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.
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar Panama/Panama City