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“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”

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Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Reviewed 30 May 2014

I just returned from a four day stay at the Playa Blanca resort, which was the first time I have been there. The Good: Arriving seems pleasant as it goes through a nice residential area on fairly clean roads.... Check in was friendly and fast, felt accommodating to us (we were my family of four and my wife's parents in separate rooms). I asked for rooms side by side, and larger beds for my family and was assured we were give that by management.

Other good things are the pools which are nicely sized, good play areas for the kids with a water slide, lots of lifeguards, clean as can be expected and good chairs to sit on and some shaded areas..... so far, so good.... including the food selection at the main dining room, I don't think anyone would complain about. Also, the wait staff had a few really nice people (and a few duds but that is to be expected)..... also, the pool snack bar was always stocked with finger foods and fruit etc... and tasted good to boot.

The Bad: We were given rooms separated and not together! Our parents room was great... modern and clean, but our room had smaller beds, no towels in the bathroom, a heavy odor or urine in the bathroom, the hot water valve at the shower fell off and could only work if one pushed it onto the striped stem, the refrigerator leaked water onto the floor, the safe had dead batteries, the duvet on one bed was dirty leaving me to believe they didn't even change the bed sheets but I found out they at least did that and the phone would not call out, but should I go on? Also, the food, while great, was really in only one main dining room. They had a sushi place inside the main dining hall on the end area, but it had to be reserved so they denied us access however only two tables out of about 15 had people for the entire two hours we were in the area that first night.... the second night they closed that restaurant!.... so very little choice in dining here. One other thing worth mentioning, we never had hot water... it might get lukewarm after five or ten minutes waiting, but never did it get hot, in either room spread far apart, so it was just not comfortable.

The Ugly: The beach at Play Blanca, which translates into English as White Beach, was mostly black! Volcanic sand or something but it looked dirty..... also, the concession for the normally free beach fun items was given over to a private company and they had very high prices on everything!! Too high to even consider using anything to have fun in the water there (compared to the nearby all inclusive Decameron who let you even use their Hobbie catamarans free! Plus their beach is at least all white or beige anyway... Here at Playa Blanca, they wanted $40 per hour for the Hobbie Cats!

They advertise this huge pool for Playa Blanca (maybe second largest in latin america?) but it is not part of the hotel..... and it is huge if you decide to walk over and see it...... but it is useless and no one was using it as it is lined on the bottom with white rubber and the rubber has lifted in many places creating large bubbles, plus the white makes it reflect the sun and it is so bright and hot there, it is actually unbearable!!! We all looked and then left as soon as possible knowing now it is just a marketing gimmick to sell condos there...... We also had a medical emergency while there not related to the hotel but, the nurse who came by, didn't know how to take blood pressure, showed little interest in helping us, charged a cash fee and the nearest hospital or doctor was about 25 minutes away, but when we got there, there were no doctors and we had to wait for over two hours!!!! When we got back, we needed a wheel chair or help to get my wife back to the room, but they said they could not give us one or anyone to help me! Needless to say that left a bed impression of them and the area in general. Don't plan on having an emergency or even a heart attack at this hotel please!

Overall, we would return here knowing the limits in advance and would check our room carefully before letting the bellman go.... if you want a relatively quiet vacation and smaller hotel, this may be for you. If you want a lot to do, a huge hotel grounds, more pools and many restaurant choices, then go to the Decameron Hotel down the road. The general dining food is not as good but the specialty restaurants easily make up for that.

By the way, the kids club which we counted on for our four year old, remained closed for the days we were there!! Shame on them for that.





We got to our rooms which was not easy since everything had to be carried upstairs by hand... but we had help to do that. After we entered our room, we

Room Tip: Just make sure you don't accept the room until you check everything, turn on the shower, wait fo...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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9  Thank tarzantheman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 May 2014

The place is in serious need of renovations and tidying up. The wifi only works in the lobby or you have to somewhat magically find it around the pools. They sell it to you but the prices are a joke and of course they didn't have the weekly pass available which would save you money over the hour or 30 minute increments. It's all inclusive yet not a single thing to drink in the minibar. Most of the staff were great.. However a few behind the front desk were rude and not accommodating. A friend of mine who didn't have a reservation wanted to see my room before paying and they wouldn't even let him do that. So that goes to show you something. How some have reviewed this place as awesome I'm not sure how! I left my room one morning at 6 am only to return at 5 pm.. Tired and worn out from a long day to not even find it clean. Food was ok but I'm not the biggest fan of a buffet to begin with. Service while at dinner was good. It's very loud at this hotel so if ur looking for a relaxing time it's prob not the place for you. The best part of the trip was a open water race that we got to watch from the beach haha..

