Panama City is en par with North American prices, and can be extremely expensive if you really want to splurge: you've got the Hard Rock, the InterContinental, the Hilton - every high-end place your credit card knows and hates. The DeVille is the best kind of alternative, and a truly wonderful place to spend your money. It's the kind of place you can imagine James Bond waltzing into, with its mahogany/teak decor, beautifully stylish antique furnishings, and casino-fresh modern outfittings. There's very little bad to be said; if at all. It's style, class, and sophistication - but not at the expensive of your comparative Western fortune.
The location is unbeatable: right underneath one of the city's most recognisable landmarks (the black skyscraper, Tower Bank), opposite Balboa Bank, with an ATM at the door. Right round the corner are the World Trade Center, hospital, and New York Plaza - anywhere in the city is minutes away. The lobby is straight out of a movie, with a modern mid-range restaurant (Alkimia) embedded inside. The staff are highly professional (to a fault), almost-fluent in English, very personable, and have a concierge-style approach to everything. Taxis are easily booked, there's friendly travel advice whenever you need it, a small business office for printing etc, and very fast, reliable wifi. This is a business-centric boutique hotel that's aiming to be the classiest joint in town - and is succeeding, short of a few butlers at the door.
A special mention needs to go to Angel, the 21-year old Colombian reception manager, who was extraordinarily professional and personable to us. He's really going to go far. I watched another staff member go out of his way to help an elderly couple get minor hospital treatment with real, genuine care.
The rooms are outrageously great value - obviously immaculately clean, spacious suites with living room furniture, plasma, mini-bar/coffee machine, dressing gowns, walk-in shower, fantastic lighting, and wonderfully comfortable bedding. Staying here is like a trip to a mini Ritz, with the small, personal edge that gives you the cosy, ambient warmth you need when you're in the middle of skyscraper banking land. As Panama has the best retirement/immigration plan in the world, there appears to be a high proportion of guests that are in the senior citizen range.
You'd probably pay $500/night in the US or Europe for what the DeVille serves up at $90/night. It's beyond a traveller's budget, but if, like me, it's a last-night plunge, you just don't get this kind of thing at this price elsewhere. Likewise if you're on business, this is where you book.
The hotel shuttles are fairly pricey (more expensive than yellow street ones, e.g $35 to Tocumen), and because it's self-enclosed in the financial district, there's no window view to speak of. Those aforementioned street taxis are absolutely notorious for routinely overcharging tourists: local price is apparently $12 to/from Albrook (7km), $25 to/from Tocumen (20km), and $5 to/from the Old City. One couple we heard of was ripped for $60 from Albrook.
DeVille was a truly enjoyable and charming stay, at a very reasonable price - a steal in fact, for what it's offering. You can go with the big glamour, or have something personl and authentic that's punching yards above its weight for a much better price. If anyone i know is heading to Panama on business, it's going to be my first and only suggestion.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- DeVille Hotel was conceived as a Beautiful Boutique Hotel, taking you back in time, all the way to the romantic era when Ferdinand de Lesseps was making the first intent in digging the Panama Canal; hence its French name, its comfortable furniture imported from former French colonies, its cozy, quiet oversized rooms, reminding you of other epochs; but also with all modern amenities and services, like Cable TV, minibars, WiFi Internet Access, coffee makers, hairdryers, safety deposit boxes and all other amenities you have come to expect in the best hotels. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Deville Hotel Panama City
- Hotel DeVille Panama/Panama City