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“Westin Panama”

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The Westin Playa Bonita Panama
Ranked #7 of 115 Hotels in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 27, 2013

The hotel is in desperate need of training for their employees, No words like, may I help you, no thank you, I felt the employees just didn't want to be there and with zero unemployment in Panama I think most of the employees just move on to another job as soon as they find one.
The pool bars were a joke, one bartender, 4 others standing around, they don't know what work is!
Food - no one really knows what restaurant is open. The concierge desk made reservations for me and when I got to the rest. it was closed!!

My room had no towels two out of 5 days that I was there. Two elevators were NOT working the entire time I was there. My room phone never worked, I reported it every day, complaints went on deaf ears.

I will not go back to Panama and stay at the Westin

Room Tip: Our room was a garden view, NO patio and we over looked an old school bus "graveyard"
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank hiccup_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback from your recent stay at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama.

First and foremost, please accept our sincerest apologies for any challenges you encountered during your stay as this is certainly not the experience we aim to provide our guests. Your comments are very much appreciated, as this will help us to improve the quality and service at our resort and the products we offer.

We do take all reviews very seriously and I will be sharing your comments with our management team, so we can work on resolving the issues you experienced during your stay.

Please give us the opportunity to service in a near future and be part of the changes that we are improving in our different areas.

Sincerely,

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Reviewed January 26, 2013

Westin should be embarrassed to have its name on this hotel. While a lovely property (although absolutely no beach to speak of and certainly not 'bonita'), I can't recall a time when I've had worse service - including in any discount hotel. The staff is un-attentive, unfriendly and largely acts as if the customers are an inconvenience. This is especially true in the bars and restaurants where asking for a cerveza is treated with the same facial response as if you'd just asked for an internal organ. Once past the front desk check-in, the customer is an inconvenience. I called the Service button five times from my room asking to have the mini-bar stocked as when I checked in it consisted of the following: 2 beers; a coke and a diet coke. I drank the diet. After the fifth time, I went to the front desk and explained the situation and the response was (honestly); "the mini-bar staff will be back in the morning". I said "but I have been requesting this for two days". The response from staff "but we are at 100% capacity".

This is where I should have responded with "you're welcome" but the shock of the response rendered me speechless. Perhaps the attitude is a result of this being an all-inclusive hotel but my company was not there on an all-inclusive rate and there were 300 of us. A little service would be welcomed.

Now for the elevators. They do not work and there is apparently no interest in getting them into a working condition. You might have to wait 20 minutes for an elevator so make yourself a drink. Once you do get an elevator, it may or may not take you to your desired floor. I highly recommend requesting nothing above the third floor for the number of times you will wish for the stairs. If you do take the elevator, be prepared for a long ride as you might be on your way to the 13th floor when the buttons will suddenly be lit no more and you will go back to the Lobby level for no apparent reason.

The food is acceptable on a good day.

I nearly forgot one of my favorite stories...... the bar with the big screen TV where a bar full of paying customers wanted to watch the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Ravens. One of the bartenders turned the TV to a soccer game and explained that the hotel couldn't receive the football game which sent all the customers to the pool. One of my colleagues in this very large group hearing why everyone is at the pool and wanting to watch the game himself is fluent is spanish and spoke to the bartender and was told again the hotel doesn't get CBS so couldn't show the game. He explained the game was picked up by an ESPN feed. The bartender then told him the channel couldn't be changed from the remote at the bar - it had to be changed by someone at the front desk!!! So, he took the bartender to the front desk with him and asked for a manager who explained the channel could indeed be changed from the bar (duh!). They went back to the bar together and the bartender began quickly flipping through channels and passed the game, looked at my colleague and said it wasn't on so he was kindly directed back to the station where, lo and behold, the game was on. Turns out, he wanted to watch a soccer game.

This hotel has a long way to go before I would ever consider staying there again.

Room Tip: Low floor unless the fix the elevators
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank dogsrkids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

It saddens us to learn that your recent experience at our resort was not the top quality experience you have come to know from the Westin Playa Bonita Panama.

We apologize about any inconvenience you experienced throughout your stay. One of our goals is to provide our guests with a relaxing and renewing vacation and we are sorry that this was not your experience.

We will take your feedback and use it to help us improve our guests experience at the resort and hope you give us a new opportunity to welcome you back in the future.

Best regards,

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Reviewed January 23, 2013

Remarks are like taste, everyone is different.
We loved the overall. Housekeeping great, pools and exteriors clean also. New hotel, so need again a little more training on service like at the bars and the meals sections. But we were there on vacations so it is ok with us.
We do plan on repeating the trip soon... to see the changes.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Michel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We just got back from a second stay at the Playa Bonita and from what I could see, the resort has learned a few lessons from last year and overall the Playa Bonita is better than last year.

The serving staff are better at their customer service, indicating that someone is been working with them.

I would like to mention one staff member in particular, Eduardo at the steak house. He is by far the best server I have ever experienced. No only is he completely fluid in english, Eduardo is courteous, prompt and provides excellent service. In fact, I would suggest tha the Westin Playa Bonita consider promoting him before another resort steals him away.

The room are very comfortable and well appointed. Our room was always cleaned and in fact the maids would come back later in the day to replenish the room towels.

One of the complaints we had last year was that some liquor was "off limits" to even the people that paid for the upgraded bracelets. This year we experienced a small amount of that, but again, it depended on which staff person you ordered from. One person would say no, the next yes.

