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“Playa bonita” 5 of 5 stars
Review of InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa

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InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Road to Veracruz km 7 | Arraijan District, Panama City, Panama   |  
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Ranked #36 of 111 Hotels in Panama City
Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Playa bonita”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

That hotel is great
I loved the personal there like Javier , Alberto , Emma , Marilu and iran
they made my vacations incredible , they are very friendly and respecfully.
i really liked the food , the restaurant , the swim pools were very clean and also the rooms looks great

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Dear Maiilam, We appreciate your nice review about our staff, they will be happy to read your nice comments. It´s nice to know that you enojoyed your stay and we hope to see you back in a future.
Regards,
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781 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (132)
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Narberth, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

We spent four great days at the Intercontinental Playa Bonita as part of a longer trip in Panama. The location is convenient, only about 20 minutes out of Panama City. Taxi was about $35 from the city. The pools and beach were wonderful, as was their staff. They had many planned events, and our 12 year old daughter was never at a loss for something to do. Javier, Iran and Mary were great running the events and were a lot of fun. There were a lot of food choices which were decent enough and reasonably priced. Not as good as some restaurants in the city, but enjoyable. The room was clean and nicely laid out. We had a sloth hanging from a tree outside of our room for 3 of the days. Spotted many new birds on the grounds. A number of the staff spoke decent English and most spoke at least more English, than I speak Spanish. Even though it was "Rainy" season (late August, first days of Sept) the weather was decent. Sunny hot mornings, with a brief rain shower in the early afternoon, with cooler afternoons and evenings. Would definitely go back.

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean. There are no bad rooms.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Dear David P, Thank you for staying with us!
It our pleasure to know that you enjoyed your stay with your family, having a good time with all our activities.
We hope to see you back soon...
Regards,
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Northern California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

This was probably the peak of luxury in the 90's but it needs an upgrade, especially with the fresh looking Westin down the road. Overall a pleasant stay but the main detractor was two star, not four star, service. I arrived late evening to a locked minibar fridge and no key, and no room service menu. I would have walked to the registration desk but it was about 100 meters away, so I figured I would just call. Took 20 rings on the phone to talk to a human being, 30 minutes to get a menu, then 40 minutes for the food to arrive. The woman who delivered the food lied to me in Spanish that the tip was not included, when I figured out from the bill that it was. Had a cold water shower the next morning despite hot water coming out of the bathroom sink. Asked for maintenance repair for the shower issue but nothing was fixed. Not a four star experience. 2.5 stars, rounding up.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
IPB Guest R, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Dear glbtrttr24-7, Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate you are taking the time to bring this to our attention. At the same time we want to apologize for the inconveniences, similar situations will not happen again.
Regards,
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M-Town
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

This hotel is the closest I've reached to the Fairmont Kea Lani in Hawaii. Extremely beautiful place!!!! If you want to be spoiled with breathtaking views, book this hotel right away. From the center balcony, you can also see the ships as they are lined up to go through the Canal.

Room Tip: Higher and Center Rooms are the best available rooms.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Dear WorldWidePlayer, Thank you for choosing our hotel and for your review! It´s a pleasure for us to know that you enjoyed your stay in our hotel. We hope to see you back!
Best regards,
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Fairfax, Virginia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

My wife and I spent three nights at the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort following a brief stay in downtown Panama City. The property is beautiful, with stunning views of the ocean (complete with picturesque islands in the distance) from every room. The rooms are not modern, but are very well-appointed. All of that said, the property lacks in a number of areas.

First of all, the food options (especially for dinner) are meager. We had a decent meal at the Lighthouse Bistro (complete with the hotel's picturesque ocean view). However, the food at the Plantation Restaurant was extremely disappointing. Our best meal during our three nights in Playa Bonita was actually at the Westin (their Asiana Restaurant is superb).

