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Panama is seeing an hotel boom, both in and outside of Panama City, for both business and leisure travelers.


BY JOACHIM BAMRUD

 

Costa Blanca, Panama --- John Blanco is bullish on Panama. The general manager of the Bristol Buenaventura expects the new luxury hotel to do well thanks to a combination of factors, including location and price.

 

The beachfront property is also conveniently close to ecotourism attractions and Panama City, with casinos, restaurants and nightlife, he points out. The first stage of the hotel – which includes the main hotel building, several villas, a pool and a beach club -- opened in February. The second stage – which will include a golf course and spa – is set to open next year.

The Bristol Buenaventura is not the only new hotel in the Costa Blanca area, a beach area on Panama’s Pacific coast an hour away from Panama City that is known for its year-round dry and sunny weather.  Nearby, Nikki Beach is planning to open an hotel (its second worldwide), as is Hard Rock Hotel and Jamaica-based Super Clubs. These will complement two all-inclusive hotels that are already open – the Playa Blanca Hotel & Resort and the Royal Decameron Golf Beach Resort & Villas.

The properties will cater to a wide range of audiences. The Bristol aims for the luxury market, while Nikki Beach aims for the celebrity circuit, for example.

The Bristol targets both traditional leisure travelers and the corporate and incentive segments. It boasts a ballroom with capacity for 500 people. The Bristol Buenaventura “was built to operate at a level that does not exist in Panama right now,” Blanco says. It can be compared to properties like the Four Seasons Mexico or the Ritz-Carlton Cancun, but at a lower price. “The price…is very competitive,” says Blanco, whose career includes working for Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton.

 

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Keywords: Bijao, Breezes, Decameron, Hilton, Nikki Beach, Super Clubs, Playa Blanca

 

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