Last year WIFI and Internet was free, this year it was $15. This is a little cheap for a resort trying to bill itself as a cut above the best. I stay at Westins for business and its always free, so the $15/day was cheap. Why not charge everyone a $1 or 2 and say its free.

If you complain about the charge sometimes the fee would be waived. I don't understand the two sets of rules??

The food is fine, you can always find something to eat. The only complaint is that there was not really a great selection of seafood.

Last year it seemed that there was shrimp, mussels and a better selection of fish. This year there was not much, which is unfortunate considering we enjoyed the seafood so much last year.

Overall I would recommend the Playa Bonita, just watch out for differing rules.

Room Tip: The pool side rooms offer a great view. The "garden view" is really more of a bus graveyar...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Sask_Rider_Fan_001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this reviewResponded January 26, 2013

We appreciate all your comments and the time taken to evaluate our services and property.

Thank you for all your compliments regarding your stay and also your suggestions about the seafood that are very appreciated.

We hope to have you back on the near future to be part of a excellent service.

Best regards,

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Reviewed January 23, 2013

I will first add that I did enjoy my stay there recently, and the things I mention are simply so hopefully they can be corrected. Let me start positive: the rooms and property are beautiful. The public spaces are well maintained but they should be as the resort is new. I had good to average food. The weather was fantastic, and the views beyond the beach were nice. Also, it is a painless ride into Panama City though there are not of ton off-site options that were intriguing.
Now for the things that need work: Service - The workers at this resort, and in Panama in my experience are simply not well trained in the service industry. There is an obvious communication issue with the large number of English speaking customers. Additionally, many things such as bar-tending and serving are severely lacking. Simple things like asking for a Captain Morgan and Diet Coke with lime are an adventure in themselves. Repeatedly, Diet vs regular are confusing, as is what kind of rum you actually ask for. Simple things like putting lime in the drink lead to a single slice of lime being cut when ordered. All of this adds up to lines and orders that are sub par at best. Also, many times we received just odd looks when we made requests. I think you get the picture.
As for other functional things: we lost power during our stay, met several people with hot water issues, and the swim up bar had no ice for several hours. All the while, a regular bar 100 yds away had ice. It would seem easy enough to carry ice over so those in the pool could get cold drinks. The massage at the spa at a brightly lit window room that appeared to not be designed as a room for a massage at all. The spa seemed staffed by some who were well trained, and others on there first day.
The beach speaks for itself, when it is low tide it is 100 yds of mud. Other times it was just so brown, I could no imagine swimming in it or laying near it.
Please know, we did have a good time. I simply add these things as a hope for Westin to correct. I think this resort is not up to the Westin name, and struggles to find it self. It appears to be trying to be an all-inclusive, but many areas are not really set up that way. For example, it took a 3 person conference to even decide what the charge was for a frozen drink.
The best summation I have is that I was traveling with a corporate event planner who just 2 weeks ago had 200 hundred customers with guests in a Westin Resort elsewhere. When I asked her if she wanted to meet the local Westin Rep at Playa Bonita, she replied "no, I would not send my clients here". I have a feeling in a year this resort will go from good to great.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank mg33706
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2013

Thanks for your time to write your remarks. Our apologies for all the inconveniences experienced during your stay.

We are continuously working with all departments to improve our staff service, in order to provide a consistent high level of service that all guests deserve.

Please give us the opportunity to assist you in a near future and be part of the changes that we are improve to all our exclusives guest.

Sincerely,

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Reviewed January 21, 2013

The resort itself was very nice and is probably the nicest in Panama, but the service was very lacking. The Starfish Grill and the pool side grill did not open on time. There was always a long line to get a drink because of under staffing. The bartenders were really slow even if 3 people working behind the bar. Only 1 was serving and mixing the drinks. The staff for the most part couldn't really understand English that well. There were a lot of issues with service but these were the main issues. I've never written a hotel review before, however I felt obligated to inform anyone who is thinking of staying here. I believe that with time and better staff training, this may become a great resort. This hotel is about 35-45 minutes from the Tocumen airport.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Luv2TravelExotic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

We too were with the large group the other advisors describe and had a pretty good time. The rooms were a 4 star with ample space and great A/C :) The front desk and house-keeping were difficult to even get some extra hangers from. The bar-tenders are great. The waitresses don't seem to care for their jobs. Kind of a bummer :( Even when we spoke spanish to them there were issues. Get the wrist bands for $90 a day that gives you unlim buffet, drinks and alcohol :) The pools were awesome! Wear a bug repellant like doterra's Terrasheild though. Mosquitos are HUNGRY down there. Bring sunblock too :) DO NOT take the multi-colored buses in town! They crash often! We took shuttles and were very safe. Enjoy your stay there!!

Room Tip: Only get the ocean view rooms. The other rooms are of the other hotel or the parking lot. Run the fa...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Jessica M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this reviewResponded January 23, 2013

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your kind comment about our hotel. It is our daily commitment to please all our guests by providing great service.

We are looking forward to have you staying at the Westin Playa Bonita Panama and you can experience firsthand the changes and commitment to service and quality.

Best regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Westin Playa Bonita Panama

Address: Road to Veracruz Km 6, Panama City, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Panama City
#7 Luxury Hotel in Panama City
Price Range: $152 - $260 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Westin Playa Bonita Panama 5*
Number of rooms: 611
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

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