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“Amazing Resort Property”

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JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Rio Hato
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 15, 2011

We stayed at this property for a long weekend and were extremely happy with it. The location is a long way from the Panama City airport - it took us 2 hours with traffic, but it was well worth the drive. If you are thinking of going, check to see if the all-inclusive package is available, we did and it work out to make our stay a real bargain. The package includes all drinks and 3 meals a day with 3 courses each meal. Because many of the guests are paying for their drinks and meals, you dont get watered down drinks or buffet meals like most all inclusive package resorts provide. We paid $330 per night and would have spent about $230 on food and drinks each day.
The hotel is a 5 minute walk to the beach, but there are 2 large pools and several smaller pools between the two. Pictures don't do it justice to how beautiful the whole prooperty is. There is always somebody cleaning and folding towels or asking if you need a drink. We were lucky and didn't have any rain, but it was cloudy and warm each day.
The beach has black sand and is not that attractive with brown water and seaweed. But the chairs, umbrellas, and cushions are all top quality. We also found the weekdays to be much less crowded than the weekend.
The staff really wanted you to have a good time. Josue and Juan H. always had a smile and were willing to get you anything you needed. English is not widely spoken by the staff, but they tried to make any effort to understand.
We had all our meals at the resort because there is little close by to the property. We did ride bikes offered for free to see some of the building going on around the area. We also took the golf cart ride a couple of times to the beech front club area. The walk there is much preferred though because it is through a wonderful garden area with beautiful flowers in bloom.
We would recommend going to the resort, it really is very beautiful.

Room Tip: Recommend a second or their floor room with a few of the ocean as long as you know this is not an oc...
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank timandjeanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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489 - 495 of 800 reviews

Reviewed August 11, 2011

We have been twice in this property, once a short time after the opening and the 2nd time a few months ago in April of this year. In both cases we just send 2 nights at the hotel while on a business trip in Panama City.

If you take the Infrastructure of the property in mind it is truly a great place to be, very well done and perfectly executed. The rooms are truly great, not too large (which may be in issue for some) however well appointed addressing all the needs you may have.

The F&B outlets within the hotel as well as the Resort are equally well set up and in decorated with extremely nice Art especially in the Bar. The Ballroom is nice, a good size for the property needs of today, however may fall short to deliver if indeed the property would grow in size as we were told.

The Beach section is great, so is the pool and lake area. All in all the Property has huge potential in all aspects and will surly move forward. However there are indeed issues here when it comes to Guest Services as well as F&B Product and Service Quality.

We did not write a review during our first stay, simply because the property just opened and indeed it would have been unfair to judge that early in the game. Having said so however this is no longer the case, time has changed and similar issues are still visible.

The Guest service delivered could be much better, training and a stronger direct supervision of Employees in our view would make a difference. Guest Services delivered and F&B quality does not yet meet the standards required for a Top 5 star Resort; again the Infrastructure is great now it is a matter to get the service up on the same level.

We did not have the chance to experience the Spa.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GlobetroterAmericas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2011

The best and maybe only wonderful feature of the resort is the rooms, which are well appointed, comfortable and have over the top beds with splendid bathrooms with very poor lighting.
But there is lots of noise in the corridors, the food is nice looking but mediocre, the service for the generous breakfast and lunch is plain atrocious. The only good service is when one checks in and checks out.
The pool areas are unattractive and the main buildings are far from the beach. They should have all had water views, at least.
Ergo, the place is way overpriced.

Room Tip: As far away from weddings and parties held on Fridays and Saturdays
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank greennman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2011

we stayed one night and we love it! the rooms where amazing, great design and super comfortable, the bed hugs you! the spa is beautiful and fantastic! my son loved playing at the pool. we had a great time and we will be back!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank melonch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2011

We stayed at the Bristol Buenaventura for 4 nights after spending 3 nights in Panamá City. The resort is beautiful: great pools, nice decor, amazing rooms etc etc. The rooms were luxurious and we slept really well. However, this hotel is very isolated from shops/restaurants and while staying there you feel like you are being held "captive". This hotel is not great if you are looking for a exciting event packed 4 days on the beach, it is very low key and quiet and teenagers/young people may get bored.

