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“Don't go there!”
Review of Hotel Discovery

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Hotel Discovery
Ranked #106 of 113 Hotels in Panama City
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Don't go there!”
Reviewed 25 December 2013

This hotel was horrible! The staff is unfriendly (understatement), the room is damp, smelly, the airco doesn't work, the breakfast is 4 slices of bread with butter (nothing more) and you feel like being in a prison.
We left as soon as we could!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TanenBel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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59 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
37 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2013

The hotel offers free transfers from/to airport, but it doesn't work easy: I waited more than one hour in the airport and only got the transfer after I called the hotel 3 times. They kept saying they couldn't do anything because an angency was the one who would pick me up. I don't care, if the hotel sells this offer, they have to contact the agency and solve my problem.
The hotel is in a nice location, walking distance from a nice area and really close to Casco Viejo. But the service is very poor: breakfast = bread and butter, coffee and milk, in a quite disorganized way; the girl in the front desk (worked during the days) was never nice, unlikely the lady that worked in the night shift: very sweet and caring.
The room looks old and dark, very poor decoration (if you can call it decoration) and they didn't make my room any day of my 4 days stay. But it has hot water, wifi, air conditioner and TV.
Also, the hotel DOES NOT have a swimming pool. The picture above is not from this same hotel. This is a very simple hotel that actually looks like a pension.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Juliana0204
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Panama City hotels

Newark Notts
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 2013 via mobile

First of all I booked this hotel in England and it did not rare as good value at all.On the positive side the room was reasonably clean and the air con was good and not noisy.It was reasonably close to the city centre.However in every other aspect this hotel was one of the very worst I have had the misfortune to stay in.The lady on reception on arrival at around 10 pm was just plain ignorant and rude.I have spent a lot of time in Central America and know the difference between the way it is and should not be.She spent forever checking me in by which time I had a prostitute stood either side of me!The room made me feel I was in solitary confinement with air con.It was quiet for sleeping off jet lag but only because unlike myself other people were lucky enough not to be staying there.The included breakfast was hilarious.Self service with coffee and juice.Bread left out and two toasters(one partly broken) to toast your bread in.The hotel was far from full but this did not stop a line forming.You had to pay to have a cooked breakfast.A number of Panamanians were far from happy with the situation.I spent my only full day out in the city away from the place.As far as I am concerned this hotel put the rip into off.There are far nicer places in the old quarter apparently for a similar price.I strongly suggest you seek them out.I have written five star reviews on here as the owners really deserved them.I have the same motive in giving this place the big thumbs down.A shocker!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank gthornthwaite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2013 via mobile

Pros:
- The free airport shuttle is nice.

Cons:
- Our room was small, humid, smelly and had no window. It looked like prison.
- Neighbourhood is not very interesting.
- The reception doesn't speak any English. When you speak almost no Spanish on your first day of vacation, this can be hard.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lies010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naples, Idaho
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2013

CAUTION: The photo above is not the Discovery Hotel at the address as indicated above.

I spent a total of two weeks at Discovery Hotel at Avenida Justo Arosemena & Ecuador Street in Panama City during the month of September 2012. I make annual visits to Panama every year for 3-4 weeks at a time. In 2012, after arrival from the airport, I spent one week at Discovery in Panama City, another week at Hotel Don Tavo in Volcan, Chiriqui Province (please see my review of Hotel Don Tavo), and finally then returned to Panama City to Hotel Discovery for my last week in Panama before returning home.

If you are traveling to Panama City for a stay longer than 3-4 days, Hotel Discovery is a great place to find accommodation since the price (around $30/night), and price is the Hotel's major drawing strength. Surrounding hotels generally are more expensive, and for lengthy stays, it adds up in a hurry.

Hotel Discovery IS NOT a Hotel that rates anything above a 1-star rating, if that. You need to know this before you book. It is reasonably clean, has high guest turnover and is crowded on weekends, less so during the M-F weekdays. Since the above photo is NOT the same Discovery Hotel, I am including three photos with my review. Beware, these are the Hotel's promotional photos, and obviously are intended to show the Hotel in the best light possible.

