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alwaysafrica Aug 4th, 2005 09:47 AM

Hotel in Panama City - The Right Location
 
Hi!

My husband and I are heading to Panama for the first time in October :-) We'll be spending a couple of weeks in the country and have approx. 3 nights to spend in Panama City... we're looking for a nice, mid-range hotel with a pool, and most importantly, one that is in the "right" area of downtown (although we're not exactly sure yet what that means!)...

Because this will be our first trip, we don't know much about the orientation of the city (but we all know that just because something is located "downtown" doesn't mean it's in a good location) and so are hoping to get some help from you guys about where to stay...

We've looked up the Plaza Patilla and it looks great - is it in a central location? We're going to be there celebrating my husband's 30th birthday and so are hoping to not be too far from some good restaurants and nightlife... We've also looked up the Costa Del Sol... Do any of these sound good? Are there other suggestions?

Any help would be great! Thanks!

Jenn

JeanH Aug 4th, 2005 06:30 PM

We stayed at Sevilla Suites in Panama City in January. Had a one bedroom suits for about $85.00. Small hotel, not fancy, but clean and the rooms were huge. There was a pool and breakfast. Walking distance to lots of restaurants. Certainly not a luxury property, but I like knowing I'm not in the Marriott when I travel outside the US.

Panama City was a pleasant surprise. My only other experience with a large city in Central America is San Jose, Costa Rica. PC is much more tourist friendly. Also cabs are really, really cheap.

I've read that the bay is really polluted, we walked down there, and it certainly looks gross. So, unless you're a ways back, I wouldn't consider a water view to be a plus.

LanSluder Aug 5th, 2005 06:09 AM

I think you'd want to be in the Cangrejo/Bella Vista area where most of the better hotels are.

I tried to stay in Sevilla Suites, but they were booked. Ended up for part of the trip in the Sheraton Four Points, which actually exceeded my expectations, but the location, while not bad, isn't quite as central as some of the other hotels.

I don't recommend the Country Inn & Suites on the causeway, where we ended up on the way out of the country. Out of the way, and it needs some maintenance.

The Bristol has a top reputation -- small, upscale, butler on every floor, but still not too expensive. That would probably be my choice if there's the budget for it. The DeVille also has a good rep.

Taxis are indeed dirt cheap, unless you take a "hotel taxi" lined up at better hotels -- they are three or four times the cost. Just walk a few steps and flag down a taxi. Rarely will you pay more than US$2 to $4 for a trip.

Overall, I found Panama City inexpensive, safe (with a few exceptions), modern, clean and pleasant. Very good shopping. The traffic can be a bit tough if you're driving, but it's not as bad as some European cities. Having some Spanish is helpful.

--Lan Sluder

alwaysafrica Aug 5th, 2005 08:09 AM

Thanks so much to you both - your suggestions are greatly appreciated! And glad to hear that you both liked Panama City so much!

Has anyone else stayed at the Plaza Patilla that can give me any insight/advice?

Thanks,

Jenn

LanSluder Aug 6th, 2005 04:35 AM

The Plaza Paitilla Inn, formerly a Holiday Inn, gets a lot of recommendations for value. I also tried to book it, but it was full.

--Lan Sluder

ESW55 Oct 4th, 2005 05:54 PM

I will also be returning to Panama this month. My last stay in May, I spent one night at the Plaza Patilla and was happy with the value. Unfortunately, I cannot find contact information on the Internet. Can someone provide it so I can check availability? Thank you.


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