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Coral Lodge
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Reviewed January 2, 2013

We just returned from our trip to the Coral Lodge a week ago, and it is in need of many improvements. The casitas are in poor condition from old, stained sheets to air conditioning that either leaves the room too hot or too cold. It needs to upgraade its bathrooms so that the water pressure is consistent and available. The jacuzzi was so stained we never even thought of using it. We have traveled through a great deal of the world, but we have rarely seen advertising that so exceeds the reality of the actual product. It was a good thing I spoke Spanish because the guide on our kayak trip, while very knowledgeable, spoke very little English, so I translated for my husband. The majority of the staff spoke some English. Guillermo, the manager, is very good. In fact, the employees were the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing stay. We were never told about what the spa offered, and communications about trips were often not made very clear. To sum up our stay, we found out the reason we could not go on the morning kayak trip was because the Lodge did not have enough paddles because one had been broken and not replaced. Enough said.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank kkat2657
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cuna_de_Vida, Owner at Coral Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 11, 2013

Dear Vakued Guest,
Thanks for your comments,
I would like to offer an explanation hopefully it will help future vacation choices.
there are two waether conditioned challenges of an eco lodge in a location with such high salt and humidity concentration.
you night have found the property looking a little tired as the painting is not feasible when it rains and keeps the walls moist we need to have some dry time to be able to efresh the look and that is now possible as the dry season has finally arrived this year (a little late but it has arrived).
The stains of the linen you are right and again due to unusual high levels of humidity in the last few months not even the dry cleaneers in Panama have been able to get it crips clean.
The jacuzzies are being eliminated and the area replaced with recicled wood floors to allow more space a couch and a luggage rack.
I must say however that your comment of the kayacks is simply not true,
Your comment of the price being 5 Star, a Property where we have only 7 Bungalows nothis is available on site everthing need to be brought form panama City with 7 hour trips will have high operating costs and this added with the fact that the transportation to the lodge being so complex it does inflate the cost, but then that is the price one pais for the spirit of dicovery and the ability to the have such amenieties such as AC Hot Water, Pool Ect in the middle of the wilderness.
Many Thanks again for spending time with us.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

I filled out a guest survey upon leaving the resort. That survey noted that we had no hot water and the toilets didn't work. Andre (the owner) offered us a stay at his other resort in Panama. Following is my response to Andre's email:

Andre,
Thank you for your prompt response. We would like to "pass" on your offer as the reviews on Trip Advisor for your alternate property are not very complimentary.

I did not cover all the areas we were disappointed in at Coral Lodge on the guest comments. Here are some additional items:
Moldy Comforter.
Meager selection in the mini-bar (and no place else to go to get a snack).
Burlap falling off the upstairs ceiling and in some places missing all together.
Unfinished drywall in most areas.
Trash on the property and washed up in the Mangrove area. This should be a constant clean up as it is very distressing passing it on the way to the rooms.
The toilet downstairs had to have the top taken off on most occasions to make it work.
No fresh towels EVER, and, certainly no crisp clean linens.
Stained upholstery - the white chairs in #7 were so bad I felt I had to put a beach towel down to sit on it.
No a/c other than the small bedroom.
The towel bar in the downstairs bath kept falling off the wall.
The secondary dining facility over the water was unusable due to the holes in the thatched roof.
The pool felt unclean; however, was the only option for swimming.


What we did like was the location. But, we did not care for the fact that you really couldn't swim in the lagoon area as it was only a couple feet deep. My impression was that we could dive right off our balcony.

And, looking back over your website I did note that you do claim this to be a "luxury" boutique. Please delete this from your advertising because your property is anything but luxury.

I would suggest you visit the Trump Resort in Panama City. This is the level we expected at the pricing that was charged.

I am an Interior Designer by trade and know construction costs/maintenance. This is what I have done for a living for nearly 30 years. Your Coral Lodge property needs an infusion of approximately $100,000. to bring it to the level of the pricing structure.

I hope this helps clarify our issues with your property.

Room Tip: No good rooms available. Other guests had similar complaints about their accommodations.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank CherylintheDesert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cuna_de_Vida, Owner at Coral Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 11, 2013

Dear Guest,
Thanks for your comments,
Allow me to put your comments in some perspective,
The property in Contadora is a new take over and I guess the guest comments should reflect our new efforts and i guess there all I can say is Time will tell.
Hopefully we will be blessed with the good commets like Coral Lodge that we get yes we get a small percentage like yourselves that do not see it as others.
We again Thanks you for your comments regardsless of the dicouraging sort it may be, It is appreciad.
Hopefully later in the year you will take us up and enjoy the nature Panama has to offer in Las perlas.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2012


It was absolutely worth it!!

I just got back from Coral Lodge.

While in Panama I had seen the latest review and got worried that I had chosen the wrong place, but having experienced the Coral Lodge I now feel the need to write a review of how wonderful it was, so not to give the same agony to others that may be traveling to the Lodge.

Coral Lodge feels like home. There is space to interact with the other guests or just disappear.
The beach mentioned was not clean, actually horribly dirty, but we understand why. The units are comfortable and the linen clean.

