Panama The Waldorf Astoria Panama is the brand's first hotel in Central America.

Published on December 22nd, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut

The Waldorf Astoria Panama is the brand's first hotel in Central America.

Panama Luxury: Inside Central America’s First Waldorf Astoria Hotel

During my most recent visit to the fast-growing metropolis of Panama City, Panama, I was a guest for three nights at the Waldorf Astoria Panama, which is the first property of this brand in Central or South America. It’s no surprise that Panama is one of the very first Latin American cities to debut a Waldorf Astoria hotel — after all, Panama is opening thousands of new hotel rooms, with some of the best hotel brands among them.

THE STYLE: The 248-room Waldorf Astoria Panama, which opened just a few months ago, exudes a contemporary, elegant style that is comfortable and inviting, with muted tones of cream, café con leche, tan and vanilla and a few dramatic gold accents. The dedication to service at this hotel was obvious from the moment we arrived, as we received warm greetings from the bellmen and the receptionist.

THE GUEST ROOM: We stayed in room 1208, which has a king-size bed and muted tones contrasting with a few well-placed gold-hued elements (I especially liked the headboard and wall décor above the bed).

The bathroom, which has two sinks and a rather large glass shower, is stocked with amenities by Salvatore Ferragamo and Neutrogena, as well as super-comfy bathrobes that are a cut above what most hotels offer.

I also liked the bedside remote control wall unit, which allows guests to control everything from the lights to the room temperature and the electronic “do not disturb” sign, all with the touch of a button. The hotel charges $12 a day WiFi for up to six devices.

HOTEL FEATURES: The seventh-floor rooftop area is an especially pleasant place to spend an afternoon or an evening, with a swimming pool and hot tub that jut dramatically out over the street. Also on the seventh floor is a beauty parlor and a 2,000-square-foot fitness center (which is available at no charge for guests) equipped with Life Fitness machines. The 2,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria spa offers a variety of services, and at night, the rooftop pool is looks even more impressive, as it shimmers and glows with changing underwater mood lighting.

A separate bank of elevators whisks guests — as well as the general public — to multiple dining and lounge bar areas. Ginger is a striking, two-level venue, divided among an Asian-influenced restaurant set in a likeness of a ship, which seems to hover above the lounge bar below. The hotel’s Brio Brasserie is an all-day dining restaurant that serves international cuisine.

Groups can make use of the hotel’s 3,500 square feet of meeting and event space. Another selling point for some travelers is the hotel’s location, just steps from Calle Uruguay, a street known for its restaurants and nightlife.

BEST FOR: Business and leisure travelers looking for an upscale travel experience, with some of the best amenities and service of any Panama City hotel. Members of the Hilton HHonors program can also redeem and earn points here. And thanks to the city’s hotly competitive hotel market, this may likely be the Waldorf Astoria property with the best room rates in the world.


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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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