The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort Panama, Autograph Collection
What We Love
- Heaven for golfers, with the Jack Nicklaus-designed Buenaventura Golf Club
- The hydrotherapy center of the Corotu Spa and the gracious staff
- Choice of five restaurants, from local Panamanian fare to sushi
- 24/7 Room service
What To Know
- Somewhat isolated location around 80 minutes west of Panama City
- Restaurants are pricey for the region
- It’s a five-minute walk to the well-manicured beach
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
A beach, spa and golfing playground for grown ups, this sprawling coastal resort was formerly known as the Bristol Buenaventura and joined the JW Marriott family in 2012. The open-air reception area echoes its beachy, undeveloped setting, done up with warm hardwood floors, Spanish colonial elements, tropical fresh flowers and original artworks. The focal point of the high-ceilinged lobby is an exquisite sculpture by Cuban artist Manuel Carbonell.
Bed and Bath
All 109 guestrooms have private balconies and a mix of rich, dark woods, light furnishings and bright white bedding. All bathrooms have standalone showers and separate tubs, and the natural tiles and stone floors lend an earthy look. If you want to stay connected, all the mod cons are present, from 42-inch flat-screen TVs, coffee machines and newspapers delivered daily. Villas are two-floor homes for up to eight guests and come with a private pool.
An eclectic mix of restaurants dots the sprawling grounds, from poolside lunch bites at El Faro to steak galore at Prime 19, within the Buenaventura Golf Club clubhouse. Signature restaurant Tamarindo serves traditional Panamanian fare using ingredients from nearby organic farms and local fishermen, while recently opened Tai Kai offers fresh sushi and well-crafted cocktails under the stars. Steps from the beach, the El Faro Club House has a choice of three pools, each with a sprawl of white loungers and private cabanas, plus multiple swim-up bars. For a different sort of pampering, head to the five-room Corotú Spa and try one of the polishing facials of body scrubs. Just remember to save time for the resort’s main event: the par-72 Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, which traces the curves of the coastline and has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
In the Area
Just west of the nearest town, San Carlos, Playa Rio Mar is one of Panama’s best surf beaches, and it attracts a mix of weekenders from Panama City and local surfers. Ask the concierge about group or private morning surf lessons. Alternatively, stay on dry land and explore the charming highland town of El Valle de Anton, which lies in the caldera of an active volcano. Go hiking or horseback riding in the cloud forest, walk to the El Chorro Macho waterfall or simply wander the town’s plazas and markets. Back in the capital, make a stop at the brand new Frank Gehry–designed BioMuseo, at the mouth of the Panama Canal, then head to the charming, and rapidly changing, Casco Viejo for brunch at sceney Las Clementinas, a walk along the sea wall to Plaza Francia and a dance at the salsa club Habana Panama.
How to Get There
We stayed in July during the low season so the resort was very quiet during the week and a bit busier at the weekend. WE had a fantastic 6 day stay. The rooms are very clean and well maintained. The staff are very helpful and go out of there way to make your stay memorable. I would recommend a stay without hesitation.
Wow! What a property!
We stayed in September 2018, in two rooms near the front desk, and were never disappointed! Our room had a koi pond in the back of it off the patio!
The property is huge, and walking to the beach takes a few minutes. Or you can hope on a bike and ride there as there are bikes all over the place.
We did the all inclusive package. The food was great as was the service. Don’t miss this beautiful resort!
We couldn’t have picked a better place for our long weekend trip. Buenaventura is one of the most beautiful places in the area. Way better deal than “All inclusive” resorts. Hotel rooms were amazing, food was great, beach area and swimming pools are outstanding. We had a little issue with the transportation from the airport as it was a third party company, but the managers and staff at the hotel went above and beyond to make it up to us. We really appreciated the attention and service. Best one we ever had.
We were upgraded to a very nice room overlooking the pool. Resort is absolutely beautiful. Staff were wonderful. The room included breakfast which was spectacular and had everything you needed. Only ate one dinner at the hotel but it was good and not too much more than places in the area. Golf course is excellent but too pricey. Hotel is on a nice beach and has 3 pools plus 5 more small ones with cabanas at the ocean. Beach is nice. Whole area around hotel has large homes and is gated. Wonderful place to stay. An easy drive from Panama City. We went at the end of May and this is off season so we had the hotel pretty much to ourselves.
The Buenaventura Resort was a disappointment. We both have lifetime status with Marriott Bonvoy and expect more from an affiliated property.
Gourmet market is a wonderful amenity.
Proximity to Panama City.
The "premier" room was tired and in desperate need a deep clean. Scratched floors, dirty paint, stained/tattered furniture, chintzy towels, etc.
How about some plug-ins by the bed & a USB port.
Pools need a refresh (broken tiles, debris floating in pools).
You have to pursue the pool servers for service. Same goes at the beach, plus, the bartender/server had surly attitudes (until we tipped them 20% on the $100 tab). We would have spent much more if it weren't such an effort to get served.
We had room service twice and both times the order wasn't as requested.
Housekeeping wasn't consistent.
We forgot to pack aspirin and we wound up needing some. The gourmet market didn't carry aspirin, and when I asked the lady at the front desk if I could buy some aspirin the answer was a simple "NO". No alternatives were offered. Come on ....
How about the front desk explain all that the resort has to offer upon check-in or simply provide an information sheet?
Tip: Go during the week if you would like to unwind. When we arrived on a Saturday afternoon, we had immediate concerns due to all the families throughout the resort. However, by late Sunday and all day Monday, we had a quiet/relaxing experience.