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“Mixed Feelings About The Decameron”

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Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Massachusetts
Level 5 Contributor
34 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
“Mixed Feelings About The Decameron”
Reviewed 29 February 2012

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.

Room Tip: Be aware of the location of your room in relation to the disco on the property.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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11 Thank School's Out 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2012

Just finished a stay at the resort. I arrived on Feb. 20 and left on Feb. 27, 2012. My room number was 4521. I was there to attend a wedding with a group of 30+ people.

Beautiful resort, the waiting and bar tending staff were excellent. I also enjoyed the level of security offered on the resort.

The rest of my stay was not up to 4 star standard. I have been to a dozen resorts in my life, mostly 3 star and up. This resort is at most, a 2.5 star.

The food was very bland and flavourless. Even at the a la carte restaurants, the food was only tiny bit more flavourful.

I did not mind the long, steep uphill walks. I am not sure how the elderly, which is the majority of the patrons, could survive a week of going up and down the hills. I did mind having to jump out of the way of staff vehicles at least 5 times a day. The resort is big enough, that these types of vehicles can have their own paths and not disturb guests.

My room is where they lost the most points. Most of these issues should not arise and I should not have to ask for them if it were indeed a 4 star resort:

We did not have an ashtray on our balcony. Other guest's did. Cigarettes were thrown onto the lawn.

We were only given one hand-towel, I was in another guest's room and they were given two. This did not change throughout the week.

One day, we were given bath towels which were so old, they began to deteriorate as I was drying off. My body was covered in white fluff and I was forced to take another shower and wipe down with a beach towel. Throw your old towels out.

My bedsheets were not changed on a regular basis. I know this because when I arrived, there was a mark on my bed sheet that did not change until mid-week. I was told by another guest, mid-week, that the room should have had a card where we could check off what we wanted changed/cleaned. Our room did not come with this and we never received one.

The curtains covering our balcony were terrible. Every time someone would open or close them, they would come off the hinges. The first day, we left the curtains off the hooks hoping that the maid would set them back up. This did not happen. We had to re-hook our curtains the rest of the week.

The blinds to one of our windows fell off the first time we tried to lower them and it was left on the floor for the entire stay. There was no attempt by the maid to put it back up.

The floor in our room was only swept 2 or 3 times. In a beach resort, where guests can easily track in sand, the rooms should be swept automatically everyday. Again, if we had a room cleaning card to check this off, we would have.

The biggest issue I had occurred when a friend of mine, in room 4503, had an unopened bottle of Havana Club 7 year old rum, gone missing from his room on the morning of Feb. 22, after he had gone to breakfast. He had reported it to reception and they had said they would look into it. They never looked into it. I believe that theft should be treated seriously at a resort where you want your guests to feel secure. Unless, of course, you don't care about your guests.

I would not come back to the resort and I would not recommend it to others when I am asked. The resort is definitely not 4 stars and should stop advertising itself as such.

Room Tip: Pick another resort.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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2 Thank TO_Quan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Farallon hotels

Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

Two stars at best:
*On arrival I had to wander around the parking at 2:00 AM to find my own luggage
*"Speciality" a la carte restaurants served highly specialized food to whit - warm sushi, cold hot dogs and hamburgers, overcooked food and underdone food, hot wine - the list is endless
*To get reservations you had to line up at 700 AM or all restaurants were shown as booked. That being said when you actually went the restaurants they were only 60% full. When questioned about this - a Nolitours rep said "they have already got your money"
* The suite we had was shopworn and the patio furniture collapsed when sat on
* We were honored with the presence of a dead bird in our kitchen that had been there for a couple of months so my conclusion was that housekeeping was spotty
*The key to our room was so worn that it snapped off in the lock -this took two hours to sort out
*The golf course is good but they have no idea how to run it and don't seem to care that this is the case
* Shuttle service was spotty
*Beach was good but by 630AM all the good spots were "towel staked"
* Woody's Canadian Beach bar sold T shirts - perhaps the only menu item that was safe. They seemed bent on providing a non pharmaceutical cure for constipation. Give this a miss.
*66 vertical steps from the beach to the lobby in 38C heat - not for anyone who is mobility impaired or who has a heart condition.
*Air Transit was a gong show both ways. l
Late leaving and arriving late both ways (hours not minutes)
* Air transit also sold us Club Class seats that did not exist - "aircraft change - sorry"