The rooms were amazing, very comfortable beds and big rooms. We had our own patio with a small koi pond which was cool. However, there was no WIFI just ethernet which was a bit annoying. Also the Air Conditioning was not super consistent, and the shower water leaked into the room. Despite these issues the rooms were very nice and definitely 5 star quality.

Restaurants: The restaurant selection overall was quiet disappointing. 5 star resorts usually have a great selection of restaurants, the Bristol had 3 restaurants: The Faro, Tamarino, and and Italian restaurant. Tamarino is pretty good but it gets boring after a night . The meal quality is non consistent, one night the steak is great the next day it sucks. The Italian restaurant had good food, and Faro is a good place to grab lunch during the day while hanging by the beach. We got very bored with the food choices at the hotel, and went out for lunch in Coronado once and grabbed pizza in Penonomé. Also the so called "Gourmet Deli" is a joke, and the staff there is rude and incompetent. We did room service for dinner and breakfast and the food was pretty good. The SEAFOOD WAS NOT GOOD at any of the restaurants, it was old.....which is ironic for a restaurant that is on the ocean.The Bristol needs to expand their restaurant selection, and be more consistent with the quality of meals.

The Beach area is nice, however, if you are looking to do a lot of snorkeling and water sports this hotel is not for you. The water activities are OVERPRICED, it costs 80.00 to take a jet skii out for a half an hour. I also found the activity desk to not be very organized, I wanted to arrange a Scuba Diving trip and the girl who worked there did not call me back - I had to call her back numerous times in order to get an answer. The beach is fun to swim and hang out at, however, due to the rain the water was stirred up so you have to swim out a bit in order to get to the cleaner/clearer water.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank sergiotheexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

This was the third and final stay of a 12 day trip through Panama with 13 other family members. The drive was worth it. This Bristol property ranks near the top of my list. Pulling into the lot.. it was a who's who of the luxury auto market, but the guest and the staff were not pretentious. All were engaging and friendly. The hotel is beautiful to the eye with amazing architecture. Very relaxing, pool side service with cabana and daybeds easily available. Guests have a choice of pools and can choose a more adult pool located behind the main building or walk toward the ocean for a more youthful pool. (even with a large number of kids under 10 other guest engaged and enjoyed talking with our kids and the happy energy they provided)... Walks on the beach are amazing on the flat, Pacific side. Make sure you pay attention to the waves because we had some stronger waves and undertow. The drop off is significant and you need to be aware. The food was very good. I loved breakfast sitting in the courtyard and catching up on my reading with a great cup of coffee. Lunches at the pool can be formal or informal (i prefer the later). Dinner on the patio overlooking the pond/water feature enjoying an ocean breeze. The staff very pleasant and always there to help. Members rode horses on the beach and through the vast property. Although the staff wasn't as familiar with mixed drinks and the correct amounts, BAR A LAGO staff is our favorite -very friendly staff and eager to learn.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
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Thank chupjef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2011

This was a good surprise. The Bristol, Buenaventura; was an outstanding hotel, expensive, but worth it. Service was very good, even though not speedy (housekeeping). Rooms also impecable, something rare in Panama and in the beach. The beach itself was unusable, but the swimming pools were according to the quality of the hotel. It reminded me somehow of Casa de Campo when new, the patio, Corotu and Church, were not Altos del Chavon, but for Panama, it's rare. The employees at the front desk should be aware of the hotel activities in a dayly basis, I encountered more than once (we stayed three days), " ...ask (somebody else or some other office)...they will tell you". This is not the kind of answer you get from the front desk of a $300 a night hotel in latinamerica. For me, the service rendered by the guy who worked in the small boat that goes around the lake, Emilio, was the best any employee of the hotel delivered, it was personal, friendly and offered answers to all questions.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank MEDTRAV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

Address: 340 Calle 3ra Buenaventura | Cocle, Rio Hato, Panama (Formerly Bristol Buenaventura)
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Cocle Province > Rio Hato
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Rio Hato
Price Range: $167 - $1,069 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 118
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the Pacific coast of Panama, The BuenaventuraHotel is a luxury destination resort member of Autograph Collection. The resort sits on 1,000 acres of natural splendor, nestled between rivers, lakes, lush vegetation, and pristine beaches. Blending old world glamour and tropical elegance, the resort is reminiscent of a Spanish hacienda. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bristol Buenaventura Hotel Farallon
Bristol Bueneventura Santa Clara
JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort Rio Hato

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