American Trade Hotel
What We Love
- The hotel is from the crack team behind Ace Hotels
- The coffee beans at craft roaster Café Unido are from Panama farms
- Danilo's Jazz Club is a new hub for the city's nightlife crowd
- The Panamanian-American fusion menu by chef Clara Icaza at the Dining Room
What To Know
- Free WiFi
- The hotel is ideally located in the historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo
- Pets are allowed, although there are restrictions
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Leave it to the brilliant minds behind Seattle’s Ace Hotel empire to capture the relaxed, artsy-cool spirit of Panama City. A joint undertaking between Atelier Ace, Panama City–based Conservatorio, and Commune Design, this four-story hotel is set in the historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo and housed in a 1917 neoclassical landmark building. (The name is a reference to its origin as a department store called the American Trade Developing Company.) Expect the kind of pared-back urban cool we’ve come to expect from this designer gang, along with Latin American colonial touches like hand-painted tiles, potted palms and ceiling fans. Naturally, you’ll also find such Ace essentials as Third Wave coffee and a lobby that doubles as a neighborhood lounge. Hit the louche jazz club, named for Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez, and snack on dishes that range from Latin-inflected (plantain empanadas, pulled pork with avocado, escabeche) to U.S.-inspired classics like hamburgers and po’boys at Clara Icaza’s Dining Room; Icaza is considered one of Latin America’s best chefs.
In the Area
Hike to the summit of Cerro Ancon, a 654-foot hill overlooking Panama City. The trek is worth it for the breathtaking views. Once you’re back down, hit the Miraflores Visitor Center, a top spot to witness the fascinating workings of the Panama Canal, before joining a walking tour of Casco Viejo with Urban Adventures, which employs local guides. Afterward, recaffeinate at the charming Café de Asis, which is housed in a beautifully restored 19th-century building, before having a sorbet or ice cream at cult ice-creamery Gran Clement, also located in the old quarter.
How to Get There
We stayed in the Panorama Room (405) which had a great view of the square and the causeway. There is a sitting room, bedroom, bathroom and small balcony. It was a lovely space and would recommend it but it was a little dark and the air conditioning was a little noisy. The hotel reception staff were excellent with good information on the area and we had two great experiences over breakfast but one wasn’t as good as we had to wait a long time for everything and felt we were forgotten hence the four rating. If I could give four and a half I would. Overall though it is an excellent choice and loved the old world charm.
We ended up going to Panama City over Thanksgiving because of a direct flight, a Conde Nast article on how cool Casco Viejo now was, and the availability of a Small Luxury Hotel - the American Trade Hotel. The hotel was pretty stylish, reflective of an era 100 years earlier, with a couple of rough edges. Location was great; view from our room facing the square with a tiny balcony was pretty good; the rooftop (~3rd floor-ish) pool was a welcome feature.
I have stayed at the American Trade twice this year, each time for a week on business. I absolutely love this hotel. It has so much charm and 1930's chic that it puts all other bland chain hotels in the shade. Yes there are a many signs of age and a few quirky things to deal with, but the overall experience is excellent. Food, service and staff are all top quality. Pure class, in the heart of beautiful Casco Antiguo. Looking forward to coming back again soon.