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“Tantalize: tempation without satisfaction”

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Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar
Ranked #31 of 115 Hotels in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 September 2012

Tantalize (verb): To provide temptation without satisfaction, to tease or make frustrated....

Tantalus was a figure in Greek Mythology, famous as an inhabitant of the deepest portion of the underworld, condemned to eternal deprivation of nourishment.

That must be the inspiration for the Tantalo.

To be fair, they did try...but, just as Tantalus was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink, so does the Tantalo tantalize, without ever quite delivering what it promises.

To begin with, it is promising too much. It suffers from an identity crises of wanting to be a chic restaurant, a hip jet-setting bar and (oh, by the way) a hotel as well.

The Casco Viejo, for sure, is on the cusp of becoming a fabulous destination. Perhaps I’ll return in ten to fifteen years to see if it has made it. Not to sound unkind, but when I pay for luxury and sophistication, I do not want to sit on my hotel balcony and look at dilapidated buildings across the way and streets full of garbage, poverty, wandering dogs and drying laundry. I certainly do not want to listen to the woman in her underwear who is cooking on a stove on her precariously sloping balcony as she shouts to people who quite possibly only exist inside of her own insanity. I most certainly do not want to see a team of uniformed police swarm into the building looking for what? drugs? squatters? I don’t know. I closed the curtains.

“The Casco Viejo is loud,” is what we were told repeatedly. Yes, it is. We were also told that the rooms were “sound proof”. No, they are not.

The management is up against some very difficult challenges here and to be fair, they did their very best to remedy a situation that was not their fault. The manager went bravely across the street to ask the shirtless man to turn down his music. That eliminated SOME of the street noise, but nothing can stop the continuous honking of horns and the frequent ding/squeak of the elevator across from our room. Since there is a roof bar (and only one elevator for hotel guests and partiers to share) the elevator runs and squeaks all night long.

The hotel is modern and fun to look at (some may be put off by the S&M motif of our room) but if you are planning on sleeping, I would not recommend it as a place to stay.

If the noise were not enough, our entire stay seemed to fall into the category of “if it can go wrong, it will”. The hotel has bicycles that they loan to the guests. After riding mine for about half an hour, the pedal fell off. And these bikes are only seven months old!

The hotel has a decent restaurant that has serious flow issues. There are large, noisy communal tables with no apparent reason to the assignment of staff. We waited fifteen minutes just to get menus, half an hour for water and then all of our food was served before we got our wine. One waiter came and asked if we wanted another bottle, assuming that our empty glasses meant that we had finished our bottle! Again, the management was apologetic and did right by us, helping us to find quieter accommodations just down the street and allowing us to move out of the room without charge.

However, it might be better to approach the customer service model in a more proactive way. I feel like the best compliment I can give to the Tantalo is how well the staff apologizes.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank blazerg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 September 2012

We flew into Panama city August 28th and stayed one night before we headed to our next destination. Man I wish I knew how great this hotel was. The serivce excellent. The food excellent. The rooms excellent. When you walked in you dont even though its a hotel I thought I was walking into an restaurant but that is just how the boutique hotel is set up. I was in room 5 I call it the S&M room lol. Those that have stayed know what i mean. The view from you room is not a pretty site but for some reason I didnt even mind. It brought the realness to it. I will post pics later. If are looking for a wonderful view this may not be your choice but man will you will missing out on this great little hotel. Everybody is so nice. The rooftop bar is amazing espeically @ night like everyone says and to see all the historical buildings during the day is just specatular. My only problem is that night I could not get hot water for my shower which i was not happy about but my friend took one in the morning and there was hot water. Go figure. Maybe hot water dont work late at night i dont know however I would definitely stay @ this hotel again. Which I had stayed longer.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank chocolatelala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grecia S, Guest Relations Manager at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, responded to this reviewResponded 12 May 2015

Dear Chocolatelala,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments.

We are pleased that you enjoyed our different environments at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, always full of art, good vibes, good service and surprises for our customers.

