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“Second trip just as good as first”

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Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Reviewed 11 August 2014

My family and I have spent 4 weeks at playa blanca Resort, over the past 3 years. And have loved every second, except for drive from airport. The food, Service, the staff are all top notch in my opinion. If you are looking for 5* rooms and food then pay for a 5* resort, but can tell you form experience its hard to find!!!!. I realize people normally write reviews, only when they are upset over something ( human nature ). but feel this resort has been far short changed.......... Tip upgrade to the condos, as we did on our second week of last stay, rooms are amazing and get access to the large pool!!!

Room Tip: choose a room in condo section you wont be dissapointed,
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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6  Thank greg g
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 August 2014

1st- be extra sure that you are researching the right hotel in Playa Blanca :Hotel & Resort in Farrallon bc there IS another one.
And - Playa BLANCA should be named Playa NEGRA since the sand is dark.

Next- Although everyone says that the airport is 1 1/2 - 2 hrs from the airport, that is ONLY true for the shuttle drivers who absolutely know the roads to take, the exact window of time to go, and can maneuver around the "crazies" all along the way who drive in excess of the speed limits. (btw, there are police checking speeds).
I decided to rent a car at the airport bc the transportation fee RT is $111 per person; for $222, I knew that I could rent a vehicle cheaper and have it for the week. BUT, there is a MANDATORY government-imposed "uninsured motorist" insurance coverage that you cannot decline from ANY rental agency @ $16.99 per day. Your own USA insurance will not cover you here, but your credit card MAY. However, the credit card co requires that you DECLINE all coverages, so you are really caught btwn a rock and a hard place (?). The GPS may be helpful, IF you can get it to work.
Ok, so you are on the road, with or without GPS, the roads leaving the airport are confusing and unmarked with a lot of roundabouts: Good luck!

Once you cross the bridge of the Americas, you are still a LONG way off (at least an hour). Do NOT attempt navigating the highway after dark bc there are no lights and the billboards are unlit. Even in July sunset was around 7:30 pm.
There is a "tunnel" that everyone refers to as the major landmark to your destination. Immediately after the tunnel (it's the only 1, but it's hardly a tunnel,) the 1st left, is the Decameron Resort. Go about 2 miles and the entrance is on the left across from the cemetery.

At the gate, you notice many types of buildings, from high rise to duplexes and cottages, but you will be directed to the right (Playa Blanca resort) or to the left (Town Center Suites-the high rise condo-looking structure).

So here it is: whatever your package, politely request the Town Center suites. Give any kind of reason for your request, but this part is CRUCIAL for your stay to be more enjoyable.
A) you have an upgraded suite with a kitchen and a terrific view of the massive, infamous saltwater pool.
B) you have free wifi MOST of the time (but they don't necessarily mention this)
C) MOST important: you receive a coveted wristband that you will notice FEW others have. Why?
D) i dont know for certain, but I know that you have FREE full access to the great pool and poolside services with bar, etc. with the Town Center Suites wristband. I think that these units must be for the owners/guests....(?). As 1 employee told me "You don't have to worry about anything Miss; your band says it all"

The special restaurants are not like any other all-inclusive resorts that we have visited. I cannot speak about the beach BBQ one bc eating pork outside, uncovered, alongside blowing black hot sand in 100% humidity just did not sound appetizing.
I will only say that we attempted to dine at the "Velero" sort-of-beachside restaurant, but we left when we looked through the menu. Also, we were seated late and we were the ONLY ones in the restaurant, "in line" &with the reservation. It's basically Chinese food with only 1 fish plate available.

The Sushi restaurant was very amusing bc even before eating there, we noticed that the couples entered, ate quickly and then came back into the adjacent Buffett line. WELL! that's bc you can only choose 1 roll per person from the first page of the menu for free (!). So what we (also) did was have a glass of wine and our roll as an appetizer in the AC sushi part of the "restaurant" and then exited to the non-air conditioned part of the building where the general population Buffett line is is actually have dinner.
The food and it's presentation was sub-standard on many levels, but 1 example is bacon that is all fat and virtually raw. The servers are very helpful, but they cannot do anything about the food.
Beer is almost always "Panama", but ask about having "Balboa" and they can get it at 1 of the other bars; we liked it better.
Finally, if you want a little exercise, forget the gym. Ugh! The fitness center is moldy, rusty, outdated, hot and sweaty, - unusable. So, if the original plan of Town Center Suites works out for you, walk/jog the track that extends all around the perimeter of the large pool. There is an outdoor gym next to that big pool, but it is just as bad as the indoor Play Blanca gym. There is a charge for anyone who wants to use the jet skis, rafts, or other water sport stuff.
I have pictures to post that show how pretty it was where we stayed, but all things concerned, we will not return or recommend.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
4  Thank ttdell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2014

