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“Very impressed!” 4 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 #32 of 114 Hotels in Panama City
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Very impressed!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We were there from February 22nd to the 27th, 2013 . The location is beautiful with its gorgeous gardens, waterfalls, several fancy pools, including a wading pool for children, lovely canvas topped gazebos for shade, and to top it off the beach facing the Pacific Ocean. In the distance you can see, along the horizon, ships and barges lined up waiting their turns to cross the world famous Panama Canal . The staff and front desk were very friendly, helpful and courteous. We ended up eating most of our meals at one of the three restaurants in the hotel and the food was quite delicious. If there was any difficulty with the servers understanding us, we tried out our Spanish and with smiles all round we made ourselves understood. The only "downer" was that my husband did get those little sandfly bites... But that was because he didn't use any insect repellant when he went into the Pacific around 5 and 6 p.m. which is when these little "critters" are out!!
We loved this place and would recommend it to anyone looking for a really relaxing vacation, instead of taking a hotel in downtown Panama City.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Dear Lori706,
Thank you for chose our hotel. We are glad to know that you enjoyed your stay, with nice view and facilities, and friendly staff. We hope to see you back in a future, will be our pleasure to serve once again.
Greetings from Panama!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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982 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
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (190)
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Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Vacationed for one week all-inclusive, nice hotel.The food was good considering where you are. Staff was nice and friendly but need to speak more English if they want more tourist, some of the bartenders have to go, you ask for a drink and they make something else LOL. The maids " FORGET TO CLOSE YOUR DOOR".
Please be super careful when visiting the "CAUSEWAY" DO NOT GO TO BARKO RESTURANT"
Me personally would not go back Panama,

Room Tip: end suits on the 5th floor,
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Dear NH,
Thank you for chose our hotel, nice view and friendly staff. We appreciate that you are taking the time for bring this matter to our attention, and shared your comments about your stay in our hotel.
Best Regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germantown, Maryland
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

My husband and I, both lawyers, stayed at the Playa Bonita for a professional conference in late January.

The service at this property from the front desk to the pool bartenders is at best mediocre. We normally stay at Marriott properties and we like to stay on concierge levels to enjoy a lot of extras. For this conference, our professional group held the conference at this ICH. So we chose to spend an extra $200 to enjoy "Ambassador" level service. We received one gold Ambassador luggage tag, a certificate for one free weekend night and a gold membership card. Ambassador level service was not worth it. Save your money.

At this property, Ambassador service entitles you to an "upgrade" to a Suite. First, when I requested my upgrade on arrival, I was advised by the front desk staff member, that she needed to see the card that had been sent to me via mail... which was back in Maryland sitting on my desk at work. I explained that I had not brought the card. She directed me to walk across the lobby and get this information from the Concierge Desk that doubled as Ambassador service. I was confused why the Front Desk could not just look it up in the computer. So, after a day of travel.. I had to go to Concierge.. wait in line for the second staff member to look up my Ambassador enrollment and give me my membership number so that I could then walk back to the Guest registration desk and wait in line again, to give them my Ambassador number. The whole registration with "Ambassador" service was hokey and ridiculous. It continued in the same manner when they could not upgrade us. They told us to check back the following day. They upgraded us to a suite which was beautiful... but stunk like the insecticide they use to bomb the rooms to kill mosquitoes. It is impossible to air the room out because the doors are crazy heavy and there is no way to prop them open.

The physical property of the Playa Bonita is gorgeous. All the rooms have ocean views. The actual beach is that dark volcanic beach and kind of shallow. Not really inviting to go and hang out on the beach.

The pool/bar area is beautiful with the infinity edge pool. The service in the pool area was terrible. Our second day at the property, we managed to escape our conference around 5:30 to enjoy the last hour of sunshine out by the pool. We went straight to the pool bar and asked the bartenders for a couple of drinks... the Panamania Caiparinhas. The bartender said he couldn't serve us those, since the pool bar would be closing at 6 pm. We were pretty shocked that 30 minutes before closing time they couldn't serve us drinks. He said he could offer us beers only. So we accepted the beers. They were clearly wrapping up their day early. My husband likes a lime in his beer and there was an uncut lime on the bar behind him. My husband asked, "do you have any lime". The bartender said 'no'. The whole service situation was laughable.

Ambassador service entitled us to a special club room for breakfast. Our room rate included breakfast in the main hotel restaurant. We had breakfast in both during our stay. Again, the Ambassador service made no sense because the breakfast available in the "club" was not as good or varied as the breakfast in the main dining room. You can use the club room room with your room key during the day to get wifi. It is the only in the entire sprawling property to get decent wifi service. I stopped in one day to get a cup of coffee, because they have an automatic espresso machine in there. There was a staff member manning the service desk in there. When I tried to make myself a cup of espresso she asked me if she could help me (with a tone of voice). She picked up the phone and asked someone to come make me a cup of coffee. The machine literally only needed to be turned on and the button pressed. The whole encounter bordered on ridiculous.

