Rated 5 out of 5 by DanD Platinum service is astounding!
We stayed at the Playa Bonita for 4 nights in May 2013. We could not be more pleased with the service, especially the platinum service. Aristeres in the Platinum lounge was incredible! They also have a private Platinum pool!
May 12, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by madforsalsa Better than I was lead to believe
Having read a number of negative reviews online, particularly concerning the level of service we would receive, I wasn't expecting great things in that regard. However, we experienced just the opposite. The service was good, even given our very limited Spanish, and we did not experience anything that I would call poor. In fact, many times staff would go out of their way to be helpful.
The only small criticism I can give concerns the maid service. We didn't get new face towels one day to replace the ones we had put on the floor (to indicate we wished new ones) and the coffee pot had not been cleaned out when I tried to use it the first morning (and the Coffeemate was missing). In addition, our complimentary water was not renewed until we complained about it. Small issues but enough to delete one star from my review score. The sign of a truly first class hotel is the attention paid to small details.
It almost goes without saying (because this is a very new hotel) that the rooms, the grounds and most of the facilities (the ping-pong tables are warped) were in very good condition and worthy of the Westin name.
The beach has many shells and sharp shell fragments so wear sandels or other footwear when you walk it. You can swim in the ocean if you choose, but the experience is not up to par with a beach resort on a Caribbean island, That's probably the reason for the hotel's many excellently maintained pools.
Regarding food in the hotel, our experiences were limited to the Pacifica and Starfish Grill for breakfast and the Starfish again for lunches and a few dinners. The breakfast buffet is decent but I've had better for less. The breakfast buffet moves around during the week: We thought it was a bit better in the Pacifica (a few more choices) than in the Starfish. You can get a la carte breakfast in the Starfish. The Starfish has a very limited lunch and dinner menu but what is there is quite tasty. I ended up having the Angus burger several times (I recommend it) and each time it was prepared exactly right. If I were running the Westin I would expand the Starfish Grill's menu with a few more items.
Finally, regarding drinks during your stay I can recommend the local Panama lager and can highly recommend the Passion Fruit Mojito, I'm not usually a fan of Mojito's - I find them too sweet - but this one tastes very different.
May 11, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by Pablo222 Not worth the Westin name
I stayed 7 days in this hotel and regret every day of it. The front desk staff could not find my reservation and became rude when I showed my confirmation. Instead of a room with beach front view we got a room overlooking the "rain forest" which was nothing more than a parking lot of old busses. Only the second day of our stay management gave us the rooms we booked after a long discussion with the US office, but no apology.
Service is poor everywhere in the hotel. Employees seem to work with disgust. The beach is nothing like the picture shows. At low tide it becomes one mud puddle. Impossible to swim.
There is no transport to the city expect a very expensive hotel taxi. No shuttle from the airport either. City taxis are much cheaper.There was a special on during our stay. People could stay for much less than what we paid and had free breakfasts for two days. We, as Gold SPG member, paid US$ 22.50 oer person for our buffet breakfast. Management did blink when we complained.
Don't stay there. It is a waste of money.
April 5, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by jfbela2013 Great place for a couple!
Great place to be at,pools are great, SPG platinum arewell treated. We had fun at the bar, great band...
March 8, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by laklaklak Where do I start?
The service is the worst I have ever experienced. Be prepared to wait for at least 30 minutes to get a drink/take your order at the restaurants. Average wait time for food was about 1.5 hours. The staff was not highly trained. The attitude of the service staff seemed to be carefree. If you ask for something, they will most lileky stare at you, then either give you the exact opposite of what you asked for or they will ignore you completely. At the pool bar, I saw a woman order 2 drinks, get 1 of them and then the bartender just walked away and left the bar, never came back, she stood there for 10 more minutes before the other bartender asked her it she need smeothing. This kind of thing was STANDARD at this hotel,. Would not recommend to anybody. Sorry, Westin, love your hotels in most cities, but this one is certainly the exception.
February 20, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by BadgerMan55 OVERCROWDED
The hotel is a short drive from Pnanma City. The beach iis not Bonita, it is rather ugly. There were several groups staying there and towels were being left out for the day at 5:30!!. The pool, bars, dining rooms were all overcrowded and hard to get decent service. The oroperty itself is ok, a little too large for me going forward. There was no where close by. When we inquired about restaurants close by, we wee told "Oh no, it is very dangerous to go there!' Definitley not a repeater!!
