My family (seven of us) had the unpleasant experience of staying at this location on the all inclusive plan from December 20th to December 28th. Our all inclusive plan lacked several key items that were part of the purchase price.
Business Center - Business Center was unreliable. We went to use it three times and the computers only worked one of the times.
Wifi Connections - No one in our group who had Blackberrys could use the Wifi connection. With the Business Center not working properly this was quite a nuisance.
Fitness Center/Health Club/Sauna - The gym/sauna were not open. We were told to go to the Intercontinental to use their gym.
Spa - The spa was not open. We were told to go to the Intercontinental to use their spa.
Restaurants - Few of the restaurants were open. There was only ever one buffet open per meal. Starfish Grill was only open for 1 lunch hour and then it did not re-open for the rest of our stay. Only two of the three a la cartes were open (Asiana and Tierra Y Fuego). The ice cream shop did not open while we were there
Snack Bars - No snack bars were opened in the 7 days we were there. There were multiple times throughout the day when there was not a single restaurant open for food.
Mini-bar - Our mini-bar was never stocked in the 7 days we were there
Unlimited Domestic Drinks - On the first day we arrived they ran out of Panama beer (in Panama, REALLY?) - they never did receive any for the rest of our trip. On the second and fourth day they ran out of pina colada mix (replenished the next day). On our fourth day they ran out of rum and made all of their iced drinks with tequila (it was replenished the next day). In addition it was very difficult to get a bottle of water. Many times we were turned down for requesting this. As our mini-bar was not stocked we often had nothing to drink when we went back to our rooms or in the morning when we got up.
Swimming Bar - This only opened for the last three days of our trip.
Whirlpools - The whirlpools were never filled while the whole time we were there.
Selected Non-Motorized Water Sports - The variety of water sports really only meant kayaking and not a variety as one would expect
Nightly Entertainment - There were no daily activities or nightly entertainment. The disco did open partway through our trip but did not employ nightly entertainers.
Kids Pass/Kids Club - not open when we were there.
I can easily say I have never had such terrible service at a SPG property, I am actually struggling to recall such bad service at any hotel I have stayed at. I have never experienced this poor of service before. My wife and I travel quite frequently are appalled at how substandard the service was. We’ve been to significantly less expensive hotels that had considerably better service.
A few of our low lights of our experience were
- Upon walking into the buffet the greater would take you to your seat. We would sit down and wait for a server to come and fill our water glasses and take drink orders. The first couple of days we waited and 20 to 30 minutes would pass before someone would come and speak with us. Most of the meals we ate were without water or being asked if we wanted any drinks. We finally got tired of this and started to bus our own tables, pour our own water from the staff’s water jugs and go and get our own drinks from the bar. The lowest point was that during one meal I was filling my family’s water glasses and one of the servers came to the same tray and grabbed another jug of water and left me to once again pour my own water at his work station. I was completely transparent to him. He didn’t even try and correct this. This indifference from the staff happened at practically every single meal! The majority of the staff were completely indifferent to the guests.
- Equipment commissioning issues such as none of the elevators working on Christmas day
- The day that all of the elevators stopped working (December 25th) we needed to take the stairs from our third floor room. Not a problem, that is until we went to the stair wells and found that none of the hardware for the doors had been installed rendering the stairs, and fire escape I might add, completely useless. Not only is this inconvenient it is a significant safety hazard. We ended up taking the staff stairwells as this was the only way off the third floor
- Four of the seven individuals from our group got sick. The sickness lasted less than 24-hours for each individual (all on approximately the same day) but it definitely put a damper on the holiday and the choice of hotel. My wife and I have been to an all-inclusive resort every year for the last five years and have never been sick at any of them so this was quite a surprise for us.
- There were no shade umbrellas on the premises until December 28th. There were a few areas to get some shade (a handful of outdoor futons with sun protection and a few pergolas built). However, a number of the pergolas had to be taken down as they were not constructed properly and were unsafe to stay under.
- Visa and debit card machines were not working so paying for room service during checkout had to be with cash only
My final comment is that this experience took place with only about 1/3 of the hotel filled. For you folks coming down in February or March when it is planned to be 100% open I hope they hire significantly more people, and train them otherwise it will be a complete zoo.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The personification of the destination: Where natural serenity meets industrial glamour - Westin Playa Bonita Panama is strategically located alongside the Pacific Ocean, on a mile long stretch of golden sand on Playa Bonita Beach, surrounded by lush tropical rainforests, and a quick 20-minute drive from the metropolitan capital of Panama City. Nestled alongside the stunning Pacific Ocean, The Westin Playa Bonita is near celebrated sites like the Panama Canal's Miraflores Locks and just a 20-minute drive from Panama City, the exhilarating capital of the Republic of Panama ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Hotel Panama City
- The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Panama City