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Hotel Riu Plaza Panama 4.0

Panama City, Panama Province, Panama

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Review Summary

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  • Cheerful, modern design with dazzling color schemes
  • Busy city location convenient to shopping, entertainment, and restaurants
  • Comfortable, stylish rooms include flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges
  • Higher-category rooms offer separate tubs, minibars, and dressing rooms
  • Executive rooms include turndown service, a free massage, and lounge access
  • Beautiful rooftop pool with a bar and al fresco restaurant
  • Well-reviewed sushi bar with a hip lounge in the lobby
  • Two restaurants provide buffet and a la carte options
  • Lovely spa offering massages, beauty treatments, and a steam room
  • Meeting space, a business center, and free Wi-Fi throughout


  • Some complaints of maintenance issues
  • Hotel lacks kid-centric facilities
  • Breakfast is charged extra, and is pricy for the area
  • Fitness room is small and bland, but functional

Bottom Line

Hotel Riu Plaza Panama offers upscale lodging bordering the Obarrio District of Panama City, with all the conveniences of city living nearby. The stylish, polished lobby and swanky common areas are themed with bright color palettes, including a Sushi Bar with a hip, nightclub vibe. All 644 rooms have cheerful, contemporary design and modern amenities like flat-screen TVs with ports to connect devices, coffeemakers, and rainfall showerheads. Executive Rooms have upgraded extras like turndown service, newspaper delivery, and access to a lounge. Amenities include a beautiful rooftop pool terrace, two restaurants, and a relaxing spa, making this good value for travelers of all types. For comparison, check out Radisson Decapolis Hotel Panama City -- the food gets better reviews, but the pool deck is less appealing. 

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Bright color schemes and modern decor are visually stunning at this upscale hotel

Set on a busy city street in the financial district, this high-rise hotel fits in with the many business-oriented hotels in the area. Couples are the primary clientele, but the convenient location and upscale setting make it a fit for families and business travelers, as well. This Riu Plaza is the first of the brand’s city outposts, and is typical of the quality guests expect of the chain. 

Interiors of Hotel Riu Plaza Panama are lovely, with rich colors and geometric patterns found throughout. In the reception area, black-and-white mosaic-tiled columns reflect orange light from wall sconces. Square and rectangular cutouts have pops of orange, as do tall, rectangular vases. Even sofas and couches have a boxy look, plus orange and brown fabrics. The Sushi Bar in the lobby is saturated with purples; another lounge is done in black and white with bold red accents; and the lobby cafe is awash in pinks and green. Each space is a stylish, contemporary feast for the eyes, though the dazzling display may be overpowering after a while. 


Near the financial district of Panama City, close to an upscale mall and the metro 

Hotel Riu Plaza is on a busy city street bordering the financial district of Panama City. There are many restaurants and shops, plus a few casinos within a 10-minute walk of the hotel. Soho Mall, a nice shopping center with upscale stores, is a three-minute walk away. It is a 13-minute walk to Iglesia del Carmen, a beautiful, old church popular in the area. The nearest bus stop is a two-minute walk from the hotel, and it is a 10-minute walk to the nearest metro station. Parking is available at the hotel, for a daily fee. 

From the hotel, it is a 15-minute drive to Panama Viejo, the ruins of the original Panama City settlement. It is a 20-minute drive to Casco Viejo, a vibrant and historic section of Panama City with plenty of sites and a nightlife scene. Miraflores Locks -- a 23-minute drive away -- is a popular site where tourists can watch ships passing through the locks of the Panama Canal and visit a museum detailing the history of the area. Tocumen International Airport is a 25-minute drive from the hotel. 


Cheerful, modern rooms include mini-fridges, coffee machines, and rainfall showerheads

Modern rooms are cheerful, typically incorporating a flower theme with rich hues of a single color -- such as lime green or purple -- enhancing the design. Several beautiful flower paintings adorn the white walls, and solid fabrics accent chairs in the sitting area, table tops, pillows, and a runner on the two twins or single king-size bed. Wood furniture and a beige carpet help warm the space. All rooms have a 32-inch flat-screen TV with ports to connect devices, plus a mini-fridge, coffee machine, iron, and safe. Bathrooms are sleek and well-appointed with double sinks and a rainfall showerhead in the shower/tub combo. Some rooms have an etched glass wall peeking into the bathroom, so those with a privacy concern should check ahead. Hairdryers are provided, as are free Paul Gaugin toiletries.

Upgraded rooms offer options for a sofa bed in the living area, a free minibar, separate tubs and showers, a guest bathroom, dressing room, and/or separate office space. Guests staying in Executive Rooms or suites receive extra services like private check-in, a free 15-minute massage, turndown service, robes and slippers, access to a swanky lounge, and spa and car rental discounts. Note that some past guests have complained of maintenance issues, such as faulty TVs and showers.


A beautiful pool area with a bar, on-site dining, a spa, and business facilities

This hotel has a good range of services, but lacks facilities geared toward children. The rooftop pool is a lovely spot, surrounded by palm trees and potted plants with plenty of free wicker loungers and a few curtained cabanas. There is shaded seating by the bar, where al fresco meals are available for purchase. City buildings are evident all around, but removed enough to give the space the feeling of a relaxing retreat. 

Two restaurants, a sushi bar, a cafe, and the poolside restaurant offer plenty of choice in dining, though reviews are mixed. The sushi bar and breakfast buffet are good (if pricy), but a la carte offerings are less consistently appreciated. 

There’s a nice spa with space for massages, a steam bath, and a beauty salon. A narrow fitness room, which is small for the size of the hotel, has a decent range of cardio and weight-lifting machines. Twenty-three meeting rooms and a small business center make this a viable option for business travelers. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. 

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