Panama I loved the four-poster bed at the JW Marriott Panama hotel.

Published on May 31st, 2015 | by Mark Chesnut

I loved the four-poster bed at the JW Marriott Panama hotel.

HOTEL REVIEW: JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort Offers Luxury on the Beach

During my most recent trip to Panama (to research two chapters for the 2016 Fodor’s In Focus Panama travel guide) I stayed one night at the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort, a luxury hotel formerly known as the Bristol Buenaventura. This is a review of my experience.

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THE STYLE: Set in a large resort and golf community in Panama’s Pacific coast resort area (specifically in a town called Rio Hato), the JW Marriott Panama is a deluxe, resort-style hotel with traditionally elegant décor — probably the most luxurious of the Panama beach hotels in the region. Set in a luxurious, gated beachfront residential community, the hotel offers easy access to golf and the beach and offers an excellent beach vacation accommodation option.

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GUEST ROOMS: I stayed in room 246 a spacious room that’s tastefully decorated with hardwood floors, pleasing shades of brown, tan and cream. A large fouoster bed dominated the room, and other features include a ceiling fan (I wish all hotels had this), plus seating area with desk and coffee table, and nicely proportioned balcony with views of the property’s canal. The bathroom was especially nice, with a separate glassed-in shower and water closet, and a separate bathtub with shutters that opened into the guest room, allowing for outdoor views. There is a charge for wifi unless you’re a member of Starwood Preferred Guest (needless to say, I joined). If you’re looking for maximum space and privacy, consider one of the hotel’s sumptuous villas, which feature multiple bedrooms and bathrooms as well as full kitchens and living/dining areas.

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HOTEL FEATURES: Free valet parking is available for hotel guests. On-site features include a spa, fitness center and several restaurants, including a steakhouse and an Asian restaurant. Multiple swimming pools and a beach club round out the offerings, and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course is a quick ride away.

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BEST FOR: Upscale travelers looking for a full-service resort in an exclusive beach community, with easy access to beach and golf.

RATES: $219 and up.


HOW I GOT THERE: I rented a car and drove to this hotel from Panama City. I flew Delta Air Lines nonstop to Panama City from Atlanta (and I loved the first-class service). Read my review of the Delta Air Lines flight here.

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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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