Playa Bonita is a seaside area just 20 minutes from Panama City. Located at the coast of Pacific Ocean, Playa Bonita is not far off from the entrance of the Panama Canal (Pacific side) and Bridge of the Americas.
Being a seaside resort, this place is popular with tourists. It is not far from Panama City and easy to get there (driving or Uber) yet without the city noise and congestion.
There are 2 hotels side by side at Playa Bonita – Dreams and Westin. Dreams resort is an all-inclusive resort while Westin has an opt-in all-inclusive option (which can be quite exorbitant but worth it for those who can eat and drink).
I made my booking once again using the Expedia 6 miles per dollar promotion using the DBS Visa Altitude card (I wanted to give Kaligo a try, but they have almost no link with hotels in Panama). I booked the Executive King Room with Seaview. The room gives you a very good view of the Pacific Ocean (with ships lining up to enter Panama Canal).
The room is very spacious, with a very comfortable bed. The bathroom has a separate shower and tub. The room is connected to the bathroom via a large windowless panel but with a roller blind.
Thoughtfully, Westin provides a small bottle of relaxing essential oil to help one relaxes and sleep better.
The bathroom is well stocked with amenities as well and both bathrobes and slippers were provided.
Although located at the Executive floor, one could just go up without even needing to tap the key card (hmmmph … so much for exclusivity and security). One could just easily go up to level 19 and waltz into the Executive Lounge and enjoy the lounge (the only time room number was asked was during breakfast).
The Club Lounge is located at the 19th floor. It is very well lit from natural lighting and faces the ocean hence the excellent view. It has both an indoor and outdoor sitting and can accommodate many guests.
Although the evening cocktail and breakfast selection is reasonable, the all-day snack comprises biscuits and fruits only.
The hotel is very large and has many restaurants (including an Asian restaurant). For those who are on the all-inclusive plan, most or all the restaurants are covered (depending on which level of plan).
Being a seaside resort, it has a very large pool with many lounge chairs to laze in. Towels are provided for hotel guests (using the towel card given during check in).
Unlike the clear turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea, the water of the Pacific Ocean is rather murky and not suited for swimming.
Although most staff can speak English fairly well, I had trouble requesting for a kettle from my room. In the end, I had to show my room service delivery person a picture of the kettle and I ended up with a hot water pot instead. I gave up after that.
The Westin hotel has a better review than Dreams and I do agree that this is a nice hotel. For those who are not into eating / drinking – this would be a much better hotel although one can also opt for the all-inclusive plan as well in Westin.
P.S – you may encounter some wildlife in the hotel. We encountered 2 raccoons at the carpark (which we initially mistook as cats).