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“Elegant and relaxing” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

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JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Rio Hato
Certificate of Excellence
omaha
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Elegant and relaxing”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

Spent a week here in villa 22 with family of 8 and was very pleased. The trip from the airport -as many others have stated- is long - 2 hours minimum and if there is traffic in Panama City it can easily be 3 so just be aware and set expectations is all. The grounds are immaculate and gorgeous. So quiet and peaceful. With five different pools you can find your own little space to kick back. The main pool cabanas get reserved quite early - usually by 7 am- which can be annoying especially when you do not see anyone using them all day. But the beach is enormous and usually deserted as well. We walked for miles and rarely saw anyone.

The villa was wonderful. There is a private plunge pool for every villa which, for some reason, they do not highlight on their website. Plenty of room to relax on the patio, two hammocks, five very comfortable chairs, two tables and a couch. The rooms were large and the bathrooms amazing. Beds are supremely comfortable. And housekeeping is prompt and very courteous.

Service is really the only issue they have. The restaurant service is painfully slow. And combined with the language barrier its kind of difficult to enjoy. If you have the right attitude and do not expect great and constant service the food was worth it. Not premium quality but enjoyable. Air conditioning didnt work our first two nights in the villa and getting it repaired was really a challenge. I know, stop complaining. But it really is needed when its usually 90+ every day. We were looking up spanish phrases and the maintenance folks would nod and try something but it didnt work. Finally they replaced the thermostat..but it was a constant effort and trips to the front desk.

Hardly anyone speaks english and we certainly tried speaking spanish but usually failed. We ordered some groceries for our villa and 1 Lb of oranges comically was translated, somehow, to 118 oranges. We had a good laugh over this but were shocked to see our cabana overflowing with produce. Five cantaloupes turned in to 25...we ended up giving alot of them to the house keeping folks!

The panama canal tour is impressive. Again, a long drive back to the city but get on a small boat and travel the canal right next to tankers and cargo ships. Pretty impressive and the locks are amazing to watch as the ships pass through.We toured into the jungle and saw howler moneys and iguanas and sea turtles. A long day..but fun and educational.

the daily breakfast was a treat for us ...pretty impressive selection of fruits, crepes, omelettes...no need for lunches!

aside from marginal service this is a wonderful resort that has so much potential to be great.

Room Tip: villas are quiet and spacious...recommend them
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank haser59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerencia02, General Manager at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, responded to this review, September 4, 2014
Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for staying at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort during your last trip to Panama.

I am very thankful for having brought to our attention the areas of opportunities you kindly detailed in your tripadvisor comments. It is only through the valuable feedback from loyal customers like you that we realize we are failing in satisfying our guest’s expectations.

Having read your comments about the hotel in general, we have implemented the following:

The hotel has contracted the services of a teacher of English for our staff.

Our Food and Beverage Manager will be reinforcing more frequent service training for our restaurant staff.

We appreciate the time you took to share your concerns, and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to serve you better in the future.

Best Regards,


The Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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753 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (132)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
67 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2014

I have been in these hotel several times. It used to be Bristol Buenaventura.

The service used to be the best in Panama, but this time it was so so. Some employees still doing a great job but others don't. For example we called room service for bringing us ice and they never came.

The bathroom need an urgent cleaning. There is a kind of slime down the platform inside the shower.

Some of the pools look old!

We sat on the relax area with coaches they have at the Faro Club and there was an ant invasion.

The beach was beautiful. The food was not as good as it used to be, but sill being good.

I love they have plenty of pools so children have different options to enjoy.

Still being a good option for enjoying Pacific beaches but they need to improve or recover the quality they used to have.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Juan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerencia02, General Manager at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, responded to this review, October 5, 2015
Google Translation
Estimado señor:

En nombre de toda la familia del JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, deseamos agradecerle el habernos permitido ser sus anfitriones en su reciente estadía.

Parte de nuestro compromiso es exceder constantemente las expectativas de nuestros huéspedes y hacemos cada día nuestro mejor esfuerzo para lograrlo, ya que en nuestro negocio no existe una comodidad más atesorada que la satisfacción al cliente, la cual valoramos en su justa dimensión.

Agradecemos nos haya expresado sus comentarios en Tripadvisor, debido a que sus opiniones son esenciales para nosotros y nos motivan día a día a dar mejor calidad y servicio.

Gracias por habernos escogido en esta visita y esperamos vuelva pronto.

