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The Westin Playa Bonita Panama 4.5

Panama City, Panama Province, Panama

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Review Summary

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  • Beautiful, modern decor in a relaxing, luxury resort with quality service
  • Modern decor in rooms with flat-screen TVs, minibars, and iPod docks
  • Pillow-top mattresses, signature linens, and extra pillows for a comfortable sleep
  • Upgrades include separate living rooms, kitchenettes, and Executive Club access
  • Buffet restaurants offer theme nights, kids’ menus, and live entertainment
  • Four pools with ocean views, wading sections, and free sunbeds
  • Delicious Latin steakhouse with elegant atmosphere; adult-only in evenings
  • Casual grill buffet restaurant serves fresh seafood indoors and out
  • Kids’ club with a playground, indoor space, and supervised activities
  • Range of activities include kayaking, dancing, aerobics, and competitive sports
  • Beautiful spa has a sauna, steam room, and whirlpool
  • Relaxing Executive Club exclusive to certain rooms, includes free breakfast


  • Isolated setting a 20- to 30-minute drive to downtown Panama
  • Beach is underwhelming with just a few free sunbeds
  • Some rates require a daily charge for Wi-Fi and wired Internet

Bottom Line

The luxury Westin Playa Bonita lives up to the chain name with a beautiful design, excellent features, and setting across the canal from Panama City. Though on the beach of Panama Bay, the less-than-appealing waters make the four on-site pools, lavish spa, and range of activities the attractive aspects of this resort. There are also five good restaurants, including a fresh fish grill, Asian eatery, and an elegant Latin steakhouse. The 611 rooms offer Westin’s signature bedding, separate showers and tubs, minibars, and iPod docks, with options for kitchenettes and access to the exclusive Executive Club. Those willing to trade a waterfront location for a more intimate experience might appreciate the American Trade Hotel -- a historic boutique remodeled with thoughtful decor and modern amenities in the bustling Casco Viejo district of Panama City.

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Sophisticated design and quality amenities appeal to those seeking a quiet, relaxing vacation

Surrounded by forest, the main building of Westin Playa Bonita stands tall above the trees. The wide-open lobby has a warm, polished feel with ivory and gold shades, beautiful textured wallpapers, and modern furnishings. The design incorporates the soothing qualities of nature through plants and beautiful flowers in interesting vases, ocean views through floor to ceiling windows, and leaf-patterned embellishments all around. The hotel has a sophisticated and laid-back atmosphere with many quiet areas where guests can spread out and relax. The range of activities and features appeal to couples and families, and sometimes large groups when events are held in the conference rooms. 


On the shore of Panama Bay, across the canal opening from Panama City

Westin Playa Bonita is on the shore of Panama Bay, just west of the canal entrance. It is surrounded by forests, with nothing to do in the immediate area. It is a 14-minute drive to Biomuseo, a funky museum highlighting the biodiversity of the region. From there, guests can take the Amador Causeway, a narrow road connecting three tiny islands in the bay. A 20- to 30-minute drive will bring guests into Panama City, where there are many restaurants, shops, and historic areas to explore. The Albrook Mall, an upscale mall and one of the largest in the world, is in the city and set a 22-minute drive away. From the hotel, it is a 26-minute drive to the Miraflores Locks, where guests can see ships crossing the canals and visit a museum detailing the history of the locks. It is a 25-minute drive to Albrook International Airport, and 55 minutes to Tocumen International Airport.


Beautiful rooms with minimalist design, modern amenities, and comfortable beds

Standard rooms are clean and comfortable, with a minimalist design. Earthy tones and wood furniture create a warm atmosphere, and quality materials give rooms a high-end feel. Woven-wood accents appear on the headboard and around window frames, and are also picked up in artwork, wicker chairs, and a woven shade over the bathroom window. A king-size bed or two doubles have Westin signature bedding with pillow-top mattresses, down blankets, and plenty of pillows for a cozy sleep. Some rooms have furnished balconies and some have large, picture windows with lovely views. All rooms have a 40-inch LCD TV and an iron, as well as a minibar, coffeemaker, and iPod dock. Robes, slippers, water, and niceties like a toothbrush, comb, shower cap, and towelettes are included. Bathrooms are sleek and spacious with a glass-walled shower stall and a separate bathtub. A beautiful shingled stone wall picks up the feel of the woven theme from the room. A hairdryer is provided, and free toiletries include soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion.

Upgraded rooms offer options like floor-to ceiling windows, separate living areas, an additional half-bathroom, dining areas, and kitchenettes. An exclusive lounge is available to guests in Executive Club rooms and suites, offering a quiet, relaxing space with a free continental breakfast, separate check-in, and drinks and snacks during the day. 


Five good restaurants, four beautiful pools, an elegant spa, and range of activities

Westin Playa Bonita offers guests an extensive list of quality offerings for couples and families alike. A range of delicious food options at the five restaurants include choices from salad bars and a casual grill, to elegant steakhouse dining. There are also Asian cuisine, fresh fish and lobster, and themed buffets. All-inclusive dining is available with special kids’ packages, though in the evenings some restaurants are dedicated to adults only. 

Four pools line the back of the property along the beach, each with a beautiful setting. There are islands of palm trees, sunbeds in wading sections, a volleyball net, a whirlpool, and fountains. The main pool includes a swim-up bar. It is a beautiful area with lots of room for guests to spread out and enjoy a quiet rest or participate in activities, as desired. Shaded wicker loungers and cabanas are free, as are fresh towels. The back of the hotel opens onto the beach where there are a few free loungers for those who enjoy the ocean view.

An elegant spa offers a range of treatments and includes a beauty salon, sauna, and steam room. The large fitness room includes ample cardio machines and weight-training equipment in a pleasant, modern space. The kids’ club has fun supervised activities, a spacious and colorful play space, and a small playground. The game room is geared more toward adults with pool, ping-pong, and a poker table. Activities include kayaking, exercise classes, sports, dance, and bonfires. Some rates require a daily charge for Wi-Fi, and the connection tends to be reliable. 

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