Recession? Housing crisis? Reduced lending for development? Not in the “hub of the Americas.
Forget everything we’ve said in the past about there being a shortage of hotels in Panama City. It’s time for me to update the intro on our Luxury Hotels in Panama page. A few years ago the pickings were slim, but now the building boom has caught up to demand and the scene is looking very different.
It really kicked in when Le Meridien Panama opened in 2010, with Finisterre Suites following. (We’ll have a review of the latter going up in the coming weeks.)
This July the long-anticipated Trump Ocean Club will open, part of it residences, part of it a very splashy hotel. I got to take a tour of it a few days ago after interviewing Donald Trump Jr. as pictured here. Hint, he’s the one with more hair and perfect teeth.
As expected, the project is big, bold and brash, the building itself standing out in a city full of jostling skyscrapers. It’s so big it’s hard to squeeze it into a photo. I did my best—see it at the top. There won’t be anything else like it around for a very long time, if ever. Not too many developers can put together $450 million, give or take a few mil, to launch a project on this scale.
That’s not the end of the story though. I saw the construction site for the upcoming Waldorf-Astoria Panamerica. It’s nowhere near the finishing stage, but the building is progressing daily and it’s in a prime spot near Le Meridien, the Bristol, Finisterre, and Intercontinental Miramar. The last one on that list is just starting a major renovation from top to bottom, totally removing everything from the guest rooms and revamping. The Bristol’s residences building is almost done, which will not only add more suites from the rental pool, but that hotel will finally get what it has most been lacking: a pool.
Just one problem: no matter what hotel you pick in this booming city, it should come with a warning label: please be aware that you will experience noise.