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Crater Valley
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Reviews (90)
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26 - 31 of 90 reviews
Reviewed February 23, 2012

First impression was great, beautiful driveway. The pool area is also very beautiful with a large pool. Okay that is where the great review stops. When we checked in there was only one girl working who did not know any english. We had to wait a long time to find her, looking around and had to yell for service before she finally came. When we got to our room, we were actually thinking that sleeping in the car would be cleaner and just so much better. The room was dark, gloomy and smelly. The room we had (Room Carocol) was so old and run down. It had holes in the ceiling, the walls were not taken care of. (Oh how I still can't believe I stayed here). The T.V. is fine if you know spanish, we left it on all night as there was a loud party going on next door and starting at 4 you will hear roosters every 8-20 seconds.

When we went for breakfast there was fruit on the buffet table along with juice and cereal. We took our fruit and sat down to eat. When we were almost done eating, the next table received some bread. I asked the girl working if we could have some. She looked at me and said nothing. I tried pointing and asking for some she finally said yes. After we got our bread, the next table received eggs and bacon. There are no menus and the girl seemed really annoyed that we were asking for anything. Maybe if you are spanish, the breakfast service is better. We seemed to be an inconvenience being here. I believe paying $338 for two nights is more than a complete rip off, staying in a tent would have been better. (Especially after coming from the Pedasi area and staying in a huge beautiful beach loft that was very well taken care and did not cost much more.)
The shower- There was no shower pressure. There was hardly any water. And the little water there was, was never the right temperature. The only thing nice about the shower was that it was large and probably the nicest looking in the room.
The bathroom door has huge cracks in it so that anyone that would like to see what you are doing....CAN. Also people walking by your room can also see what you are doing because there are windows with slits.
The sheets- Oh how I can't believe I slept on those dirty sheets.
There are no lunches or dinners at this place. Do not advertise a restaurant when all you have is breakfast fruit buffet.
The spa? What spa? I didn't see anything or anybody that could represent any kind of spa and we came during the busiest time of year for this place. This was not a disappointment to me because I didn't come for these services, but anyone that would like to come here because it is a spa....don't! Actually anyone wanting to come here.... just don't! You will be so much better off somewhere else. Trust me. If you like a place that is expensive, with run down rooms, terrible customer service or no customer service, no water pressure, dirty sheets and makes you feel like you are an inconvenience to be staying with them, well then this is the place for you.
We came to Panama and stayed at 3 different places, this was not the place to end off our trip. El Valle is a beautiful area to stay for a couple of nights, but Crater Valley is not. Crater Valley is not tourist friendly.

When in the area, make sure to visit La Casa de Lourdes Restaurant, excellent restaurant. Also if I were to go back I would stay in Los Mandarinos hotel. I did not stay here but saw the place as we went to the restaurant....Gorgeous and does not cost much more than Crater Valley. If you are travelling with kids, make sure to go see the zoo.

Room Tip: Pick a different hotel!
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank Jenn3031
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marisa G, Owner at Crater Valley, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2013

As of April 2013, our Resort has gone through a Major Renovation. Our rooms have been updated completely. New beds, linens, finishes, TV, A/C and celing fans. Upgraded bathrooms. Our staff has increased and has gone through positive changes... not to mention much improved morale. Our property is one of the largest and most beautiful estates in the Valley. Our large gardening staff oversees our expansive grounds, swimming pool, and heated jacuzzi. Please return - we would love for you to enjoy the NEW Crater Valley Bed and Breakfast Resort!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2011

We booked in here for two nights - Friday and Saturday. Although we understood that check in was not until 4 p.m. we did arrive about midday and were immediarely checked in by a young lady to our room, India Dormida. The room was rather dark and the uneven stone flooring was quite hard on the feet,especially if you were barefoot. However, the bed was comfortable, the TV was adequate and the bathroom somewhat odd where you had to climb over a parapet to get into the shower! I suppose it looked even darker since we arrived in a rainstorm.

Still, we didn't expect to spend all our time in the room and as we arrived at noon we enquired when was lunch being served. Now we were told that lunch was not being served, neither dinner for that matter, because she was the only member of staff at the hotel! There was a family leaving that day and after that we appeared to be the only guests in the hotel although another couple did turn up a bit later.

As the hotel is about a mile from the village and we didn't have a car *(we arrived by taxi from Playa Blanca) we had to take another taxi to the village to get lunch. A perfectly adequate local restaurant, Tierra y Mar, and inexpensive, too. A bit of souvenir hunting at the craft shops and then a taxi back to the hotel.

The hotel itself is very beautiful - lovely grounds, a nice swimming pool, a hot tub (pity it wasn't heated) and a jacuzzi were not inviting enough for a cool, rainy day. The bar looked to be in somewhat disrepair, but the receptionist (who by this time - 4 or 5 p.m.) was cleaning out the room of the people who had left at the time we arrived, broke off from this to offer me the only item available from the bar - a beer.

