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“Best if you speak Spanish”

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The Westin Playa Bonita Panama
Ranked #9 of 116 Hotels in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
Orange, California
Level Contributor
584 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 171 helpful votes
“Best if you speak Spanish”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2013

We read a lot of reviews prior to our trip so I was a little hesitant about our stay. The hotel was part of a package deal so we had no choice and therefore went in with pretty low expectations. Overall, the hotel itself is beautiful and the rooms were spacious and clean. As everyone else has said, the beach is not necessarily good for swimming. That being said, we thought the views were great and the tidal changes added to the diversity. If you are expecting Hawaii type beaches, you'll be disappointed. The food was average and a little pricey. We took a cab to Amador for dinner one night. Although the overall cost including cab fare was more then you would spend at the hotel, its worth it for a change of scenery. Finally, as far as service goes, we thought everything was fine. Granted we were there in low season so we didn't really have to compete for any one's attention. You will definitely need to speak some Spanish as outside of the check in area, communication was challenging. That being said, try your rusty Spanish and you'll be fine. Kudos to Marcos, one of the servers around the pool. He was efficient and we had a great conversation about Soccer. Adjust your expectations accordingly and you'll enjoy this resort.

Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank Samndjsdad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, 3 August 2013
Thank you for taking a moment to share with us your recent experience while staying at our resort.

We are excited to hear that you enjoyed your accommodations and our co-worker Marcos at the bar area made your visit enjoyable during your stay. We are sorry that you were disappointed with our restaurant prices and also the beach but we are pretty sure that you feel the time like home.

Please give us the opportunity to service again in a near future and Welcome back to Panama City.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,654 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (638)
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English first
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2013

Worst hotel ever. Food sucks, beach sucks, service sucks, drinks suck. Waste of money and waste of time. There's a reason this place is completely empty. We were treated horribly. It was insulting. The ONLY thing good about this place is the free WiFi and even that is on and off at times. We bought out 16 rooms for a company trip and spent over $60k and they still treated us awfully. The restaurants are a waste of your time too. Your better off going to the buffet every single day for every meal.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ele55678
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, 3 August 2013
It saddens us to see that we did not exceed your expectations during your stay. What you described to us is not the experience we wish to provide our guests.

We will certainly share your feedback with our management team so that we can continue to evolve and grow. We hope to have a new opportunity to welcome you back in the future.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
61 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2013

This hotel has got amazing rooms, amazing views, great food and drinks. But being low season and mostly empty, the main pool was closed last weekend, and has been for at least a week. The main pool is the one with the lovely restaurant setting that you see in the marketing materials, the swim up bar, the large swimming area... pretty much everything. Also most of the restaurants were closed so bad luck for those who paid extra for "premium" all inclusive that allows you a la carte meals. They didn't mention this when booking!
There is little or no entertainment and all the bars close early, but the buffet is excellent and the "normal" all inclusive which promises only national drinks actually includes plenty of premium international brands which was a nice surprise, let's hope they don't change that.
Overall, it is slightly quieter and more upmarket than the Intercontinental next door but there isn't much to do here unless you go on lots of trips. The beach is not great so if you're looking for beaches, go to the Caribbean side of Panama.
An excellent, convenient escape from Panama City or business hotel with a holiday twist and good value by Panama standards- but not a vacation resort if you're looking for a Cuba/Cancun/Dominican Republic/Jamaica kind of deal.

Room Tip: Get a sea view room on a high floor, it's worth it.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Keren V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Americas
Level Contributor
184 reviews
121 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2013

We got a great rate. The place felt empty. The rooms are well appointed but need some finishing touches/ touch-ups. There was no hot water in the shower. There are many restaurants but only some are open. The breakfast buffet is generous and diverse with good quality. The dinner buffet is not as good. The steakhouse is outrageously expensive. A mini-Caesar Salad is USD12.00. The actual steaks are on par with Panama City steakhouses and very good. Service overall is tepid. You really do not feel welcome. I did get some unsolicited help from a hotel janitor who was the most service oriented person I met. The staff does not smile. The hotel needs just a little bit more of maintenance. The view is great and the pool area is super nice. The gym is good but there are no remote controls available as the TVs are shared. The room amenities are of good quality and generous. With a little more care they can make turn OK product into a great product.

Room Tip: Ocean view is a must!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ViajeroESQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, 1 August 2013
On behalf of all the entire family part of The Westin Playa Bonita Panama please accept our most sincere apologies for all inconveniences occurred during your vacations.

Hope to have an opportunity in welcoming you again and be able to replace the bad experience with a good and enjoyable one in a near future.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, WA
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2013

What a great place. Beautiful view of the pacific and ships lining up for the canal transit. Hotel staff have been wonderful and ala carte restaurants are reasonable. Multiple buffets are good if you want to eat lots. Pool staff even did great dance routines that had the kids in rapture. What you need to know is that this is not in panama city and will be 50 bucks for a taxi to get into the city. Once you are here you are pretty much landlocked and dependent on the hotel, unless you are secure with getting into the village of verecruz nearby. A few small markets and restaurants for locals. Very rural and will need some spanish to navigate there.

Room Tip: Bay side is best
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GlauneM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, 1 August 2013
We really appreciated your value comments regarding your recent stay at the Westin Playa Bonita Panama.

Your comments are always well heard in order to strive every day to give the best of us and provide a service of excellence.

Hope offers us the opportunity to host you again during future visits to Panama City.