I returned to Panama for the first time since 1998 to go 'home' and take my husband and a friend for the first time. I love Panama. I love the country, I love the people, I love the culture. I love everything about it. I wanted to show my husband and friend the best of it so they would love it too. While living in Panama most of what it had to offer - from the 'Americanized' version to the more rustic interior - so I can honestly say my expectations were realistic. I booked the Playa Blanca based on a friend's recommendation because she had been a few times and said it was the best if the resort options. Our plan was to spend a few days in the Canal area and a few days at the beach before heading back to the US. Our Canal transit was moved to Sunday so we arrived at the hotel late that evening. The reception staff was very friendly and seemed willing to help however they did not provide a lot of information. First, the did not tell us the Wi-Fi was not included and that we needed to purchase a subscription. They also did not tell us the it really does not work in the guest rooms. My husband, my friend and I need to stay connected for business and school so this presented a challenge. We were also no 'upsold' on moving to the other side of the resort where the huge pool many mentioned in their review is located. I noticed people mentioned the 'upsell' in other reviews but we were not offered that option. My guess is those units were not available during our stay. It was a holiday weekend (Easter) so the resorts was pretty full. We were told by people in the city that chances are many people would be leaving as we arrived but that ended up not being the case so the room placement was somewhat limited. We ended up being placed between the disco and the entertainment stage and therefore it was very loud at night. It made getting to sleep very difficult. At one point we asked to be moved as far away from the disco and entertainment stage as possible. The only rooms available were in the building on the other side of the pool so while it was not completely removed from the nightly noise, it helped a little bit because we were no longer on top of the disco. The show starts at about 9 and ends at about 11. The disco starts at about 11 and goes until 3. Based on our experience, the Playa Blanca it is not a luxury resort. Granted, people reading this may think, 'she is just a snobby American,' but know that I had been advised by another friend I grew up with that Playa Blanca is not '5-star Caribbean quality' so I adjusted my expectations accordingly. Also, I saw a few other reviewers comments about the black sand. That's one of the things I love about Panama - the beautiful, sparkly black sand. I realized it is something people do not expect but it is pretty cool and I love it.
They also have birds you can visit with on the property. There are macaws and toucans in large cages that you can get up close to which is super cool. Love, love, loved it! One of the toucans (we named him Guillermo) has a huge personality and will come out and visit. There was also an iguana living behind the building we stayed in who liked to play hide and seek and was dead set on not letting us take a picture of him.
A few keys things to point out that I think will help others:
The pool: probably the best part of the resort. We did not go to the huge one you see on the website but the one actually on the resort (not on the resort/condo property). I enjoyed sitting poolside with the DJ playing tunes. The entertainment also staff holds dance, water aerobics lessons and volleyball that are fun to watch. Its like a low-key party everyday.
The food: We ate at the buffet for the most part because the resort was so full that getting into the specialty restaurants required making reservations early in the morning. Also, you cannot call in a reservation in advance, you have to go to the hostess stand at the buffet restaurant that day. The food was pretty good - a lot of traditional favorites, other familiar fare and Cafe Duran. We did go to the sushi restaurant one night but the portions are limited so we ended up at the buffet afterward.
The entertainment: I already mentioned the fun poolside entertainment (DJ, dancing, etc.) but want to call out the nighttime entertainment. It is very family-oriented and the programs are in Spanish only. By family-oriented I mean more variety show style (think Sabado Gigante). I really hoped there would be variety and that at least one evening would feature a murga Panameno or show folklorico montuno y pollera but it was the same variety improv show-type program each night. It started with the kids show (getting kids onstage to play games, etc.) and then a kind of interactive improv for adults (with pretty much the same bits each night). And it was loud - screaming, laughing,etc. While we did not go to the disco, we could hear it every night - not only music but also what sounded like fighting between couples who may have had a few too many.
The rooms: The rooms are big and comfortable from a size standpoint. My biggest issue with the rooms was the fact that there was mold on the walls, ceilings and in the bathroom in both the shower and on the shower curtain. I understand that mustiness is something you deal with in a humid climate like Panama's - its part of that 'Panama smell' that reminds me of home - but the mold is not healthy and should not be there, especially at the rate we paid.
The fitness center: I hate to have to be so blunt but it was disgusting. My friend and i went to use it our first morning and walked in, saw how dirty and muggy it was, and then walked out. We ended up walking on the beach instead. The walk on the beach was nice and in doing so gave us the chance to see other resorts.
I would consider the Playa Blanca again if the future if I can confirm they made improvements around the cleanliness of the rooms and the fitness center and if we were able to get a room away from the night time entertainment. However, at this point, if plans for my next trip to Panama call for a visit to the Pacific side beaches I will book my stay at a different resort.