Hope to see you soon to continue enjoying the beautiful Panama city with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2012

We had the opportunity to spend a long Labor Day Weekend here and glad we did. The renovation done to this hotel is amazing, maintaining the old-world charm of Casco Viejo with modern and contemporary design and art. Once we were able to get our bearings within the neighborhood, we realized two things: 1) The location was perfect due to its proximity to everything and 2) the Hotel and rooftop bar was the place to be anyway. First the hotel: As a first time visitor to Panama, in particular Casco Viejo, I have to admit we were a little nervous when first pulling into the area. However, as soon as you pull up to the hotel and walk through the lobby, all fears should disappear immediately. This is a beautiful hotel! Everything from the ambience of the restaurant to the atrium with its living wall is visually stunning. Our room was more than adequate with a ton of space. The unique artwork within each room is totally cool. Would have preferred to get the red room with its studded ceiling, but that’s okay. We enjoyed our fruit-inspired room just fine. As I mentioned above, one thing we quickly realized is that the rooftop bar is THE place to be within Casco Viejo. You get an amazing view of the city skyline. They give guests free entry with a wristband, and I highly recommend you see about getting a table reserved because Friday and Saturday nights are packed. Ismael Ortiz definitely hooked us up! We also had the privilege of meeting head chef Pierre De Janon who’s put together a simple and tasty menu. One word of caution and this should in no way deter anyone from staying here: As of right now, the entire neighborhood of Casco Viejo is being completely renovated. There is a ton of money going in, yet at the same time, there is poverty. With that said, there are more than enough security personnel on every corner to make you feel safe and there was never a time we didn’t feel so. Luckily the area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, so hopefully the old-world charm will remain forever. But I feel prices will go up soon. My guess is within two years, this area will be absolutely stunning!

Last but not least, I have to give credit where credit is due. The front desk concierge Larissa Gracia provided such amazing help, we can’t thank her enough! She went way out of her way to get us tickets to an event before we even arrived in the country and thwarted a minor catastrophe when my girlfriend’s eye glasses broke. Within 20 minutes, she had the maintenance man at our door with a recently purchased tube of Krazy Glue (of course they don’t call it Krazy Glue there) and totally saved the day. Larissa exemplifies everyone we had the privilege of meeting and has made a lasting impression.

Recommendations:
Food: Order the Encima Pulled Pork (I could live on these for a week!)
Drink: The Pay Back!
Room: We were in room #3; not sure if it’s the best or worst room, but we loved it. The noise level was manageable. We didn’t get much coming from the rooftop, but know that the atrium focuses the restaurant noise straight up through the hotel.

Room Tip: If noise is an issue for you, definitely get a room furthest away from the atrium.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jeff E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grecia S, Guest Relations Manager at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2015

Dear Jeff,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments, for sharing your experience and for recommending us to our future customers.

We are pleased that you and your girlfriend enjoyed our different environments at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, always full of art, good vibes, good service and surprises for our customers.

Hope to see you soon to continue enjoying the beautiful Panama city with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2012

Tantalo is a beautiful boutique hotel located in Casco Viejo. We only stayed one night but wished we could stay for longer.

The room was spacious and beautifully decorated. The front desk was duper friendly and lent us an umbrella for the rain. We visited both the kitchen for dinner and the rooftop bar for drinks. The food and drinks were delicious and creative and priced with good value. So much variety! We received wonderful service from Rafael at the restaurant. The rooftop bar had a great view of the skyline and a good variety of cocktails.

If I could change a few things - wish that there was warmer water for showering...but this was minor and the stay was wonderful!

  • Stayed: September 2012
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1  Thank rwyhuang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grecia S, Guest Relations Manager at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2015

Dear Rwyhuang,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments.

We are pleased that you enjoyed our different environments at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, always full of art, good vibes, good service and surprises for our customers.

