Like many other reviewers, I've been staying at the Pan American since I was a baby. I've watched the hotel grow and change over the years and, over all, I'm still very much in love with it. Instead of waxing nostalgic, though, let me break it down into useful bits of info:
-- Location, location, location: The Pan American is very close to the famous Wildwood boardwalk (three blocks, with a spacious bike path extending from the hotel all the way up to the boardwalk) and also looks out on the beach (which can be seen, more or less, from every balcony of every room in the building). Even the rooms overlooking the hotel parking lot still get a nice view of the park across the street, the bike path, and the beach. I personally enjoy watching the basketball games on the gorgeous court right across the way.
-- Classy and luxurious (IF you choose the right room!): Of all the hotels near the boardwalk, the Pan Am is the most gorgeous and up-scale. This is practically beyond the realm of debate. The pool is the most stunning part of the entire hotel, which is perfect since that's where we spend most of our time while on hotel property. The rooms are a different story, though. There are six different types of rooms, ranging from just under $200 a night during peak season to a little over $300, and there is a WORLD of difference amongst them. The two least expensive rooms, the Deja Blue and Summer Breeze, are ridiculously cramped to the point of insult. In fact, the Summer Breeze, which advertises a microwave and refrigerator, has them shoved in the closet, leaving you little room to actually store your clothing and suitcases except in the narrow walkway between the bed and the wall.
However, if you spend just a little more to get any of the Efficiency rooms, from the Sea Casa all the way up to the Ocean Serenade, you get truly beautiful rooms that make you feel like you're in the lap of luxury. If you're going to stay at a place like the Pan Am, you've got to splurge the extra $80 a night to get a decent room. The smaller models are absolutely not worth it.
- Service: It's an odd thing about the Pan Am. Nearly all the staff comes off as very cold and business-like at first. However, if you end up talking to any of them for more than thirty seconds, they become incredibly attentive and helpful. This has been my experience many times and with most staff members. I still have no explanation for it. I wish they could be friendlier up front, but I always get full cooperation and helpfulness when I ask for anything.
- Alosi's Bistro: Don't. Just don't. The Pan American's attached restaurant (which also has a short order window at the pool) is very expensive, very slow, and only mediocre in quality. We like to have breakfast there once or twice during our stay, but we'll never make the mistake of going there for lunch or dinner again. The fact that you'll almost never see anyone else in there after 12pm should be a sign right off the bat. And don't get me started on that short order window. $8.95 for a fresh fruit medley that consisted entirely of sub-par cut melon pieces, and they wouldn't even give me a cup of water to drink with it ("Sorry. That's our policy"). If you're hungry at the pool, wait 30 minutes, and the fresh fruit truck will come by (listen for the ringing of the triangle). The prices are a lot better, and the fruit is fresh and perfect for a hot summer day at the pool.
- Family friendly: This is the perfect environment for young kids. There's a great daycare for kids ages 5-12 offered throughout the day (I went through it as a kid and still remember the activities fondly), a wonderful kiddie pool that allows toys (they even send a staff member over to lend out pool toys during the peak hours of the day), and a family friendly climate. This is not the same for most hotels in Wild Wood, which attract a younger and often rowdier and/or racier crowd. No drunks, loud music, foul language, nor topless sun bathers here.
All in all, the Pan American is an ideal, family friendly, luxurious hotel in close proximity to everything worth doing in Wildwood. My only word of warning: Make sure you get an efficiency room unless you don't mind an extraordinarily cramped room and bathroom.
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- Also Known As:
- Pan American Wildwood Crest
- Hotel Pan American
- The Pan American Wildwood Crest