Most people who have visited Panama over the past decade have done so by cruise ship transiting the Panama Canal, or for business. But things have changed in the now thriving metropolis, which one well-placed businessman calls, “The Switzerland of Central America.” The city has become a vibrant mecca for tourism as well as commerce. Hotels have cropped up in and out of the urban area with an emphasis on luxury.
One of the more recent entries on the hospitality scene is The Bristol Panama, a 167-room luxury property located in the heart of the vibrant financial and commercial district, just a short walk to the city’s finest restaurants, shopping and nightlife, and 12 miles from Tocumen Airport. In addition to guest rooms the hotel also houses a 111-room residence tower with 63 guestrooms, eight suites and 40 condos.
Accommodations are attractively appointed with custom fabrics including fine Frette cotton linens, Hungarian down-filled pillows, and luxurious duvets. A deep brown, rich russet and tranquil cream décor palette creates a harmonious and welcoming ambiance, accented with vibrant artwork by notable Latin American artists. Creature comforts include inviting wall-to-wall marble bathrooms with separate glass-enclosed showers, sumptuous baths, lighted vanity mirrors and Molton Brown personal amenities.
The hotel is well suited for both business and leisure travelers with spacious living areas, entertainment centers with 49" LCD televisions, fax machines, two-line telephones, daily newspaper, in-room movies, DVD player, CD player, iPod docking station, high speed wired and wireless internet, cell phone rentals and 24-hour butler service. Rates range from $355 for a deluxe single or double to $670 for a suite.
There’s a restaurant, lounge, spa and generous business center offering personalized business cards, 24-hour butler service, secretarial services, flexible meeting space and corporate rates. The location is ideal for sightseeing and enjoying the night life with its proximity to attractions such as the
Panama Canal, Old Panama and Casco Viejo (Colonial Panama, which is in the midst of a resurgence and is the historic center of today’s capital) as well as Metropolitan National Park, and the Bio-Museum designed by Frank Gehry. Shoppers will find craft markets in Old Panama and in the Canal area. Tour Operators offer a variety of day and overnight trips including Canal transits on Saturday.
What you should know:
- The currency is the Balboa, which is on a par with U.S. Dollar. U.S. Dollars accepted everywhere.
- The climate is warm, balmy and very humid from mid-April to December. Light weight clothing is recommended.
- There is direct-dial anywhere in the world. Cellular/Mobile, fax and Internet are available.
- The native tongue is Spanish, but English is widely spoken in cities and in most tourist areas.
- Taxis are everywhere and inexpensive.
- The time zone is UTC/GMT -5 hours. Since daylight savings time is not observed, Panama is Central Standard Time (CST) during spring and Eastern Standard Time (EST) during autumn.