Un placer servirle,

La Gerencia General
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
204 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2014 via mobile

We have just spent 13 nights at the JW Marriott in a third floor suite overlooking the lagoon with the lighthouse and the sea in the distance. The were a couple of issues with the plumbing but these were sorted quickly and efficiently within an hour of arriving. Excellent service very friendly staff (must be because we are English that we had nothing to complain about) the food is limited and the menu didnt vary so we either ate on the balcony or went to the golf club or japanese as Tanarindo does get a bit boring although the breakfast exeprience was just right. The little grocers is slightly expensive but a bottle of Merlot for 9$ is better than the 35$ version in the restaurant. Pool areas both in JW and Farros are brilliant with good service and fresh towels even if occasionally (god forbid you had to get them yourselves). Only saw one other English couple but lots of loud people from the other big country. Had a car so drove up to El Valle de Anton down to Cherte and up to Miraflores Lock and in to Pamama City. Walked to the mangroves along the beach, most evenings as the sun was setting only about two miles. Lots of kingfishers, storks, herons, ospreys, waders and small finches and woodpeckers. And some vultures so well worth the walk and the sunsets are awesome. Done it now so wont come back but brilliant hotel, lovely room, lovely view, very good service and very relaxing.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Trebor5417
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerencia02, General Manager at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, responded to this review, October 5, 2015
Dear Sir,

Thank you for staying at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort during your last trip to Panama.

I would like to inform you that our General Manager has already taken measurements with the team to solve the areas of opportunities you experienced in our resort.

I am very thankful for having brought to our attention the areas of opportunities you kindly detailed in your tripadvisor comments. It is only through the valuable feedback from loyal customers like you that we realize we are failing in satisfying our guest’s expectations.

On behalf of the entire JW Marriott Panama staff, we would like to thank you for your positive comments.

Thanking you for your preference and looking forward to welcoming you back in the near future.


Best Regards,


The Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago
Level Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2014

My family rented an apartment in one of the villas and the hotel amenities were also available to us
We could use any of the pools, beaches, exercise or business center, however when I went to use one of the complimentary old bicycles I was told by a staff member that I absolutely could not use it. I almost thought he was making it up! The bikes were for hotel guests only even though there was always bikes available. Not many wanted to ride a old rusty bike. I complained to the manager about how petty and ridiculous this was but NO ONE got the irony of being able to use all the facilities except ride an old bike. This is poor management to not respond to this silly rule.
Many of the staff were friendly and wanted to know my name. I think the staff is coached to be on a first name basis, but I do not wish to be on a first name basis at a resort like this. I will be on a first name basis when I stay at a hostel or small hotel
The swimming pools were pretty .

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank likeah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerencia02, General Manager at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, responded to this review, October 5, 2015
Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to inform you that our General Manager has already taken measurements with the team to solve the areas of opportunities you experienced during your visit at our resort with the bicycles.

I am very thankful for having brought to our attention the areas of opportunities you kindly detailed in your tripadvisor comments.

Best Regards,

The Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2014

The short and sweet of this stay is - do not bother traveling the 2 hrs + from Panama City. I booked a Villa for my family and what we experienced was blocked toilets daily, fridge broken, door handles broken off, electrical wires hanging down. Chefs / cooks did not turn up - closed restaurants, food service took hours - food over cooked. No pool towels available till noon. The general tone was the women working at the resort tried so hard to make you feel welcome but they too became overwhelmed and tired due to lack of management for the high season. Why spend the money for a bad vib. Read some of the other bad reviews and they are all true. I know and experienced it too. Do not waste your money here go somewhere else -- ps do not book any activities with Pacific Adventures

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank jack539
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerencia02, General Manager at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, responded to this review, October 5, 2015
Dear Sir,

Thank you for staying at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort during your last trip to Panama.

I would like to inform you that our General Manager has already taken measurements with the team to solve the areas of opportunities you experienced in our resort with your Villa, closed restaurant, food service, no pool towel available, the general tone of our staff (women) and also the activities of Pacific Adventures Company.

I am very thankful for having brought to our attention the areas of opportunities you kindly detailed in your tripadvisor comments. It is only through the valuable feedback from loyal customers like you that we realize we are failing in satisfying our guest’s expectations.

We appreciate the time you took to share your concerns, and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to serve you better in the future.

Best Regards,

The Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014

We recently spent two nights at the JW Marriott and although the hotel is nice enough, the service was so bad, it rendered our entire stay unpleasant and a waste of time/money. From the moment we arrived at the barely full hotel, the service was blatantly poor. For example:

We arrived in our car and there was nobody at the entrance to greet us or get our bags. When the bagger appeared 5 minutes later he seemed annoyed to have to come and help us.

One of our rooms was not ready, as check-in time is 3 PM and we arrived at 1 PM. However, at 3:15 PM the room was still not ready, and they were unable to offer an explanation or apologize.

