In a city renowned as the hub of Central American commerce, it’s no surprise that bland, executive-style chain hotels have sprouted like weeds throughout Panama City. But the destination is among the oldest cities in the region with a long, fascinating history. These three boutique hotels in Panama City deftly embrace the beauty, charm, and elegance of its rich, Colonial past with just the right amount of modern touches.
If there’s a more pitch-perfect example of a boutique hotel in Panama City than Las Clementinas, we haven’t found it. Located in the city’s historic Casco Viejo district, this six-room property blends Old World Central American charm and architecture with a thoroughly updated interior. The original, 1930s-era facade (with wrought iron balconies and ornate masonry work) remains mostly intact while, inside, rich, tropical hardwoods, Mid-century modern and Transitional-style furnishings, and exposed brick walls abound. Every room is oversized and lavishly appointed with apartment-like amenities including kitchenettes, high ceilings, and city-view balconies. The vibe is relaxed and quiet — the perfect antidote to the city’s many staid chain hotels.
American Trade Hotel
Although it is an outpost of Ace Hotel group, American Trade Hotel is only technically a chain hotel. Indeed, the 50-room property feels boutique in every sense of the word. The careful restoration of the former American Trade department store has left much of the building’s original charm and character intact. Inside, the decor and list of amenities are a skillful blend of old and new. Rustic wood furnishings, antique seating, and weathered wood bookend tasteful modern accents, plasma TVs, and fully stocked minibars. The chic lobby bar exudes classic Colonial charm and is ideal for an afternoon cocktail. But, the world-class Danilo’s Jazz Club and aptly named The Dining Room restaurant are what really set American Trade apart.
Don’t let the exterior (it shares a location inside the very executive-looking, mixed-use Twist Tower) fool you. Grace Panama is intimate, modern, and thoroughly chic. The lobby is awash in bold colors, glass lighting fixtures, and contemporary furnishings. All of which carries over to the rooms which are among the city’s most elegant. A whitewashed color palette and sleek seating are accented with high-tech amenities like large smart TVs, Italian espresso makers, and iPhone docks. The swanky, South Beach-esque rooftop pool and adjacent bar feel less “cramped” and more “cozy” and offer sweeping city views. The central location in the Obarrio district is also ideal as a base for easily exploring every corner of Panama City.
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