Panama has long lagged neighboring Costa Rica in terms of visitors and development, even though the two countries share a lot of attributes. In terms of biodiversity, nature opportunities, and adventure possibilities, Panama is a strong contender.
The potential has been slow to translate into action for luxury travelers, however. In the luxury hotel sector, pickings were rather slim until 2010, when several new upscale hotels finally eased the shortage in Panama City. Despite one of the strongest economies in Latin America and a thriving banking center in Panama City, only a few hotels rose above the standard business chain hotel mold. While Costa Rica and Belize boast a wide variety of upscale jungle retreats and eco–lodges, Panama Hotels are, on the whole, a modest and unadventurous lot outside of the capital.
Thankfully this is changing, however. Here we highlight both the true standouts and those hotels that are rapidly improving and upgrading their facilities.
For now most of the luxury hotels are in and around Panama City, with the city quickly going from sold out to having empty rooms as Trump, Waldorf-Astoria, and other upscale brands have come to the city. We expect the situation to change in the coming years as traffic to Panama and Latin America in general keeps going up. In the future we hope to highlight more new luxury hotels around Boquete, Bocas del Toro, or the Pacific Beach areas. For now, make one of the Panama luxury hotels below your base and explore from there.
Villa Camilla Hotel — Azuero Peninsula
Panama City and Pacific Coast
Boutique Hotels in Casco Viejo — Panama City
JW Marriott (formerly Bristol Hotel & Spa at Buenaventura) — Panama City
The Bristol Hotel — Panama City
Marriott Executive Apartments Finisterre — Panama City
Gamboa Rainforest Resort at the Panama Canal — Panama
Hotel DeVille — Panama City
InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa — Panama
Le Méridien Panama — Panama City
Radisson Decapolis Hotel — Panama City
Trump Ocean Club — Panama City
Waldorf Astoria Panama — Panama City
Westin Playa Bonita — Near Panama City
Valle Escondido Resort, Golf and Spa — Boquete
Panamonte Inn & Spa — Boquete
Bocas del Toro Region
Laguna Azul Eco-Lodge — Bocas del Toro
Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge — Bocas del Toro
Popa Paradise Beach Resort — Bocas del Toro
Hacienda del Mar Hotel — San José Island