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The Bristol Panama Hotel & SPA 4.5

Panama City, Panama Province, Panama

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Polished luxury hotel has a central location
  • Comfortable rooms come with Keurig coffeemakers, iHome stereos, and large flat-screen TVs
  • Spa features great city views and various treatments
  • Lovely fine-dining restaurant has local flair
  • Stylish lounge and tapas bar features live music
  • Modern gym has cardio machines with individual TVs and free weights
  • Free Wi-Fi and valet parking

Cons

  • The pool is small and awkwardly situated
  • Property is located on a busy street with lots of traffic

Bottom Line

This 125-room luxury hotel is a sophisticated pick that's centrally located in the financial and banking district of Panama City, with dining and shopping options in walking distance. The rooms are bright and airy, with large bathrooms and technology like iPod docks, big flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Facilities here include a Panamanian-inspired restaurant, chic bar and lounge, rooftop pool (though it’s small and wedged between two buildings), and an excellent spa with great city views. For business travelers or well-heeled tourists, this is a great luxury alternative to the many chain hotels in the area.

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Scene

A sophisticated luxury hotel that mixes contemporary and classic styles

The 125-room Bristol Hotel is completely shiny and fresh, but it still manages to keep some elements of old-time luxury. For example, old-fashioned gas lamps flank the entrance, and an ironwork chandelier hangs in the entryway. The atmosphere is definitely refined and posh -- perhaps even a bit buttoned-up. (It’s not kind of place where you’d see kids running out or loud music playing.) A haven for both business travelers and upscale tourists, The Bristol is recognized by many as one of the top hotels in the area.

In a city where there’s a laundry list of every chain hotel in the game, The Bristol relies on the strength of its own name, without giving over to a brand. This allows it to have its own personality and style. The lobby is chic and stylish, with contemporary decor in light colors. The space features a beige and gray color scheme, with silver accents, dark woods, and luxe fabrics of tweed and velvet. Throughout the hotel, the theme is contemporary yet classic, in both furniture and overall style. 

The rooms are split between the original hotel tower and a new tower that was a recent addition to the property. The hotel also offers what it calls The Residences, which are luxury condominiums with gourmet kitchens for full-time stays. Service is also a focus of the hotel and hot coffee is always available next to the front desk. Highlights include a locally-inspired restaurant, a sleek lounge, and a lovely spa on the top floor with sweeping views.

Location

On a busy street in the financial and banking center of Panama City

Map of The Bristol Panama Hotel & SPA

The Bristol Hotel is located in central Panama City, right in the financial and banking district, an area with many hotel options. It’s situated on a very busy street that sees lots of traffic, especially in the afternoons. Luckily, there are many things in walking distance of the hotel, including bars, restaurants, and shopping. It’s not far to Calle Uruguay, a street known for nightlife. The large Multicentro shopping mall is about a 10-minute walk away. It takes about a 30-minute taxi ride to reach Tocumen International Airport.

Rooms

Luxe, contemporary rooms with Molton Brown toiletries and other nice amenities

The 125 rooms of the Bristol Hotel are spread over the property's two towers, each with its own elevator. Rooms in both the original hotel and the new tower have the same style decor; however, the new tower’s rooms are slightly larger, newer, and more updated. All rooms feature beautiful decor and comfortable furniture. The soft color palette features light shades of beige, whites, and light blues. The riveted headboards and swoop-style wingback chairs feel chic and elegant.

Every room comes with a fully stocked minibar with drink and snack options for an extra fee, alongside a Keurig coffeemaker and mini-fridge. The latest modern technology includes iHome stereos and flat-screen TVs. The luxurious bathrooms are fully updated with sleek granite tile and counter tops and nice walk-in showers. The upscale Molton Brown bath products are a nice touch. Some bathrooms have deep soaking tubs next to windows with shutters that open into the bedrooms. The hotel offers nightly turndown service, in which the staff lays out plush robes and slippers, and leaves chocolates on the beds.

Features

A lovely locally-inspired restaurant, a cool lounge, and a small, somewhat awkward rooftop pool

The hotel features a small rooftop pool, though it is wedged between the two towers of the building on a mid-level floor, so views of the city are limited. The pool is a long, narrow rectangle, only about eight feet wide, set along one side of the building. A small deck area is off to the other side, so the set-up is a bit awkward, but it works for a quick dip on a hot day. The sundeck area offers a handful of lounge chairs and cushioned outdoor sofas to relax on, with a few umbrellas for shade. Next to the pool there’s a large, contemporary fitness room with modern equipment, and individual TVs on most machines.

The stylish Salsipuedes Restaurant features decorative tiled floors, green leather wingback chairs and couches, and locally-inspired black-and-white photographs of the Casco Viejo historic district on the walls. The cuisine is fresh and has many Panamanian influences. The lovely breakfast spread goes beyond your average continental buffet, offering a variety of pastries including different kinds of empanadas, fresh hot items, nice cheese and meat plates, and lots of fresh fruit. Next door, the Salsipuedes Bar offers a slightly more casual, hip atmosphere.

One of the highlights of the property is 8’58 Lounge, located on the fifth floor. This spacious lounge, restaurant, and bar is a bright, open space that exudes a chic but relaxed cool. The bar is open in the evenings for happy hour, cocktails, and tapas-style small plates. There are several comfortable sitting areas that offer a mix of couches, wingback chairs, and dining chairs, as well as a bar and an outdoor terrace area. Bold contemporary art choices and sculptures decorate the space, and there are even private spaces for business meetings to be held. Live music is on a few nights a week. The hotel also has several formal meeting rooms and a banquet hall available for events.

Spa

The hotel's lovely spa is one of its standout features.

On the top floor of the hotel, the luxurious spa has the best views in the building. The large spa includes a variety of treatment rooms for hydrotherapy, couples massages, and more. Guests will enter through separate men’s and women’s sides of the spa, each which contains a separate locker room and lounge area. Each lounge features big picture windows that take advantage of the sweeping, panoramic views of Panama City. There’s also a steam room, sauna, and full-service salon.

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Address

Avenida Aquilino de la Guardia, Bella Vista, Panama City, Panama

Also Known As

  • Bristol Panama

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