Rated 3 out of 5 by sflst4 This hotel is great for families--not for couples
This hotel is undergoing a transition to Sheraton and may be great in a few months. Right now, the rooms are long overdue for a renovation, the beds are below the Sheraton standard and soundproofing is poor. So with lots of families you will get up early. The pool and beach area is nice, although they could use new chairs by the pool. The food is average at best but they are more generous at the bar relative to other all inclusive hotels. There are lots of activities for families and I think this hotel is great for them. Service quality varies sharply across employees but there were many that were truly incompetent and few smiled. Management seems to be aware and the quality management group was always looking for ways to improve. Be careful a garden view room may be a parking lot view. Note, the location is in the middle of a new housing development so you will need your own car to do anything else.
February 24, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by JoeFlyer Amazing Property, Amazing Service, Amazing Value
“Amazing Property, Amazing Service, Amazing Value”
5 of 5 stars Pending review
I am a Starwood SPG Platinum so I have very high expectations of Starwood properties like the Sheraton. Last year we stayed at the Westin Costa Rica all inclusive for three times the price. That property was amazing, but quite expensive. The Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort was the best value all-inclusive that I have ever experienced across the SPG brand. The service was top notch. All guests were met with drinks and great service. Even when they were "crushed" with a bus full of people arriving at the same time, the resort staff kept the smiles and service strong. The food and selection across the resort was wonderful. The included alcoholic drinks were small in size, but limitless in number. The Spa featured outstanding service and 30% off on Tuesday and Thursday translating into a $35 per person massage at the Sheraton. The kids club service was wonderful and thoughtful with different themes each night. The walks along the beach are endless there and the staff is quite thoughtful with the beach-side amenities. For Americans with kids, the dinners start a bit late (6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. is the earliest), but here's one great secret: get the earliest reservation and they will still seat you 15 to 20 minutes early. They are that customer service oriented.
At the kids club, my daughter lost her favorite stuffed animal. After returning to the United States, I received a wonderful email with a message from their quality assurance manager asking "Is this your daughter's penguin?" They're sending it to her. If there's a problem, then they take care of it -- no matter how big or how small.
Maybe we were given extra special treatment because of my SPG status, but I saw them give the same treatment to my friends without SPG status. They go far beyond the extra mile.
One final suggestion: if you upgrade to balcony rooms, then you get room service balcony breakfast for free every morning. So ask for the cost for one of those rooms if you would like the extra perk. Whatever we ordered, they made to our liking. We tipped the room service a few dollars each morning.
I cannot more highly recommend this resort because of the value. We rented a car to get there and there was ample parking. Also note that they have Hertz on-site so if you want to get a one-way rental or pick up a rental there then you can.
March 5, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by klg99 Has been a favorite of ours but the last visit had a few issues
This was our fifth stay at the Bijao. We have loved the hotel on our other visits. We enjoyed our stay once we got checked in to our room. Although it was low season and check in is at 3 pm, we arrived around 515 pm and were told our room was not available yet and we would have to wait. The hotel was far from full. After waiting, and waiting and asking, we were told we would get a room with two double bed although our reservation was specifically for a king size. The girl at the desk said we get what is available. I said no, I selected and paid for king size. She was rude and argumentative. Our room was fine once we got it, over an hour later. Other than check in, we enjoyed the stay. the staff was very friendly and helpful. The bartenders are always great. We ate at the Mediterranean restaurant and the Japanese and both were very good and the service was great. The buffet is a buffet, but its pretty decent.
A couple of things that I noticed were the gutters on the building next to ours were clogged so the water just sits there which I see as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Also i used the women's restroom on the lobby floor just past the elevators and there is a hole in the ceiling where you can see up to the next floor from inside the stall so that means someone could see down which is a bit awkward and creepy.
November 2, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by Gcsras Mixed bag -- some aspects great, but needs improvement
Beautiful looking building sitting on a fantastic stretch of beach, with a series of equally fantastic pools. On the outside, it's a wonderful property. (That's important, as the "outside" part is critical for a beach resort vacation.)
Staff are very friendly and aim to please. As an all-inclusive, though, the experience with staff is a bit odd. So much of it is self-serve that you could stay here for a week without speaking to anyone who works at the hotel. That detracts from the resort experience.
With only a few exceptions, the staff only spoke Spanish. (It is Panama, after all). Come prepared to try your tourist-Spanish, and they'll work hard to communicate with you.
The big disappointments were the guest room and the SPG Platinum recognition.
The room: lacking in furniture, with one dresser, one lamp (which didn't work), one tiny desk, and one four legged chair. That's it. No chair or sofa to sit and relax, yet there was plenty of empty space. No decor, other than one small print on the wall. It felt like a cheap motel room. (Bedding was Sheraton standard, though)
I showed my Platinum card at check-in, and was offered Gold benefits (a choice of Internet or points) and initially given a room facing the parking lot. My Spanish wasn't good enough to explain Plat recognition, so I took what was offered. The room had only one bed for four of us, though, so I asked for an upgrade when we switched to a from with two beds. After much conversation, we received a standard room overlooking the pool. (We had a short, mid week stay, so frankly I expected better.)
We wished we'd kept the parking lot room though. The worst part of our stay was the "entertainment" around the pool area that went late into every evening -- and blasted into our room at all hours. For some reason, they feel the need for cheesy (and very loud) poolside entertainment throughout the day and very, very cheesy (and LOUD) amateur dance shows every night -- lasting til 11 pm. One night, we lay in bed and had the pleasure of hearing "Gangnam Style" blasted through our windows a full three times.
Food was OK. You won't starve, but nothing was really all that great. After a day, the all-you-can-eat buffet service gets tired and repetitive. A la carte restaurants were a bit better.
Great pools, great beach. Nice people working there.. But bad rooms mediocre food, and non-stop annoying entertainment! Plus no Platinum recognition. Not worth it as an SPG category 6.
February 20, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by Hobbler Staff do not respnd to requests
Nice location and good facility but staff do not seem to pay the least bit of attention to customer needs. Stayed there for 4 days in February. Notified them in advance that I was on crutches and needed a room that was fairly well located. Instead, I was given one of the most remote rooms on the top floor? I asked several times to be relocated, but every time staff refused to consider a move. Also, room safe did not work - again, staf ignored repeated requests to fix it.
February 26, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Cattitude Our anniversary (40+) stayed a week
The weather was much better than the reports. Swam in the ocean daily, loved the infinity pool, thatched grass coverings to relax under - paradise. The spa is the best kept secret! I planned to only go once, but I was so pampered and refreshed with the massage/ reflexology I went a few days later. The 'green choice' option provided cash discounts. What a treat! Thanks to everyone!
November 17, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by 360guy Outstanding Hotel
I just completed two days of a 8 day stay at this outstanding resort. Panama is a beautiful country with beautiful people and this resort reflects this.
Great staff,management and food quality.
This is one of my favorite Starwood properties.
February 4, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Debbie Fabuous Hotel and Staff
Just loved the Bijao. We went in Dec.2013 for New Years. It was beyond our expectations. The staff couldn't do enough for us. The rooms are comfortable and very clean....no bugs! It's an all inclusive so breakfast and lunch were good but dinner needs some improvements. We would definitely go back. Nice beach.
March 4, 2014