Waldorf Astoria Panama = Very Competitive Price for this Brand

100   Recommended

Condo Suite City View
March 22, 2019 by
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Condo Suite City View

Liked:
Location
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Condo Suite City View

I recently completed a 3-night stay at Waldorf Astoria Panama.  Any time you can stay at a Waldorf for cheaper than a nearby Hyatt Place, all you can say is that the Waldorf is fantastic value for the money.  The downside is that it is perhaps not up to Waldorf worldwide brand standards in all aspects if you have such expectations, but at that price point it would be unfair to expect it.  

I originally found a Best Rate Guarantee for 7 nights (flexible rate) and later decided to split my stay 3 nights at Waldorf and 4 nights at Westin Playa Bonita.  I ended up finding another BRG at Waldorf (for 3 nights instead of 7 nights) with relative ease with an even lower rate than the first one and cancelled the previous reservation.  Not only regular rates are WA are quite reasonable, but BRG seems pretty easy to find which makes it even a better deal.  

Interestingly WA often has cheaper rates than the nearby Hilton.  I was told that in the future they might consider swapping the brands of the two hotels; the WA would become a Hilton and the Hilton would become a WA.  In any event at the moment I think WA is great for what you pay.  Perhaps the branding should just be Conrad however but that’s a different issue.

 

Room

I booked the entry level room (deluxe city view) and I saw in my account online that I was pre-upgraded to a junior suite.  When I arrived at the hotel I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was further upgraded to a condo suite city view, which is the second highest room type, right below the condo suite ocean view. 

The room looks like a small studio apartment with a kitchen off the entrance with oven, microwave, and full-size fridge.  However there was only limited equipment to cook a meal; no pots and pans.  The living room is distinct from the bedroom because of how the furniture is laid out, and there is ample space on each side of the bed which makes the room feel spacious and not cramped.  The views of the city are quite nice from the large windows on two walls of the room. The bathroom sits behind the bedroom and it gets natural light because there is a huge window in the shower with a view of the bedroom covering the entire width of the king size bed.  If a couple wants privacy then it will be an issue because there is no way to draw blinds in that window.  The walk-in shower is pretty much as long as the length of the bedroom.  Behind the shower there is a walk-in closet with a make-up area at the very end.  The toilet has a glass door and similarly to the set-up of the shower, it’s not private at all.  There is no door between the bedroom and the bathroom so if you just walk besides the bed you see straight into the bathroom and through the toilet and its glass door.  It is hard to find any fault to this room if you are a solo traveler but it won’t be ideal for some couples depending on preferences.  Keeping in mind the price tag and the very generous upgrade, my comments should not be interpreted as a complaint by any means, but this should be noted nonetheless.  As a final note about the room, I found it very comfortable, particularly the bed, and air conditioning worked great as well.  

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Dining

Offerings for breakfast were quite good.  I sometimes get bored of traditional hotel fruits but I was pleased to find passion fruits and mangoes.  Hot options also stood out positively with a rotation each morning such as corn tortillas, a local dish of sausages with veggies and tomato sauce, another morning was fried steak & bell peppers, frittata, etc. There is a small made-to-order egg station manned by a chef.  There were also changes every day to cold choices besides fruits, for example on different mornings they had pita bread & hummus, a salad of olives and onions, etc.  The only minor negative about breakfast is the restaurant itself which I found to be rather dark.  

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Breakfast was free as a Diamond guest but there was some confusion about whether cappuccino was free or not.  On day 1 they did not charge anything, on day 2 they initially said it’s not free for Diamond guests, but ended up bringing it to me for free anyway.  I am not sure it’s wise for a Waldorf to worry about such small add-ons when so many hotels of lesser brands just provide it without discussion. 

It should be noted that there is no Diamond happy hour or lounge at this hotel.  Those who care about a lounge would be best served at the nearby Hilton.  Some hotels of the caliber of WA (St.Regis, Park Hyatt) do not have a lounge but offer free drinks to elite guests (Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum / Ambassador, Hyatt Globalist), but unfortunately that is not the case at WA Panama.  Given the modest price of rooms at this WA, to be honest I cannot blame them.  

Service

Where the hotel falls a bit short of WA brand standards is possibly in terms of service which can be hit and miss.  On the plus side, housekeeping was done well and always exactly at the time I requested.  When I had questions or requests at reception they handled it efficiently every time.  The hotel has a Cadillac and a driver at the disposal of guests and they can drive you anywhere you want on request within 2km of the hotel.  This service was very useful and is a feature which reminds you that you are not staying in a Hilton or Conrad.  Upon departure a bellman was very helpful ordering a taxi via Uber to go to my next hotel.  However there were a couple of minor service slip-ups.  Before my arrival I contacted the hotel in advance because I needed help regarding where to get a certain service in the city.  I only got a reply several days later by the concierge and it was an incomplete answer.  I asked a follow-up question to the concierge and never got a response that time.  I asked the same question once I arrived at the hotel and there it was handled perfectly.  The other minor service issue is that staff went to the wrong room twice during my brief stay.  One time I requested something to be delivered to my room, then I got a call to tell me the staff was waiting outside my room, but there was nobody there so they must have been knocking at the wrong door somewhere else.  Another day I had the privacy light on, but someone knocked at my door anyway expecting to pick up my bags but I did not call anybody and I was not checking out.

Gym

The gym was ok although a bit dark.  

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Pool

On our way to the fitness gym we saw the pool – it is fairly small and nothing very impressive for a WA.  

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Overall

Overall my stay was pleasant and given the price I paid I would return for sure.  There is a new W hotel within walking distance of WA that I would have liked to try, but if WA is half the price of W and I get a generous room upgrade at WA, then I will continue to stick to WA.  I can highly recommend WA if you set your expectations appropriately.  

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