During our Christmas Vacation Roulette trip I mentioned we stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria Panama City, Panama. After several posts from the rest of that trip, we failed to return and review the property. it is my pleasure to share this hotel with you now.
Panama City, Panama is host to nearly every major hotel brand. The Waldorf-Astoria is among those, nestled between the (formerly named) Trump International, the Le Meridien and the Intercontinental hotels. The property is tucked back from the bay on a back road that was under construction ahead of becoming a pedestrian-only block.
If using a taxi from the airport, expect $25-30 at a minimum in a shared van. Using Uber, the cost was around $17 to the airport. There is a whole post my husband wrote about why you should avoid taxis at the airport and utilize Uber instead.
47th St. & Uruguay Street, Panama City, Panama
The lobby and reception area is beautiful and grand. High ceilings, extravagant fixtures and opulent space give the sense of luxury from the moment you walk through the front doors. The standard Waldorf-Astoria clock was visible in the lobby and while this was the first property from the brand in Latin America, it will not be the last (others have been announced opening soon).
Held in the hotel’s restaurant on the 5th floor (I think), a spread of western and local options should satisfy anyone’s wants. There were a few issues with breakfast that should be mentioned. First, there were some issues replacing items that had been fully consumed, they were typically replenished but on some days it took the length of breakfast before they reappeared. Toward the end of our stay, we began mentioning that something was out of stock as soon as we noticed so to expedite its replacement.
They offer some fruit smoothies for breakfast that will cost Gold and Diamond members more, but that’s fair enough. In fact, the hotel was more generous than their policy should have allowed offering us full hot buffet access each day for all members of our party (two adults one child) rather than a continental option.
If you stay at the hotel, try the local options, they were delicious.
In a separate post discussing this trip more broadly, I mentioned that Lucy made lots of progress learning to swim in this pool. She became increasingly braver by the day, jumping into the water farther and farther making excellent strides toward full-blown swimming.
The hotel pool features an open-air deck with half of the pool area covered by the overhang of the hotel tower while the other half was open to the elements among the high-rise buildings of Panama City. This allowed us to continue swimming during light rain, but prohibited some areas of the pool deck from getting full sun. We liked the design and were able to occupy a cabana bed poolside each day of our stay. The property also offered full pool-side service from a bar and the hotel restaurant. We took advantage of this most visits to the pool.
The fitness center and spa was on the same level. No photos inside of the spa, but here is the fitness center with plenty of equipment and tons of space.
Deluxe Two Double Bed Room
While our family always prefers to be upgraded to a suite with more space and amenities (there are three of us traveling typically) it doesn’t happen every time. My husband’s status with Hilton is their top tier (Diamond) and we are almost always accommodated. On this stay they were able to accommodate us for part but not all of our stay, and that’s fine by us, we always say you should book the room you want to stay in instead of relying on an upgrade.
Surprisingly, the bathroom in Deluxe room felt more spacious to that of the Junior Suite which I will show below.
The view from this room was also superior to the Junior Suite and while the view of the sea was obstructed because of nearby buildings, we could still see the water and enjoyed the city-feel of the tower.
The hotel was kind enough to put out a family geared welcome amenity. It’s easy to make an elite feel welcome, but when they put in the extra effort to make sure that the guest’s family also feels welcome it makes the nights we spend apart that much more worth it when we go on holiday together.
Without a doubt there is more square footage in the Junior Suite than in the Deluxe room we had previously in our stay. What we gained in space, we lost in view and bathroom design. The Junior Suite had a full tub, something the Deluxe room did not, but – and stay with me here for a moment – the rest of the layout down to the robes that were provided were all inferior. Yes, the robes were not as nice, as first-world a problem as you can have, but then again, this is a Waldorf-Astoria. More surprising than anything else was that the hotel had three different styles of robes, some were so soft that we priced them out to take them home (they weren’t available for sale and we didn’t accidentally pack them), the others were so scratchy we didn’t use them.
If we had to choose (in retrospect) whether or not we would want the exact Junior Suite we had or the Deluxe room we were in, oddly we would choose the Deluxe room again. The view and bathroom were just more important to us.
What do you think about the Waldorf-Astoria Panama? Have you stayed elsewhere in Panama City? How was your experience? How does this stack up to other Waldorf-Astoria properties?
>Read More: A Tale of Two Waldorf-Astoria Hotels