Published on December 2nd, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
HOTEL REVIEW: Bristol Panama Opens New Tower
One of the most luxurious hotels in Panama City, Panama, The Bristol Panama this year debuted a brand-new tower with freshly designed guest rooms, a lounge, swimming pool and spa. I was a guest recently at this new part of the hotel, to check out what’s new and noteworthy.
THE STYLE: Contemporary yet conservative and unobtrusive in its style and decor, the Bristol — a member of The Leading Hotels of the World — exhibits original artwork throughout its lobby and public areas. The subdued elegance and attentive service can make guests feel more like residents of an upscale apartment building (and in fact, there are residences in this complex). It’s a welcome break from the oversized, echoey and busy hotel lobbies at larger hotels. Upon check-in, I was presented with a small folder that contained not only my room key, but also several custom-printed business cards with my name and the name, address and phone number of the hotel — perfect for impressing colleagues that one might meet while visiting Panama City.
THE GUEST ROOMS: The new tower has 111 new guest rooms and condominiums to the hotel’s original inventory of 56. I stayed in a gorgeous one-bedroom corner suite, which measured 862 square feet/80 square meters. This room category is handsomely decorated and supremely livable, thanks to its extensive amenities. The living/dining area has a large wrap-around couch, TV and four-person dining table, and the full-size galley kitchen is complete with dishes, silverware, a sink with garbage disposal and stainless-steel appliances including a full-size Bosch stove and Hamilton Beach toaster, coffee maker and blender. My favorite amenity was the fabulous stainless-steel Bosch Evolution 500 Series refrigerator, with an external ice and water dispenser.
My suite had 1.5 bathrooms, with a spacious master bath equipped with a stand-alone, glass-enclosed shower and Molton Brown amenities. Additional features that are common to all rooms are iPod docking stations, 49″ televisions with DVD players, minibar and free WiFi.
AMENITIES & SERVICES: Among the new tower’s features is a well-equipped gym and the Spa at Bristol, which opened in November on the top floor of the new tower. Opening on December 8 is Sal Si Puedes, a new restaurant (located in the former location of Barandas restaurant) led by famed Chef Cuquita Arias de Calvo, who specializes in Panamanian cuisine. Also slated to open this month is the small but scenic rooftop pool, just outside of the gym. I enjoyed free continental breakfast daily in the lovely lounge area. I also appreciated the small but well-equipped business center, which has multiple computers and a printer that I used (at no charge) to check in and print my boarding pass for the flight home. The property also has some 3,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
BEST FOR: Upscale travelers in need of a centrally located luxury hotel with the feel of a residence. I found rates online starting as low as $150 a night, and the one-bedroom suite where I stayed was about $396 a night. (Beach-lovers take note: The company’s Bristol Buenaventura property, about 80 miles from the capital, is being rebranded as the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort.)
MORE TRAVEL TIPS & TRAVEL NEWS:
• Get more action! Watch the LatinFlyer channel on Youtube.