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“Needs Updating but Great Views”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Needs Updating but Great Views”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

This resort is in a great location if you love the outdoors. However, the accommodations were just average. The Service was average and the food was average. The views are spectacular. Compared to North American standards, do not expect a five star experience.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Azucar360
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 review, September 5, 2013
Thanks for your comments, are very helpful to improve the service of our hotel; we will continue working hard to provide the best service and product to each of our guests.
Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (406)
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English first
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Getting to the resort is an adventure in itself, even with GPS added to our rental car. There are hardly any street signs - so my best advise is to print out directions with actual pictures of the road from the airport to the resort. Once there, that is what our Client Relations Manager did for our tours in Panama and it worked extremely well!
The resort is in a remote location, however it's location is what makes it so unique... right in the heart of the Rainforest - simply incredible views!! Our room on the top floor(4th) with a hammock in the balcony,facing the Chagres River , allowed breathtaking views of the sunrise. Rooms were clean and spacious.Be prepared for the dehumidifier to get full every 8 hours during the humid months.
The buffets were so-so and so was the menu. Housekeeping wasn't always on their toes with regards to our needs (3 people - 2 towels!) however, kudos to the management staff who went out of their way helping us with some much needed documents regarding our transportation. Also the Aerial tour, night tours, Lake Gatun tour were conducted by our very informed guide Gina. Wild life at it's best and Bird watchers delight indeed :)
We drove and explored El Valle, Panama city, the Mira Flores locks, and all other tourist spots.. thanks to the help of the Manager on duty who was kind enough to check the ships schedules and print out our "pictorial" road maps on every trip.

Room Tip: The high floors (4th floor) facing the Chagres River have the most spectacular view.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Laju M
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 review, September 5, 2013
-----------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for your feedback, is very nice to read your comments all of them show positive and negative aspects of our hotel are a vital help to us for continue providing excellent service to our visitors. We took note of yours recommendations about the food and rooms.
Please feel free to contact us any time that you decide visit Panamá and welcome back.
Coordially yours.
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Level Contributor
41 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

It is the second time we go to this resort to spend the day. The landscapes are incredible and it is worth going. The funnicular excursion is very good, with great service from the guides. Now.... The food from the buffet has considerable decreased in quality and selection in relation to the first time, a few months ago... Very dissapointing. There are some other options inside though.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank HMP S
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 review, September 5, 2013
We thank you for such a touching comment regarding your recent stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. We apologize that our buffets do not feel your expectations at all.
We will share your feedback with our Food and Beverage Manager so we can ensure different dishes that are the delight of all our guests.
We hope you give us the opportunity to service and welcome back.
Regards,
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Stafford Springs, Connecticut
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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.
San Angelo, TX
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
30 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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
Report response as inappropriate
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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