Hope to see you soon to continue enjoying the beautiful Panama city with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2012

Spent 6 nites at Tantalo and what a great surprise. I knew right away by the TripAdvisor pictures and details this was the place to be. If you're in boutique Euro-style hotels this place rules. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with an ultra cool dining area with dark wood long hi top tables with wood bar stools...No sit down tables here, it's the way eating should be done, on cool bar stools, the lights are equally cool with a geometric design of bulbs an wires...how cool...Daniel, the manager, is always there to please and even sent me emails about cool stuff to do before I arrived...Javier and Sunday are the creative directors of the hotel and are always attentive to details and great places to go and eat...Room was HUGE, did I say Huge, cool abstract art on the walls with painting directly on the walls, each room has a specific theme...ultra modern bathroom with pedestal sink, open shower with teak wood slated floor and cool green composite wall panels, great bed and even a leather love sofa...3 outdoor verandas...now wait until you go up to the rooftop bar, I had dinner there on a MOnday nite, great quiet atmosphere with a view of downtown Panama, SPECTACULAR, good music and food...(Note: Rooftop bar is packed later on during the week and weekends), my room was 2 floors below the rooftop so no noise issue...Tantalo really fixed the noise issue...in the morning during wekdays you can hear the salsa music coming form the other buildings, that was great....

Cons:
Sometimes to get hot shower, you have to run hot water in sink and shower at same time and in 3 minutes shower is hot. Worked everytime...
Salsa music in morning was just great and really gave you a feel of Casco Viejo and the culture. HOWEVER, SALSA music at 7am on Sunday is Unacceptable...I wanted to stab that person badly. Hotel is aware and they will impose a cease and desist...

Room Tip: Go 2 floors below the rooftop bar, or if you dont care go to any room
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank CongaBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grecia S, Guest Relations Manager at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2015

Dear CongaBoy,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments and your tips.

We are pleased that you enjoyed our different environments at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, always full of art, good vibes, good service and surprises for our customers.

Hope to see you soon to continue enjoying the beautiful Panama city with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2012

I spent two nights at the Tantalo Hotel and do not have enough great things to say about it! We walked in and were greeted warmly by the receptionist, promptly checked in and taken to our immaculate room. The beds were so comfortable and the decor in the room was great! Very unique and artistic. Breakfast was included with our reservation, so we dined at the hotel our first morning in Panama City. I have never had a better (free!) hotel breakfast. The food was delicious!
The rooftop bar is also a must check out spot. On Saturday night, it is packed and has an absolutely gorgeous view of the Panama City skyline! The front desk was also happy to call taxis, make restaurant recommendations, and give general advice about traveling in Panama. I am so happy that we chose this hotel and will definitely be back during my next visit to Panama City!

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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1  Thank Christina T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grecia S, Guest Relations Manager at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2015

Dear Christina,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments.

We are pleased that you enjoyed our different environments at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, always full of art, good vibes, good service and surprises for our customers.

Hope to see you soon to continue enjoying the beautiful Panama city with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2012

We stayed 4 nights in this boutique hotel (getting a big discount) in the center of Casco Viejo: the rooms are amazing and the view from the terrace in stunning. Also the included breakfast was highly appreciated. The service is excellent.
The only thing we could complain a little is the noise coming from the terrace (it turns into a very expensive disco in the night open for eberybody until 2 am).
But if you want to have fun with the rich panames it is a great place, considering that your rooms is just a floor down!

  • Stayed: August 2012
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Thank Mat79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grecia S, Guest Relations Manager at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2015

Dear Mat79,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments.

We are pleased that you enjoyed our different environments at Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, always full of art, good vibes, good service and surprises for our customers.

Hope to see you soon to continue enjoying the beautiful Panama city with us.

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 Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar

Address: Avenida B Calle 8 | Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Business Hotel in Panama City
Price Range: £76 - £126 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our hotel is created with the mindset that we u different spaces as one commercial organism that is constantly evolving throughout the day / night. Tantalo is a 12-room hotel, a restaurant featuring a communal kitchen-style atmosphere serving shared comfort dishes influenced by ingredients from around the globe, the lively ground floor bar / lounge and finally the only public outdoor rooftop bar / lounge in Casco Viejo with incredible views. Each hotel room features individually designed custom art by different local artists ensuring that no two rooms will be the same. ... more   less 
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Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar Panama/Panama City

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