Second, while the staff tried hard to offer five-star service, they consistently missed the mark. Our biggest disappointment was that we woke up to NO WATER (i.e., we couldn't even flush the toilet) for two days straight. Supposedly, the government had shut off some water mains due to all of the construction in Panama City. Interestingly, however, there were some wings of the hotel that did have water. So, there were some inconsistencies in the story. And, upon complaining to the hotel staff, the best they could offer us was a key to a different room so that we could take a shower and use the bathroom. Frankly speaking, we expected much more from an Intercontinental property.

Finally, if you are a lover of swimming in the ocean or even sitting on the beach, then Playa Bonita is definitely not for you. The beach is sub-par, and most people seem to stay out of the ocean (probably due to widespread concern about pollution levels in the Pacific Ocean near the Panama Canal).

In all, we enjoyed being in a tropical environment, and felt that the rooms were quite decent. However, in light of some of the issues noted above, I don't think we would stay at this property again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on a higher floor for the most unobstructed ocean views.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
IHGCare, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Dear globaltravelbuff,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave us a candid review. I was glad to hear you did appreciate our great location. I am sorry some aspects of our hotel were not to your liking. We sincerely apologize for the unfortunate encounters you had with the food options and water situation during your stay. We work very hard to ensure our facilities and service are superior and for this reason, your comments are troubling and will certainly be looked into. Thank you for citing specific concerns that will help us improve on overall guest satisfaction.

We hope that you would give us another chance to meet your expectations next time and to provide you with a wonderful experience.

Sincerely,

Zelyn N
Case Manager
IHG Care
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Wailuku, Hawaii
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

We recently spent 3 nights at Playa Bonita Resort & Spa. We had pre-arranged a shuttle from the airport to make things easier after traveling 24 hours to get to Panama. When we arrived, our room was not quite ready, but in fairness to the hotel, we arrived before the check-in time and they did everything to get our room ready within 30 minutes. The front desk was courteous and the person checking us in was fluent in English. The lobby is beautiful and the lobby bar is a great place for drinks and snacks with a limited lunch type menu that is more than sufficient.
We were upgraded and had a suite on the 5th floor. Every room in this property has an ocean view which is a real plus. At night, the sounds of the rainforest directly behind the hotel (literally 20 feet away or less) are amazing. Each night at different times the sounds are different and you can just imagine the variety of wildlife in the beautiful forest (monkeys, birds, sloths and more). At this time of year, it does rain but that did not spoil our time as the sun did come out about 50% of the time. Even when the rains come, the temperature is warm and no one leaves the swimming pool. The staff at the pool is very upbeat, fun and tries to get you involved in their activities. The pool is lovely with a swim up bar for a nice drink. In the later afternoon, especially after a rain, there are some little flies that bite. I had heard about this and brought oil of citronella and the hotel has towelettes in your room with insect repellent containing DEET that you can use. I only got one bite, so I guess the citronella worked (didn't use towelettes or DEET). We did not swim in the ocean fronting the hotel. The tide does come in and most of the beach disappears at certain times. The ocean is not a beautiful blue and did not inspire us to swim there. We did see a few couples swimming. You can see ships at all times on the horizon lined up for the Panama Canal, which is neat.
We found the staff very nice and helpful. If there is something you need, just ask. There may be a time you will encounter a language barrier (housekeeping, maintenance staff), but this is a foreign country. Learning a few words of Spanish or having a dictionary/translator isn't a bad idea. If you are speaking English, speak slowly and use simple words just as you would want if you had limited skills in Spanish and were trying to communicate.
I can't praise the concierge staff enough, specifically Sugey Sousa. She has a great staff at the concierge desk and we utilized their services for just about everything we needed within the hotel and for recommendations outside the hotel. I started E-mailing Sugey weeks before our arrival for information about Panama and the resort. Both she and her staff answered every e-mail promptly and with the information I had requested, and I sent a good number of e-mails. They have good follow-up and we even got a call to make sure our stay was going well.
The only tour we took was a partial transit of the Panama Canal, which I highly recommend. It is my understanding that this tour only operates on Fridays and Saturdays because the boat has booked it's reservation for transit through the canal a year in advance. The hotel works with Gamboa tours to arrange this tour and Gamboa has a desk at the hotel. I arranged this prior to coming with the hotel concierge (Sugey) and Mailin from Gamboa Tours to insure we had a spot. Be prepared as the you may consider the tour pricey ($150 per person), but it is worth it. The experience of going through the locks with narration the entire time (English and Spanish) is something we will remember for a lifetime. We did not have enough time to do any other tours, but would have if our visit was longer.
As for dining, the Lighthouse is by far the best place for dinner. You need to make reservations if you travel when the hotel is busy or full. The sea bass (corvina) was the best I've ever tasted and the service unparalleled. Luis and his staff made us feel so special and were attentive to our every need. This restaurant and staff are definitely 5-star.
We would have eaten there all 3 nights of our stay except it was closed for a wedding on our last night. Our only restaurant option was The Plantation, which is primarily a buffet restaurant with 90% of the diners choosing the buffet. In all honesty, the buffet was not appealing after eating dinner for 2 nights at the Lighthouse. They do have an ala carte menu at the Plantation and we chose to order off of it. We ordered fish, which is always fresh from Panamanian waters. When our dinners finally arrived, the fish was excellent and well prepared. However, it took us 45 minutes to get our dinner and we did have to inquire about it. The focus of this restaurant is definitely the buffet. The service the night we were at the Plantation was not great in that the staff is definitely not very attentive and you can go unnoticed if you don't seek their attention. Once we complained as politely as we could, the manager and staff offered us free drinks and dessert. They were gracious about it, but we just wanted to get our food and declined their offers of drinks and dessert. So, my recommendation for dinner at The Plantation is if your are hungry and don't want to wait for your food, follow the crowds and order the buffet.
We opted for the Club Intercontinental room type which included breakfast in the morning and evening appetizers with drinks (alcoholic and sodas) in their Club Lounge. I recommend this highly as it is a good value for what you get. Unlike some hotel clubs, it is not open all day but only in the morning for breakfast and the early evening for a couple hours for cocktails and appetizers. However, I found no need for them to be open longer hours as the service and foods they provide are better than most club lounges in other hotels, which usually charge for any alcoholic beverages. There is also a concierge in the club lounge when it is open who greets you and is attentive to your needs.
Lastly, I highly recommend the spa. Their menu of services offers many choices and the facility is clean and nice. The massage therapist I had gave an excellent massage and was very courteous and respectful as was the rest of the spa staff.
Overall, we had a fabulous stay. The staff is very friendly and the service good. The food we had was excellent and fairly priced. Thank you to everyone at the hotel for making our time in Panama memorable and fun. We hope to see you again!

