Pros

  • Nice outdoor pool is the largest pool in Panama City
  • Landmark hotel is centrally located in the middle of the city
  • Three restaurants and two bars provide some variety for dining
  • A popular nightclub and casino are located right next door
  • Huge convention center features 25 different meeting rooms
  • Spacious rooms come with contemporary furnishings
  • Many bars and restaurants are close by
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking
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Cons

  • Some areas of the hotel are worn and due for updates
  • Common areas are often crowded with large groups
  • Busy, noisy atmosphere
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Bottom Line

This large, 350-room, upper-mid-range hotel is a landmark in Panama City. It’s located right in the city center, surrounded by many restaurants, bars, casinos, and hotels. The property is home to the largest pool in Panama City (probably its best feature) as well as three restaurants, a nightclub, and a casino. However, the huge convention center is probably the most prevalent fixture of the hotel, as big groups often dominate the scene. Even with renovations, the property still feels a bit old and tired, and other nearby options provide more value.

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Hotel & Amenities Photos

Amenities

  • Casino
  • Fitness Center
  • Internet
  • Pool
  • Spa

Oyster Hotel Review

Hotel El Panama

Scene

Despite renovations the property still feels dated, and big groups dominate the scene.

El Panama Hotel is a landmark in Panama City; with a huge sign marking its name on the top of the building, it can’t be missed. At over 60 years old, the property is one of the oldest in the city, and at one time it was a Hilton, before the most recent owners picked up the reins a few years ago. Though the property was renovated in 2011, the decades of history have taken their toll on this storied building, and despite new tile, modern lighting, and contemporary furniture, something about the hotel still feels like it was left behind as the city around it modernized.

The property also runs a huge convention center, with over 30,000 feet of meeting space. As a result, the hotel is often packed with large groups in town for events. The large, modern lobby offers a few seating areas but minimal decor. Overall the lobby is a bustling place, often crowded with big groups in the process of coming or going. Outside of the lobby there is a large outdoor rooftop area. Formerly the space was filled with fountains and nice landscaping, but currently it is in a state of disrepair. This is a good example of why it’s a stretch to call this an upper-mid-range property -- and it definitely falls short of being an upscale or luxury hotel, as its website reports.

The hotel is located in a very busy part of the center city, generally full of traffic, but it has a gated entrance that leads up a small private road to the lobby, so inside the grounds it’s quiet and secure. There is a large parking garage next door shared by the casino and the hotel, free of charge to guests. Even with its variety of features -- a huge outdoor pool, three restaurants, a nightclub and casino – the congested atmosphere and fading beauty of the El Panama Hotel is a less appealing option than other similar hotels in the area. However, it's of course a good pick for those attending events on-site.

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Location

In the bustling center of Panama City, right outside a Metro stop

El Panama Hotel is located in the center of downtown Panama City, on one of the busiest streets in the area, where traffic is a regular activity. As one of the oldest properties in the area, this hotel helped establish the neighborhood and in recent years, many hotels have gone up in just a few block radius. There are also several restaurants, bars, and casinos located within walking distance. The hotel is conveniently located right outside of the Iglesia del Carmen stop on the Metro. It's about a 30-minute drive to the airport via taxi, give or take depending on the time of day and the traffic.

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Rooms

Contemporary rooms with updated bathrooms, though some wear and tear shows

The 350 rooms and suites are spacious with an overall contemporary style -- yet despite recent updates, something still seems a bit lacking. The decor presents clean lines and standard dark wood furniture pieces, though several items definitely show some wear and tear. The rooms present a high-contrast style, featuring mostly black and white tones with mustard-yellow chairs and accent items. Large full color photographs of tropical imagery and locally inspired scenes adorn the walls. Many rooms include big picture windows that look out onto great city views.

The bathrooms are updated with granite countertops, contemporary fixtures and glass-walled walk-in showers, some with rainfall showerheads. Every room comes with a coffeemaker, mini-fridge and flat-screen TV. Outside of the main tower, several poolside cabanas are available. These rooms are a bit smaller and older, but include nice balconies with tables and chairs. 

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Features

Three restaurants, two bars, a huge convention center, and the largest pool in Panama City

One highlight of the El Panama Hotel is the large central poo, the biggest pool in Panama City, and open courtyard, providing a pleasant surprise in the middle of a crowded city full of high rises. This lovely, lagoon-shaped pool features a swim-up bar and several nice lounge chairs and seating areas scattered around the pool deck. At one end of the pool, there is a shallow wading area good for kids. Unique, globe-shaped cabanas provide nice shady places to lounge. At the far end of the property beyond the pool, there is a small fitness room -- though the machines appear a little old and updates are in order. Inside, there’s a large business center in the back of the lobby offering several computers, printers, and local information.

The hotel’s main restaurant, called the Molas Restaurant, is located in the lobby right next to the front desk. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a contemporary setting. The large buffet-style breakfast spread includes a variety of pastries and fresh fruits, as well as hot items including quiche-type egg dishes. Outside next to the pool is the hotel’s open-air restaurant, Las Palmas, that features barbecue items such as steak and burgers. It’s also connected to the swim-up poolside bar, a nice place for evening cocktails. Bonsai, the lobby bar and sushi restaurant, is probably the most stylish space in the hotel. It features a translucent light-up bar and an Asian-inspired motif with Buddha statues and a zen-like modern feel.

The hotel includes a huge convention center downstairs from the lobby with 25 different meeting rooms, banquet rooms, and events spaces of different size to choose from. Next door, right outside the hotel but not internally connected to it, is the Crown Casino -- a huge casino with a nightclub, several bars, floors of machines, and an area with table games. 

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Hotel & Amenities Photos

Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Casino

  • Concierge

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Gameroom / Arcade

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Spa

  • Supervised Kids Activities

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.