JW Marriott Panama

Editor’s update 2013 – Bristol Buenaventura in Panama is now a JW Marriott, managed by the Marriott corporation. They’ve dropped the old name and it’s just JW Marriott Panama Golf and Resort. Leaving this blog post up though as there have been no substantial changes otherwise.

If you’re staying in Panama City, the Bristol Hotel is the prestige address in town. It doesn’t have a pool, but it’s the place to be if you’re looking for luxury rooms and personalized service.

Now the company has opened it’s long-awaited beach resort and we have a review of it: Bristol Hotel & Spa at Buenaventura.

The hotel has gotten a bit of press, but everything I’ve read has come from a desk-bound junior editor in New York who has never set foot in the place. We don’t work like that: our frequent Panama contributor Beverly Gallagher got the inside scoop in person.

This hotel is part of a planned community of condos, villas, a shopping center, a coming golf course, and even a church. It opened as the clear top large hotel on the beach in Panama, but is just 90 minutes from the capital. A few years back there were few hotels outside Panama City to recommend, but as tourism picks up and more foreign residents move in, standards are rising quickly.