Ambassador service entitled us to water, fruit and a newspaper daily. We received this service on the second day of our stay because I asked for it, even though it was supposed to happen daily. I stopped asking because the "fresh fruit" provided was an apple, an orange and a small bunch of grapes on a puny plate. Honestly, when I travel to Panama, I NEVER eat apples, oranges or grapes. When I travel to Panama or any tropical destination I am eating all the delicious tropical fruits: mangoes, papaya.

Finally, the single day we used the pool area, we requested towels from the towel attendant. Consistent with the mediocre service, the attendant said I could have towels as long promised to bring them back in the next hour before the pool area closed. She said she would not complete the check out log - they give you a paper receipt for the towels... more hokey service with hokey and non-customer service statements made by staff.

This is a gorgeous property. What this property is lacking is a customer service training program. There are too few staff members to handle the volume of guests. There is a clear lack of customer service training.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Dear mfg2006,
We appreciate that you are taking the time for bring this matter to our attention, and let us know your comments about your stay in our hotel. we do apologize for all the inconvenience that you experienced, we are taking corrective actions.
Once again, thank you for your comments and feedback.
Regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sorel, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We spent 7 nights on an all-inclusive Feb 26 -March 5. The resort is wonderfully designed and decorated to follow up and harmonize with the natural beauty of this pacific shore and rainforest meeting. Gardens and lawns are nursed every morning. Insecticids are sprayed daily to keep the no-see-ums (sandflies) away. Those sprays seem to be effective as we were not bothered by any bugs. The buffet offers a variety of meats, chiken, fish, pastas, vegetables, salad bar, desserts. Evening buffets are thematics (italian, chinese, bbq, panama, mexican, market...) Breakfast buffet offers a more than complete selection of foods. Jesus cooks great omelettes and eggs just the way you like them. We used one of the beach palappas to rest and enjoy the sound of the shells jingled by the tide. Before we even ask, the pool waiter would walk thru the whole resort many times every afternoon to bring us our favorite drinks. Amazing employee who remembers each and everyone's favorites! Here he is (pictured). We would absolutely recommend Interc Playa Bonita to anyone who loves nature and wants a relaxing stay.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear LiliBerg,
Thank you for chose our hotel and your recent stay with us. We are glad to know that you enjoyed your stay, and let us know that employess like Jesus and Zancheliano ( the bartender in the picture) made you feel great during your stay.
We hope to see you back in the future and thank you again for give us the opportunity to serve you.
Thank you for your comments and greetings from Panama!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We vacationed at this hotel for one week (all inclusive). The food was excellent. I can't see how anyone can complain... we never had a bad meal and we are foodies :) The service lacked in a few areas - and but it wasnt horrible and it wasnt each and everytime. this happens everywhere of course.
The hotel itself is very lovely, clean and the staff are very nice. We had a rattling noise with the a/c unit and within minutes of our call the man came and fixed it - he was so pleasant. The drinks were great. The views of the ships lining up for the canal is amazing.... the beach is not a beach however, so dont expect to see white sand and clean water. The water is very murky and yes you can see the oil/pollution left from the boats, the tide is up and down all day and under the water is a lot of rock so you wouldnt want to swim in it anyway. Overall it was a great holiday.

Room Tip: All rooms are ocean front which is great!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
IPB Guest R, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear sylveeeee,
Thank you for chose our hotel and your recent stay with us. We are glad to know that you enjoyed your stay in our hotel, you had a good time with nice views, good food and friendly staff. We also appreciate your feedback about the beach and the services in some areas of the hotel, we will make sure to be betters in this areas.
We hope to see you back in the future and thank you again for give us the opportunity to serve you.
Greetings from Panama!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Albert, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

If I wasn't part of a group when I arrived at this hotel, I would have checked out after the first night.
There is no way this hotel is a 4 star hotel.

First, it is in a horribly inconvenient spot. To get anywhere by taxi is approximately half hour cab ride, which cost around $50 (round trip). There is nothing near this hotel except for the Westin hotel (which by the way is much nicer and has food that is unbelievable) or Veracruz which is another town that we were advised by concierge not to go to because it is dangerous.

The beach is on the Pacific side. All rocks and hard packed sand. The water is murky, nobody was in the ocean.

The pools are "ok", but not anything special. The pool bar was set up poorly, it was impossible to get any service at the pool bar, you had to get out of the pool and walk around to the front of the bar on the other side if you wanted to get anything.

