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“Very nice resort” 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 #40 of 111 Hotels in Panama City
USA
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“Very nice resort”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

Very nice resort hotel right on the Pacific Ocean, overlooking the entrance to the Panama Canal. They upgraded us to a very nice suite on a very quiet part of the grounds which was very nice, because the other end of the hotel has weddings and parties. Very nice service, especially at the front desk. Be careful of sand fleas (chitras) which will bite even with deet applied. Beautiful and well manicured gardens and pools. We had concierge priviledges which offered a great breakfast and wonderful happy hour.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 5 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 25, 2013
Dear Cachirulatravels,
Thank you for chose our hotel and share your comments. We are glad to know that you enjoyed your stay in our hotel, with a very nice service from all our staff, good view from your room and beautiful gardens. Was our pleasure to serve you and we hope to have the opportunity to do it again.
Once again , thank you and we hope to see soon.
Regards,
SLSM
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758 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 (127)
Date | Rating
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

3 day stay for business in late March 2013. The hotel is very nice, large, clean and somehow modern. Rooms are big with nice views. Beds are very good also. Price/Quality is OK. Gardens are nice and extensive.

BUT:

There is NO useful beach. Remember that the Pacific Ocean in Panama City has a significant tidal variation, and the bottom of it is no soft sand, so the beach is no nice. And all the big ships waiting for their Canal transit are sitting just across the water. That said they have a couple of nice pools, with wet bar and even their own beach volley court.

Location. This hotel is far away from everything. You will spend USD 25 on a cab just to get to Panama City, and you cannot walk anywhere neither.

Internet. SUCKS big time. Very unreliable, slow, and with so many access points per floor that they interfere with each other.

Food. What a disappointing experience. Both outside restaurants and inside bars were not good. Food was not the memory I will take home from this hotel.

Noise. Beware of huge transformers sitting 5 yards from the room doors on the ground floor. Look for a room on a higher floor.

AC Adaptors. I forgot mine and I couldn't get one here neither.

Room Tip: Beware of huge transformers sitting 5 yards from the room doors on the ground floor. Look for a room...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 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
    • 5 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 25, 2013
Dear RoamingSouth,
Thank you for chose our hotel, we appreciate you took the time to share your experienced about your recently stay with us. It´s nice to know that you enjoyed a nice , large and clean room, with a good view., but at the same time we will like to apologize for the inconveniences that you experienced. We are taking notes about each item that you mentioned so we can improve our service and be betters. Thank you for all your feedbacks.
Greetings from Panama,
SLSM
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Montreal, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
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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Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 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,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germantown, Maryland
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
23 helpful votes 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,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sorel, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 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
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 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!
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 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 Spa Hotel in Panama City
#12 Romantic Hotel in Panama City
#23 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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