Much like a European boutique hotel, the Bristol is gorgeous and classy, with personalized service and attention to detail to boot. The rooms have high ceilings, elegant furniture, sumptuous beds, all the amenities, and art by Panamanian painters. Ask for a room in the new tower, since they are larger and brighter. The staff is friendly and take service to the extreme with a 24-hour concierge and coffee or tea delivered with your wake-up call. The bar downstairs is beautiful, with with lots of wood and windows overlooking lush atriums. Next to it is Las Barandas Restaurant, run by one of the country's most famous chefs, Cuquita, whose nouveau Panamanian menu includes Asian and European touches.
Jan 20, 2010
I stayed at the Bristol in February of 2007, so my review may be a little out-of-date. Overall: We spent only one night at the Bristol earlier this month before flying out of Panama City en route back to the US. It was like an oasis in the desert! I would highly recommend this hotel and would definitely stay there again. If they had a swimming pool or even an outdoor lounging area, we would have stayed at the beginning of our trip as well. It’s
definitely an elegant, first-class Panama hotel. Rooms: The first thing I appreciated was the carpeting, after having spent 7 nights with tile floors. We had a standard room (we were not upgraded as we had hoped due to our Leading Hotels of the World club membership), but it was a nice size, with a king-size bed, chair and ottoman, desk and chair, large armoire with TV, DVD player, CD player, valet stand, closet (with safe), and bar area (including a nicely-stocked minibar). There was a plate of several pieces of fruit there when we arrived (banana, pear, apple), and the lighting and music was set in welcome. Imagine our surprise, when another more extensive fruit plate was delivered later (tons of strawberries, two more pears, half a fresh coconut, two kiwi halves, and some yummy meringue cookies) and decorated with orchids. I’m not sure if everyone receives the larger plate, or if it was because we are members of the Leading Hotels of the World club. Our bed was also turned down, with robes and slippers laid out, as well as bedside mats and caramel candies. The bathroom was huge, with separate bathtub and glass-enclosed shower. Toiletries were slightly above-average, with soaps, shampoo, conditioner, lotion. There was a hair dryer in one of the bathroom drawers, and fluffy towels were plentiful. The lighting in the room was excellent, so atypical for most hotels. The rooms were very soundproof. Restaurant/Food: Barandas was a great meal, and after feeling a little food-deprived over the past three days, we indulged in a four-course meal. Everything was presented perfectly using unique ingredients. The meal cost about $100, including a few drinks, similar or a little below the cost we would have paid for an equivalent meal in the US. There is a dress code in the restaurant—men cannot wear “slippers”, meaning flip flops or sandals of any kind (though, gratefully, the maitre ‘d seated us anyway in the back, because it would have been a shame to miss that meal). The “cigar” bar (where you can’t smoke cigars any longer) was really hopping, with live music and excellent service (but it is tiny and clubby-feeling). Taxi: A taxi to the airport arranged by the Bristol was $35, which could be added directly to the hotel bill. If you went outside and arranged the taxi on your own, you could expect to pay $25. Other info: We didn’t use the health club. There was a doorman, but we didn’t see a bellman. The lobby registration desk is somewhat non-traditional, meaning no “counter” is provided just two small desks/tables with chairs. The wakeup call comes accompanied by a coffee service—a nice touch! The hotel was sold out on the Friday evening that we stayed there, so be sure to make a reservation. There was a gas station/convenience store about a block away to buy drinks and snacks, if necessary. E-mail communication was sporadic: sometimes I received a response, and other times it was not acknowledged.
Jun 22, 2009
The Bristol was a beautiful hotel, but we found the staff to be very snooty and decidedly not helpful. Two of the three nights we were there the hotel was hosting large parties (weddings?) so it was very noisy. Also, long pants were required for breakfast. We were traveling with teenagers and using the hotel as a base for day trips so we were dressed for adventure. They were not too nice about it.