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“Weird place, nothing to do, bad food, good pool”
Review of Melia Panama Canal

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Melia Panama Canal
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Colon
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Weird place, nothing to do, bad food, good pool”
Reviewed February 14, 2012

We spend only one night here. Got in at 4:30 and there was nothing to do except swim, but there were no towels. The pool is really nice and the interior of the hotel pretty. The rooms are not very nice--battered and uncomfortable. Admitedly our Spanish is poor (our fault) and the only hotel worker who spoke English recommended a restaurant in Colon, but it was impossible to find and Colon is dangerous at night so we had to go back to the Melia for food. The restaurant grudingly seated us for an expensive buffet (not quality food), but wouldn't give us drinks or wait on us in any way. A hostess asked for our room number, so we assumed they were going to charge the meal to our room, but when we went to leave, a "bouncer" stopped us and made us give them a credit card anyway. We were confused because we were afraid they were going to charge us twice, but someone came and explained our credit card wasn't certified to pay for anything but the hotel stay, so we had to pay the restaurant directly. That wasn't a problem--we were just confused. We chose this hotel over the Gamboa Resort because we thought it would provide a more authentic experience, but the other guest were part of tour groups and there wasn't much to do. So I recommend you go to Gamboa instread.!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank kareno425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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604 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
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usa
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2012

This property is not at all what was described to us. We stayed in one of the condos. We were told multiple restaurants on site - only one and the food was terrible! Casino had been closed for a year. Very remote and could not get a taxi on Sunday!!! Several days we could not get pool towels for a few hours. We had to make numerous requests for ice until we got some.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank ginnyBeamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Colon hotels

Sequim, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2012

OK. The bad:
The other reviewers are right. Staff is absolutely horrible on customer service that goes for check-in and the overpriced restaurant. Slow beyond belief. The restaurant food- skip for dinner and lunch. And the trip to the hotel will take you through a darn right, roll up the car window and lock it, don't stop, slummy area.

The good:
Facilities and location are absolutely outstanding - for an unbeatable the price. Gorgeous location on a forested part of the Panama Canal! Monkeys in trees! Tucans and parrots! Diversity of these huge Panamanian trees. The pool at night...huge, calm, lovely. Breakfast buffet - ah that is a buffet.

To enjoy this place:
If you can get by without great (or even passable) service - it's a good place. Drive your own car. Plan on check-in taking 20 minutes even if you're the only one there - accept it and move on. Take day trips to Portobelo, or farther. Visit Fort Lorenzo. Go birding at Achiote. Plan a stop to get a lunch & dinner to eat in - then come back to enjoy the hotel. My husband and I have spent the night several times here. We enjoy it for what it is.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank C J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sao Paulo, SP
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2012

Dear all,
I am writing because I've never been so dissapointed in my life.
When you see the photos of this hotel you imagine a beautiful and clean hotel by the lake.
We made reservations for last week and we had to run away to Panama City.
Unfortunatelly the hotel is abandoned, the restaurant smells like sewage and our room, that seemed to be closed for years, smelled like mold.
The attendant at the front desk was very rude with us, her attitude was like she was doing us a huge favor, very unprofessional and moody.
As I can see, the good reviews are from a few years ago, so I don't know what happened there.
it is a pity...

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Guisele
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 25, 2011

Stayed two nights before a cruise (APRIL 2009) - a beautifully situated hotel with three pools and on the Gatun (TV old but hey I didn't go half way around the world to watch TV anyway) - the room was fairly basic but then it was value for money - clean and a lovely view. Food was good and good value for money. Peaceful setting on a lake - not to swim in as crocodiles in it! We did a little trip on a boat to one of the islands and to the Panama canal..the zip wire was broken..I wouldn't wander around the local area though - didn't look too safe - there was a guard on the hotel gate - think the hotel is a former army barracks. Night life at the hotel - OK. LOCATION - I would use this hotel again if cruising maybe not for a long stay. Ideal for a cruise connection.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gmt702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2011

This hotel is nice and Peaceful!!! Not much to do. Has a nice lake behind it with a big alligators/crocodile in it. Lots of birds and other wildlife. Pretty safe area. Nothing special about this place other than its close to the Panama Canal. It only took me 10 minutes to drive there. Its a must see!!! Amazing! Breakfast and dinner was good to for me! The door man was the only one who spoke good english. He went to school in the US!So get "Rosetta Stone" espanol software!!! i saw saw one keel-billed toucan, some green parrots, and herd howler monkeys. Pool was vacant. Not sure why!

