This historic, boutique hotel was sculpted from the residence of the first governor of the Americas, and it just might be the best thing to happen in the Zone since Diego Columbus's palace was finished in 1517. Owned by the French Accor group, colonial rooms have canopied queen-size beds, tall ceilings, original stone window benches, and shutters. Some guests prefer the sunny, less expensive (albeit smaller) rooms in the contemporary annex; with river views, these are
smart examples of French minimalist style. Overlooking the river, trees and tropical plantings shade the pool, and swimmers leave the sun for a fitness break in the gym. The bar is a social scene, particularly at cocktail hour and for Jazzy Thursdays with its 2 for 1 Happy Hour (6–8 pm) and live music until 10 pm. Special rates are available for cruise-ship passengers who want a pre- or post-stay.