In the past ten years, Panama’s luxury tourism industry has grown at an unprecedented rate. This means big business for hotels and resorts, both local and international, to jump in deep to this market. It’s no secret that Panama has been building hotels and resorts at a break-neck pace over the past few years. Many hoteliers have even been criticized for over-building and saturating the market. But the numbers for future growth are too good to not take that risk.
In true Panama style, this boom has been accompanied by an “all-or-nothing” attitude that’s pushing bigger and better hotels. Luxury and large is the trend, and there are some great new hotels/resorts that embody this to a tee. Here’s a quick review of some of Panama’s best:
1. Hard Rock Hotel Megapolis
Though it has only been around for 7-8 years, this over 60-story hotel has already become an iconic part of Panama City’s skyline, and cultural fabric. The hotel has over 500 guest rooms, multiple restaurants, bars, a popular nightclub, and a rooftop disco that overlooks the bay. Each room is decorated in true Hard Rock style, with music memorabilia adorning nearly every wall in the building. It’s also attached to a shopping mall, and casino, making it a one-stop vacation destination for tourists and music lovers alike.
2. Hilton Panama
This is one of Panama City’s newer iconic buildings, built on the famed towering skyline on Ave. Balboa. The Hilton, like many that share its namesake, is a complete luxury experience. There are around 300 guest rooms, with nearly everyone having an unobstructed ocean view. They also have one of Panama’s newest casinos right in the building, and the country’s first Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. And since they are one of Panama’s newest luxury hotels, they are offering some great rates on rooms as an introduction.
3. JW Marriott Golf and Beach Resort (Buenaventura)
The JW Marriot, formerly known as the Buenaventura, is probably Panama’s most luxurious beach resort. Set in the popular Pacific beach town of Rio Hato, the JW Marriot does not disappoint on any level. It’s set on a massive plot of land that includes a full golf course, botanical gardens, and even a man-made river that has gondola tours around the grounds. The resort itself is so luxurious and expansive; you may even forget you’re on a private white sand beach, which adorns the resort on the southern side.
4. The Waldorf Astoria
The hotel chain made famous by its flagship hotel in New York is now quickly becoming a Panama icon. From a design point, the Waldorf epitomizes sophisticated elegance. It has a stern, dark brown and gold façade, and goes for elegance over gaudiness as it weaves it’s way into the skyline in Bella Vista, near Ave. Balboa. Each room is designed as a suite of sorts, with a wide living-room area and elegant open-front bathroom, and stunning ocean and city views. They also have one of the most stunning pool areas in the city, and two 4-star restaurants within the complex.