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The Dreams Playa Bonita Resort & Spa is just 25 minutes from Panama City and 40 minutes from the Tocumen International Airport, but this secluded beachfront property is the essence of privacy and luxury.
The resort is perched over a one–mile stretch of golden beach overlooking the isolated islands in the Pacific Ocean. The 20 acres of tropical rainforest in the Punta Bruja Nature Reserve provide the perfect backdrop for lying in the sun, enjoying romantic sunset dinners, or getting close to nature. In the distance you can also view ships in the lining up to enter the Panama Canal. (As a result, the water here is not exactly crystal clear. Most guest steer clear of the surf.)
The Dreams Playa Bonita Resort & Spa began as the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa in 2006 as the first luxury beach resort near Panama City. Playa Bonita's prime locale, within a self–contained enclave along the beach, offers guests a tranquil oceanfront isolated from the world. In 2016, the international Secrets brand hotel owned by AMresorts took over operations of the resort, but it has recently been rebranded as part of the couples- and families-oriented luxury Dreams hotel group.
Arriving at the hotel, your meet and greet includes a welcome cocktail, after which you will be whisked away to your exclusive full ocean view Royal Suite overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The scent of tropical fresh flowers is strategically placed throughout your suite. Slip on your bathrobes, step onto your private balcony and enjoy the view and the heavenly taste of Moet Chandon and Wild Cherries / Chocolate. Finally, sink into your private Jacuzzi complete with Bvlgari Amenities and lean back to listen to the relaxing dance of the ocean tide.
That's just one of the 310 rooms at the Secrets Playa Bonita Panama Resort. All guestrooms, including the 26 suites and 2 Presidential Suites, come with private balconies and ocean view. Tropical, unspoiled and colorful describe the ethnic Panamanian inspired elements in the décor. Rich and decadent without overpowering the senses, casual elegance with a splash of Panamanian influence is the theme.
Perhaps that's too flowery a description for some, but the moment you walk into your room, you immediately take in the sights and relax. Standards should be skipped but the deluxe rooms are more roomy and elegant. Step into the Presidential Suites and you'll really feel like you've come home. All rooms include over–sized, comfortable bedding, rich wood furnishings, and all the conveniences of home if you want, though be advised that wireless Internet requires an additional charge. Guests staying in the suites or on the executive level have access to a private lounge for breakfast and afternoon cocktails, as well as a private outdoor terrace with Jacuzzi.
The well–seasoned traveler will appreciate the brilliant white Mediterranean–influenced architecture. White day beds scatter the grounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean and hammocks hang between every palm tree lining the beach. A mist pool provides a quiet oasis for adults, and ten free–form, swimming pools are there to get more than your feet wet.
Bonita Del Mar, the 10,000 square foot holistic spa, offers soothing therapies, outdoor massages, seaweed wraps, and facials. Make your wishes known and the spa can design an exotic invigorating treatment just for you, like the &Bonita del Mar Spa Sacrifice& or &Chocolate Escape& to enjoy at the spa, in your room, or on the beach.
The main restaurant here started out more haute, with a celebrity chef on board, but has now settled into a more casual tropical vibe. Still, your culinary senses will also be rewarded here with a range of indoor and outdoor dining venues, from casual poolside options to a more formal atmosphere at the Lighthouse Restaurant, serving seafood, steaks, and a good range of wine. Or for a more intimate culinary experience, arrange an exclusive and personalized gourmet dinner in a gazebo on the water.
The poolside bar is also a lunch restaurant and seemingly has enough seating for the entire resort. The lobby bar, where guests gravitate to after the sun goes down, also doubles as a sushi bar.
Other exclusive options are at your request and range from a gourmet lunch at the Chagres River in the resort's private 40' pontoon overlooking the Panama Canal to a fishing expedition with your private captain and all fishing gear by Columbia Sportswear.
Travelers with less desire to leave the resort will find plenty of activity options. The 24-hour gym is joined by tennis courts, kayaks, a netted golf driving range and a sand volleyball court. The Dreams Playa Bonita unlimited-luxury all-inclusive package will get an all-access pass to all the property's restaurants, 24 concierge and room service, pool and beach waitservice, a long list of daytime activities and more. With the new renovations, the hotel will be adding an Explorer's Club for kids age 3 to 12 and a Core Zone Teens Club for those 13 to 17. Dedicated on-site wedding planning facilities also will be added, and all meeting space will be fully renovated.
For travelers searching for a private enclave infused with Panamanian style and tropical elegance, the Dreams Playa Bonita Resort & Spa is a great all-inclusive tropical getaway near a major capital city. The secluded beach is not inviting for swimming, but is great when eyed from the two pool complexes. The resort offers easy access to the lush rainforest, Panama Canal, Panama City, and the historic colonial city of Casco Viejo and Amador Causeway. When combined with comfortable resort accommodations and amenities, the Dreams Playa Bonita Resort & Spa is bonita (beautiful)!
Web Address: book online with Expedia.
Total Number of Rooms: 310
Published rates: $320 to $495
Review by Diana Rowe, photos courtesy of Dreams Playa Bonita Resort & Spa.