Best regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Panama, Panama
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2013

We have been living in Panama for the last year and a half, and wanted to make reservations in the Westin Playa Bonita for my in-laws since they plan to visit Panama in August to spend time with our kids, so we thought it would be a good idea to take them to a beach resort for a week so they could enjoy their grandchildren.

I have been to the hotel a few times myself to attend corporate and social events, so I thought it would be a good idea to drive there so my wife and two children (ages 2 and 4) could see the facilities and we could learn about any special packages or plans for the days our family planned to spend there. In addition to that, one of my children is allergic to corn, so one area of concern is the menu of the restaurants, so we wanted to make a few questions regarding the available options in that regard. Our intentions were to make the reservations in the front desk after clearing all our questions.

The situation started to turn bizarre as soon as we stopped our car at the gate of the hotel, where the security guard told us we were not allowed to enter the hotel if we didn't have any prior reservations. We explained our intentions to the guard but his only reply was the telephone number of the front desk in order to call them and make a reservation (and I mean in real time, with the security guard right in front of us, while our car was blocking the entrance and a line was beginning to form!!). Then and only then, with luck, we would find a condescending individual at the concierge to authorize our entry. I was angry and reluctant to call, but my wife in all her enduring patience made the call and tried after being bounced from phone extension to phone extension to talk to someone to assist us. It never happened. She was told no visits were allowed to the premises, and we were requested to leave.

We were so astonished and amazed at the way the situation was handled, that we didn't even bother to argue or complain. The lack of customer care exhibited in the way this "policy" was explained to us both in person and over the phone, made us feel treated like if we were a band of ransackers or weekend freeloaders willing to abuse the hotel in any way. Needless to say, I will not try to make a reservation there *ever*; not for me, not for my family, not for any of my company's corporate events, not even to my worst enemy.

But fear not dear sirs at the Westin Playa Bonita, you are not alone! We tried to drive a few minutes down the road to the Intercontinental Playa Bonita, and the situation was even worse!!! Not only were we denied entry there as well for the same stupid reason, but the security guard at the gate was barely able to speak spanish (much less customer friendly) so we were almost accused of causing him to be suspended from his job because our request... then he barked some more and let us make a U-turn so we could leave!.

Someone please tell me if April's fool day in Panama is today July the 6th, because I refuse to believe this nonsense was real and not part of a practical joke.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Enrique V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Playa Coronado, Panama
Level Contributor
133 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2013

Our recent stay at this lovely property met our expectations and then some. A standout for us was the service received from everyone! The staff were friendly, attempted English (although I preferred to practice my Spanish which they tolerated with gentle assistance), and were generally efficient. Are they at that 5 star level - no not yet but I do believe progress is being made all round - based on prior reviews. For some reason consistency in behaviours is not a strength of Panamanian nature. (i.e. regular coffee service one morning - same server next day not the case?) I have witnessed this in many areas of Panama - and speaking with employers it is a frustration that is addressed with patience and perseverance.
We enjoyed the quiet weekdays and felt like we had a chunk of the place to ourselves. The food was ok - I am not a fan of buffets in most cases as the food is never hot/fresh and this was not an exception for the few meals we had there. Choices were basically fine - a pasta station may be a hit for people. The two dinners we had at 'Tierra y Fuego' were excellent. Starfish for lunch a few days was okay. The menu is limited and could improve with a few more salad choices and maybe a fish serving. We did not have the all inclusive feature. The wine pour was very inconsistent varying from maybe 3 oz upwards to 8 oz for a $6 charge. I sent one glass back indicating would like 'mas' (more) which was topped up no problem.
The spa was first rate - the services we had were the best ever- and that speaks very highly as we frequent the spa most everywhere we travel. We will do day trips from home in the future to enjoy this spa again.
A special recognition of their front desk staff - Miriam and Guest Relations manager - Maria. We had an un-solveable issue with our room - as it was too late for us to move to another. I wanted to ensure the staff were aware of this and to be more aware when placing guests in this particular room in the future. They were most receptive and grateful for becoming aware of the issue. Maria comped our last evening dinner which was very kind. She even went so far as to phone me at home the next day to ensure our dinner was enjoyable. Thank you.
We went with intention of a enjoying a few days of 'getaway' which was a success! We look forward to the next time.

Room Tip: Room 1840 is situated below a club level lounge area - it can be extremely noisy (thus ranking of po...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank livethedream_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maria Gabriela U, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin Playa Bonita Panama, responded to this review, 13 July 2013
We really appreciated your value comments regarding your recent stay at the Westin Playa Bonita Panama.

Your comments are always well heard in order to strive every day to give the best of us and provide a service of excellence.

Hope offers us the opportunity to host you again during future visits to Panama City.

Sincerely,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Westin Playa Bonita Panama

Property: The Westin Playa Bonita Panama
Address: Road to Veracruz Km 6, Panama City, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Panama City
#9 Luxury Hotel in Panama City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Westin Playa Bonita Panama 5*
Number of rooms: 611
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The personification of the destination: Where natural serenity meets industrial glamour - Westin Playa Bonita Panama is strategically located alongside the Pacific Ocean, on a mile long stretch of golden sand on Playa Bonita Beach, surrounded by lush tropical rainforests, and a quick 20-minute drive from the metropolitan capital of Panama City. Nestled alongside the stunning Pacific Ocean, The Westin Playa Bonita is near celebrated sites like the Panama Canal's Miraflores Locks and just a 20-minute drive from Panama City, the exhilarating capital of the Republic of Panama ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Hotel Panama City
The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Panama City

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