As I write this review, I am torn with mixed reactions regarding my vacation in Panama and my stay at the Decameron property. I base this on a good deal of travel experience throughout Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, etc. as we love this part of the world. While we enjoyed our time in Panama and traveling through the country, meeting its people and learning about its culture, we feel extremely disappointed in certain aspects of the Decameron.
First, the Decameron - This is an extremely large property spread out over a large area. It is best to do your own walking tour upon arrival with a Decameron map in hard, so that you may “learn the lay of the land”. There are many individual restaurants, bars, three buffet restaurants, various bars, and a variety of pools on the property. The property itself is located on a large expanse of beach which is ideal for walking as it is about a 50 minute walk from one end to the other. There are many beach chairs and covers, though the chairs with cover protection in the shade go quite early in the morning. The weather was wonderful while there. It was very hot and sunny by day, cooling down and comfortable in the evening. We found we could only take so much sun and were searching out shady areas as the day went on. One had to pay attention while swimming as there were warnings of undertows during our week’s stay.
The property is beautifully landscaped and in good repair though requests for items needed in the room often took days to accomplish. We had daily room service and even with leaving a gratuity daily, it was difficult to receive as much as an extra hand towel – just one for the two of us. Most workers were polite.
After trying five specialty restaurants on the property, we came to the conclusion that the food at the buffets was much better that at the specialty restaurants. The service offered at the buffets was also much better. In several specialty restaurants service was extremely poor. We never went hungry as there was always something to eat and after all, we did not travel to Panama for its food. A plus was the salad selection available at each restaurant.
We enjoyed having drinks at the terrace bar of the Café Med, the Mediterranean Restaurant. There was also some entertainment at this location. It was a delightful setting overlooking the beach, and we made some new friends here.
Our room was equipped with two queen sized beds, two chairs, small table, a roomy bathroom, and a balcony with two chairs. Our room was in good repair and just fine until the nighttime hours set in – namely 11:30 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. This is when the open air disco on the Decameron property situated below our building was open. Then… for me it was miserable. You see, the blaring disco music was nonstop and the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of the loud heavy base music vibrated throughout the room. This was with the sliders pulled shut and locked, drapes pulled, and the air conditioner on high. For me, sleep was impossible until 3:00 a.m. My husband can sleep through anything so this did not affect him the same way. The wife of our friends that we travel with experienced the same thing in her room upstairs, while her husband also could sleep through anything. It was the women who suffered. Each morning my friend and I would discuss our distressful night, close to tears and exhausted. The first two nights were the worse, and then it became calmer mid-week, thank goodness. Our final night there however, Saturday night, was a nightmare. As we had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to have a quick breakfast and drive to the airport in order to avoid road closures due to Carnival, we were exhausted.
This simply is not fair or considerate of customers. For $297.00 a night, one should expect to be able to get a good night’s sleep with some peace and quiet. We reserved our rooms months in advance. When we checked in, the front desk receptionists, seeing our age – being on the older side, should have known better than to put us in these rooms. They could look at us and know we were not going to be partying in the disco until 3:00 a.m. Or… these rooms should be available at a reduced rate and with a warning. Throughout all my travels over the years, I have never experienced anything like this before. It did indeed put a serious damper on my vacation.
Panama - We rented a car for the week prior to our arrival. It was an easy pick-up at the airport. The drive to the Decameron takes about 2.5 hours due to heavy traffic volume. It is easy to get lost in Panama City as roads are not well marked. We took several half day driving trips and also booked a full day tour through the hotel. We booked a full day tour as we wanted to take the Panama Express Train ride along the canal. This trip consisted of the six of us in our group. Omar was our tour guide and he was fabulous. This trip also included a visit to Portobelo along the Caribbean coast, and a visit to the Gatun Locks. The visit to the Gatun Locks was amazing as we felt like we had our own private viewing – there were very few folks there. Being at the Canal was a real highlight. We also spent time in El Valle de Anton, a pretty community with a wonderful artisan market for shopping. The prices were very good. We spent most of a day in Penonome, about 30 minutes from the hotel. Penonome is the commercial area closest to Farallion. We enjoyed their preparation festivities for Carnival. We also enjoyed the beautiful village of La Pintada. In addition, we were able to take in the visitor’s center at Miraflores Locks and toured Panama Viejo. The visitor’s center at Miraflores Locks was extremely crowded with many large tour buses there at the same time. We were so thankful we had visited Gatun Locks prior. We took advantage of our opportunity to drive through a large part of Panama City in route to the airport. We enjoyed our travels through Panama and felt safe at all times. Speaking some Spanish does help with directions.
We felt we made good use of our time in Panama and enjoyed venturing out from the property very much. It truly is a shame that folks at the Decameron were so inconsiderate in their room placement. A warning to all: If you hope to get some sleep during your stay, be aware of the placement of your building on the property in relation to the disco before accepting the room and checking in.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas Panama is an all inclusive hotel located about 2 kilometers of white sandy beach in Farallon, Panama. The hotel is located on the Pacific coast, close to many tourist attractions. Also, the city of Panama and the Tocumen International Airport (PTY) are located 120 miles away. The Royal Decameron in Panama hotel offers 852 guestrooms in low-rise buildings and 370 rooms Villas. Each room is equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, closet, safe (local charge), direct dial telephone (with deposit cash at the reception) and a private bathroom with shower and hair dryer. Also have a minibar as part of the all inclusive plan and the villas are located on the golf course. Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas Panama offers eight pools for adults three wading pools, three hot tubs, a casino, a golf course with 18 holes and a full spa. This beach hotel also offers a variety of organized activities on land and water for the whole family, and two convention centers for business travelers. The Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort has 11 bars, a nightclub and 10 restaurants ranging from traditional to the more exotic. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Decameron Beach Resort, Golf Hotel Farallon
- Royal Decameron Beach Resort, Golf And Casino
- Royal Decameron Beach Resort Panama
- Royal Decameron Beach Hotel
- Royal Decameron Panama
- Hotel Royal Decameron Beach
- Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Hotel
- Royal Decameron Beach Resort Golf & Casino
- Royal Decameron Resort Panama
- Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas Panama/Farallon