The capital of the country that links Central and South America, Panama City is a mix of modern and colonial architecture. It’s a jumping-off point for the nearby rainforest, tropical beaches of the adjacent Pacific Ocean and the most famous waterway on earth; the man-made Panama Canal, where metal “mules” pull enormous multi-storey passenger liners and cargo ships through what at first appears to be the most unlikely of narrow spaces (head to the Miraflores Locks for some superb photo ops). Within the city itself, you must be sure to visit Casco Viejo, the fascinating cobblestoned historic quarter, home to a presidential palace.
Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo — Panama City
Book a room overlooking the waterfront in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo (the sixth property to join the brand’s portfolio). Once Panama’s Union Club (visited by monarchs and icons), this is a building synonymous with culture and local heritage. Now it’s been made over as a 159-bedroom hotel, set around a huge pool and sun terrace that’s arranged over two storeys. It opened in the third quarter of 2022, with five restaurants led by a Michelin-starred chef, plus the Ammi SkyBar and a spa incorporating tea and relaxation rooms.
The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort, Panama City
This urban resort is centred around a sprawling pool with an open-air bar, loungers and palm trees. A treat for golfers, it includes an 18-hole, par-72 Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course. The hotel spa has been inspired by indigenous culture and there are three on-site restaurants; Mestizo with its bar, terrace and outdoor plaza, The Grill House FSH & STK and Aqva with a relaxed indoor-outdoor vibe and hanging chairs. The Santa Maria also has a chic deli to grab some food and drink before your day of exploring. Your bedroom will come with Le Chemin amenities, a fully stocked mini-bar and a NESCAFE® Dolce Gusto coffee machine.
Waldorf Astoria Panama
Nestled among the city skyscrapers just a couple of blocks from the sea, the Waldorf Astoria accommodates 153 sleek bedrooms in a modern tower building. Its pool is perched high, for great views while you swim, soak in the whirlpool and sun on the loungers. Dine in the Brio Brasserie for French and American cuisine, or in the Ginger Sushi Bar and Lounge. Hand crafted cocktails are served in the vintage-inspired Peacock Alley. Bedrooms are equipped with iPod docks, Nespresso machines, Salvatore Ferragamo bathroom amenities and the brand’s signature bedding with Super Topper mattress pads and down-filled comforters.
JW Marriott Panama
It can feel like you’re on a balcony of a cruise liner when you step onto your private glass-fronted terrace here — the ocean views are unobstructed and far-reaching. These holiday feelings are complemented by a resort-style infinity pool and restaurant beside it. You can also dine on Panamanian soul in MASI with a terrace and a live ceviche bar, at the Azul Restaurant and Cava 15. Guests in higher-grade suites have access to an executive lounge for soft drinks, coffee, snacks and appetizers served from 5:30pm to 8 pm.
Housed in a 50 storey building, W is the epitome of contemporary glamour. Make a splash at the Wet Deck on the 15th floor, where you can lounge on a daybed cocktail in hand and gaze out to the skyscraper horizon. Dance and drink to the sounds of live music and DJs at La Cajita, hang out in the Tetris-like Living Room which looks like a funky modern art installation and eat Spanish inspired cuisine with epic views through the full-height windows at Moro. 203 guestrooms feature white-lacquered furniture, high-contrast design elements, graffiti artwork and bright colours for a playful, VIP-worthy effect. Book the Extreme Wow suite for your own DJ booth and party lounge with a built-in foosball table.