February 12, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by Lalz A Westin by Name only
The one and only 5 star feature about this hotel is the esthetics; it is a very nice looking, modern and new hotel.
Here is a list of reasons why I would not recommend this hotel to my friends:
- Aside from the managers, the staff does not speak english. You will need to ramp up on your Spanish or get creative with sign language to avoid language barrier frustrations.
- The mini-bar and other room amenities were not regularly ‘refilled’. As of day 3 of our trip, we had no water in the mini-bar, no bath robes and no kleenex. I advise about the issue and next day, still no water and no robes. The following day; still no water and only 1 robe for 2 people.
- My trip was all-inclusive and we had 3 ‘A la carte’ dinners. When we went to our 1rst a la carte resto called ‘Tiero del fuego’ we were so badly served and the food was so bad that we ended up back at the buffet. The waiter did not speak a word of English, my red wine was ice cold, the bread was microwaved warm, and my salmon was simply not edible. And we waited 30 min before even getting wine and water (so imagine how long before we got our food)
- Although the food at the buffet was O.K, I doubt the cleanliness. The hotel got pretty crowded a couple of days before NY and I do not think that this hotel is ready for such a crowd. The plates smelled bad and the smell of the resto at morning breakfast was horrible.
- If you are a vegetarian, make sure you are not hungry between 3 and 6 because all that is served at the outside snack bar: cheese pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers. You can have deep fried nacho and that’s about it.
- The entertainers were very nice but did the same thing to the same songs every single day. By the end, my group and I just couldn’t stomach hearing the same songs over and over again!
- If you’re a night person, the only positive thing about this resort is that you are close to the city (keeping in mind that a taxi from the hotel costs 25$ each way for 2 people and an extra 5 per extra person – the hotel has NO shuttle service). The night entertainment and activities are weak.
-- The fitness center is nice. It’s spacious; they have a good selection of cardio equipment. They have TV’s and music. The downfall here is that the temperature was not adequately set – so the morning workout felt like a ‘hot-yoga’ room. The towels and water were not consistently available.
If your top priority is hotel esthetics with modern rooms, you will be very happy at Westin Playa Bonita.
January 2, 2013
Rated 1 out of 5 by PeteOnTheGo Understaffed, Extremely Poorly Maintained
Three night stay over the New Years holiday.
The resort was understaffed:
- 40 to 60 minute waits for drinks/appetizers at dinner; 90-120 minutes for main courses
- Room service arrived on average 90 minutes after ordering with several orders not received at all.
- food/beverage outlets provided very substandard meals with extremely limited selection
- many restaurants "require reservations" but arriving at the time of reservation routinely resulted in 30-45 minute waits
- managerial staff that attempted to resolve issues did not follow through/dropped the ball (lack of housekeeping for several days, undelivered room service, etc.)
- many parts of the property are unfinished and see, to have been abandoned, like empty electrical sockets around the pool for pool lights or drywalling that is grossly incomplete
- phone calls to service express went mostly unanswered; the few times I did get through requests went unfulfilled eg- turndown service
Lounge for Platinum Members
- overbearing service: attendants hovered and seemed to be fishing for tips all the time
- every little thing must be requested and delivered by an attendant (bottled water, soft drinks, etc.)
- has a "glass house" feel: like you should look and not touch. Tables are set with fine china and glassware but without reason.
- evening cocktails/beer/wine were the only good thing in this lounge
January 1, 2013
Rated 3 out of 5 by prophesi it was good till the end
This is a very nice hotel. It is close to the city but you can really relax here. The staff i meet from the front door on was so nice. Especially the young man in the front named javier. My only issue was check out. My credit declined and miriam called security on me. I do not believe that this is correct protocol in situations like this. The money was in my account and this problem i had was the banks fault. In panama when you are black some assume you cause trouble and are ignorant. She must have thought i was both. A very unprofessional women and i do not like being treated like this. I work hard for everything i have. so calling security was unnecessary. this hotel needs a better card policy or race policy. whichever comes FIRST!!!!!!!
oh yeah this happened december 14th at 11:45-1pm
December 18, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by HiggyHockey2012 Great Hotel
Excellent service, one of the best club lounges (and exceptional service) I have been too. Pools are great and the restaurants are above average. Prices fair as well. Great hotel, location is a bit out of the way though. $50 in a cab to the airport each way. Beach is nice to walk on, but not swimable. Great spa and vast majority of the staff were excellent - and I am pretty picky.
