Monday, May 6, 2013

P.S. on Panama: the Waldorf Astoria

Before we left Panama last month, I dragged Greg to the just-opened Waldorf Astoria. Situated on Calle Uruguay, the arrival of the Waldorf not only signifies the confidence Hilton has in Panama's ability to attract very well-heeled visitors, but also the gentrification of the Marbella neighborhood (some very trendy restaurants and Class A offices are moving into the area). 

Since the hotel was still in soft opening and occupancy was low, we waltzed right in and were greeted by a gracious staff member named Roberto. He was excited that we're big Hilton fans, so insisted on giving us a personal tour! 

They welcomed us with refreshing watermelon juice (one of my favorite Panamanian traditions - weeks later, I'm still missing the watermelon juice with which I started each day in Panama).
The hotel has a distinctly Asian theme. Kudos to the person who designed the lighting and selected the furniture. Enter the main lobby and admire the lofty ceilings adorned with a pattern that reminds you at the same time of sea coral and lotus root. 

The spa is sublime. The welcoming foyer is just so yummy smelling, and the furniture is super sleek. Five treatment rooms are well-appointed and roomy, including one couples massage room with an adjacent soaking tub tucked in an alcove.

The restaurant and lounge feature some of the most stunning furniture I've seen at least in this part of the world, from the late Mid-Century Modern chairs to the lounge sofas covered with a metallic finish leather. 

The floor between the lounge and restaurant has a dramatic cut-out at one end featuring illuminated rich wood with crossed samurai swords, and a massive wooden vessel reminiscent of a dragon boat.

The pool was of diminutive proportion to the rest of the hotel, which seemed unusual for this tropical city. But the outdoor space around it was stunning, so let's give them a mulligan. 

If you want a rarefied hotel experience in Panama, check yourself in to the Waldorf Astoria Panama for some well-deserved pampering. 

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