I could go on but with this place it would do no good as it is to far gone. After forty years of international travel Decameron rates as one of the worst places that I have ever stayed.
Bob

Room Tip: Book somewhere else
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank TOBob&Nancy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saskatoon, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

Positives:

-Better than most beach resorts that we have visited in the tropics.
-The resort offers a very nice beach (some say the best in Panama), a great location, well kept grounds, and excellent service from the restaurant and bar staff.
-Amazing weather in February, with one day much like the next. Not drop of rain with lots of sun.
-The resort felt safe and we had no problems.
-Great opportunity to interact with Spanish speaking people from Central and South America.
-Friendly local people, especially if one can speak Spanish with them.

Negatives:

-The security box in our villa was a joke. It was loose on the wall, barely held there by a few loose washers and nuts. I could have pulled it off the wall and walked away with the box and contents. We complained about this twice, but even after a week it had not been properly repaired.
-Expensive internet ($15 a day for WiFi). In comparison, most hotels offer free internet access for those that bring their own computers. A money grab at the Decameron.
-I had no idea that we had that many overweight and out of shape Canadians (both male and female) in Canada. Most definitely looked better fully clothed than in their swim suits.
-Many of the Canadians roamed in packs with their friends that they had come down with and had little to do with those around them. Some seemed to think that they had a right to be loud, drunk, rude, and obnoxious - the stereotypical arrogant tourists in a foreign country. At times, we were embarrassed to be Canadians. To be fair, we also met very nice Canadians who were a credit to Canada.
-The tour company could adjust a few policies. Why do they charge extra to select seats on the airplane? Didn't we already pay for seats? Also, the main rep at the resort didn't seem to take much interest in his company's customers; maybe it was a cultural east-west Canada problem. Yet, thank you to the tour company for making it easy for Canadians to travel to Panama.
-Poor quality sit-on kayaks with not many options for paddling. One has to paddle within a relatively small roped off area in front of the beach - I guess that is so that they don't lose the tourists.

Fortunately, the positives far outweighed the negatives. We loved the resort and the country and well may go back again. Many of the tourists that we met at the resort were repeat customers. Most seemed to love the place.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
14 Thank d d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2012

We decided to try a different country where we could enjoy a culture and play golf. We found this hotel that offered golf and meal inclusive, plus 8 a la carte restaurants. We really enjoyed the experience and loved the nature, culture and friendly people of Panama. The check into resort took 5 minutes if that. They mastered this procedure like no other country we visited before. We stayed at a villa on the golf course and i looked forward to waking up and going into villa's back yard every morning. What a great start of the day! The food selection was decent, beach and the resort is huge, shuttle bus connection is excellent! And the staff will teach you speak Spanish too. How perfect. Take a tour to Panama City and Canal, you will be amazed by the history of this amazing country.
We visited the Woody’s sea food restaurant nearby, that is owned by a Canadian citizen, but didn't really care for the food and service: portions were small, overpriced ( $30 for two little lobsters and a few French fries). We had to wait 45 minutes for our order, didn't get salads as a part of the order and had them after an additional request, the lobsters were not tasty at all. Eat lobsters in Canada: it will be cheaper, testier and better bargain for your money. Other than that, I would recommend this resort to any of my friends.

Room Tip: All rooms are on the beach, we got a villa on a golf course and it was the last one, but we really l...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Ladislav25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas

Property: Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas
Address: Avenida principal Farallon, Km.115 | Carretera Interamericana, Farallon, Rio Hato, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Cocle Province > Rio Hato > Farallon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Price range (per night): ₹ 8,062 - ₹ 50,951
Hotel Class:3 star — Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas 3*
Number of rooms: 1170
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

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