InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa
What We Love
- The 10,000-square-foot spa has Turkish steam rooms and meditation rooms
- The private beach is secluded and tranquil
- There are three restaurants and several bars, including a swim-up pool bar
What To Know
- Located near the mouth of the canal about 20 minutes from downtown Panama City
- Dogs are allowed, but there’s a cleaning fee ($200) and adaily fee ($16.50)
- The resort is very family-friendly, with dedicated kids play areas
- WiFi costs extra
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Radiating out in a V shape through lush jungle facing a perfect Pacific Ocean vista, this family-friendly getaway close to downtown Panama City offers a kick-off-your-shoes escape with all the amenities you need to take things down a notch. The 303 guestrooms have a modern aesthetic, with flat-screen TVs, black four-poster beds, beige walls, rattan sofas and private furnished balconies. If you’re looking to be pampered, book a treatment at the luxurious spa, which offers everything from facials using Clarins products to seaweed wraps — there are also hammam-style steam rooms and alfresco beachside massages available. Go for a dip in the lagoon-style infinity pool, and paddle up to the bar for a frothy cocktail before heading to the thatch-roofed Pelican Grill for light lunch options. And for dinner, the open-air Lighthouse restaurant offers a more fine-dining experience, offering Panamanian flavors that rival the view of the palm tree–fringed beach below.
In the Area
It may feel like a remote haven, but the resort is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Panama City, so you would be remiss to leave without seeing the country’s greatest claim to fame, its majestic and well-trafficked canal, where you can watch vessels pass through the Miraflores Locks. For a taste of Panama’s history, pay a visit to Casco Viejo, a 16th-century district of the city containing many gorgeous Spanish and French colonial buildings. Refuel at Casa Sucre Coffeehouse, which in an 1873 colonial home; you can get your caffeine fix and try a Panamanian breakfast of chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Before heading back, stock up on artisan-made gold jewelry at Reprosa, a two-story boutique helping to revive ancient indigenous methods.
How to Get There
Great location. Clean & well maintained outdoor area and rooms. Bartenders, servers are doing their best. Being vegetarian, they tried their best to accommodate us. While trying to hire uber, though it’s not close to city, the outside taxi help are discouraging us from taking uber. I understand the locals loose their business but uber drivers are locals too. They were all very very nice and gave great service. The taxi charges you more than double. Stay here it’s cool place. Not far from old and new city.
Would never stay at this resort again. Am a UVC preferred member and did not feel special at all. Did not have a server at the preferred pool until we complained, food was very poor...bland and overcooked. Service at meals was OK in restaurants when ordering from a menu, but horrible at the buffet breakfast. Grounds were very pretty, staff was very nice, but overall very poorly managed as a vacation property. Wish I could get my week back!
Visited with daughter and husband. The setting is very attractive as the resort overlooks the islands in Panama Bay and anchored ships waiting to transit the Panama Canal. The room was attractive and clean. The food did not meet acceptable standards. Had stayed at Secrets resort in Cancun where the food in all restaurants including the buffet was outstanding. Playa Bonita in contrast had unacceptable food service. Had lunch at two buffet restaurants and the beef was both times chewy. Had dinner at Portofino, ordered Seafood Linguine and the pasta was not cooked properly, very dry and not even al dente. There was hardly any sauce, the shrimps and mussels were dry. Hat to leave the uneaten mussels on the plate. There was a very attractive oriental buffet one evening poolside but everything was cold. At one of the retaurants they did have attractive desserts. I chose a nice pudding-like dessert in a small narrow glass. The problem was that the teaspoon was to big and I had to use the spoon handle to scoop it out. This is a sample of small details that alert kitchen managers should take care of. The waiters are nice and helpful but the problem I think lies with the food manager. There seems to be lack of supervision and quality control.
Most fellow guests whom I chatted with loved the resort setting but unanimously had complaints about the food and the bar service. Speaking of bar service, bartender Sancheliano was outstanding. The problem was that he not only had to tend to the tiki bar but perform other non-bar duties such as finding towels for the resort guests as there is not enough help around the pool. He at times did not have enough supplies to prepare drinks. Management cost-cutting measures are not comensurate with the high daily prices that one pays. Another example was the liquid soap available on the public toilets, it had more water than soap so it was a nuisance to squirt it from the dispenser. In summary the outstanding setting of the resort deserves much better hotel management.
We booked a family trip for Spring Break. Somehow the travel agent made a mistake and booked the two rooms in different sections of the resort, which meant the kids were in a room by themselves, on the other side of the resort.
Travel agency said they couldn't do anything about it because the resort didn't have any rooms available in the class we booked.
Obviously this is a huge problem, and the only solution they offered was to down grade the good room.
I reached out to the staff at Dreams Playa Bonita and they jumped into action. Immediately responded to the email I sent, lopped the right people into the conversation, and let us know they would handle this, and ensured me adjoining rooms.
What an Awsome team, we are really looking forward to our stay now!!
Room was clean but needs a lot of TLC. The help seemed to struggle with English but after a few days they seemed to know what we wanted. Never had enough towels in our room. Bathrooms didn’t flush by the pool. Room was warm and it was as low as it would go.