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“Still looking for that "home away from home"” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Olas

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Hotel Olas
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Calle 6, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Bocas Town
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Still looking for that "home away from home"”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

We made a business trip to BdT to find the hotels that would accomodate our Puerto Viejo boat tour biz and our occassional trips to the islands to get out of town. This hotel has a lot of the features we were after;
1) In town, but away from the center.
2) Breakfast included
3) Access to the boat
4) English speaking
5) Modest prices

But, what it offered, it often lacked;
1) In town, just 100 meters from the diesel generator that powers the town.
2) Meager breakfast--lackluster muffin/cupcake, boxed orange juice, coffee (the best feature, the milk is steamed and served with froth!)
3) There is a dock out back, though 3 inquiries as to whether we would be permitted to tie up our boat all went unanswered--thinkin' probably not!
4) When I asked questions in English, I got short English answers (yes, no, i don't know), when I asked questions in Spanish, I got short Spanish answers (si, no, no se). So, I would ascertain that yes, they know both English and Spanish, they just don't choose to speak!! Really, the desk staff sat at the desk (in the rear or water-side of the hotel) and I never saw them up from that position. Since the rooms open onto a main corridor leading to the reception desk, there is the impression of no security (or assistance) until you wander up to it on your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
5) Prices as advertised!! Our room (a double) included a double size bed, a twin bed, private bath, TV, air conditioning and towels for $40. No complaints on the room itself. Just loud from the humongous generator down the street and the tin roof overhead that seemed (room 5) to be directly below the upper roof based on what sounded like buckets of rocks being tossed in a dryer.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

This hotel was well down on list from my web research but on a whim I went there first, and how happy I was to have done so. Located on Calle 6 near Ave C, it is far enough from downtown to be quiet and yet a short walk to all services. The island power plant is only 2 blocks away but you can’t hear it, ever!. For a very reasonable $35, I had a nicely appointed and furnished room. Wood paneling, tiled batch, sat TV, A/C, and fresh good quality towels and linen daily. Most of the office staff are bilingual and were always helpful, friendly, and welcoming. There is a over –the-water patio on the second floor where you can bring your snacks and drinks to relax and pass the time with other travelers. There is a computer with excellent Internet access on the main floor. I thoroughly enjoyed my five nights here and convinced two other travelers to stay here during my visit. I would recommend it wholeheartedly and if and when I return, will stay here again.
Included breakfast is just juice, coffee, and muffins and service tended to be slow. An a la carte menu is available.

www.hotelolas.com

Room Tip: If you can afford it, try the Presidential suite with the balcony and sea-view. Also, while my room...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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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Panama City, Panama
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

Overall I liked this hotel. Reserving the room was easy and simple enough. I got really lucky actually. I reserved a suite originally, but we got to Bocas del Toro extremely early at 5 in the morning. When we got to the hotel our suite wasn't ready so they told us we could stay in the Presidential Suite and then switch in the morning. We were elated! We were even more elated when we were told the next day that we could stay in the Presidential Suite and the regular suite price for the remainder if our trip. The view from our room was spectacular. The hotel overlooks the marina and I loved it. Plus the water is so clean and clear makes everything all the better. The room itself was nice. For a Presidential Suite it was small, but it was big enough for us. The bathroom was huge and I actually liked that it was pretty open. Lots of fresh air. The TV didn't get very good reception, but honestly that's the last thing we care about when we're on vacation in Bocas del Toro.

As much as I liked the hotel there were some things that I feel need improvement. I do notice everything especially in hotels. I actually work at a 5 star hotel and so it's hard for me not to compare. The furniture in the room has to be replaced. It's all old and it feels stuffy. Some of the furniture was even stained. Lamps and stands should be changed as well. There was this rug underneath the lamp that I couldn't figure out why it was there. Also, instead of having a curtain on one of the windows there was a scarf pinned to sides of the window. I didn't like that. Also, the room was clean in general, but it could have been better. The room is very open and so it does collect dust fast. It should have been swept and mopped every day. The bathroom was clean when we got there, but never cleaned while we were there. Also, no towels were provided whatsoever. I liked the bed, but the sheets could have been better. They weren't really soft. Overall, the room was nice, it just needs maintenance. It needs to be better taken care of. It needs a little more love put into it.

Lastly, I do want to point out that the staff was really kind. I live in Panama and if there's one thing that's hard to find, it's good customer service. The people here are part of a small minority who are actually nice and helpful to customers. They make you feel welcome and are more than willing to answer a question and help you.

Room Tip: I highly recommend the Presidential Suite. I caught a glimpse of the other rooms and they seemed ext...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Paramus, New Jersey
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

I loved this hotel. Their breakfast and the view every morning was amazing. You eat breakfast right on the porch overlooking the water. The hotel is not your typical luxury hotel but then again this is a small island off of Panama so you don't get any luxury hotels or see any chain hotels on the island. Its a boutique hotel very small and quaint located right on the water. You see the fisherman every morning going out to sea. Beautiful sunsets. We stayed in the suite upstairs where you have your own private balcony. The owners were very nice and accommodating. They helped us with surf rentals, bike and kayak rentals. We did occasionally see little baby lizards in our room lol That might be gross for some but it did not bother me. I would definitely stay there again and you can't beat the price for what you get.

Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guadalajara, Mexico
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

A while back we stayed at hotels Olas and it was okay. On this past visit on July 29th, 2012 we stayed there again based on our previous experience. To start off, we got our first room, and the bathroom was all bad, it had rust on the toilet, the faucet did not work it would turn all around and it smelled bad, like sewer gas, the TV was faulty.

The second room they gave us, once again the bathroom was bad, the toilet did not work, it would not flush. apparently it would only fill half way and the tv would not get reception very good. The problem with the noise of the hotel is still very present, you can hear conversations of your neighbors through the walls.

There are better choices in Bocas, we had to change hotels due to the problems and poor hotel maintenance. And for the price, you are better off looking at a different hotel, we found others that were nicer and everything worked.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

Hotel Olas could have been a good choice, based solely on location. They have quiet a few cheaper rooms along hallways, plus one "suite" upstairs with a balcony and a great view. The problem is that the owners don't care about creating a good experience for the guests. They hire hardworking Panamanians to clean and handle the main desk, but the owner's policies result in a bad experience, such as bad, almost insulting, "breakfasts" of bad juice, bad coffee and a tiny cookie or "pastry." They push clients toward "excursions" which are overpriced and inflexible. There is (in my experience) no effort to adjust cleaning schedules to benefit the clients. The feeling one gets is that they will take your money but have no interest in actually having you there. It's too bad, this could be a good place, but I'd avoid it unless the ownership changes.

Room Tip: I think the same money will buy you a better experience in many other Bocas hotels.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

This hotel was wonderful, nice a clean very friendly staff who helped us plan day trips. They rent bikes for the day for only 5 dollars, and on each floor of the hotel are decks with seating to eat on, or read a book. They have installed a camera in the doorway for safety and each door has a lock. The bathrooms were nice and clean. I never was disrupted by noise, even on the main floor/main hallway. For 42 dollars per night, it was a great deal and we really enjoyed ourselves!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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 Hotel Olas

Address: Calle 6, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Bocas Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Olas 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful Hotel on the water with great ocean view. Quiet location, 2 minute walk from main street ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Olas Hotel Bocas Town
Hotel Olas Bocas Del Toro, Panama - Bocas Town

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