Room Tip: Choose something close to the lobby if you want a good nights rest.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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1  Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jhenifer D, Gerente at Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 29 May 2014

First of all, thank you for your comments.
we are working actually in some renovations and improvements in all the hotel but we are going to take in consideration your opinion because it help us to improve our services.
We hope that you come back soon.
regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2014

The place is beautiful with a lot of garden beds all the way around. The complex is divided in 2 areas: the suites and the regular hotel rooms. The suites are situated into 2 big apartments buildings witch is 10 floor high or maybe more and it face the largest pool in the caribbean. In the lobby area they have several stores and restaurants. The other area (hotel like) has another reception area and is the entrance to several pools, bar and at the very end of it you will find a beautiful beach with sparkling black and white sand. The staff is very polite but the mayority of them do not speak english. The ambient is more relaxed if you are comparing it to the Decameron resort.

Room Tip: The suite T414 didn't have a very good air conditioner.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank betzabelc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PBlanca, Guest Service at Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 May 2014

Thank you for your opinion.
It is very important to know that your stay was wonderful.
We hope that you come back soon as posible.

Regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2014

This hotel has extensive gardens, a large pool with a swim-up bar, lots of music for an energetic ambience, and attracts many travelers from across the region, including many families. It offers marginally better food than its new neighbor the Riu Playa Blanca. The biggest drawback is its need for a renovation. While the bathroom had a new vanity and sink, the shower was old (the clear shower curtain was dirty), and the room was very old. This could be good value for money if you plan to spend very little time in the room. Also, only some rooms have balconies big enough for chairs -- make sure you ask at reception. Wifi is only available in the lobby; you can pay for access with 30 minute increments.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Michele B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jhenifer D, Gerente at Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2014

Thank you for your comments.
We are actually working on a renovation of our romos but your opinion is going to help with the process.
We hope that you come back soon to enjoy our improvements.

Thank you for prefer us.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2014

What can I say. Beautiful place, great staff, excellent food.

We were there for a week in April 2013.

The resort is beautiful. Well maintained grounds and rooms. No complaints at all about our room. Hot water on demand. Phones and TV all worked.

Buffet is excellent. A La Carte restaurants were good.

You can walk to the town when tide is low. Watch your timing to make sure you can get back.

Only drawback was the amount of jelly fish on the beach. Im pretty sure its a seasonal thing though.

A bit far from the airport, but new one is supposed to be opening this year. Will save about 2 hours by bus.

Room Tip: Rooms close to the lobby are away from the noisy pool, and from the entertainment
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank jerome_in_london
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CUSTOMERSERVICE P, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 2 June 2016

Dear Guest,

First we would like to thank you for choosing Playa Blanca Beach Resort holiday is a pleasure to know that their expectations were met.

We appreciate you took the time to share your experience, and your comments help us to improve therefore thank hard on behalf of all the staff at Playa Blanca Beach Resort.

Therefore we will be more than happy to welcome you again,

Nayeni Lòpez
Customer Service Playa Blanca Beach & Resort

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Reviewed 15 April 2014

My wife and I were there for my daughters wedding. The wedding party consisted of 22 people plus 3 that were at a neighboring resort. Some of the rooms were dated and in need of repairs. Our room seldom had hot or even warm water and the safe did not work. Our room only had 12 television channels, and none of them were in English, but some others had higher channels with some English stations. We had few complaints with the food, there was a good selection. The juice machines were often out of at least several varieties especially the strawberry-kiwi. There was a fair selection of fruit, mostly watermelon, pineapple, papaya, oranges and bananas, but only once did they have mangoes. Making reservations at the buffet for the three restaurants worked well for us, however some in our group had issues. The restaurants consist of a seafood (formally Thai) and a sushi, plus a beach Barbecue grill, we ate at he sushi once and the others twice. The food was good but had a tendency to be a bit overcooked and dry. I agree that there is a lack of English comprehension, but who am I to complain when my Spanish is even more lacking, and most do try to make themselves understood and a few have a very good understanding of English. There are a few that just do not want to accommodate the non-Spanish tourists, one in particular, Michael at the snack bar, refused to serve me drinks and I thought it was just a fluke until I heard that others in our party had the same experience. My wife complained at the front desk, but I doubt that anything will be done to prevent him from continuing with this practice. A special shout-out to Gerardo, bartender at the snack bar, Lawrence at the front desk, Fanny at the seafood Restaurant and Rebecca at the buffet reservations for their excellent service and friendliness. Our flight was the first charter to land at the Rio Hato airport and we had the pleasure to be greeted by and have our picture taken with Ricardo Martinelli, the president of Panama. With only a 10 to 15 minute bus drive to our resort, we got to spend more time at the pool. It's a 3 hour drive to and a 3 hour drive from the airport in Panama city so you will be able to spend an extra five or so hours relaxing at your resort.

