We booked a double room for our family of 4 ahead of time via email but were disappointed to arrive and find it was the only room that didn't have A/C (even though the website lists that all the rooms have AC). Panama is very hot and humid; you NEED AC. So we had to sleep with the window open and got bit up by mosquitos (luckily we didn't get dengue - it's an epidemic here at the moment).
On the website, they advertise a free pancake breakfast, but you have to actually make the pancakes yourself. This didn't really bother me, except that while we were there it was so busy we couldn't even get close to the stove to cook our pancakes. Basically I had to wait in line and get pushy to make breakfast for my kids. It was nice that the coffee was free though, but again, you had to stand guard over the pot as it brewed or 5 people would walk in and empty it in 30 seconds while your back was turned.
There is a nice big TV in the living room with an extensive library of movies. The few times that we found the couches not full of people sleeping there (not sure why they didn't go to the dorms?) or lounging there browsing their smartphones, we actually were able to put on a movie. No AC in the living room area, though there is a nice breeze.
The hostal has quite a few nice hangout areas and we met some great people where were also staying there. We actually liked most of the people working except for one girl who worked during the day - didn't get her name, but she never cracked a smile.
The neighborhood - though central - is not very close to anything. Everyone said we could walk to the water but it is a pretty long hot 6 blocks through a blah area. With kids it was too far to walk - by the time we got to the water they were really tired and we had to come back.
We actually sortof got kicked out - we originally paid for 2 nights and had planned on staying longer - but were informed at 11am that our room was booked for other guests. We asked if they could accomodate us in another room and were told no. So we had to cancel our plans for the whole day and in a panic call other hostels until we found one that would take families and had an open private room. We've never experienced that in any hostel before, but like I mentioned before, this hostel is very very busy which for us was a big down side (the bathrooms always seemed to be occupied).
We were actually really happy when we moved to Hostal Amador Familiar - tons of private rooms, all had AC, the kitchen was huge and never busy, the breakfast and coffee were prepared for us, and there was a playground right next door for the kids to play. Also a much quieter residential area.
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- Also Known As:
- Mamallena Backpackers Panama City
- Hostal Mamallena Panama/Panama City