My traveling companion is a "Leading Hotels of the World" cardholder and booked this room for us in Panama City. Value-wise, it was certainly a good deal; you couldn't get a hotel of this quality for even close to $150/night in most US or European cities. The room was modern, well-appointed, spacious and comfortable, with soft Frette linens (and chocolates with turn-down service!), and a large bathroom with a huge shower and equally giant soaking tub.
There were only two small hiccups that bear mentioning. Many of the luxury hotels in Panama City are right on Avenida Balboa, which has the double advantage of a fantastic oceanfront view, as well as being easy to find. The Bristol is on a narrow one-way side street off Balboa, with a tiny entrance driveway which necessitates a fair amount of maneuvering by cab drivers. Our cab driver from the airport took about 25 minutes to get into town, and another 10-15 minutes winding through Panama City traffic jams on the small side street just to get to the hotel. If you want to walk out of your hotel room for a waterfront stroll, you'll have about a 10-15 minute walk down an otherwise drab side street to get to the scenery.
And, although the staff for the most part were friendly and eager to help, there were a couple of occasions on which they seemed not on their "A" game. It could sometimes take several calls to reach the concierge desk. One morning, we had an early-morning excursion and needed to leave before normal breakfast service. The night before, the staff assured us that "breakfast boxes" would be waiting for us the next morning at the front desk; when we got down the next morning, they were not there, and no one at the front desk seemed aware that we had put in the request. On another occasion, we attempted to make some (admittedly) last-minute restaurant reservations, but had to keep calling the concierge back to try to find out the status of the request. There was a mistake on our bill that needed to be resolved when we left. Again, the staff were largely helpful and friendly, but the service wasn't quite up to the level of seamless precision and efficiency you see at other hotels in the same class -- call it a "B+" instead of an "A+".
In sum, our stay at the Bristol was very good. The price was right, the room was always spotlessly clean, and we loved lounging in the huge tub or splaying out on the lovely sheets after a long, hot day of sightseeing. Just a tad more conscientiousness from the service staff would have made the stay exceptional, as opposed to just very good.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the heart of Panama City's bustling (Financial District), Bristol Panama is one of the city's premier addresses for executive and holiday stays. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Bristol Panama Hotel Panama City
- Bristol Hotel Panama City
- Bristol Panama City
- Bristol Panama Panama City