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“For a pampered relaxful stay, this is the place.” 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 #37 of 111 Hotels in Panama City
North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“For a pampered relaxful stay, this is the place.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2010

This hotel is on the Pacific with ships in the distant waiting to enter the Panama Canal. At night the lights of the ships illuminate the horizon like stars in a row. Beautiful tropical surroundings frame an expansive resort with an in-house spa and food choices from bountiful buffet meals and sushi, to a specialty gourmet restaurant. Lots of pools to choose from, swim up bar and poolside servers to accommodate your every whim. My husband and I enjoyed the Ambassador benefits of this resort and look forward to the next visit. Our guest room was a roomy two room suite with balcony overlooking the gorgeous grounds and the Pacific.

Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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773 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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Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2010

My husband and I just returned from a week at the Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort, traveling with Sunwing Vacations. We were on an all-inclusive package, which was a fantastic deal. All accommodations, food, drink (except the high end drinks which were not included in the package), 3 a la carte meals, sports, hikes etc. The accommodations were spotless and the bed was incredibly comfortable. The view from our room (and all the rooms at the resort) was perfect - a gorgeous view of the ocean, with the ships on the horizon, lining up for the Panama Canal, overlooking the gorgeous grounds. The pools were fantastic, and the gardens impeccably maintained. The weather was fantastic, in spite of the Weather Network informing us (incorrectly!) that it was to rain all week. Every day we had hours of sunshine to sit by the pool, and with the exception of one (incredible) rainstorm, the week's weather was outstanding. (The storm was an event in and of itself - I've never seen rain like that before!) The staff at the resort were friendly and got to know us and our likes. (One waiter brought me a cappucino each morning as soon as I sat down to breakfast, which was such a lovely way to start the day). In spite of the resort being upscale, there was nothing pretentious about it. There were a few days when the resort was very quiet, and on the weekend it was bustling with what seemed to be locals and Latin American tourists. The only complaint we had was that there was little to do at night. The nightclub was closed, so once we finished dinner and had a drink at the bar, we usually went back to our room for an early night. It was certainly relaxing, but it would have been nice to have had some evening entertainment options. We took a cab into Panama one evening to the Amadore district, which made me feel old, but was an amazing (and safe) experience. It reminded me that I actually don't enjoy a rocking nightclub experience and was happy to return to the resort to curl up with my book and do some channel surfing on the TV. During the day, my husband took out a kayak, we did a hike in the rainforest that surrounds the property, and took day trips by cab into Panama City (20 minutes from the resort), the Panama Canal (less than 10 minutes from the property) and we took a daytrip to the Carribean side to see Portobelo and do some ziplining with Panama Outdoor Adventures (an incredible experience with lovely staff. We'd highly recommend setting this up before you go by looking them up on the internet). The food was outstanding. Everything was fresh (the salad bar was amazing), and there was always ample delicious food including freshly baked bread and delicious desserts. The Lighthouse restaurant was worth a splurge (not included in the All Inclusive package, but a prix fix refined menu and wonderful service). I had the best massage of my life at the Spa - a gorgeously appointed, relaxing setting with Sandra, who had magic hands! We would go back again to the Playa Bonita in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed August 2010, 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2010

My daughter and I just stayed at the Intercontinental Playa Bonita. It is an absolutely lovely hotel with tons of amenities, including a workout room, a spa, a hair salon, a beautiful beach, kayaking, great pools, and fine dining. There were a few negatives, including internet costs and inaccessibility during non business hours, bug bites from the sand fleas and other mosquito like bugs, the closure of some of the restaurants because it is off-season, and slow checkin/checkout. None-the-less, I give this hotel a 100% thumbs up. If I ever had to go back to Panama City, I wouldn't stay anywhere else. The location is 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Panama City, but it feels like you are far away. The beach is great, the grounds are gorgeous, the food is wonderful, and the servers are lovely, warm, and hardworking. Unless you need to stay closer to town, this hotel was a great value especially during off-season. You will truely feel like you are on vacation here.

