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“Panama House is not really a quiet, bed and breakfast”
Review of Panama Hotel

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Panama Hotel
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in San Rafael
Reviewed December 29, 2011

I stayed one night at the Panama House in San Rafael in mid-December. Perhaps it was the time of the year that will contribute to this poor review, but others I talked to later had similar experiences at different times of the year. There is a large, busy and elegant restaurant right under a number of the rooms. Kitchen noise, restaurant noise and live music will be the dominant theme of your night time back drop. The restaurant closes at 10 pm, but it takes a while for all of the noise to wind down.

There is a restaurant table that blocks the entry way to the stair case to the rooms. I had to ask diners to get out of their chairs and move so I could go in and out of the door way to get to my room.
I cancelled my second two nights there and went looking for other accomodations.

Room Tip: Stay awy from the restaurant, they may have large parties in the restaurant and on the patio adjacen...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled solo
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8  Thank Andy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 - 58 of 66 reviews

Reviewed November 18, 2011

My wife and I stayed 5 nights in the Safari room during our trip in early July. We ate in the restaurant almost every night and Sunday brunch. There was live music on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was packed the night Faith Winthrop performed, but we found seats at the bar. The staff was great, the food was varied - I can vouch for the Fire Roasted Poblano Chile, Beef Short Ribs, Baja Seafood Salad, Tuscan Toast Platter, and for brunch, Eggs Florentine. The location was good - we took day trips into San Francisco (Giants baseball, Botanical Gardens), Point Reyes National Seashore, and other Marin County sights. Complementary breakfast was very good, although one morning we were lured next store to Muffin Mania.

Room Tip: Choose your favorite theme
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank ThurstonActon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2011

Wow. What an unexpected surprise.

This is a unique hotel, with bags of character, fabulous food, and good service. The courtyard dining is incredibly charming with lush planning and citrus fruits above you as you eat. The rooms are very different from the bland and uniform product of a Holiday Inn – so if that what you are looking for don’t stay here. What each room exudes is eclectic character.

Mine (Rosies Room) had antique furniture, and lush soft furnishings. The bathroom had a roll top bath with shower over and antique porcelain. In addition there was a small kitchen and a sitting room. Wifi was free and worked fine, though a little slow at times.

I friend recommended this hotel and I booked solely on the basis of the recommendation.
Before I booked I looked at the website, and hesitated, but the recommendation won me over despite the website. My expectations were low. On arrival I was totally bowled over by the atmosphere and character.

You currently can’t book online, except for a dinner reservation (essential).
Highly recommended if you want something a bit different.

Room Tip: Theyare all different - book early they only have a few rooms.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank CaptainLumpy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2011

The best feature is the food and the very wonderful folks who work here.

Rooms are very clean and each different from the others. No bugs, we left our balcony doors open the whole stay.

Only downside is street parking. Sometimes a challenge.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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2  Thank Chapmand1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2011

We stayed one night this summer and absolutely loved it. Quaint, charming, and a great restaurant also. The bed was comfortable and the room was charmingly decorated. We'll be back!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Erika974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2011

The "suite" we occupied apparently was a converted garage. Let's see what I can remember: dead bugs, hair in the bathroom, spotted carpet, old TV that requires two remotes, wi-fi died at 9:45 p.m., bad mattress, you name it. And then when I told the staff my displeasure it was easy to see that she was really annoyed and attempted to dismiss my complaints. Avoid this joint.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled on business
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9  Thank frabjous1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2010

Recommended by a local businessman, the Panama Hotel had live jazz in the restaurant, excellent food choices ( I had arugula and beet salad topped with calamari!) and wine by the glass, and the rooms are quaint ,comfortable and well equipped. What a change from usual business hotels: park , for free, on the narrow street out front, check in at the 'office'..a counter wedged next to the kitchen in the very lively restaurant , got some work done on my laptop..free wireless; slept with the door to my private balcony open and enjoyed a great night's sleep with fresh air and a very comfortable bed; breakfast buffet with fresh warm scones ,granola, fresh fruit, wonderful coffee...had the restaurant to myself..wandered around and looked at all the photos and mementos of 80 years of continuous operation .

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank Mangonboat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Panama Hotel

Address: 4 Bayview St, San Rafael, CA 94901-4913
Location: United States > California > Marin County > San Rafael
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in San Rafael
Number of rooms: 14

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