I have read through some of the other reviews of this location and I question some of the truthfulness in those reviews, but here is mine.
Dates of stay: 10 - 15 September, 2013
My reservation was made in Bogota, Colombia and that was the point of departure and return via Avianca airlines.
This review will cover various locations but I will try to make it more pertinent to OnVacations which is the managing company of Playa Blanca Hotel and Resort.
Avianca airline is contracted for charter service through OnVacations departing in my case from El Dorado International airport in Bogota, Colombia. The flight was scheduled for departure at 12:30am, however was delayed by a little over an hour due to a "gate change". There were no announcements made by OnVacations personnel, and as such, there were over 150 very angry passengers.
On arrival at Tocumen International airport in Panama City, Panama we were met by OnVacations staff at baggage claim and boarded buses for the trip to the resort. My bus was delayed by 2 hours outside of Panama City as it burned the clutch out, yet again, nothing said by OnVacations staff as to what was occurring. I should add here that the package I purchased was for 5 nights, however had now turned to 4 nights due to the time of arrival at the resort. We also had to drop off passengers at Playa Bonita resort before going to Playa Blanca (this was never discussed with us when we purchased the package, and is notable as Playa Bonita adds roughly half an hour out of the way).
Upon arrival, the check-in was quick of the 40 passengers that were delayed for the 2 hours, though there was no reception, snacks, etc provided as was to be included in the package purchased.
The room was a two queen bed room that smelled of mold and mildew, and visible mildew on the ceiling.
While I knew that the food provided in the all included package was to be buffet style, I would rate it at poor to horrible due to the greasiness and saltiness of the food. In the five day stay I recounted the same dishes served at lunch and dinner in at least 6 occasions much of which looked to be no more than leftovers. My wife and I are normally not ones to complain about food however by day three she resorted to eating bread and fruit for the remainder of the trip. While the table service is quick to remove dirty dishes, the attitude of the employees tended to be very poor and unfriendly.
The one exception is to the waitress and sushi chef as both were super cordial and helpful.
The shows in the evening are decent, but tend to repeat the same music and dances during the 5 night stay, though there are children's shows every evening which for the most part are enjoyable as well.
There are also three additional tours available at additional cost: Transit the lock of the Panama Canal on the Pacific side ($75 USD pp with discount, normally $125), Trip to the Free zone in Colon ($35 USD pp + $5 for delivery of merchandise the airport the day of departure, does NOT include meals), trip to El Valle Anton ($40 pp).
The final day (Day 5) included a stop at Ft. Amador (Fuerte Amador) causeway which is now a commercial area/marina. The prices there are quite comparable to US prices ($15 - 20 USD average per plate), a free zone as well. From ft. Amador the tour moves to the Panama Canal where hopefully you can watch a ship transit the locks ($5 USD pp to view from the observation deck, $8 USD pp to enter the museum and observation deck), the a stop for several hours at Albrook Mall. The mall has roughly 800 shops and kiosks according to their website, prices are comparable to US prices but deals can be found at many shops.
I have to admit overall I was extremely disappointed with the resort and OnVacations. I actually chose OnVacations in order to save $300 USD over staying at Decameron which is a much, much higher quality of service, food, and establishment in our opinion.
My recommendation is to spend the few extra hundred dollars and be much more satisfied with your vacation. One thing is for certain, my family has all agreed that we will not be spending anymore time or money with OnVacations.
A couple short notes, my family and I are all bilingual and my wife and son are from South America. This is important because there was discrimination with my family, however with me, the American, I found large amounts of discrimination from much of the staff simply from how I looked even though I speak perfect Spanish.
The resort also has a nightclub that is open until 3am and our experience is that minors are allowed to drink which created a very large disturbance outside our room.
- Also Known As:
- Playa Blanca Hotel And Resort
- Playa Blanca Hotel Farallon
- Playa Blanca Hotel
- Playa Blanca Panama
- Hotel Playa Blanca Panama
- Playa Blanca Resort Panama
- Playa Blanca Panama City
- Playa Blanca Resort
- Blanca Panama Playa
- Playa Blanca Hotel & Resort Panama/Farallon
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