  • Stayed July 2010
    • 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
    • 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.
Montreal, Canada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2010

The hotel is great overall, however looks and feels quite old (humidity is really cruel in Panama, so hotel ageing goes faster than elsewhere) and the rooms are not Intercontinental, not at all.
The bed is shaped as a W. It seems it has been serving obeses for years, and it looks more like two sided nests. Hard to be in the middle of the bed... and the feeling is that they're just waiting for someone to SHOUT! before changing it.
The shower is very badly installed, the water going through the glass door and wetting the whole floor... even if you try to avoid it. I complained about it to the manager, however in the following 5 days nothing was fixed or changed.
The A/C makes a huge noise at all times. It is effective, however it is far from silent.
TV is very old, although it works fine (unless it rains too much, when signal fails).
The breakfast and dinner buffet are awesome. Great food, carefully
made and the personnel (in general) extremely, really extremely KIND. They smile at you at all times and are - despite the need for renovation/refurbishment - the real justification for this hotel to be named INTERCONTINENTAL.
Don't dare compare the brand with a similar one in Canada or in Europe, or even in the US. Remember, you're in Central America, and everything is naturally downgraded. If they tell you about an excellent restaurant, beware: it's just quite reasonable according to OECD standards.
The open area (swimming POOLS and beach) is wonderful. It's a perfect blend of nature and mankind. You can even ask the towelman to reduce the volume of the music, and it will then turn into a magical place, where you hear some waves (rare) or the wind. Pina Coladas combine very well with the view...

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Miami
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2010

The hotel and location is beautiful. It is a great place to relax and do nothing but enjoy the beautiful views of the islands out in the ocean and watch the large ships waiting for their turn into the canal. The breakfast buffet was average and quite tasty. The lunch buffett on the outside terrace "The Grill" is very good but at a $22 per person price. The hotel has a nice spa, ping pong tables and little mini golf on the grounds. The mosquitoes were no problem, the hotel provides wipes in your room for your use to prevent bug bites and they work well. The drive to the hotel is through a long winding wooded area with trash thrown all about the road ignoring the "do not throw trash here" signs. The hotel rooms are very comfortable and all have beautiful views of the pool garden and ocean. The beach is nice but was advised by locals to "look but do not touch" The ocean is contaminated by raw sewage and there are no seeums and chiggers. I did not walk at all on the sand, but did see several people doing so and some looked like they had bites and scratched their legs. The hotel also has a fitness center that is located on the second floor with gorgeous views of the ocean and islands. It is great to work out with such great views!

The hotel is far away from everything and expensive to get a taxi, one way $25 and you need to go out and take advantage of great dining outside the hotel. When dining out, you must be patient in restaurants with the service, but you can avoid most problems by asking for your bill or anything you need up front. If you order coffee, make sure you also request sugar and milk with the coffee. If you order a burger, request for ketchup and mustard with your burger, if not, be prepared for your food to get cold while you wait. The food is worth the wait, the seafood including the ceviche is excellent and the freshest I've ever had. The prices are great and drinks average $5 in most restaurants. These prices are for restaurants outside the hotel.

I was going to use a tour service but was too late, so I asked the front desk about using a taxi driver for the day. They recommended a service called VIP taxi which is located in the hotel. I gave the driver, Dimas, a list of places I wanted to visit and have him wait for me and he quoted me a very good price. He waited for me at every place I went to and accompanied me through my walk in the old center of town giving me lots of information about the city and country. I enjoyed the hotel rooms and views very much and the staff was friendly. Almost paradise!

I visited Carbon and Pencas Restaurants along the Amador Causeway and was pleased with the food and prices.

I also visited the Miraflores restaurant at night during an event and witnessed the ships coming in and out. The canal is very impressive and the museum tour located in the Miraflores Canal Lock was very informative and you can even drive a simulator and feel as if you were inside the ship driving into the lock.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Washington, DC
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2010

Not only is this hotel very beautiful and serene but the service levels match the environment. Beautiful architectural design. Great staff and great food!! I can't wait to visit again.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Lisle, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2010

The hotel: we enjoyed the hotel very much. Our room was outstanding - very clean and comfortable. The staff was friendly and helpful. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. The pools were outstanding. The buffet restaurant isn't fantastic but it's OK. We did eat at the Lighthouse (the finer restaurant) which was pricey but nice for one meal. The service is slower than we are used to in the US (the waiters always seemed to disappear when it's time for the check) but this didn't bother me much considering the fact that we were on vacation and it's a different culture.

The other stuff: we didn't have the mini biting bug problem that so many people complained about. There are mosquito's but it's hot and humid so this is to be expected. I generally don't understand people complaining about bugs when they visit a tropical destination. Try not to be out at dusk and use bug spray and you'll probably be okay. The location is good if you want to lounge by the pool and enjoy peace and quiet. We wanted to get out of the area so we rented a car for a couple of days. It was inexpensive and allowed us to visit a lot of places on our own.

  • Stayed April 2010, 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
    • 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.
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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
#22 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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