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“A big corporate hotel” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort

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Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Isla Colon, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 24 Hotels in Isla Colon
GLENWOOD
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“A big corporate hotel”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

Playa Tortuga is the biggest hotel on Isla Colon and the only corporate run hotel in the islands. The building is not bad (some things are a little goofy) The staff seems completely dis-interested and a little "bossy" there's no training so the staff appears to be clueless and angry.

My daughter went down there for breakfast and was bossed around with "you can't sit there" "you can't take coffee from that coffee maker" "you can't take a whole table if you're just one person" rules rules rules. A real disconnect with who pays their salary.

There are literally hundreds of great beautiful small cozy hotels in Bocas del Toro. Find "anywhere else" to stay, but If you want to stay in a "Motel" like atmosphere with unfriendly staff this is the place for you

Room Tip: Get another hotel
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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391 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
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English first
Buffalo, New York
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013 via mobile

Family of 4 (2 kids...7 & 10). They loved it.
Positives:
-nice, clean pool
-fun, safe beach with free kayak rentals, volleyball, ping pong, and mini soccer nets
-great breakfast buffet
-walk north from hotel away from town for about 20-30 minutes, hit tidal pools for kids to explore and surf beach with restaurant (accepts VISA)
Negatives:
-BRING CASH!!! Our ATM card didn't work at the only ATM on island in Bocas Town, and most tours and many restaurants only accept cash
-lunch & dinner on all of island ok, but surprisingly expensive
-"island time" be prepared to wait for taxis and tours, they seldomly leave on time
-wifi and electricity is spotty, power went out for most of the day

Other:
-No kids bikes, but you can rent golf cart for the day ($80)
-must visit Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute very close to hotel: free and we got a great 2 1/2 hour tour of labs, experiments, and grounds (caimans, birds, sloths) !!!!

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

This is the second time I stay in Playa Tortuga with my family and the main reason is because we travel with a 7 year old son that has a great time here. We were hesitent to come the first time because of the mixed reviews and we came because of the nice pools and also because we could not find other places in the island with nicer ones. Obviously now we really like the place since we came back after a few months but we do understand some of the lower reviews because the hotel has some things that we learned to tolerate, here's a summary of our experiences in Playa Tortuga:
Positive:
- Nice pools
- Confortable Rooms
- Acceptable breakfast buffet and lunch/dinner menus
- free kayaks
- Decent Gym
Things to tolerate:
- Slow service at reception and restaurants
- You need a cab to get downtown, and sometimes it takes a while for a cab to come by, even if it's called from the hotel reception.
- Unstable Internet, it worked fine during our first stay but it was out a full day during our second stay.
-

Room Tip: No elevators, ask for 1st floor if traveling with a lot of luggage or smaller kids. sacrifice the vi...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Wilmington, North Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Our family of five (kids 8, 7 and 4) had such a great stay at Playa Tortuga! Jesus met us at the boat ferry from Almirante and got us out to the property. It's right on the beach about 10 minutes outside Bocas Town. We found we didn't need more than an hour or two in Bocas Town in the three days we were there. Pools were fun at the hotel, plenty of families, boat tour to see the dolphins, snorkel at Coral Cay and walk the beach at Zapatilla. Jesus also arranged our travel from the hotel all the way to the border on our return. We found Panama far more economical than Costa Rica.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Kings Park, New York, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

There were a lot of great things about Playa Tortuga, i.e., the views; the olympic-sized pool; the delicious mixed drinks; the comfortable beds, and the free kayak rentals. However, there were a few things that made our stay less-than luxurious. 

I came to this hotel with my fiancé in June. When we arrived, we were ecstatic! What a beautiful hotel! For the first few days, we were very satisfied. Everything was going so well. However, as our week-long stay continued, things started going down hill. First, my fiancé made sure to purchase the breakfast plan with our stay which included an all-you-can-eat buffet filled with eggs, french toast, pancakes, cereals, sausages, bacon, yogurts, etc. The breakfast for the first few mornings was delicious! I was so happy. Then we went downstairs one morning and they decided to forgo the buffet because not enough people were staying at the hotel to eat the food, and instead had a sit down breakfast. This would have been OK if they didn't limit the amount of food we were allowed to eat  and insisted on charging us for extra sides even though we paid in advance! This wasn't acceptable. A few days later, they returned the buffet but it was old food (brown eggs, chewy bacon, etc). We were so disappointed =0[ 

The resort lost electricity a lot, and we spent quite a few days without AC for most of the day. It also lost running water for a few hours. However, it IS an island so this was understandable. 