November 27, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by KFS67 Great hotel
Beautiful hotel, great location for a vacation, but not good location for business, as it takes a good 45-60 minutes in to and back from town (heavy traffic). Very nice pools and ok beach, plenty of restaurants, although not sure why they were not open all of them at the same time, even though the hotel was busy (dress code at the steak palce was bit irritating). Great club lounge, although food variety was quite poor. Large nice gym with high quality machines, but could have more variety of equipment, and should allow free access to sauna.
October 18, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by SPGpointking A very special hotel
The hotel is absolutely stunning - a star for the Westin chain. Treated extremely well from moment of checking in through checkout. While all staff are not bilingual all made an effort to understand our needs and did their very best to be sure we were happy. Isabella the concierge extremely pleasant and helpful having been trained in hospitality as college student in US. Could not do enough for us. Met two remarkable waiters that served us at multiple different fine restaurants - Edwardo and Santos. Better than many waiters in major cities in the states. Note need to bring long pants along on the trip if want to dine inside. Food overall was reasonably priced and good. Plan on returning to Panama to stay at this hotel with our kids - really to stay at the hotel. Best grouping of hotel pools we have ever seen. Would not matter where it was.
October 7, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by johnW Great property, Great staff
We stayed 19 nights at this hotel. We have Starwood Platinum status which is very well recognized (suite Upgrade).
At check in we were taken straight to the 19th floor to the Platinum lounge. The lounge is excellent, well stocked with most top shelf alcohol & soft drinks.
The evening snacks are very good & the staff are excellent.
The breakfast was a buffet style with plenty of choice.
All the staff were very attentive & if they couldn't speak english they got someone who could.
Seek out Isabella she is an asset to the hotel, great service & really good english.
The only down side is the distance from the city $25-30 in a taxi. There is no hotel shuttle at all.
We would stay again at this hotel for sure.
September 9, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by gtoroap Ideal vacations
You must ignore bad reviews. The hotel overpassed my expectations, staff was great and all speak english very well (besides, spanish is my native language). I went with my wife to enjoy my honeymoon, and I could not say anything wrong of this excellent place. If you travel with your couple, this great hotel is so romantic and luxury as you can wait in a 5 stars hotel.
July 31, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Newtron620 The New Platinum Benchmark
The Platinum service at this facility should be benchmarked by all Starwood Properties. I cannot say enough good thiings about it, so I won't even try.
The service in the Platinum Lounge is fantastic, and the special movie and entertainment they had for the kids was really well done.
Congratulations Señor Silva, you have done a wonderful job there.
July 31, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by Mel5610 AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING!
My husband and I just got back from our first trip to Panama and could not have had a more wonderful experience, fueled mainly by our wonderful time at the Westin Playa Bonita! As avid SPG Members, we've been to many properties and this one was by far the best we've experienced! From the luxurious accommodations to the excellent staff who helped impart their local knowledge of Panama over delicious rum drinks (a special thank you to Max and the entire team at the Lobby Bar) to the freshly prepared food, everything was top notch. Your travel experience to Panama wouldn't be complete without a visit to this top-notch hotel. Thank you Westin for a wonderful, memorable trip. We cannot wait to come back and visit!
July 9, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by KDLA Great location on the Pacific Ocean
Bern resorts made a good choice in selecting Westin to run this new hotel. General Manager Francisco Silva and his team are doing a great job!
The grounds are immaculately maintained and the polls are always clean.
The health club is well equipped and the spa will be a great addition when it opens.
The staff are attentive and, if their English is not good, quickly find another staff member to translate. Ceasar, good luck with your "signature" drink and may your dream of owning your own hotel be fullfilled.
Check-in was a little longer than expected because Daniel hadn't checked-in a Platinum member before. Ingrid immediately noticed and came to his assistance.
Possibly the nicest executive lounge I have experienced. Gloria is so professional and it was hard to believe that this is her first job in the hospitality industry. Victor you are AMAZING! When we eventually managed to find out it was Mafa being sold on the side of the roads, you bought some for us and sent it to the hotel, on your day off!
Definitely the majority of the concerns raised in earlier reviews have been addressed.
