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“Lovely Hotel!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Balboa Inn

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The Balboa Inn
Cruces 2311A | Balboa, Ancon, Panama City, Panama   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 67 Panama City B&B and Inns
Panama City, Panama
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Lovely Hotel!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

A very convenient location lovely breakfast included and a nice seating area outside. The rooms were comfortable too! Mieke and Bill were very friendly and accommodating! All in all great value for money!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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341 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
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English first
CA
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We stayed at Balboa Inn with our 3 children (14, 12, 10) in a triple room. The owners were accommodating in that they allowed us to stay in a small room and add a bed (the quad was booked, as was the other inn in the area.) It was an average Euro type inn with a helpful owner. The beds were Euro style as well. The breakfast was ok and it was nice to sit outside and eat. Panama City is good for about a 1/2 day, to see the Locks and a quick daytime stroll through Casca Viejo (it's not a must, as it is beautiful in small parts and slummy in others.) Balboa Inn was very convenient (also near the bus station), and it was nice to be out of the downtown area in a more green area.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Arnhem, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

We've stayed 5 nights at the Balboa Inn with our 1,5 years old boy.
The provided a travel baby cot for him, which was very nice. They also have a babychair.
The managers Mieke and Bill are really nice and can answer all your questions. Too bad that they smoke a lot, the smell and smoke is not very nice for non-smokers like us.
The room was a bit dark, but clean and cleaned every day. Breakfast was okay. The only thing we've missed was some coffee or tea options for in the evening, when our boy was in bed and we stayed in the common area with a book and the wifi.
The location is very good. It's quiet at night, you can walk to a few places nearby (Ancon Hill, Administration Building) and the rest is easily done with taxi's.
There are a few restaurants nearby, from which we found Niko's was especially good for us with our little one. It's a self serving restaurant, with different choices (also healthy food like rice, vegetables and some meat) and a bakery for breakfast or lunch.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shelton, CT
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

We stayed before leaving Panama and on our return. Mieke and Bill were so helpful arranging our airport drop off and pick up. We were even able to leave our car with them for 3 weeks at no charge!!!! We had a very early departure but still woke up to hot coffee and a nice little breakfast. The Inn is located in a quiet and beautiful neighborhood with a fantastic restaurant just a short walk away. We enjoyed sitting outside watching all the birds and wildlife that surround the Inn. Great place, great people!!!!

  • Stayed June 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 Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Minot, North Dakota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

We just finished up a week in Panama, staying with Bill & Mieke at the Balboa Inn. There were 14 people in our party and we took up 5 rooms. The service was what I would hope for in a bed and breakfast establishment.

Some of the advantages of staying here included:
Pickup and drop off at Tocumen International Airport.
Friendly staff (cleaning/cooking)
Truly excellent conversation with Bill & Mieke while relaxing from a long day this or that:>
The rooms and environs are very clean, more European in flavor than American

Disadvantages - there were none for me, but in case you did not notice, there is a lot of jungle in and around Panama... so I'd suggest mosquito repellent, and some benadryl spray for when the repellent does not work.

To finish our trip off, one of our daughters left her cell phone behind when we headed for the airport. Bill & Mieke had a note out to us before we arrived back stateside (call it 4 or so hours with flight time) letting us know about it and asking where we would like it shipped.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

We stayed at The Balboa Inn for one full week recently, and overall, we were very happy that we had chosen it as our home base for the week.

The Inn is located in a very nice, safe area of the city. As many other travellers have noted, its location is extremely convenient, since you’re just a short taxi ride away from many of the sights in the city and surrounding areas, and it offers excellent value. There isn’t a whole lot that you’re able to walk to in the vicinity (aside from Ancon Hill, and the Panal Canal Administration Building - both worth visiting), so plan on taking cabs pretty much everywhere else....but that wasn’t a big issue, since the cabs were very affordable.

Bill & Mieke are great inn-keepers, and will go out of their way to ensure you have a pleasant stay. Also, they will assist with arranging tours for you if you like, and will provide you with advice about restaurants, areas to visit, areas to avoid, etc., so don’t be afraid to ask them if you need assistance.

The common area at the back (where breakfast is served) is great for observing the birds and other wildlife (including the family of Agoutis who call this oasis their home!). The daily breakfasts were quite sufficient and included eggs (prepared fresh according to your liking) and a little meat (seemed to rotate through ham, bacon, and sausage, which was more like a frankfurter). There were also some cereals, yoghurt, fresh cut fruit (usually pineapple, watermelon, and sometimes papaya, if I recall correctly), sliced breads (you can toast the bread), coffee, teas, and cheese slices.

