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“Tired but Great Location”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Reviewed August 31, 2013

The views and the area around the hotel was incredible. The night safari was informative even the actual sightings were few and brief but you can't always have the animals on cue. The buffet was good and had a separate station for specialties. The view of the Chagres river in the evening was something to be remembered. The hotel has seen its better days.The maintenance is poor. The handrails on the ramps need a scrub bush and cleaner big time. Areas in the rooms needed paint. The tiles in many areas around the pool were missing or chipped. I never found the pool bar open. At one time, the resort was grand but now is OK. Take the golf hole flags down from the overgrow greens so you don't advertise what was in the past.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ed w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 2, 2013

I really appreciate your comments and suggestions this will make our hotel a better place to visit. I have noted each of your recommendations because all are great help for us.
Thank you very much and hope to see you again in Panama.
Cordially yours

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 31, 2013

Room was very average, buffet food was tasteless and expensive, service was so so.
Monkey Bar views were great. Location is not convienent to anything. Pool was nice but closed at 6pm. Luckily we booked a private guide from Panama Travel Consultants, he took us everywhere, good restaurants, great sight seeing, a beach excursion. Call Scott at Panama Travel Consultants, its the best money I spent in Panama.

Room Tip: Web booked through a time share, regular hotel rooms may be better.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Daniel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 2, 2013

Appreciate your comments are very important for the operation of the hotel. We will continue with the customer service plan to ensure that all our staff will deliver a good service always. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Sincerely

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Reviewed August 24, 2013

Overall, 7 days at this resort was too much.

- The staff at the resort were mostly lackadaisical (with a small number of exceptions).
- The food quality was poor at the buffet while all inclusive limited our free selections to buffet only except for a single a la carte for 3 total meals (where the selection was such that we only went once).
- Fruit was displayed nicely on ceramic plates at the buffets, but had large amounts of fruit flies every day, which prevented us from eating it very often.
- Desserts were displayed nicely, but again, fruit flies occupied this space in both the temporary location and new permanent location of the restaurant.
--Suggestion for both the fruit and the desserts would be to put them in a covered display case.
- The main buffet restaurant was under construction (the hotel gave us an apology letter that indicated there would be a meeting on Aug 3 - it didn't actually apologize for anything, but it was in english and I'm not sure the hotel staff who gave it to us had read it. The buffet while in the temporary location (until Saturday on a Thursday to Thursday trip) was cold, and almost completely unattended.
- Breakfast at the new permanent buffet was by far the best - with Jesus the omelette chef working hard to make up for the rest of the downfalls (kudos to him, he was our favorite employee by far).
- The a la carte menu was extremely expensive in the main restaurant and lunch spot on the river.
- The buffet on the river was identical to the main restaurant (so really there was only a change of view available, not different food at lunch).
- The riverside restaurant was closed on Monday (even though they told us it would only be closed on Sunday). The staff even drove us down there to get lunch, and were surprised to see it closed (but the wait staff inside said it was closed for a private viewing only on Mondays).
- The poolside bartender (on every shift, even different people) were more interested in their cell phones or checking items off of a checklist than serving. I literally had to call them over for every drink and it looked painful for them to bring it to the bar where I was sitting. I would sometimes sit for up to 10 minutes with the bartender 5 feet away, and I was literally the only person in the pool / only customer they had (the resort was not very busy) - and had to call them over for anything (they never approached unless asked).
- The indoor bar "Monkey Bar" had a fantastic view but it was similarly difficult to order drinks inside (but not to the extreme as the pool).
- The tours we took part on while offered a nice scenic view, didn't provide a glance at many animals other than the capybara (which were cool to see every day, this is more of an observation than a complaint).
- The spa afternoon we planned for my wife's birthday was a disaster. The staff led us both into the female change room (they said the male room was broken, which I later determined meant they were cleaning it). This was OK prior to our massage as we were the only people present, but after the massage when they led us back into the change room (literally leading us) - the room was full of women, one about to change (they led her in literally right behind us). The "thermal" areas we paid to enter in the "romantic" package were actually separate areas based on gender, but since the male room was closed, they led us into a room where other women were showering and using the hot tub, obviously not expecting a man to walk in (it created discomfort for all of us). I left the spa as fast as I could, it was extremely uncomfortable, but cost me over $150 for the experience.
- Visiting "El Valle" with our tour guide "Octavian" was the highlight of our trip - he was fantastic and the trip was of excellent value.
- Visiting old Panama City was fun, but obviously aimed at tourists. Lunch was $15-$30 each as advertised with every restaurant, and drinks were $5-$15 each after hearing that we would be able to eat for a couple of bucks in the city and that drinks were ~$0.80 each. We took a taxi to the area, which was guarded well by local police / security (it felt very safe, they were everywhere and clearly outlined the perimeter of a safe zone) - but this same police / security kept anyone from really leaving the area to experience non tourist targeted prices.
- Our room was excellent. Clean, no bugs, excellent air conditioning, large bathroom etc.


Overall, we went for the view, and the the surrounding area and were not disappointed with that. However, I felt like the hotel took advantage of that - it was generally dirty and everything was fairly low-end quality, and low effort from the staff in order to make up for the downfalls.

