I have stayed at Le Meridien Panama 4 times in the last 7 weeks on business. I stay here because one of my business partners has a corporate rate and they arrange the bookings when I'm in town to work with them. This hotel has so many things going for it, but a few little things that really mar the experience.
Upside: Most of the staff I have interacted with have been unfailingly attentive, kind and go out of their way to make your stay pleasant. The English spoken by the staff is also fairly good. The food - both a la carte in the restaurant and at the breakfast buffet - is really quite good. The rooms are modern, clean and spacious and the beds are very comfortable. As far as location, you couldn't ask for better. Fantastic restaurants and shopping within easy walking distance. Also, the fitness center is small but adequate and has a great view of the water.
Opportunities: 2 major and 1 minor. First, the WiFi is infuriating. Constantly unstable in the rooms - when it does connect, it only holds for a minute or two, making anything streaming impossible to enjoy. I have had 4 different rooms in 4 different parts of the hotel during my various stays, and location of the room makes no difference. For a 4-star hotel this is, to me, unacceptable. The free WiFi in the public areas is more stable but why should you have to use the lobby just to download e-mail attachments on my tablet? Second, at the "corporate rate" or booking through any 3rd party (such as Expedia, Orbitz, etc) you do not earn loyalty points through Starwood Preferred Guest. Now, the hotel is not so much to blame for that policy as is Starwood - nonetheless, I travel 3 weeks out of the month for work and 1-2 of those weeks each month is at this property and will be for the foreseeable future. Without SPG status accrual, I have very little incentive to patronize Starwood properties when I go to other cities. Hilton, on the other hand, gives me points AND airline miles for stays that are booked on corporate agreements and through 3rd parties. For that reason, when I'm in any other city, I book with them and not Starwood. It kind of defeats the point of having a loyalty program if you're going to alienate business travelers. Lastly, the minor point. On one occassion, I had to be really insistent with the front desk clerk that breakfast was supposed to be included at the corporate rate. He was not overtly rude about it, just very insistent - I had to be equally insistent that he check the rate and booking to see that breakfast and internet (such as it is) are supposed to be included. In the end it was sorted out to my satisfaction, but the process to get to that point was unecessary and unpleasant.
Overall, if you can get a deal to stay at this hotel for leisure, it's worth the tradeoffs. However, it doesn't execute on the fundamentals of business travel (stable WiFi and decent loyalty program) at the level you would expect of a 4-star hotel associated with an international brand like Starwood.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On the edge of the Bay of Panama overlooking the old and new quarters of the city, we're bounded by charming restaurants and vibrant nightlife, all within a few minutes to the financial center and corporate offices. Our design is jaw-dropping. A double high ceiling lobby features an overturned glass pyramid reflecting vibrant colors, while a black granite lobby blends with golden accents, and a prominent 46 feet high atrium featuring lively glass. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Le Meridien Panama Hotel Panama City
- Le Meridien Panama Panama City