cancun, H-10 in M.R, Mexico and the TRYP in D.R, many hotels in Cuba....This is WAY..WAY..WAY better. For management...this is the one thing I would tell you to eliminate. The bar fridge in our room, you say we have to pay for the water and the beer or pop we use out of it, but we can get the beer, water and pop from the bar...so whats the point...all inclusive travelers sould not have to pay....its a bit of a pain...just eliminate it...less stress for us and the goal is to keep us happy. As for excursions...do the gambo combo....very good. Thanks for the memories....if the price is right we hope to see you again.

Room Tip: 7th floor Jungle side was good...Im sure ocean view would have been better but...for the money the v...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
    • 4 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.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 31, 2013
Thank you for the many compliments! I have shared your comments with our associates and personally thanked them for a job well done!

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future, whenever your travels bring you back to Panama City.

Sincerely,
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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

just finished our stay at the westin playa bonita...we were on a group awards trip, and having been to panama half a dozen previous times, but to fish, my wife and I thought we should give it a try. we just so happened to be at the resort on their first anniversary, but frankly I was surprised as the hotel looks much older...the pool area looks ten years old, and our standard room had a nice ocean room, but the bathroom is very small, and only has a blind to seperate it from the bedroom...privacy can be an issue...service is interesting as many guests go the all inclusive rate, so the staff has little if any incentive to shine. it is difficult to get any service at the pool, but when u do, many times u dont have to pay! most of the resteraunts are buffet style, and food is very cruise ship...and expensive..lunch was $28 we did have a nice experience at the spa...couples hot stone massage for $160 and was very relaxing. one should note it is a ways outside the city itself, so be prepared to spend at least $50 roundtrip for cab fare. the reviews are very accurate about the beach. tides run 18 feet or so in panama, and it is great when u see the bay go dry for a 1/4 mile. once past the 50 feet of rough sand, it is very rocky, and because of the proximity to the canal, the water is brown and dirty. we spend alot of time in the bahamas, virgin islands and mexico, and the water at the westin is not really condusive to swimming...I believe our group rate was $320, which is a fair value at best. the hotel is in close proximity to the canal zone, and lake gaton, which for some should be convienent

Room Tip: make sure your room faces the pool
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
Thank you for including so many details in your review that are so important for us and give us the opportunity to change the service in some areas.

Also, we were happy to hear that you enjoyed so many amenities on property and we look forward to hopefully welcoming you back in the near future.

Best regards,
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Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Where do I start? I attended a conference in Panama City and stayed at this hotel some extra days. While the service and food provided at the conference was fine (ok), the service for the extra days was simply terrible. I felt I was bothering the staff everytime I had a request. They seem to be trained to do their tasks but not to take care of customers, a big mistake when providing customer service. No one took ownership of anything. There is no end to end service. It is very disjointed.

On the positive side: my room was nice, the landscape was pretty and there is a good choice of pools.

Now for the bad part: I had to call for towels every day. There was no hair dryer in my room. I could not get reservations for the restaurant times and locations I wanted (and all of them were empty most times but did not take walk ins!). I used the fitness center everyday and I saw the same dead bugs on the floors and the same sweat stains around the machines.

Nothing was ever straightened. Pool chairs were never put in proper rows in the early morning, the seating areas throughout the hotel missed cushions and was always messy and not inviting.

I was unable to use my credit card or pay cash at the pools or at restaurants. They always wanted to put the charges on the room and when i checked out I could not use 2 credit cards (one for business expenses and one for personal ones). SERVICE WAS EXTREMELY SLOW, EVERYWHERE.

There are no sundries store where you can buy a soda, or a bottle of water. There is a single gift store but does not have the basic necessities.

For an American hotel, I expected more staff to speak English even though I could speak some Spanish.

I left the hotel frustrated. I felt I was an unwelcomed guest.

Room Tip: Ask for ocean view. It's pretty.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
We sincerely appreciate that you selected our hotel to visit and apologize that we failed to meet your expectations.

We will use your feedback in our efforts to improve and work towards regaining your confidence in our hotel. Comments such as yours are valuable to us and very much appreciated.

Best regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Having read the reviews before travelling here this month i went with little optimism of things running smoothly, but went openminded.
There were 2 conferences on and the place was full to the rafters. A lovely atmosphere as we arrived. Check-in was a half hour process as the couple checking out in front of us had half the items removed off their bill stating they were not theirs. After completing check-in (rather relieved our booking was in their system) we went to our room which was on the 15th floor with an ocean view. Gorgeous room and fabulously comfy bed. Air conditioing very quiet aswell. Mosquito wipes are provided although i did not need to use a single one all week.