Room Tip: If you are a light sleeper, choose a room closer to the check-in area, away from the Disco.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank CharlieHepburn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2014

My overall opinion about this place is positive. We went on our honeymoon, but the resort has lots of kids and families. So if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful trip, look elsewhere. We are from America, and 99% of this resort and staff are Hispanic speaking. Communication with the staff is not impossible, though. Their English is okay, and if you know some Spanish, I recommend brushing up on it before this trip. They do a mediocre job with the language barrier. Most of the guests and workers are from Columbia. The resort itself is not a Marriott/Sheraton type. If you want an upper-class, fancy resort, look elsewhere. I would say this is a 3-star resort. It is clean with great pools. But it's very mismatched. The rooms are spacious and has what you need. We had wash cloths for faces one day out of the week we stayed. There is a coffee pot in your room with no coffee offered. There was a spot for a mini-fridge, but we didn't have one. I am not sure if rooms come with them or not, because it didn't really matter to us and we never asked. Our room seemed dusty by the end of the week staying there, so it makes it seem like they will not clean around your stuff. There is no information in your rooms about the resort or things to do in the area, which bummed me out. They should provide materials and resources to use in the room. There is a blow-dryer in the bathroom, but I would bring my own if you plan to use one. The one in our room barely got warm, and took 6 times as long to dry my hair than my normal one. I have thick hair, and it was annoying to even attempt to dry my hair with the one provided in the rooms. Definitely use the safe they provide. We didn't take any chances on leaving our valuables unattended. We did have an issue with the safe, however. During the last few days of our stay, the safe's battery died. We had to inform the main desk twice about sending a security guard to our room to reactivate the safe. If you plan on partaking in tours or excursions, book your tours/plans when you check-in or at beginning on your stay. We were not able to go on some of the tours we wanted to because we waited to book them until mid-week, and they were not available. They do not run tours every day. Best advice is to pre-plan your week and see what they have available everyday to be able to make the tours. The one tour we went on was amazing: Panama Canal and Panama City tour for $85 is well worth the money!! They offer water excursions and transportation rentals, too. We did not partake in any of the water sports during our stay because it was shark mating season. When you check-in to the hotel, you get to chose which of the eight buildings you want to stay in. Buildings closest to the front lobby are the quietest. If you are looking for R & R, chose one of those. Buildings by the main pool, buffet, and discoteca are quite loud. You can hear the music playing by the pool from your room and since the discoteca is opened until 3-4am, it may be hard for you to sleep if you stay by the club. We chose to stay in building 7, which is by the pool and discoteca. The noise didn't bother our sleep patterns too much, but it is very evident. We chose that building because it had an ocean-front view, and it was well-worth it! The last night we stayed, however, was a Saturday. The discoteca was opened all night long and they shot of fireworks around 3am. That made for restless night's sleep. I don't think they stopped partying all night. The food is buffet-style and most of it was good. If we saw something that didn't look appetizing, we didn't eat it. The food we did eat was okay. Don't expect a five-star buffet, though. The waitresses and bussers' services are okay. Sometimes they are great about bringing you water or coffee right away when you sit at a table. Most of the time, we had to ask for water or just get our own. Some of the lady servers do a better job than others. They also have other restaurants to dine at that require a reservation. You have to make reservations at the breakfast buffet. The earlier the better to ensure a spot. You make the reservation with the host/hostess. We dined at the Sushi and Grille. Both were very good and highly recommended! Make sure to tip your bartenders and services provided at dinner. Not everyone tips at this resort. We did tip a little, and you do see better service from the bartenders. Tip especially at the pool bar. They were very nice to us all week. Most of the guests that order from the pool bar do not tip since they typically don't have money on them in the pool. We would give the bartender a tip as soon as we got to the pool bar for their services. Again, they will take good care of you if you tip them. They make their drinks strong in my opinion, and will serve any drink they can accommodate to. They try to provide daily entertainment by the pool by encouraging the guests to partake in volleyball, dancing, or pool activities. Make sure you get a pool towel early, because they will run out by mid-afternoon if the resort is busy. Bring and use a lot of sunscreen. Make sure to buy essential items before you come. They have a store there, but everything is VERY expensive. A bottle of suntan lotion will run $15-20. It gets very hot there, so if you can snag lounge chairs in the shade, I would highly recommend it. You can always get sun by being in the pool, but getting a seat under the cabana is the way to go. The night-time entertainment is pretty good. The shows for the kids are all in Spanish. The adult shows are majority Spanish, but some hosts speak in English to translate, which is very nice and accommodating. Each night show varies slightly, so you aren't seeing the same thing over and over. After the night shows, the Sport Bar and discoteca are the only sources of entertainment. They can be fun, but after a couple days, it gets boring. We went to bed early most nights because the heat and drinks got to us. Again, if you are looking for a unique Panama experience, I would recommend this resort. It is not recommended for the people looking for high-class, superior service. The all-inclusive price is good and a great value for families.

Room Tip: Rooms closest to lobby are quietest. Rooms closest to main pool, buffet, or ocean are the loudest.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Kelliann T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort

Address: 115 Km Via Interamericana, Farallon, Rio Hato 8437, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Cocle Province > Rio Hato > Farallon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Price Range: £103 - £190 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 219
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Also Known As:
Playa Blanca Hotel Farallon
Playa Blanca Hotel And Resort
Hotel Playa Blanca Panama
Playa Blanca Resort Panama
Playa Blanca Panama City
Blanca Panama Playa
Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort Panama/Farallon

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