Review: Waldorf Astoria, Panama City #NMCLaborDay

Panama City is a bustling metropolis with at least one of every major chain hotel you can imagine. We had, within a few blocks radius, a Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, and Le Meridien, so really when it came time to book it came down to status and cost.

We’ve had Hilton Gold status now for the better part of the year, and I can honestly say we haven’t taken much advantage of it. Probably because we’ve always noticed the exorbitant amount of points required to stay at home hotels, and that’s turned us off. But when we saw the Waldorf, and knowing that we’ve never stayed at a Waldorf, it caught our eye.

On top of that, it was only $92 a night. In my opinion, $92 for a luxury hotel is pretty amazing.

Waldorf Astoria Panama

I couldn’t get the WiFi to work at the airport to call up Uber (it’s pretty ubiquitous in Panama) and so we went with the Authorized Taxi option. At $30 to the city center it wasn’t the cheapest, but it was the fastest and most convenient.

The drive was fast (mostly because the driver was 24, speeding, and dancing to music as we drove) and we got to the hotel in short order. The hotel is new, having been built about 3 years ago, and is owned by the same person as the Hilton and “El Tornillo,” a funky looking modern building downtown. That same modernity can be seen in the lobby of the building.

There is a small public seating area

Seating Area

Seating Area

And to either side a gorgeous design that runs the entire length of the ceiling, from check in counter to the bar at the far end of the lobby.

Ceiling Design

Ceiling Design

Ceiling design

Ceiling design

We went through all the normal formalities of check in, but we were also presented with a local drink, made with lime juice and some kind of sugar syrup.  Do you know what is?  Tell us below please.! When it’s 91 degrees (33 Celsius) outside, a nice cold refreshing drink is exactly what we needed.

Awesome refreshing drink at check in

Awesome refreshing drink at check in

Hector was happy to inform us that as a gold member with Hilton HHonors, we would receive several added bonuses:

  • We were upgraded to a Junior Suite
  • 1000 bonus points
  • 25% extra base points
  • Free High Speed WiFi
  • 15% discount at the Spa
  • Late checkout (if we needed it)
  • $25 food and beverage (alcohol excluded)

Not a bad deal, especially considering the room itself was only $92! Now, if you know us, we don’t like going to new countries and eating room service. Usually it’s catered towards Western palates and we like going local. For us, it’s one of the best parts of the experience. However, a $25 F&B credit is hard to pass up, especially for a late night snack.

Last Night Snack

Last Night Snack

We headed up to our room and you could see right away that they put a lot of attention to detail.

The room was decorated in various shades of gold

Bedroom

Bedroom

There was a small chair and ottoman off to the side of the bed

Seating Area

Seating Area

And a nice desk area with plenty of space to work and charge devices. For those wondering, the outlets are just as they are in the USA.

Desk area

Desk area

The bathroom has two sinks and two robes

Bathroom

Bathroom

A large soaking tub

Soaking Tub

Soaking Tub

And a walk-in rainforest shower

Rainforest Shower

Rainforest Shower

Both the shower and the sinks were stocked with Salvatore Ferragamo products (nice touch!)

Ferragamo

Ferragamo

Ferragamo

Ferragamo

There was a minibar (careful, $70 for the vodka is a bit much…)

Minibar

Minibar

And area with free Nespresso coffee and tea

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and Tea

We also had a special note from the personal concierge for the hotel, informing us that if we needed anything to just dial her and it would be taken care of. The problem? When we did dial that number twice in our stay, it just rang and rang and rang, for over 2 minutes in fact with no one to pick up. I called the front desk and the wait time was over a minute. Even the call to room service took about two minutes to pickup. If I could nag on one part of the stay, the attention to the needs of the guests when they’re calling in would be my one stickler.

Looking out of the room we had a birds eye view of the Jacuzzi on the pool level.

View from the Room

View from the Room

Speaking of the pool, we headed back there after our night out to get a look at the amenities. There is a bar and it is staffed at all times by at least two attendants. They are also able to assist you with chairs, towels, or anything else that you might need during your stay.

Pool at Night

Pool at Night

Pool at Night

Pool at Night

It is open air however, so expect it to be quite humid during the day. At night however, a quick dip in the pool is an extremely refreshing way to end the day.

Next to the pool is the gymnasium, which is better than most I’ve seen at other hotels. There are dedicated areas for cardio, free weights, yoga, stretching, and machines. There’s also a small refrigerator with cold towels and drinks to keep you hydrated and cool.

Waldorf Panama Waldorf Panama Waldorf Panama

We’ll talk more about our quick city tour of Panama in a later post, but just know that if you want to get from the hotel into downtown, they have a Lincoln MKZ that will take you wherever you need to go within a reasonable distance, free of charge. We took the car from the hotel to the “casco antiguo” or the “old town” for some sightseeing and street food. Asking the driver about his favorite spots to eat was the highlight of the short ride.

As much as I’m not a Hilton fanboy, I would absolutely stay at this hotel again. The service and attention to detail were excellent throughout the hotel, and the fully bilingual staff make it easy for locals and foreigners alike. If you’re in Panama (maybe for a mileage run?) do yourself a favor and choose the Waldorf for an inexpensive taste of luxury!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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4 Comments

  1. Should’ve booked via Virtuoso for a bit more for addt’l benefits.

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  2. Hello. Never been in Panamá (only in the airport in my way to Mvd). But for sure I will stay in this WF if I can get that rate. I am a Hyatt and Hilton Diamond, Hilton being my second choice when there’s not Hyatts around. And you are right, most Hilton require to many points for their cost. So I always try to use them when the cash + points rate is available in Conrads or WA. My best redemptions are WA The Palm in Dubai for $100 + 16000 points for a $600 a night room, Conrad Bangkok for the same, and Conrad Miami for a $500 suite for $75 + 20000 points. I try to save my points for that…makes no sense to use 40000 points for a $80 room. Saludos y vamo arriba!!!

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    • Whoa, that’s a hell of a deal in Dubai! How was the room? We haven’t done Bangkok yet but it is on the list for SURE. The rates at the WA in Panama looked pretty consistent, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to get that rate almost any time.

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  3. Really amazing! It is a great property in a special place with a great service. If you have status the club lounges in either the WA The Palm or Conrad Dubai are impressive. The best that I have seen so far. Conrad Bangkok wasn’t as nice as the Conrad Dubai but it is still a very good property. And I got is for like 16000 points and $65 a night. Next time in Bangkok I will try the Park Hyatt Bangkok that open next year.

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