Something in the food or drinks made myself and several other people feel unwell the entire week. I stopped drinking any of the hotel drinks after day two. They were made with the cheapest alcohol. Also, their "signature" drinks never came out consistent. The bartenders never seemed to know what they were doing. Also, if you wanted to order a top shelf drink and pay for it, they just randomly made up prices to charge you every time.

The buffets were disgusting. There were flies everywhere especially on the fruit. The selection of fruit was only ever melons, papaya, and canned grapefruit. Did not see an apple, orange, banana, berries, or whole grapefruit the entire week. Breakfast was ok, for the simple fact i could get boiled eggs without having to worry about what else I was consuming. The omelets were disgusting and soaking in oil. Also, if someone would order an egg white omelet the chef woudl throw all the extra yolks into the scrambled egg mix that he was using for everyone else. Think of how much cholesterol is in their regular omelets. Gross. Lunch was pretty much always the same stuff, the only good part I found was if you went to the grill and waited for the guy to finish cooking a fresh chicken breast or fish skewer. The buffet food in the chafing dishes was overcooked or soaking in cream or oil sauces. The salad bar was brutal. Dinner was pretty much the same.

The ala carte restaraunts: dont even bother going to the Plantation Cafe, I couldnt even eat my meal of cold noodles and overcooked steak. I couldn't be paid to eat that. The lighthouse restaraunt I didnt bother going to, but I heard great reviews about the lighthouse, it was very hard to get into though and I didn't get to use my one ticket that I had for it because it was always apparently "overbooked" although the place was always full of empty tables.

The atomsphere of the entire place was lame. This is a better resort for senior citizens or for families with really little kids. This is not a good place to go if you want to be adventurous and close to action, or be able to walk off the resort and check out the nature or hikinh trails. You couldnt do any of that here. Also, the english of most of the staff is very poor, so if you don't know spanish you will never get any special requests obtained.

The hotel also has cockroaches in it. The rooms are crawling in little bugs. Also, the shower has cold to lukewarm water only, and when you shower the water bubbles back up out of the drain so your feet are standing in a few inches of dirty water which could be from anyone elses shower and hopefully not toilets! DISGUSTING!

All in all, by day 4 I couldn't wait to come home. I've never been on a vacation anywhere in which i was wishing to come home EARLY. And to top it all off, on my flight home I got GASTRO because my stomach couldnt handle all the germs in that resort food, and now I have been sick for 2 days straight as I am trying to recuperate. TAKE IMODIUM WITH YOU ON YOUR TRIP, PLUS LOTS OF GRAVOL. Or better yet, DO NOT STAY IN THIS RESORT!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear Sara-Davis81,
We appreciate that you are taking the time to bring this matter to our attention. Thank you for your feedback and comments.
We do apologize for the experience that you had in your recent stay with us., We are taking notes, so this kind of situations are not going to happen again, and we can take corrective actions.
Regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camas, Washington
Level Contributor
30 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

We spent 2 nights at Playa Bonita on an independent tour. We did not opt for the all inclusive option as that would have added an extra $100.00 per person per day. The resort is beautiful. All rooms have an ocean view. Everything is spotless. Every morning workers were out taking care of the gardens. Late afternoons a man came out with a bug sprayer and sprayed the lawns which was our signal that it was time to go inside. We did not experience any bug bites at all. The hotel provides bug repellent but we did not use it. The beach reminded me of an Oregon beach only warmer--better to swim in the pools. We enjoyed watching the ships from our deck which were waiting to enter the canal.
Our room came with a breakfast buffet each morning which was really good with a variety of fruits, breads, cereals, omelettes, meats etc. I felt that the lunch and dinner dining options were limited and expensive. We had an evening buffet which was $27.50 plus tax, tip and drinks. It was OK but overpriced. The other night we ate at the grill which had a limited menu and again seemed a bit overpriced. We were not really hungry enough at lunch for a big meal so snacked on trail mix and had an apple from the reception desk. There are no snack items available and not a soda machine anywhere on the property--so you have to buy from the bar. I would have loved to have had an ice cream bar in the afternoon! If you want to eat somewhere else or find a market you will need a taxi. The Westin is a short walk down the beach but they also seem to be an all inclusive with limited food.
Overall it was nice visit and I enjoyed Playa Bonita very much.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IPB Guest R, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, responded to this review, March 12, 2013
Dear mawenzi,
Thank you for chose our hotel and your review. . We are glad to know that you enjoyed your room, the view, and good breakfast., we will taking notes about your suggestions of the ice cream and more options for snacks.We appreciate your comments and feedback!
We hope to see you back and once again thank you for staying with us.
Greetings from Panama....
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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 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:
#11 Spa Hotel in Panama City
#12 Romantic Hotel in Panama City
#19 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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