Here are some tips we thought we’d pass along:

To grab a cab, just walk down to Calle Balboa and flag one down, but make sure you have plenty of small bills/change since some cabs may not have change. Also, try to negotiate a rate before you get in; we had plenty of taxi drivers try to over-charge us for rides, so ask Bill or Mieke in advance how much a cab should cost to get you to your destination. If they want considerably more than that, then just tell them TOO MUCH, and they’ll either drive off, or lower it. As an example, we were quoted $25 for a ride that should only cost maybe $6-$8.

Make sure you always take along with you the map that is provided by the Bill & Mieke; most taxi drivers won’t have heard of the Inn, and even with the map, it sometimes takes them a while to figure out where to go; some of them still had to call someone to figure out where to go! My tip would be to print off a slightly larger (expanded area), detailed map in advance of your trip (from Google Maps or similar), and keep that with you.

Although not related to the Inn, if you’re buying alcohol to take back home with you, don’t plan to buy it at any of the duty free shops at the airport, since they are outrageously expensive. Save about 60% or more, and buy it at a grocery store (i.e. Super 99 or Reys). The hard liquor is ‘very’ cheap in Panama; the wine, not as much.

We stayed in Room 5, and found it to be a great room. We had originally been in Room 6, but requested to be moved, since it had a very low platform bed, which we didn’t find the most comfortable. Room 5 also had a closet, which was nice, and it seemed a little quieter than Room 6.

We had booked the room in advance, including airport transfers, but some confusion had happened with our taxi pick-up at the airport. We called the Inn after waiting for a few minutes, and there appeared to have been a technical glitch with the reservation system, so we grabbed another cab, and Thorold paid the driver when he arrived at the Inn. My recommendation would be to confirm with the Inn prior to your arrival about the taxi pick-up, if you’ve requested that, and then when you arrive just to confirm that the cab is on its way, if it isn’t already there.

It’s the rainy season now in Panama, so don’t expect to see sunshine all day long. Luckily, we never got caught in one of the down-pours, but be aware of that potential if you’re out and about. If it’s a really rainy day, try to check out Albrook Mall, which is short taxi-ride from the Inn. It’s ‘huge’, and will keep you busy for several hours!

We had a wonderful experience in Panama City, and we’d highly recommend The Balboa Inn for those looking for a bed & breakfast option, at a very reasonable rate. Thank you for your hospitality, Bill & Mieke!

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 5, and found it to be a great room. We had originally been in Room 6, but requeste...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, LA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

I did a lot of careful research to decide where to stay for my visit to Panama City. I chose the Balboa Inn because I wanted to be in close proximity to everything the city had to offer but in a quiet neighborhood where I could see some wildlife. The Balboa Inn was perfect.

Advantages:

• Thorwald was a wonderful host.
• The Inn was clean and comfortable.
• Breakfast was good and plentiful and is included in the price of the room: eggs, cereal, ham, yogurt, juice, coffee, toast, peanut butter, etc.
• The Balboa Inn is just a few blocks (maybe 4) from a major roadway so catching a cab is easy or the staff will call a cab for you.
• It’s a quiet, pretty neighborhood in which to relax after navigating the crazy, energetic city.
• The staff can help you book excursions.
• It was like staying in someone’s home. One night it was pouring rain and Thorwald and I ordered pizza for delivery and chatted over dinner. It was good pizza too!

Disadvantages:
For me these were not disadvantages, but be aware…

• There are only a few choices to eat near the Inn. There is a nice restaurant that I didn’t try, a food stand near the mini mart, which had great grilled chicken and Niko’s Café. Niko’s is a cafeteria with super cheap eats and a great bakery.
• Hiking to the top of Cerro Ancon and a little artists market is about the only activities within walking distance. You’ll have to take a cab everywhere else. However, I doubt there is any place you could stay that would be within walking distance to everything you want to do. The city is sprawling. Cabs are fairly cheap. Although, I think they’re cheaper for locals than for tourists! Oh, well, what’s a buck or two?
• The Balboa Inn is a bed and breakfast, so don’t expect the Waldorf Astoria or a Trump property. No chocolate on the pillow, no turn-down service, no room service. It’s not uptight or stuffy or gilded. It’s a good, clean, sweet little inn run by super nice people.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Balboa Inn

Also Known As:
The Balboa Hotel Panama City
The Balboa Hotel
The Balboa Inn Panama/Panama City
Address: Cruces 2311A | Balboa, Ancon, Panama City, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 67 B&Bs / Inns in Panama City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Balboa Inn is a small Bed & Breakfast at the foot of Panama's main landmark, Ancon Hill (Cerro Ancón) in Balboa. Conveniently located between the downtown area, Amador Causeway and just minutes away from the domestic Albrook Airport, Casco Viejo, and the Panama Canal you are away from the city noise yet have access to all its services. The Balboa Inn: a great location, personal service, a real breakfast. Simply good value. Why settle for less? ... more   less 

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