Room Tip: The nearby gas station has good food. Very close Panama Canal - Gatun Locks
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jungleboywonder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2011

As a panamanian I visit this hotel on local holidays mostly because my family loves it, but have some comments:
GETTING THERE
As someone else said, don't go if you don't have a car
The place is not easy to find, some banners on the roads but a couple of turns you have to guess to get to the hotel.
Don't go to Colon City (not safe unless you know your way around)...just stay at the hotel or go to nearby fast foods (McDonald's, Popeyes, PizzaHut, Burger King - these are 10KM or so and have to go by car)
There's a Super99 (supermarket) at the entry road - it sells enough to cater to most needs (groceries, medications, sunblocks)
THE HOTEL
THe room is average, a really small TV (23 or 20inches) not plasma or LCD - you have to sit in front to see anything (they have cable TV and some movie channels)
The A/C is mediocre, although this time I visited it worked (on a previous ocasion we had to change rooms since it failed to cool)
The room has a safe you can program with a 4 digit code (it is large enough to put a laptop in it)
We always order a 2 bed, twin size (you can order a crib free or charge, nothing fancy but it keeps your small child safe)
No internet wireless or otherwise - I went with an iPad and could not scan anything (to be fair didn
SERVICES
As someone mentioned the property is well maintained and has great scenery and photo ops. The place has a gate with a security guard.
The service has always been mediocre - this is my fourth time (as I mentioned, my kids love it) and it's always the same. This place has management issues. It is very disorganized. I asked to go on a tour by the lake and the 3rd party in charge of this were nowhere to be found (on a weekend).
The breakfast buffet is good and plenty of choices, but stay away from lunch or dinnner buffets (the food quality is not good and is too expensive for what is offered)...What we do is go to the fast foods and eat there or sneak the food back in.
They have 2 billiards table by the bar, didn't see anything else that passes for entertainment (bring toys for the kids and a book to read)
The pools are the main plus, 2 big ones and 1 small for 2-4yrs. You can swim, dive and one of them has a 6foot+ height so it's deep enough for my taste.
On holidays, they always set up a couple of concert speakers with music or live bands in the pool or an area in front of the rooms - loud! When you complaint to the front desk, they don't do anything about it (maybe offer to change rooms which is always a nuissance if you're already settled in)...what I don't get is that you don't see anybody enjoying or dancing so it's clear it could be turned off and nobody would care...
IN SUMMARY
I don't think this is a 5-star hotel by anyone's standards, maybe a 3-star.
If you don't expect much, you'll get by...service sucks, don't expect tours or anything else. If bringing kinds, they have a lifeguard by the pool and the water temperature is always 75+ degrees F even on rainy season.

Room Tip: Higher floors away from the pool area may be quieter Ask for package with breakfast buffet only As...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Reymontero
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Melia Panama Canal

Property: Melia Panama Canal
Address: | Residencial El Espinar, Colon, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Colon Province > Colon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Colon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Melia Panama Canal 4*
Number of rooms: 200
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the shores of Lake Gatún surrounded by lush, tropical vegetation, in the city of Colón (Panama), and a short distance from the Free Trade Zone, the Gatún locks, la Granja, the ruins of San Lorenzo and the beaches, the Meliá Panamá Canal is the best option for discovering Panamá, thanks to its beautiful natural surroundings, its comfortable and complete facilities and the quality of its services. The Meliá Panamá Canal is the perfect setting for living exciting adventure tours, ecotourism, bike rides, canopy and eco walks and hiking so you can admire the exquisite flora and fauna of this unique and idyllic corner of the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Melia Panama Canal Hotel Colon
Melia Hotel Panama Canal
Melia Hotel Colon
Melia Panama Canal Colon

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