The one thing that still bothers me a month later is an incident with the ceiling light above the shower. We requested the third floor because of the wonderful views (which truly are wonderful!). This is also the top floor. My fiancé occasionally said he heard footsteps above us, but we wrote it off because we were on the top floor after all. The ceilings are cardboard tiles. In place of one of those tiles was a light that was directly above the shower. When we arrived, we noticed the corner of the plastic light cover was lifted a little, but we thought nothing of it. After spending the day at the pool, I went to rinse off in the shower. I noticed the entire one side of the light cover was lifted up, exposing a painted attic that was more than livable. My fiancé tried fidgeting with the light to pull it back down but it wouldn't budge. Complaints fell on deaf ears; no one spoke English when we tried to get answers. For three days, we placed clothing in the gap to prevent anyone walking above to see in the shower. On the third day, my fiancé and I were getting ready to go to the pool when the maid knocked on the door. Standing behind her were three men who looked shocked that I actually answered the door (it was a late start for us that day; we almost never stayed in the room). We left a few minutes later and when we came back a few hours later, the light was pulled back down. I was SHOCKED. I didn't know what to think! My fiance tried to see if he could push the light up easily, but he couldn't. It had to be pushed or pull with force! It was pretty obvious that people were fooling around with the light. Again, no one responded to our complaints. If they had to do work, they could have waited until after we left the room. That IS the shower after all! It was very uncomfortable! And even if it was emergency work, we should have been notified. Instead people snooped around while we were out of the room. For this reason, Playa Tortuga lost a lot of stars. This resort has the potential to be a 5-star hotel, but it needs a lot of tweaking and I need a lot of answers! And trust me, my fiance and I never complain about anything! 

Room Tip: I want to stay to choose the top floor, but based on my experience, maybe the second floor is better...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
San Jose
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

We stayed at this hotel for a team building event. The hotel is very nice with beautiful views from all the rooms. Rooms are relatively large, very clean, with nice toilettries. Food is very good. Shuttle service to town is reliable and effective. Some employees are helpful.

On the negative side, we did not have Internet most of the time. The service at the restaurant was slow; it took us 90 minutes to complete lunch (it had been pre-ordered); not good when you are on a business meeting. Some hotel employees were not particularly friendly and helpful; they do things at their own rhythm regardless of your needs. For example, I had to ask three times for the arrangement of our meeting room. At the end, we had to start our work day late.

The general manager apologized for the inconveniences we experienced and tried to compensate for the service faults; that was very nice on her part.

Despite the flaws, I would come back to this hotel, more for leisure than for work.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Bocas is a wonderful place to visit. I have enjoyed many of the beaches and tours, as well as great restaurants. However, I would recommend staying at another place. From time to time during the day, I get smelt something rotten. There is also some kind of loud generator that runs and shuts off. Just when you think it is going to be quiet, it runs again. This could be a great place if they would give some attention to these annoying details.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Colon
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Colon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 117
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tropical Caribbean Beach Resort on the crystal clear waters of Bocas del Toro, Panama.Playa Tortuga offers 117 stylish room accommodations, each with a balcony and spectacular ocean view. Guests may choose from standard rooms, junior suites and large grand suites, all offering a contemporary décor, modern amenities and a soothing tropical atmosphere.Relax in the hotel’s sea view pool, or sunbathe in our water mirrors while enjoying your favorite beverage from the nearby bar area. Little ones will enjoy the children’s pool. Other modern and convenient amenities include free WIFI and a state of the art Fitness Center featuring a private massage area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Tortuga Hotel And Beach Resort
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Isla Colon
Playa Tortuga Resort Beach
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon

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