What We Love
- An exquisitely revamped Panamanian townhouse in the city’s most exciting quarter, Casco Viejo
- Not-to-be-missed brasserie-style restaurant
- The founders are helping to transform this once-gritty part of the city with training and community projects
What To Know
- Better for couples and groups of friends than families
- No elevator — and the stone steps are steep
- A 10 percent service fee per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
In contrast to Panama City’s skyscraper-dotted waterfront, UNESCO-listed Casco Viejo is a photogenic mix of colonial and neoclassical architecture, big plazas and alfresco cafés. Housed in a grand corner townhouse in the heart of this welcoming neighborhood, Las Clementinas is a trailblazing boutique sleep. Restored to its 1930s glory (the building was once owned by the great-grandfather of one of the owners), it shows off soaring ceilings, wood floors made from rare Coumarouna wood and traditional tiles recreated by Colombian artisans. It has the air of a private home but the amenities and service of a modern hotel.
Bed and Bath
Each of the six apartment-size suites is individually designed, with a confident, contemporary style that mixes colorful furnishings and bold artwork with a thoughtful sense of place. The uniform comforts include a full kitchen, separate living area and dining table, WiFi and pull-out sofa beds; some have petite balconies overlooking Casco’s corrugated-iron topped buildings. Bathrooms are spacious, with hand-painted tiles in the walk-in showers and sweet smelling toiletries.
With tin ceilings, low-lighting and a wraparound bar, the downstairs café would be at home in downtown NYC, but the buzzing brunch scene is pure Casco. The menu features familiar brasserie-style fare (hamburgers, risottos, burritos) transformed by local ingredients and flavors (yucca, quinoa, coco). Dine alfresco in the sweet hidden garden at the back of the property, or head up to the rooftop for evening drinks and panoramic views of the entrance of the Panama Canal and the gleaming skyscrapers in Punta Pacifica.
In the Area
Casco is made for wandering, and one of the best routes is along Paseo Esteban Huertas by the sea wall (where local artisans sell their wares) to Plaza Francia; the views of Punta Pacifica’s skyscrapers and the open Pacific are stunning. Sporty types should take the two-hour hike from Casco Viejo through the American Canal Zone and up to the peak of Cerro Ancon. Lots of locals do this walk in the morning, and the hotel will try to match you with a local hiker if you want the company. Given its compact nature, Casco has an amazing supply of dining options, including pizza at Caffe Per Due, not-to-be-missed ice cream at Granclement and Sunday brunch at Las Clementinas itself.
How to Get There
An interesting old hotel in Panama City with a spacious room but the neighbourhood is a bit sketchy. Easy to walk to the waterfront and restaurants and bar nearby. They served breakfast on on the roof top terrace which has a lovely view.
Our apartment number 4 on the second floor (no elevator) was spacious, nicely decorated, with large living room and bathroom with beautifully tiled shower and reasonably well equipped kitchen. Coffee and tea was provided. Since we stayed for 4 nights, we went around the corner to the grocery store and bought supplies for our breakfasts and 2 dinners. The small booklet describing the tour of the old town was greatly appreciated.
The negatives: The noise from the pub below can be disturbing- The air conditioning is VERY noisy and the ceiling fan has only one speed FAST or off. The bed is just double/queen. For the luxury feel it would be nice to have a king size bed.
This is one of those really hard places to evaluate. Some really terrific elements and some fairly significant negatives. Let's start with the good points. Our room (#2) was terrific - beautifully decorated, sizeable, modern, excellent layout. More like an apartment than a hotel room. The location is excellent - it's right in the center of the Casco Viejo and a short walk to restaurants, shops and a safe neighborhood with a great vibe.
The negatives - it's loud. Our room was right over the bar (Casa Bruja). The noise didn't come from outside, it came from below us. Our floor vibrated. We turned on the AC which cancelled a lot of the sound and we slept fine. But some people might not be able or willing to deal with this. Issue #2 is that some of the rooms are a 2-3 floor walkup. It's not a huge deal, but it might be for some people. Issue #3 - the fire alarm went off at 1 AM on our last night (Oct 4) at the hotel. It stayed on for about 20 minutes. There was no communication during this time. I got dressed and went down to the lobby and there were a number of people huddled around dealing with the situation. Clearly, there wasn't a fire or any kind of problem other than the shrieking alarm. This kind of thing does happen, but when we left in the morning for the airport at 11 AM, the person at the desk was completely unaware of this episode. As a result, there was no explanation, no apology and no compensation for our interrupted sleep.
So - you can see that the basics at the hotel are excellent. But there are some inherent issues to be aware of as well as a really poor case of sleep disruption and customer service.
My girl friend and I absolutely loved this place! A beautiful building from the outside which gave us high spirits as we entered and were met by some really lovely and welcoming staff. The room we had was a self contained apartment with a very comfy double bed, a beautiful shower room, a large lounge and a very awesome kitchen area. If you're looking for a base to be rather than a hotel, this is the place to be in Panama City. Sadly we opted for a hotel on our return journey out of the city, and we certainly wished that we had stayed here again. Clean, tidy, very beautifully an tastefully decorated, we highly recommend Las Clementinas!
The location, helpful staff and classic setting make Las Clementinas one of the best stops when staying in Casco Viejo. This was our second stay here and the property continues to improve. The rooftop offers a panorama of Panama Bay and the skyline. We showed up with a rental car which the staff helped us park safely near the hotel. We are looking forward to our next visit at Las Clementinas.