Published on December 8th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut


HOTEL REVIEW: Las Clementinas — Historic Style in Panama City

During my latest visit to Panama City, Panama, I was a guest at Las Clementinas, a six-suite boutique hotel set in the increasingly trendy Casco Antiguo historic district, a hotspot for tourism, cuisine and nightlife that also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Las Clementinas was one of the first hotels to convince style-conscious upscale travelers to stay overnight in this neighborhood, and even as more hotel rooms are added to the mix it continues to attract a devoted following. Here is a review of my experience.

THE STYLE: Set in a lovingly renovated former apartment building that dates to the 1930s, Las Clementinas blends traditional and contemporary style in a comfortable, unobtrusive way, with both antique and modern furnishings and decor elements. Original modern artwork contrasts tastefully with vintage photos, and strategically placed photo books in guest rooms provide additional glimpses into Panama City’s past. Upon arrival, we enjoyed a free welcome cocktail (a tasty mojito) served at the adjacent restaurant/bar.

THE GUEST ROOMS: We stayed in guest room #5, an amply sized one-bedroom suite with hardwood floors, large living/dining room and a kitchen with full-sized, Samsung stainless steel refrigerator, stove, microwave and sink. A selection of dishes, pots and pans are included, making Las Clementinas accommodations a good option for travelers who like the feeling of having their own private apartment in Panama City. Two balconies provide views of both the old city and the new, with chairs and a table on the larger balcony. A table for four sits in the dining area, while the living area is graced with a comfy couch that converts to a sofa bed. The hotel is so small and personalized that the names of the reception and service staff are actually printed on the info list in the guest room.

A flat-screen, wall-mounted television in the bedroom features cable TV offerings in English and Spanish, and an iPod dock sits next to the bed. The bathroom is stocked with amenities from Algotherm, and the shower stall is lined with beautiful tiles. Additional amenities include an ironing board, hair dryer and two bathrobes — and I also really liked that, in addition to air conditioning, both the bedroom and living room had ceiling fans.

Our room was a fourth-floor walk-up, and the building has no elevator, so guests who prefer to avoid the stairs should make sure to specify their desire for a lower floor when making a reservation (WiFi also seemed to be much stronger on the lower floors than on the top floor).

HOTEL FEATURES: A delicious, custom-made breakfast is included with the room rate, and it’s served in hotel’s attractively decorated eponymous restaurant, where traditional decor and rescued items make the venue feel like an upscale step back in time. Indeed, Las Clementinas attracts as much attention for its restaurant as it does for its suites. Also worth a visit is the hotel’s large rooftop deck, which has tables and chairs, and is a relaxing place to enjoy a drink while gazing at the view.

One of the benefits of staying at this Panama City hotel is that all of the Casco Antiguo’s attractions — historic sites, galleries, shops, restaurants and nightlife — are within walking distance. We felt like we were living in our own private home while staying at Las Clementinas, and as a result of its location we were able to enjoy more of the neighborhood’s offerings than ever before (Panama City’s larger chain luxury hotels are a taxi cab ride away). Las Clementinas has a sister property in the Casco Antiguo called Canal House, which is even more luxurious and provided accommodations to actor Daniel Craig while he shot the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace (see more about Panama’s role in the movie in my roundup Travel Like 007: Must-see James Bond Scenes in Latin America).

BEST FOR: Style-conscious upscale travelers who don’t mind a flight or two of stairs, and who appreciate having space to spread out and feel like they’re living in the Casco Antiguo. Travelers who want easy access to the many attractions and nightlife of the Casco Antiguo will also do well here.


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“My Panama” — Travel Tips from David Gold, Casco Antiguo Spanish School
PHOTOS: Panama City’s Casco Antiguo: A Neighborhood in Transition

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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