All the restaurants had to be booked at the concierge desk (I telephoned concierge on several occassions and it rang out) This wait at the desk could be anything from a coulple of minutes up to 40 minutes. More often than not there was 1 person on the desk. When there are up to 10 people queuing this is a very lengthy process. On the 3 occassions I booked a restaurant myself, twice I was told that only one restaurant could be booked as other one was full, and was given a 6pm slot both nights. On the other day I was told the restaurants were all full and only buffet was available. I would like to point out that the restaurants were NOT full at any point and that over 60% of the tables at the restaurant (Asiana) where we ate were free. People wandering in trying to eat were told no sorry we are full. Rather bizarre. The staff themselves were pleasant, and we got what we ordered. We sat down at 6pm just as the restaurant was opening and our food arrived swiftly and hot. We had friends eating there later on in the evening and unfortunately their verdict was not the same - waiting ages for their food and wrong orders arriving.

Now having read the reviews on room service I was convinced it couldnt be as bad as was made out. Haha, how wrong could I be. We phoned and ordered lunch and were told half hour wait. An hour and a quarter later I phoned down to see where it was and was told it had been delivered and no-one was in...they had delivered the order to the wrong room. They offered to send another lunch up, but being told it would be another half hour declined.

The hotel has a lot of All Inclusive guests and this seems to confuse the life out the bar staff if you are not wearing a wrist band which all inclusive guests are given. Twice I was refused drinks at the downstairs bar until an English speaking member of staff arrived and I explained I was putting it on my room.
In the upstairs bar when there are in excess of 30 people queued up for drinks and there is one person serving it is ridiculous. Especially when you order 6 beers and you are given a six pack in their plastic wrapping! Classy place this!

Two of the six lifts decided to stop working on the Thursday and were still out of order when we left Friday lunch. A few hundred very disgruntled people waiting up to 30 minuted for the lifts!

The pools are lovely and the staff are constantly clearing the leaves. The poolside bar had a good choice of drinks; and hotdogs, bugers and nachos were all available on a help yourself basic.

The sand on the beach is very coarse, but it is walkable barefoot, and is lovely for a stroll along to the Intercontinental, or along to the rocks where the iguanas sit sunning themselves.

All in all it was an enjoyable stay - beautiful room and view, nice clean pools, good food...but the room service, not being able to book restaurants even though they are not full, broken elevators not being fixed, lack of bar staff, oh and having a thousand dollars removed off our bill at checkout, because of overcharging and other peoples bills on it etc...not so good...

Room Tip: an ocean view room is a must. Jungle view rooms look out over the bus graveyard
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 2 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.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
We appreciate you taking a moment to tell us about your recent experience at the Westin Playa Bonita Panama.

We are sorry to hear that we did not exceed your expectations during your retreat. What you have described to us is not the experience we strive to provide our guests and for that we are truly sorry.

We will use your comments to help us improve our services here throughout the resort and hope you give us a new opportunity to welcome you back in the future.

Sincerely,
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Cassopolis, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

The hotel is in desperate need of training for their employees, No words like, may I help you, no thank you, I felt the employees just didn't want to be there and with zero unemployment in Panama I think most of the employees just move on to another job as soon as they find one.
The pool bars were a joke, one bartender, 4 others standing around, they don't know what work is!
Food - no one really knows what restaurant is open. The concierge desk made reservations for me and when I got to the rest. it was closed!!

My room had no towels two out of 5 days that I was there. Two elevators were NOT working the entire time I was there. My room phone never worked, I reported it every day, complaints went on deaf ears.

I will not go back to Panama and stay at the Westin

Room Tip: Our room was a garden view, NO patio and we over looked an old school bus "graveyard"
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback from your recent stay at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama.

First and foremost, please accept our sincerest apologies for any challenges you encountered during your stay as this is certainly not the experience we aim to provide our guests. Your comments are very much appreciated, as this will help us to improve the quality and service at our resort and the products we offer.

We do take all reviews very seriously and I will be sharing your comments with our management team, so we can work on resolving the issues you experienced during your stay.

Please give us the opportunity to service in a near future and be part of the changes that we are improving in our different areas.

Sincerely,
Report response as inappropriate
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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