The second of my stay on my Hilton Honors Diamond Status matching was Waldorf Astoria Panama City. Located strategically just off Avenue Balboa (slightly further in from the main avenue), it is not a location one would expect to find a Waldorf Astoria. It is just a stone’s throw away from the Hilton.
As the road in front of the hotel is undergoing construction, do expect a bit of congestion especially in the late mornings and early afternoons.
As part of the perks of Diamond member, I received extra benefits such as:
- Bonus points
- Room upgrade
- Free breakfast for 2
- Premium Wi-Fi
I was upgraded on check in from the lowest category (once again, logic dictates that I book the cheapest room) and I was upgraded to the Junior Suite. The suite was very spacious with a very large marble-clad bathroom. Despite have a king-sized bed, a sofa and a work desk, we still had ample space to move about. The view from the room however is nothing to shout about (looking into another building).
We had some welcome snacks on checking in. Minibar is available but cost a bomb! Complimentary bottled water, tea and Nespresso capsule is topped up daily (they were quite generous with the bottled water – giving us 4 to 6 bottles per day!).
The bathroom was well stocked with Ferragamo amenities which was topped up daily.
The lobby is similarly classy and luxurious looking – clad in marble, similar to the luxurious feel in the bathroom
As there is no Executive Lounge here, breakfast is provided at the restaurant. The selection was not extensive but more than adequate. There are some hot items available and an egg station. Special shout out to the chef (Eladio) who had been very helpful and even gave me a nice pose with his omelette!
The hotel has a rather small swimming pool (outdoor) with a poolside bar (that was never open during my stay there). There is a well-equipped gym on the same level and next to it, a spa (which again was never seemed open during my stay there).
The hotel is within walking distance to many eating places – one of which is Azahar restaurant that seemed quite well recommended (but the food was too salty to our liking). It has a very nice ambience and very interesting entrance with an excellent view of the ocean though. There is a small supermarket within walking distance too. For those looking into bargains, Multicentro outlet mall is less than 1km from the hotel and the iconic F&F tower can also be reached on foot. If you want to explore beyond the Balboa Avenue, I would recommend using the Uber (which is very reliable despite the potential language barrier). The Amador and Casco Viejo are only about 10 minutes on Uber from the hotel.
The hotel offers a complimentary limo service to any destination within 2 km radius of the hotel. Due to the jam, you may end up spending a long time trapped in the jam (but feel free to enjoy the complimentary Wi-Fi and bottled water in the car).
At USD $185 per night (inclusive of tax), this is an excellent hotel to stay in Panama City. For those who prefers the old charm, Casco Viejo would be a better option but getting in and out can be a little tricky with the narrow streets that may be prone to congestion.