Room Tip: All rooms have an ocean view, so you don't have to worry about a good view. If you want to be n...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
IPB Guest R, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Dear Shirley C, Thank your for staying with us and for share your wonderful and nice experience in our hotel. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay, and look forward to welcoming you back.
Regards and Greetings from Panama,
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Panama City
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

We did a one night stay there to attend a wedding. I was very impressed with the beauty of the place and especially liked the fact that it was so close to Panama city. The room and amenities were excellent. The wedding was at the Lighthouse restaurant and the food, drinks and service was excellent. My only complaint was there was no "free" Wi-Fi in the room.

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Guest Relations Manager at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Dear TheSloanGuy, Thanks for staying with us and your review. Was a pleasure to receive you like our guest. We hope to see you back in a future. Regards,
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Additional Information about InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa

Address: Road to Veracruz km 7 | Arraijan District, Panama City, Panama
Phone Number:
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:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Panama City
#13 Spa Hotel in Panama City
#21 Luxury Hotel in Panama City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 303
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Everything you need is here at this luxury hotel in Playa Bonita Panama, from golden sands to jungle walkways, infinity pools to 10,000 square metres of tranquil spa. Feel transported in tropical resort seclusion just minutes from Panama City and the wonders of the Panama Canal. Explore the colonial and shopping districts, Punta Bruja Nature Reserve or simply watch the ocean from spacious suites or the Lighthouse restaurant at this luxury resort hotel in Panama. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Intercontinental Playa Bonita Hotel Panama City
Intercontinental Panama City
InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort And Spa Panama/Panama City
Playa Bonita Panama

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