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“Charming hotel in San Rafael - look for an excuse to stay there!”
Review of Panama Hotel

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Panama Hotel
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in San Rafael
Playa del Rey, CA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Charming hotel in San Rafael - look for an excuse to stay there!”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Friends referred us to the Panama Hotel at the edge of a residential neighborhood in San Rafael. It is more like a bed and breakfast. Each room has a different theme and size. We stayed in the Safari Room. Totally charming and well appointed. Breakfast was included and was very good for a continental breakfast. The restaurant which is part of the hotel is excellent. It appears to a local hangout for dinner and lunch.Highly recommend the Panama Hotel which dates back to the 1920's. Look for an excuse to stay in San Rafael so that you can experience the Panama Hotel, which is about three blocks from the downtown area.

Room Tip: We liked the Safari room with a king size bed. Was quite spacious and came with a refrig, microwave...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Discerningsenior42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    29
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Santa Barbara, CA
Level 6 Contributor
296 reviews
191 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 280 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2012

We were in San Rafael for a business meeting. Another person who was attending the meeting was staying at the Panama Hotel, so we booked our room here. From the moment we arrived the staff were happy, smiling and wanting to take care of us. We stayed in Mimi's Bungalow. It was very spacious with a separate bedroom, living room and bathroom. Everything was clean and nicely decorated. There is a restaurant/bar on the property. We ate twice at the restaurant in one evening. First we had appetizers (mussels & artichoke) with some friends and then we had an entree (seafood stew) with some business associates. All the food was excellent along with some really good wine. Breakfast is included with the room. There weren't many choices for breakfast; scone, fruit, cereal and hard boiled egg. The scones were freshly baked and the fruit was delicious. We drove to San Rafael. The hotel does not have a parking lot. You need to park on the street. We were lucky and found a parking space close to the hotel. The hotel is only 3 blocks from downtown San Rafael, so it is easy to walk and stroll 4th Street shops and restaurants. When we return to San Rafael, we will definitely stay at the Panama Hotel.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank SBCATraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2012

This hotel is full of character and good value. Best thing was the breakfast, fresh fruit and cakes straight from the oven. The room (Roy Rogers) was fine, no frills but the shared bathroom and shower were a bit grubby, old and dark.

Room Tip: I had the Roy Rogers room which was fine but the shared bathroom and shower were a bit grubby, old a...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jude B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Andy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
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
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ThurstonActon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CaptainLumpy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Akron, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chapmand1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Panama Hotel

Property: 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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