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
My sister, and i , along with our boyfriends paid for our parents to stay here for 3 nights, all inclusive (which let me tell you it is not cheap). I had good contact with Rebeka and the other people made me feel as if everything was going to be taken care of and that they would have an amazing time. I was keeping in contact with my parents the whole time, when they arrived they have a bad welcoming which was quite cold they told me. They enjoyed some of their trip and they enjoyed the spa however there were quite a few things lacking in their stay , they had no hot water and mentioned it to the front desk and still it didnt get fixed by the time they left. They mentioned to me the vents were dirty,and it wasnt kept up to par. They also mentioned that one morning it was breakfast buffet and the day after they took that away and made it a la carte, which is VERY strange! They did enjoy the service of the people who attended them at the restaurants. However,My father ended up getting food poisoning at one of the restaurants and therefore they checked out early because he could not stay there. They had a doctor come the night before leaving because he was in horrible shape , the whole staff knew about this. Upon checking out the manager asked for the phone number to keep in contact to see how he was going to be doing. Upon checking out the same person who checked them in was stating they had to pay their lunch which was supposed to be included. Now, i contacted Rebeka and she fixed this mistake, but she also told me they would call my parents to find out what went wrong and where they ate, but seems to me they did not care. My parents wrote the review and mentioned all their troubles, and all the hotel did was say " hope he gets better". Hope terrible for a hotel of such standards that is VERY EXPENSIVE. Not one phone call, after i called 2x to Rebeka . My father, after 6 days is just barely starting to eat, he had to go to the hospital to get intravenous drips for 6 hours. For the Marriott which i thought was of highest standards, they truly disappointed me, what was supposed to be a romantic getaway for my parents for 3 nights, turned out to be a gift from hell, they will not be returning there ever. They even told me they are unsure of booking ever again with Marriott, as i too am hesitant. Not the customer service you are to expect especially when the food poisoning came from the resort, this is the resorts error .
When you enter the gated community of Buenaventura and continue for some 4 km more to the JW Marriott hotel your already know the you entered “a different and better world” - acres of beautiful grass fields and with different trees and vegetation scattered delicately around the area. Lovely and spotless maintained houses most with natures green fences.
JW Marriott Hotel is also allowing nature first priority and everything function and looks so stunningly beautiful.
The estimated, nine separate and different swimming pools accommodate every needs - even two has inside pool bar.
Some three very good restaurant with different cuisine caters to the guests needs.
The service -in general- is very good, but Santana from the charming Lighthouse restaurant exceeded everything - simply a waiter whom takes service to the next level
Dolly & Jens
The facilities, the room and restaurants appeared clean and well maintained, however during my stay in Nov 2018 while at the pool the attendant never approached us to even accommodate our towels or to ask if we were interested in anything to drink. During the time we spent at the pool several white couples and families came to the pool after us and were quickly met and greeted by the pool attendant guy who would immediately set them up with the towels and bring their drink orders. At the first my impression was that only people living at the complex village were given the VIP services but when a black couple got in the pool area the same attend was a no show, he even passed by the couple several times and did not even attempt to help them while they were try to set up their pool chair and towels, neither approach to ask for drink orders. One other black family showed and the same happened, totally ignored by the attendant. After 2 hours of this it started to rain so we left the pool and went to the restaurant and enjoy a nice lunch but not before complaining to the restaurant server how awful treatment we received at the pool. My husband and I are a black couple and panamanians residents in the exterior who love to visit our home country to enjoy the culture, the food, the people and good service we have stayed at top resorts in Mexico and Caribbean and never being treated as such, by the way we are good tippers!! one smile and good service would go a long way. Will never return!!!