We ordered another taxi to go to dinner at Bruschetta which was pretty good without being exceptional and got back at 9 p.m. where the one and only member of staff greeted us before locking up.

At this stage we certainly felt that we could not stay another day like this, so we told the lady that we would check out in the morning instead of the next day which she accepted.

The next morning the staff had doubled - there were two ladies now, the original one and another who appeared to be her superior. The superior explained to us that there were no staff at the hotel the previous day because all the staff had gone to Panama City for their staff Christmas party! Nice of them to tell us!

The continental breakfast was adequate - that's all and we were assured that the restaurant would be open that night. But we didn't see any more staff, so we thought it was best to leave anyway.

It seems from other reviewers that understaffing is quite common here. This is not a question of blaming the people running the hotel but in senior management who seem to reside in the USA. A pity, because the place is beautiful, but you can't run a hotell like this. The only saving grace was that the (free) internet service worked (at least in the public areas but not in our bedroom) - something that doesn't often happen in Panama.

Room Tip: Find the biggest and brightest!
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank heinz57_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2011

Had a reservation at Crater Valley. Our guide was told that the room will not be ready before 330 although we asked for an earlier check in. We we arrived at 445 pm the place was dark, only a maid at the reception telling that the room was not ready. No manager, no responsible people around. The maid said that after a party they have now all gone home, there is no kitchen service although we had booked dinner and breakfast. The place loked pretty much like shut down, we did not find any person we could talk to despite our confirmed reservation. A hotel where nobody is there and nobody is responsible is about the last you would expect from an alledged 4 Star hotel. Prospective travellers should be prepared for the worst.
We took nevertheless a view of a room, looked more like a 2 Star room with no amenities, small, unattractive.

Room Tip: choose the Mandarin, abeatiful hotel with a charming service.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Hans B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marisa G, Owner at Crater Valley, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2013

As of April 2013, our Resort has gone through a Major Renovation. Our rooms have been updated completely. New beds, linens, finishes, TV, A/C and celing fans. Upgraded bathrooms. Our staff has increased and has gone through positive changes... not to mention much improved morale. Our property is one of the largest and most beautiful estates in the Valley. Our large gardening staff oversees our expansive grounds, swimming pool, and heated jacuzzi. Please return - we would love for you to enjoy the NEW Crater Valley Bed and Breakfast Resort!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2011

We were there 3 nights ago and were amazed. All of the good things in the other reviews are true and I would stay here again in a second. Any questions please ask. Roberto and his staff were very nice.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Thank psblin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2011

This time stayed at the Pilón because the rest of my preferred rooms Cariguana, Gaital, Manigordo, Coatimundi were all occupied or in renovation. The room is a bit small but nice as my last stay more than 2 years ago.

Reception: No change as seen last time. But this time we arrived to the hotel under a copious rain and there were several buckets with rain water dripping from the roof and wet all the reception (was worried about the rooms but seems that the roof in room areas are better or double covered)

Room: Rustic style with tv, nice large bathroom with shower and toiletries (but no fixed hairdryer, have to ask them); cleaned sheets/towels. Access to the back terrace by climbing the large window. As per my last review is still nice sitting at the rocking couch of the back terrace (they took away the hammock) to read or relax (check the photo that I enclosed with this review).

Meals: Are still being served by this terrace after the reception and close by the bar.
Breakfast: No change as remembered from the last stay. Served in a small buffet coffee, tea, cereals, milk, juice, fresh fruit (mangoes from their trees!), warm breads, marmalades, butter, classic continental breakfast.
Lunch/Dinner: No restaurant service because they sent the cook on holidays (June). To lunch or dinner is necessary to go somewhere away and not short walking distance from here (this time we came with no car so we spend almost 1 hour walking to town!). I think that the menu is still limited.

Outdoor areas:
Close to the reception there is a climbing wall, obstacle course, small canopy because the hotel manages also an adventure tour company which is easy to arrange.
Pool areas: Still there is the large pool, bar pool and the hot tub. This time we used a lot the hot tub which is really nice during the cool afternoons and we could see hummingbirds flying around.
Green areas: Paths, fruit trees, bridges, ponds will be nicer if better cared. Asked the staff about the toads because during my last stay have seen a lot of them but apparently a disease have exterminated them, but still can hear some croaking frogs..
Spa: We never use these services (but still there is the “spa cottage”) but some guests comment to us that they had problems by booking a massage session because the “spa experts” are not inhouse but outside persons because of their schedules etc. and it was easier to go their real “spa workplaces”.

Staff:
Now there are like 4-5 people working there (1 manager, 1 gardener, the rest housemaids/handymen). The manager explained to me that the owners change administration/staff since a year and half ago. Just OK.

Maybe because of the current financial crisis that the hotel stopped to invest for major maintenance (roof) and the 2nd floors, and also got some news that they are planning to sell it. Looks more like a boutique bed & breakfast rather than resort/spa as they advertised. Pity, because like I said, is an almost excellent product but what's going on??

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Tualie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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