When we went to the pool area closest to the beach at El Faro Beach Club I could not find towels or anybody to help me. I finally spotted an employee, sitting on a lounge chair talking to a guest. He offered to get me towels, but 30 minutes passed and he never came back. I was finally able to find somebody else to get me 2 chair covers, as there were no towels left (did I mention the hotel was less than half full?). Then I happened to turn around and the person I had first asked to help was sitting at the same lounge chair talking to the same guest.

We went to dinner at Tamarindo, which is slightly better priced (though still expensive) than the expensive Japanese restaurant Tai Kai. Our dinner of salads and ceviche took an hour to arrive at our table. The following morning at breakfast, we made the big mistake of ordering a la carte. It was 45 minutes until our children saw their cereal. Nobody even came to check on us or offer more coffee. Nobody apologized. When we complained to the manager he seemed stunned, like he could not understand why we were upset.

I am a seasoned traveler and former real estate investment professional and have been fortunate enough to stay at truly amazing properties all around the globe, but the service at this JW Marriott is the worst I have encountered at a hotel of any denomination or class. Ever! Marriott Hotels is tarnishing its reputation by attaching the name of one of their premium brands to this place. It's obvious the staff here aren't properly trained or supervised. Although some were nice, half did not really seem to care about what they were assigned to do.

If you are considering staying at this hotel, read all the negative reviews and you will find them to be incredibly consistent. That's because they are true. Reserve at your own peril.

Room Tip: The sound proofing in the rooms is minimal, so my best advice is go to another hotel.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Pat888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

My husband and I spent six nights at the JW Marriott Panama over the New Year holiday. A mixed bag of a trip with many pros and cons:
Pros:
-The property is gorgeous; very well kept and incredibly clean.
-Rooms are fantastic. We had a suite on the second floor with almost a view of the ocean. I am sure that the third (top) floor rooms would feature an ocean view. A/C worked really well, plentiful plugs, coffee maker, huge closet space, comfortable bed and pitch-black curtains necessary to keep out that blinding sun.
-The beach and pools were great. The pool is the perfect temperature.
-Cortu spa is amazing - very relaxing and one of the best couples massages we have ever had.
-Mini mart on site is incredibly helpful - average prices for wine, water, snacks and delicious coffee.
-The majority of the food we had at the restaurants was good to very good - Prime 19 and the traditional Panamanian restaurant were the standouts. Most items at the sushi restaurant featured cheese which we found strange.
Cons:
-Without a doubt, the number one negative to this hotel is the utter lack of English-speakng employees. I understand we are in another country but at a US-owned tourist resort, we would have expected at least a basic understanding of English. One evening there was a question about an item on the menu, and my husband asked three different employees who could not understand what he was asking. I asked housekeeping for towels and was given shampoo, etc.
-This is well beyond 'Caribbean time' as far as service goes - you need to be incredibly patient to digest how slow the service is at all aspects of the hotel.
-Finding chairs at the beach / pool was a daily challenge. The El Faro Beach Club is also open to local residents and there were more people than available chairs, understanding that it is high season.
-The neighborhood offered no other alternatives to walk to nearby restaurants or beach bars. The area is under development and will surely be a South Beach-style area in a few years when the rest of the hi rise buildings are complete.
-We drove back to Panama City the night before our flight to stay in closer to the airport and no one from the hotel warned us about the insane New Year's Day traffic which made the 90-mile drive take us 5.5 hours..truly disappointing. Upon arrival, we got to the hotel in an hour and a half.
-While not owned by Marriott, the on-site excursion company, Pacific Adventures, was incredibly disappointing - separate review there.
Would I recommend this hotel? Yes, with the knowledge above that I wish we had been armed with prior to our trip.

Room Tip: Third floor will definitely offer the beach view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank AEL25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerencia02, General Manager at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, responded to this review, October 5, 2015
Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for staying at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort during your last trip to Panama.

I would like to inform you that our General Manager has already taken measurements with the team to solve the areas of opportunities you experienced with the beach chair in our El Faro Beach Club and Pacific Adventures Company. The hotel has contracted the services of a teacher of English for our staff.

I am very thankful for having brought to our attention the areas of opportunities you kindly detailed in your tripadvisor comments. It is only through the valuable feedback from loyal customers like you that we realize we are failing in satisfying our guest’s expectations.

We appreciate the time you took to share your concerns, and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to serve you better in the future.

Best Regards,


The Management
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 JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

Property: 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:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Rio Hato
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 132
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the Pacific coast of Panama, Bristol Buenaventura is a luxury oceanfront destination resort and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. 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 
Reservation Options:
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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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