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
We had a lovely stay at Dreams. It is a great place to run away from the hustle and bustle of Panama City and relax for one night. The hotel staff went out of their way for us and anticipated our every need. If we enjoyed it for one night, a longer stay would be heaven!
My husband and I went there for our yearly vacation. We’re used to 3rd world countries and we’re very surprise at how good it all worked out. The people were nice, polite and very helpful. There was a young man Elisaul who went out of his way to make sure everything was good. I was a little disappointed with the food, not as good as expected but definitely hotel level (not any worse). The check in was very slow and it took hours to get in our room, but again not totally unexpected when arriving early. The bar service was excellent, specially around the pool area. I recommend it.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon and were grated at the door by Sari She was wonderful and smiling and pleasant . She brought us all champagne and said if we needed anything to like her up. There were 4 of us and 2 rooms. The check in was a little slow but really no big deal. We gave the portal our room # and after we had lunch our bags were in the rooms. The rooms were very clean and stocked with towels and the refrigerator was stocked
The a/c was not working so I told Sari and by the next evening g it was perfect. Keep in mind it is very hot and humid here so the A/C does not work like it does here. We kept the curtains closed when not there and it was fine. The rooms were cleaned and restocked every day as well as the mini fridge,at times we had 4 bottles of water. One day we on.y got 1 quash cloth and told the maid. She spoke no English but knew what we were saying and this evening we had 4 washcloths. The bed was very comfy. The other room did get missed 1 day but it was no big deal. We were at the beach everyday around 9am and there were plenty of chairs and sat under the canopy each day. There were always plenty of towels throughout the day. There were it very many people at all at the pool and at times the entertainment group cancelled because no one was participating There is only 3 places for dinner and at times 1 might be closed and 1 place for lunch unless you go to CoCo cafe for finger sandwiches which were pretty good and 1 place for breakfast which was really good. There is little variety in breakfast buffet. Be aware at lunch it is outside and there are LOTS OF BIRDS. They land of the serving spoons and pick the food and will steal food off your plate if you leave it. When we got out plates we picked from under the top one. It ended up becoming a joke among us. Everyday the print a paper that tells you what is going on and what restaurants are open so be sure to pick one up. The Pools were cleaned every morning. We do not speak
Spanish but the language barrier was never a problem. Every one was exceptionally nice and helpfully. Natzia -sorry I am sure I spelled her name wrong - was wonderful. She waited on us for several meals and she even gave us a hug when we left. The place was not nearly as bad as expected but it does lack entertainment but then again there just weren’t that many people around to entertain. We walked on the beach at low tide and it was nice but at hide tide you had to set up on the little bank. It was not perfect but that is why we had so many laughs and great memories. You need to remember you at in a different county and relax and just have fun
We stayed 7 days at Dreams Playa Bonita as members of their Vacation Club. Overall, the resort is overall fairly nice and has beautiful views. Compared to other AMResorts (Dreams, Secrets, etc) this one was probably my least favorite primarily because there were very few people at the resrt and a lack of entertainment (daily or nightly). You can tell it's a little bit older (still in good condition though). There are only 4 restaurants and only one is open for lunch. This wasn't a huge deal for us because we knew that when we booked and have eaten at each of them at other resorts. The French restaurant was our favorite at this place.
The biggest drawback to this resort is lack of activities and nightlife. Most resorts offer some sort of entertainment at night and there was absolutely nothing here (with the exception of a fairly bad DJ one night in the lobby). I had read a few reviews that stated there was not much to do at night and this could not have been more true. There is a 'nightclub' but it was empty each time we tried to go.
With that said, we took a few trips out into the city at night and we really enjoyed that. Our trip was overall very relaxing and I enjoyed Panama. It is not a resort town and I think if you are aware of that going into it, you will set your expectation to reality.
The staff was all very friendly and attentive. The grounds are beautiful. The food is not bad for resort food- as long as you don't anticipate 4star food or local food.
Resort is in a great location as far as ease of access from Panama City. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, albeit a relatively small property. Bugs are very intense, and we left with countless bites. However, mosquitoes, which make their presence known, weren’t really an issue. The biggest issue was with no-see-ums, which are basically invisible. It wasn’t until day 3 that we saw a very small sign warning “You are in a rainforest area. Use bug repellent at all times.” From there on out, we used repellent. But, new bites continued to appear for 5 days after arriving home. Because of the delayed realization we had been bitten, we were basically a bug buffet for the first several days unbeknownst to ourselves, lol. So be forewarned...even if you don’t think you’re being bit, use the repellent. Because of this, I feel the warning signage should have been more prominent. Food onsite was decent, although limited offerings. Choices were better when peak meal times were avoided, but buffets were quite small by any standard. Our king-size room was fairly clean, but the bathroom felt a little gross with shower grime and an ill-fitted toilet tank cover. The devil is in the details. The beach was very cool for watching tides and shell collecting! We explored it several times a day, and really enjoyed watching the crabs, lizards, birds, and other wildlife. However, the water was quite brown and neither of us felt safe enough to swim given the reduced visibility, rapid tide movement, and likely strong undertow. Some of this may have been due to rain during our stay; I’m not sure, as our stay was only 5 days during the beginning of wet season. The red beach warning flag hung the entire time. This is by no means a fault of the resort, just an observation. While here, concierge arranged for us to have a private driver/guide take us to Panama Canal and Casco Antiguo (old Panama City). It was a half-day tour for the same price as the group excursion offered by Panamazing in the lobby. I highly recommend the private tour, as you can ask all the questions you’d like. He’ll even stop into a local craft/souvenir market for you to browse/shop. Stops can be made at specific points of your choosing. Very cool! In all, we’re glad we came here. All staff members were very friendly and welcoming. Though we don’t have an overwhelming urge to return, we checked a location off our bucket list nonetheless.