April 24, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by Frank55 Hotel is not ready for prime time
This an absolutely beautiful hotel that will one day be a great place, but not yet. Staff was pleasant but untrained. More things didn't work than did. My room had no hot water for the shower during my stay. There were elevator issues. Restaurants were another story. Getting the order and bill correct was impossible. Would not return until I am sure the kinks have been worked out. Not up to the level of quality expected of a Westin.
April 24, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Lynn27 Dont Beleive the bad reviews
After reading the earlier reviews on this resort, I was uneasy about booking a reservation.I shouldnt have been. We were at the Westin Playa Bonita for 4 nights, and it was fabulous. The room was beautiful, clean and quiet. The location was fantastic, the food was incredible, and the staff were friendly and helpful. We never waited longer than a minute for an elevator, for a drink at the bar or a seat for a meal. I cant say enough good about this property. If you go, be prepared for some minor confusion at the front desk as the staff are still learning about the reservation and key system, and how to deal with the telephone and face to face customers at the same time, Additionally, the phones in the room did not work, but I am sure that will be fixed as the resort reaches completion. All in all - an excellent stay!
March 8, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Manju Wonderful Stay!!
We had a great time at the Westin Playa Bonita Panama. The staff was great and yes they do not speak a lot of english but we are in their country now our, as it was explained to my by a sweat server named Sonja that we were in PANAMA not CANADA.... Everyday she would learn what we drinking and it was always there waiting for us. The resort is beautiful and the beds are so comfy. The food was never bad... it could use a bit more spice for my liking but i think they may keep it mild to appease the masses. I did have a wonderful rib-eye steak. We only had 2 al a carte restaurants which made dinner a simple choice but i would have liked more of a variety (not found of buffets). I have read and heard of others who did not have the same experience as i did but my wife and i plus the 20 or so people i had spent the week with had a great time
March 6, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by sbechtel78 Had a wonderful time
Very nice hotel, nice staff.
February 27, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by looschud just not ready yet. they should have been up front about that
it was an out and out money grab. none of the problems are permanent. but they opened weeks before they were ready. undelivered room service, no room cleaning for three days, no toiletries, no internet for 2 days, 20minute waits at the elevator, only buffet meals available and on and on and on. i found the front desk staff to be helpful when they weren't totally frazzled by complaints. it was all the fault of upper management and brand.
i have complained and the GM responded as did Starwood. My complaints have been sufficiently answered. i may go back if i see the reviews change over the next few months. i wish them luck.
but Westin have hurt their brand
February 9, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by Fooled2 NOT Ready for Guests
Beautiful Hotel. Absolutely horrible service. The staff is not bi-lingual so communicating any concerns or issues was a major problem. Most every member of the staff was VERY rude (with one exception-Jorge). Service terrible. Spa not open, makeshift gym disgusting. Our toilet would not flush. Found someone elses receipts and trash in our room, dated two weeks prior to our stay. Elevators were not working properly. Public restrooms needed much attention all the time. Employees do not wash their hands after using restroom. Experienced this first hand more than once. Pool side tiki bars were never stocked or they ran out of everything early and shut down. If you miss breakfast, too bad, you will not eat until 6:30pm. Rooms were supposed to be stocked? 1 bottle of water in our minibar. We gave our coffeepot to the neighbor as they did not have one or trash cans in their room. Our "View" rom the room was of the parking lot and their bus graveyard. Hotel is not finished, therefore we heard drills and saws and furniture being moved all day every day above us. Front desk service was terrible. I can go on and on here...This will be a wonderful place in a few years. They are just not ready yet and have absolutely no idea what Hospitality and Customer Service is all about. Oh, I about forgot...seems the staff cannot put their cell phones down...they all had one and they all text...on the job...right in front of you while you wait for their service. Very disappointed. Not at all what I would expect from a Westin. Surely someone in upper management had to know this Westin was NOT READY.
February 5, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by Disappointed001 What a disaster...don't stay at this hotel
Clearly this hotel does not deserve the Westin name. I had a meeting there this past week, and it was the worst meeting I have ever hosted in over 20 years of hosting events. The staff is overwhelmed, poorly trained and knew nothing about the hotel. Front desk team is rude and condescending. Cleaing staff mindlessly washes the polished public area floors while guests slip on the wet surfaces. The place is a fire trap with many fire exits locked, blocked, or have doors without handles. Elevators are constantly getting stuck.with guests in them. Makeshift gym is embarassing with dirty towels everywhere. It is too bad because the hotel itself is beautiful with nice decorating, but this place is very poorly run. I gues it's going to take over a year to sort this one out. Shame on whoever runs this place.