Now the review:

FAVORABLE:

1. If you want to see and experience the real Panama City, the location is excellent, and the neighborhood is safe. Shopping in the blocks adjacent to the hotel include one major supermarket with multiple floors that feature everything from groceries to appliances, clothing, and much, much more!

2. McDonalds is a few blocks away, as well as other hotel restaurants that provide excellent food at really great prices. The Hotel's restaurant has only a very limited menu, and you will likely not be spending much time eating at the Hotel.

3. Two blocks from the Hotel is a wonderful park and plaza that really gives a cultural ambience of where you are. You SHOULD walk, forget about cabs, although cabs are cheap, you can really get a wonderful sense of being in Panama City by walking and taking everything in. Again, this area is safe and you'll want to spend hours walking around and taking everything in! There are times of the years when it rains a lot, and I mean REALLY comes down! You'll like prefer a cab in such instances.

4. From the Hotel you can walk about 20 minutes and you arrive on Via Espania, a major throughfare into the heart of Panama City's financial district and shopping malls. Remember, I said "Walk" --- you'll take everything in as you slowly move along. Bring your camera! You'll want to video a lot of stuff and take pictures that you can keep and remember your trip when you get home.

5. I spent two separate weeks in the Hotel. I had two different rooms at the Hotel, both of which were clean, and spacious when I arrived. In both rooms, the airconditioning was fine. I know, I've read about some reviews who claim that the front desk turns the airconditoners off... NOT TRUE! In both rooms that I occupied, the airconditioners are manual; you turn them off, or on, not the front desk.

6. The Hotel has a free shuttle service to and from the airport, but you have to reserve your place on the shuttle bus... do that in email BEFORE you arrive, and I recommend calling the Hotel before you arrive to confirm your shuttle bus reservations. The gentleman in the office speaks fair english, but he isn't around during night time hours, so make your confirmation phone call during normal working hours in Panama.

7. Since most of the Hotel guests are Spanish-speakers, it is a great idea to make some friends with other guests who can speak English. It is interesting to meet these guests, and they are also generally eager to talk with you. I am suggesting that you do this for another reason, obviously: The Hotel staff have very few members who really can converse in English. If you get in a jam at the Hotel, the guests might jump in and help you communicate with staff members at the Hotel. A lot of the Hotel guests are from surrounding countries: Costa Rica, Columbia, Honduras, and even Mexico. As the guests are also visiting Panama, most of them are travel savvy, and certainly willing to come to your assistance in the event that might become necessary, for example Shuttle Bus reservations for the trip back to the airport.

UNFAVORABLE COMMENTS:

1. Other reviewers have noted this, so I will not dwell on it. The reception personnel at the front desk mainly speak Spanish, and PREFER to do so even when you speak English to them. I am certain that they generally have some understanding of English, but in some cases I am convinced, they deliberately ignore you unless you persist! Again, the gentleman in the office (daytime hours only) can speak fair English. After my two-week stay, I knew the girls at the front desk who even made a feable effort to converse with you in English, and those who prefer not to speak English at all. In response to other reviewers here, there are some of the girls at the reception desk who are pretty good, others seem to give you the impression that they might prefer that you look for another Hotel elsewhere.

2. Housekeeping. Non-existent unless you persist. The Housekeeping staff are friendly, but speak only Spanish (with the exception of 1 or 2 that I met). It is probably better to confront the cleaning girls when they appear on your floor, hold you key in front of them... point to your room... they get the idea. Once they have left your floor they will probably not return until the next day. If you leave your room early in the day, and return late in the afternoon, your room will not be serviced, period. In other words, if you stay at this Hotel, you have to be the one to initiate getting the attention of the cleaning staff, or do it at the Front Desk. I would prefer NOT to involve the front desk for the reasons above #1.

3. Morning FREE Breakfast. It's there as mentioned by other reviewers here. In the two weeks I was at the Hotel I didn't participate in this service after observing that it consisted only of toast bread, coffee, and juice. I walked to few blocks away to another Hotel cafeteria that had a wonderful breakfast menu, ham, bacon, saussage, eggs made the way you like it, and all for about $4.50.

4. Smoking. Not in this Hotel, neither in public or private rooms. You have to walk outside, have your smoke, then walk back in, take the elevator back to your room... wait until your next urge, then repeat the process.

