My wife and I stayed at the Sheraton Bijao from Jan. 22 to Jan. 30 - 8 nights. We have been to many islands in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, etc. and were looking for something different to try. We searched AppleVacations.com and found a very reasonable rate for this hotel for an all-inclusive, so thought we would try it.
We read a lot of reviews on TripAdviser that were negative about this hotel but it seems like other places we've been to have had the same kind of reviews that weren't favorable. But, I have to admit we were getting a little worried. It turned out that we had no major issues with the hotel except the noise at night when they have the entertainment shows near the pool which resonates all over in the rooms, etc. We have stayed at much better hotels like Sandals in St. Lucia and Dreams in LaRomana or Hyatt in Grand Cayman, but the Sheraton is a good value.
1. Four buildings in L shape with number 4 closest to the beach (all suites), then building 3, 2 and 1 (where the lobby is). Hotel is not that big so nothing is far away.
2. Almost 2 hour taxi from the airport to the hotel via expressways that have many curves and hills on them. Apple arranged ground transportation with Gamboa Tours and they were excellent. Wouldn't recommend getting a car.
3. Had emailed Maria Fernandez at the Sheraton and requested a quiet room. She suggested one that overlooks the Bijao condo complex next door so as to not overlook the pool and she sent to the front desk manager. They had us booked on the 5th floor in Bldg. 1 that had a great view but was right above the stage, so we asked to be changed closer to the beach. They gave us a room on the 8th floor in Building 2. It still faced the pool, had a great view, little balcony bigger than most of the rest, but it was still noisy. We ran idream noise on our Iphones a loud as we could to drown out the noise.
4. Has three ala carte restaurants: Mediterranean, Japanese, and steak. We ate dinner at all of them and liked them -- not outstanding, but good. Need to get reservations each day from 8 to 11 near the lobby with Maria. She was very helpful in other things also. They have a large buffet and we could always find something we liked for breakfast or lunch. Also can get pizza in the afternoon and they have the beach restaurant with hamburgers, etc.
5. Has a very nice beach. We walked 2 miles to the east and 2 to the west. Not much on it, very isolated, but that was fine for us. The sand does get very hot, so tough to walk in bare feet.
6. Weather was excellent with low-90's for highs and mid-70's for lows.
7. Tried to go fishing but charter would only take 4 people minimum and no one else signed up.
8. We're both certified divers but didn't dive, only have one shallow dive option.
9. Had to get out early to reserve chairs on beach or at the pool. They could use more tables near the chairs as there is nothing to put your drinks and stuff on.
10. They had a small, portable bar set up on the beach with limited drinks, but that was good.
11. The pool bar gets busy and sometimes had to wait up to 10 minutes to get a drink but no big deal. Could use another bartender during busy times.
12. Room was OK, nothing fancy but for the little time we were in it, it was fine. Overall the place could use some sprucing up and modernizing, but was not horrible.
13. They only give you two bottles of water per day. Seems strange like they want you to drink booze instead of water. And you couldn't get bottled water at the bars.
14. Our last night in Panama we stayed at the Holiday Inn Panama Canal and visited Miraflores Locks on the Canal.
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Bijao Beach Hotel Santa Clara
- Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort Panama/Santa Clara