February 3, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by LaGanga not ready
Westin needs to protect it's brand by not letting this property advertise / promote services not yet available. We get the fact it just opened but that's no excuse to mislead on the web site. It is very easy to simply post what is not yet up and running. Starwoods please do better next time.
February 2, 2012
Rated 3 out of 5 by Beaver Unsatisfactory
This was a new hotel that should not have opened until it was finished. Staff was not trained, most spoke no English. Spa was not opened, Exersize room not ready. Food was not what is expected at a 5 star resort although deserts where excellent. Staff had no knowledge of what was happening for the guests. Insects where not controlled, resulting in many guests looking to find comfort with medications.
January 19, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by Boston13 Dissapointed
While in Panama my wife and I spent one night in the Westin Playa Bonita to celebrate my birthday. We understand that the resort is new, but it has a long way to go to meet the Westin experience that we are accustomed to. When we arrived at about 5:00 PM, there was one customer at check-in, but no Westin personnel in sight. After we finally checked in, we were not directed to the room elevators which are not in an obvious location and took a while to find. When we got to the room, there was only one coat hanger, no waste basket and an empty water bottle in the night stand drawer. Although these were all quickly corrected, our first impressions were poor. When we went to dinner, there was a seafood buffet in the main dining room, but no a la carte offerings. It felt like a cafeteria and was so noisy that you couldn’t hear yourself think. Fortunately we were able to find another restaurant with some atmosphere. Although we were very disappointed, hopefully time and experience will solve these issues.
January 19, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by Tutiski Beautiful facility with unacceptable management
Beautiful brand new Hotel with no management. If improvisation is your cup of tea, at least from the time being, this is the place for you. This place should not have opened yet. As a seasoned traveler and a loyal SPG member, I have seen enough beautiful and magnificent hotels around the world, to assure you that even though this place has a lot of future potential, the people that are running it don't have any idea of what they are doing.
Remember, they are not charging half the price, or half the points, so you should not expect half the service or half the facilities.
Among the thinks they wont tell you: There is no gym nor club lounge (they are still close). There is no menu for room service, not even if you ask for one. They will recite over the phone what the menu is, and you have to make your choice, if you remember. They will promise 45 minutes, but It will take almost 2 hours for your food to get to the room. There is not food service at the pool, only hot dogs or hamburgers. If you want anything different, you have to order room service at the pool (but remember, there is no menu). Whatever they bring, take it. (I ordered 2 orders of cheese sticks for the kids, and they brought 11 sticks. when I asked how many in an order, the answer was: that is what I had left). And dont even try to split a check when trying to pay. They dont know how to do it and if they try, the whole bill will be charged twice to every room involved.
The chef in charge of the main restaurant will discuss loudly with the other chef in front of you (while you have been waiting half an hour for an ommelete). He will tell the other guy how to make an ommelette and why he is wrong , while he is braking eggs with his fingers and then answering a phone call from his cell phone that is in his pocket. Just for this reason, this place should be close.
The umbrellas will fly like arrows at the pool until someone has a serious accident. The Asiana restaurant will have food that tastes like unfrozen Costco food, while you are paying a lot of money for a "3 course meal"...when time for desert comes, you will have to take (again), what they have left, even though the fixed menu includes 1 desert per menu.
And last but not least, 20 minutes of promised waiting time at check in became almost 2 hours. Another hour and a half to check out after the big mess with the checks.
Last question: How is it posible that a brand new resort has the light bulbs burned at the sign by the entrance?
Ah...the "manager" will promise to write you back after checking with their "superiors" and after listening to all the things that I wrote here. I am still waiting.
January 17, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by MrWilliams What a Wonderful Stay!
What a Great Experience! Outstanding new and attentive Staff, lead by Celiene, and Jorge. Food prepared by Berthold and his Team of Chefs was remarkable! Everyone on The Hotel Team was wonderfully helpful and pleasant. We hated to leave! We would definitely return, and enjoy the beauty and comfort of this Beautifully appointed Resort, which has just Opened! "Go to The Westin Playa Bonita, Panama and enjoy your stay! Our Family enjoyed a weeks worth of Memories that will last a Lifetime!"
December 30, 2011
Rated 4 out of 5 by Philippel Très bien
Excellent, accueil en exécutive super
August 22, 2014