Generally we recommend Coral Lodge to people that enjoy nature (occasionally human nature if the wind blows the wrong way to the beach) and tranquility, privacy, exceptional food and bar concoctions, personal and tasteful service and an exciting trip to get there.

If you want a vacation spot where the only noise you hear is the hum of the air conditioning from your 20th floor hotel room, then the Coral Lodge is not for you. But, if you want to stay connected to nature, with waves lapping at your front door in a far away place where every thing is perfectly (some imperfectly) real, then start your journey now to a place where the water is so clear, you can almost see the future.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank Theunimagineble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cuna_de_Vida, Resort Operator at Coral Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 30, 2012

Dear Guest,
Many thanks for your most valued commented and thanks for being understanding with beach challenges nature and human footprint brings to us in Coral Lodge,
We are passionate about hospitality, the foots print we occupy and guest like you not only motivate our staff but help to direct the guests that should enjoy the lodge.
We will continue to better the location services and reduce our footprint.
Thanks for staying with us.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2012

Coral Lodge was an extravagant choice (especially with the pricey private transfer), but one I felt would be well worth the premium, given the glorious location, idyllic beach setting and privacy: who can resist the lure of a little thatched bungalow set right in the sparkling clear blue sea?
Given the price, reviews and press, you might expect 5* luxury; but as noted elsewhere, this is a remote location, so there are some compromises. At the time I went the weather was against me, which meant churned up water, the beach strewn with debris, seaweed and chunks of driftwood and so on.
But taking that out of the equation, Coral Lodge still disappointed on the basics – the bare minimum standards you’d expect of any decent hotel.
- Normally, you’d expect crisp white bed linen, not torn, stained sheets
- I’d generally expect that the room would be inspected before a guests’ arrival, to check that the shower works, the safe functions, that curtain rails aren’t hanging off the walls, the radio works
- If asked to fill in a lengthy pre-arrival questionnaire on my preferences (music, food, treatments, excursions) one expects that this would be read, and at the very least that some of the items in said questionnaire would be on offer
- And, while nobody can account for the weather, excursions should be offered consistently. We had a boat trip that we wanted to do; unfortunately it couldn’t be done on the day that the weather was clear, because the boat was being used elsewhere. As a result, we went out the following, stormy day, to fit around this schedule, and were forced to turn back after 45 minutes of the worst, stormiest boat journey of my life.
The Transfer to and from Coral Lodge, offered by the hotel is also incredibly expensive. At the time I booked it, I felt that for a private transfer, collection from my hotel in Panama City and 45 minute boat ride, perhaps it was the ‘going rate’ but at several hundred dollars, I discovered that this is not the going rate in Panama and I paid $35 for the same type of transfer (actually better) elsewhere in Panama. Again, disappointing. What should have been a dream destination felt like a rip-off.

Room Tip: Go in the dry season, and don't get your hopes too high...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank teenytroot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cuna_de_Vida, Owner at Coral Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 25, 2012

Dear Guest,
Thanks you for spending your valuable time at the Lodge with us,
We always appreciate guests comments as they help us direct the energies and resources where they may result in the best possible experience.
I do have to disagree that the going rate for a transfer of such distance and boat transfer in Panama is $ 35.00 is simply not true we provide the service at a loss to the operation and if we could get a better and more cost effective way believe me we would do so immediately.
With regards to your trip to San Blas that resulted with a return due to the stormy conditions we apologize, weather is unfortunately not under our control, you may say that we should have had a trip the day when the weather was better and yes had we been able to forecast that we probably would.
With regards to the preference sheet they are the basis of our purchases and help us to plan a the stay of the guests, definitely read.
Lastly we are likely to introduce a mandatory and unfortunately more expensive even if subsidized transfer by air.
This will change the arrival and departure logistics and allow the guests the incredible aerial view of Panama city, the Pacific and the Atlantic what makes Panama so special.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

We chose the Coral Lodge for our honeymoon to Panama in early September. My wife and I had never been to Panama before so it was a new experience for both of us. After the 40 min boat ride from Miramar, we were greeted by Guillermo, the manager, and his wonderful staff! We stayed for 3 days (2 nights) and it was a great relaxing experience! It is a remote location and we had to deal with the sand fleas but you are near a jungle after all! However, for the first day and a half, we were the only guests so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! The only advice to those who read this post is to be flexible. For instance, we went on the monkey tour and didn't see any monkeys. However, during breakfast that same morning, Guillermo came and brought us to a place where a whole troop of monkeys were moving through the forest!
I highly recommend Coral Lodge if you want to get away from it all so to speak. The staff is wonderful and they do try their best to give you a wonderful, secluded experience!

Room Tip: The 6th bungalow was very nice. You can easily jump off the side and into a coral reef without worrying about the depth of the water. It is probably a little more private and possibly less fleas than the closer in bungalows.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank PYWh1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cuna_de_Vida, Owner at Coral Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 18, 2012

We are delighted to have been privileged to serve you and have been able a to provide memorable honeymoon experience. Thank you.

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