First it is important to understand there are not so many places to stay on Contadora, So if you list all the Pros and Cons, overall I think Gerald's is the best choice considering: location, room and overall hotel standards, prices and food . The main advantages:
1. The best location currently in the island. The closest hotel to the nudist beach and to the longest beach in the island. As the Contadora Hotel is currently vacant (and ruined) , all the huge area around it looks like a wilderness area with lots of dears and other animals walking around. The closest hotel to this area is currently Gerald's.
2. The owner- Gerald is a German citizen with a German/European understanding of how to properly treat his guests. He is very friendly and helped us a lot. In addition it makes him pretty good in English and obviously German. This is not a minor issue in Panama, where many tourist establishments for some reason do not think that knowing an international language other than Spanish is an important requirement…
3. The hotel is very close to the Airport, and as the only airline currently operating has a very "flexible" time schedule, it is very helpful, because you can sit in the Hotel and hear if a plain is coming…very important for the day you plan to leave the hotel. Also the minimarkets, diving store and Air Panama office are close by. Do not worry from the airport noise- you hardly hear anything from the rooms, there are not so many flights to the island, and none after dark.
4. As all previous trip advisor reviews mentioned- The Hotels' Restaurant is the best in the islands. Not that there are so many to chose from…but still, I would say this is probably the only good restaurant on the island.
5. The hotel is still new and gives good value for money (105$/night inc. taxes)- so the rooms look well, has AC, safe, small fridge for the water and the LCD TV has very good variety of channels. Unlike other hotels we visited in Panama, there are also always hot water (unless there are no water at all…As the island has no main water supply, I needed once to ask the stuff to change the water tank source to renew the water supply, so my wife was stuck in the shower for couple of minutes with no water…).
The disadvantages of the Hotel:
1. No balconies and no view from the room. I think it is a major disadvantage, as a different plan of the room could provide both.
2. There is no real privacy as one can hear what is going in other rooms. The walls are pretty "thin".
3. Other noise issues: Gerald holds several parrots right in front of the hotel- they are usually very sweet, but less sweet at 6:30 AM, as they are a true substitute for the rooster when the sun is shining… beside that we had one night a neighbor with a villa right by the hotel that decided from 2:00 AM he would like the entire Island to hear his favorite music…I guess in other places the police would interfere, but apparently in Panama no one does anything to stop it.
4. Wi-Fi is not very strong in the rooms: good enough for E-mails, not good enough for streaming (Skype). In the restaurant it is better.
5. Prices of the restaurant are not cheap. I would say they are Western Europe standards (around 50-70$ for a basic meal for 2 persons). And much more expensive than in Panama City. Service by the local personal (other than Gerald himself) has the same problems we found in other Panamanian establishments: lack of English language, not very polite and "service oriented".
Overall I would recommend this hotel, and recommend Contadora Island visit- this is an Island with much less rain than in the Caribbean sea (we had perfect weather in March, with no rain at all), and private beaches perfect for romantic couples.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.