Room Tip: Ask for the 'upsell' to the beach club/condo part of the property or you will be up all nigh...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Brenda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2014

I am from Panama and have stayed in 4 different beach resorts here ... and this one was by far the worst! To start off, they make false advertisement. Their websites "sells" the idea that they have the largest pool in the area and are all inclusive. However, you have to pay $15 extra per person to use that pool! Ridiculous! The property is old and run down. They were out of pool towels, ketchup, and even hot water! On top of everything, they do not understand the concept of customer service! Panama has a few other options. Don't go to this resort. So not worth it.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Adi K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

My daughter and I stayed at this resort for a week and enjoyed ourselves. The accommodations were nice, the food was good. The specialty restaurants were average. The Italian restaurant was the worse. The Steak house was the best but the food was served warm, not hot. Our reservation was for an ocean front room and they tried to put us in a partial ocean view stating that there was a difference between ocean view vs ocean front! So, if your reservations are for ocean view, plan on having to speak with management as you won't get that view. The nightly activities were very un entertaining and there were no beach activities at all. The resort is more family/ kid friendly so if you are adult couples expect to be slightly bored. I would also recommend a room near the elevators as they are slow. The resort is fairly new so I am certain with time, the activities and specialty restaurants will improve. The maid service was poor. My room wasn't cleaned 1 day and my bar was never re- stocked my entire 5 day stay. The resort is close to some coo. Points of interest like, Anton Valley and Penenome. My favorite staff was Benjamin who greeted us upon arrival and recommended places to go. Overall, my stay was enjoyable but I have stayed at several Riu's around the country and this one had the most un entertaining resort events.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Yvette W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014

Al decidirme por Playa Blanca esperaba romper con el taboo de que el Decameron había pasado a ser demasiado corriente y popular. La verdad Playa Blanca me pareció igual o peor, por lo menos no lo que me esperaba. Ahora comprendo la popularidad del Decameron no se lo gana nadie.
Habitaciones entre sucias a regulares, la atención del personal entre regular pasando hasta grosera por parte de algunos. En mi habitación no colocaron toallas y la luz central nunca funcionó.
La comida muy normal y hasta aburrida..
Lo que me impresionó fue la enorme piscina de agua salada y los toboganes, excelente para los niños, lo malo que allí no hay bar cerca y se hace algo incomodo luego de un rato. Tampoco hay baños cerca de allí.
Del lado del hotel está la otra piscina la cual también no se le compara a la cantidad de piscinas en el Decameron. Pero está pasable también.
El restaurante de Sushi excelente !
Snack bars con comida vieja y de mala calidad.
En fin creo que para haber pagado mas que en el Decameron si se refiere a los hoteles de TODO INCLUIDO creo que no me apuntaría de nuevo al Playa Blanca.
Falta conocer el nuevo RIU :)

When i was deciding on Playa Blanca i hoped to break the taboo that the Decameron had become too common and popular. Actually I found Playa Blanca is the same or worse, at least not what I expected. Now I understand the popularity of the Decameron can not be equaled.
Rooms from dirty at regular, personal attention between regularly going to rude by some. In my room did not put towels and central light never worked.
The food was very ordinary and even boring.
What struck me was the huge saltwater pool and toboggans, great for kids, bad that there is no bar nearly and is somewhat uncomfortable after a while. There is also no bathrooms nearby.
In the side of the hotel is the pool which was also not compared to the number of pools in the Decameron. But it is also fair.
Sushi restaurant excellent!
Snack bars with old and poor quality food.
In resume i paid more in Playa Blanca than the Decameron but if it refers to all inclusive hotels I do not think I would point back to Playa Blanca.
Still i must know the new RIU :)

Room Tip: En el downtown queda muy lejos del área de restaurantes todo incluido.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Leidy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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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
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 #2 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Price Range: £109 - £201 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 219
Reservation Options:
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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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