5. Wi-fi. Although the Hotel advertises this service in "public" areas, it is actually piped throughout the Hotel. In both of my rooms the signal strength was good, even good enough to make phone calls using SKYpe or MagicJack (I use both when I travel). My first room was on the sixth floor and adjacent to Hotel Roma. I found in that room, Hotel Roma's unsecured Wi-Fi was actually stronger than Hotel Discovers signal was. In my second room on the 4th Floor, I could not avail of Hotel Roma's Wi-Fi signal, but Hotel Discovery's signal was much better. I am saying this as a "negative" only because the Hotel's signal strength was dependent upon which floor and room you occupy.

6. Warm (Hot) Water: Depends upon the time of day. During late morning the water is, frankly, quite chilly. Early morning (before 7-7:30) is recommended when the water is comfortably warm at least; also during the late afternoon when most guests are out of the Hotel and hot water is more readily available since other guests aren't around to use it up.

7. TV/Phone. This isn't a negative, since I didn't really use either and can't confirm what other guests were suggesting as deficits, or negative. I brought my own DVD movie videos with me and usually entertained myself in that fashion, and used either MagicJack or SKYpe to make my phone calls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Obviously I am trying to be as balanced as possible about this Hotel. Would I stay there again? Sure. The price is right, and I did find, negatives aside, that the Hotel staff does FINALLY warm up to you after you've been there a week or so. I frequently visit Panama, and so I am not a intimidated by Spanish-only speakers as I was initially on my first visit years ago. In fact you can actually be challenged in such instances and enjoy the experience of make use of even limited Spanish. I understand that some reviewers are bothered by this, and if that might be your problem, you might want to stay in another Hotel. Otherwise, chill out and enjoy the Panama experience. Panamanians are really very friendly and happy people. As I just mentioned, even the Hotel staff will gradually warm up to you too. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have experienced Hotel Discovery...

Room Tip: All the rooms I observed were larger than other Hotels I have stayed in while visiting Panama, that...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank libnw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
113 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2013

Well, heres the thing, if youre NOT going to stay for long and if you are looking for something super cheap that gives you the basic, this is the hotel for you..also the free shuttle to and from the airport is a plus that you wont get often, I have stayed at 5 stars like the RIU and Trump and they DO NOT offer free shuttle, you have to pay 30 bucks each way. The wifi works fine, hot water as well, TV sometimes works but if you don plan on staying in the room that's ok, I mean you are visiting the country so no need for a tv. It is close to everything, taxis everywhere even a mcdonalds and little corner store if you need anything. Safe area, even at night, do not go far down the street at night though specially if you look like a tourist, wouldn't recommend it
So in conclusion, you get what you pay for, really its onl $25 a night, do not expect vip service, you don't find anything cheaper than that anywhere in the world!

Room Tip: Do not book onine, its only $25 per night if you go there personally
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank oriel e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
el valle panama
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2013 via mobile

This is an old building in the embassy area of the city. Sn easy walk to the Cinta Costera and Ave. Balboa. The area is called Calidonia. It has a lot of inexpensive places to stay. I paid $30 and with a 1PM checkout you have time the next day to do some errands or sightseeing. The room is very basic and with no bad hotel art can appear a bit dismal. But everything worked except the two reading lights over the bed.and the place was clean. Tile bath (none missing) fluffy towels and an okay bed. I travel with my own micropellet pillow to assure myself a good sleep.
The small restaurant has good egg choices for $3.
The manager, Angel, was extremely helpful. I was confused about the payment since I used Booking.com. He explained the process of them collecting my ccard info just in case I was a no-show. I had booked before checking Tripadvisor and I am glad I did otherwise I wouldn't have picked this hotel. You get a free shuttle to and from the airport which is now $30 each way! I can say if I am laying overor coming into the city this is an economical choice.
Oh, Angel did say that repairs and renovations are ongoing so the lower floors may be a better choice. I stayed in 304.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sombaElVallePanama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Discovery

Property: Hotel Discovery
Address: Avenida Justo Arosemena & Ecuador Street, Panama City 0816, Panama
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #106 of 113 Hotels in Panama City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Discovery 2.5*
Number of rooms: 85
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Discovery Panama/Panama City

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