Room Tip: 222 was an excellent view of the capybara family each morning.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank ryancpwalsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 28, 2013

Thanks for your time to write your remarks.
Our apologies for all the inconveniences experienced during your stay.
We are continuously working with all departments to improve our staff service, in order to provide a consistent high level of service that all guests deserve.
Once again please do accept my apologies and I hope to see you again in Panamá.
Sincerely

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Reviewed August 14, 2013

If you book a room in this hotel it is most likely because there is no alternative...at least not in the vicinity...and yet it you probably won't be disappointed. Mainly because it is an experience of its own to stay amidst the rainforest with a spectacular view on it from most every point, be it your room the dinning/breakfast area or the bar's balcony...not sure about the toilet though. THe staff was very friendly and quick, the bartender knew his trade and the breakfast buffet up to international standards. Roomwise no complaint. Clean, quiet (apart from some birds, apes and thunders, for which you cannot really blame the management) but to which to fall asleep to is part of a truly unique experience to be remembered.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Launcelot77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2013

Appreciate your comments are very important for the operation of the hotel. we will continue with the customer service plan to ensure that all our staff will deliver a good service always.
Sincerely

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2013

Accommodations were adequate. Location allowed for easy access to Embera Culture and excursions to look for wildlife. Good tip: Both restaurants have an ala carte menu, though it's not advertised in the restaurant that is typically a buffet. Monkey Bar view is amazing!

Room Tip: If you have kids, the junior suite works very well. One bed and bathroom downstairs and a loft with...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank karen t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2013

Thank you very much for your time to write your comments, are very helpful to improve the service of our hotel. We hope to see you again in Panama.
Regards

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Reviewed July 28, 2013

It is the little things along the way that could improve a tired, beautifully located resort.
Paint touch ups ,not a huge expense but can leave a positive impression. The ceiling in our room was disgusting. Walk around the grounds and tons of places to brighten things up.
Lighting -nothing says 'don't care' than burnt out bulbs....
Cleanliness - our room was fine but at the pool sat next to a bin that was obviously not emptied in the last 24 hours full of empty drink glasses -bug haven. Toilet bins also not freshly emptied - not so great a smell in tropical weather. Bar ledge in Monkey Bar overwhelmed by by stack of dirty glasses etc.
Services- coffee only in main restaurant in a.m. -not difficult to put a machine in the lobby , the pool area. Buffets-breakfast and lunch were fine. Dinner was a disaster-arrive at 8 to dishes that were empty and not replenished for the 40 minutes we dined . ,entrees like the fish , beef, pizza remained empty as did the bread bins, the desert offerings and the vegetables, salads. In all my years of travel and eating at more buffets than I care to admit to this was one of the worst. Refilling water and coffee was an effort - having to wave down the servers or help ourselves
Overall however I did not experience horrible service - there were greetings , attempts to put up with our Spanglish and a general effort -maybe I just happened to interact with some of the better trained personnal.
Other easy fixes- charging for wi-if is simply ridiculous / $3 for a local water in mini bar when I could get it free at bar / chair service at pool - good attempt but no consistency / having a dedicated kids area in the pool would be welcomed by those of us without them- the size and layout lends itself well to that.
Used an Ofereta Simple for this stay so can't complain about the price BUT if I paid regular rates I would not be satisfied and couldn't recommend.

Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
5  Thank livethedream_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2013

On behalf of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, please accept our most sincere apologies for all inconveniences occurred during your visit, will be taking the right corrective actions, and avoid from happening again.
Hope to have an opportunity in welcoming you again and be able to replace the bad experience with a good and enjoyable one.
Kindest Regards,

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Reviewed July 27, 2013

Overall, the resort lived up to our expectations. The location is isolated, but the grounds are beautiful, so there's no real reason to leave. You can access many of the local attractions right from the resort. The main restaurant was under construction while we were there, but the room that served as the restaurant still had some nice views. The food prices were reasonable and the service was attentive. Make sure you get a room with a balcony and a hammock. I could have spent the entire trip just relaxing and looking out over the river.

If there is one complaint, it is about the bar and the service. Absolutely terrible. I had heard that the service in Panama can be trying, but overall throughout the country, it was fine with the exception of Gamboa's bar. There were kids running around everywhere and sitting at the bar. I stood and stared at the bar tender for 10 minutes while he kept refilling the soda's of the kids at the bar. This was the only location in all of Panama that I didn't tip anyone. I could have made my own drinks in the time it took to get anyone to even acknowledge me.

Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
3  Thank Samndjsdad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2013

Thanks for your time to write your remarks. Our apologies for all the inconveniences experienced during your stay. We are continuously working with all departments to improve our staff service, in order to provide a consistent high level of service that all guests deserve.
Sincerely

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Address: Goethals Blvd. | Soberania National Park, Gamboa 7338, Panama
Location: Panama > Colon Province > Gamboa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Price Range: $134 - $288 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Gamboa Rainforest Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 166
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Deep in the heart of the Panamanian rainforest lies the completely unique Gamboa Rainforest Resort. This magnificent destination rests where the scenic Chagres River meets the Panama Canal and is the only resort property in the area. Few places on earth offer such an amazing natural experience while providing an unsurpassed level of luxury. Escape the noise and hectic pace of everyday life and surround yourself with the tranquility of the mystical Soberania National Forest. Here, just a short 30-minute ride from Panama City, on 340 acres overlooking the stunning Panama Canal, you can commune with nature in a pristine environment where explorers and pirates once tread. Our Panama Tours offer an exhilarating variety of jungle adventures such as an aerial tram, guided boat tours, fishing expeditions, and much more. Our tours are designed to show you wildlife in its natural setting amidst the colorful splendor of the jungle flora. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gamboa Rainforest Hotel Gamboa
Gamboa Rain Forest Resort

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