This was our fifth time in Panama in the last seven years. We stayed for three days. The first two days there was only one other couple and the third day we were the only ones at the hotel. Hans, the owner, was extremely helpful in booking a room for us in Chitre after a mix-up with our reservation and we were told there were no rooms. He did this before we even left the states. We had reservations for a Junior Suite and were upgraded to the next bigger room. Compared to other lodgings in Panama, the Junior Suite is a very good value. Having a refrigerator in the room is great. The refrigerator is not stocked, something that needs to be updated on the website. One complaint: It is nice to sit outside in the morning or evening, but the chairs are uncomfortable. It would be nice to replace them lounging chairs. There is a small beach within walking distance. However, it is like most beaches in Panama, trashed and littered. The pool is small, but since there weren't many people it wasn't a problem and besides it's just a place to get wet. It gets cleaned every morning.
Breakfast is hit or miss, depending on what they have on hand. Since the place is a ways from everything they will run out of things. It was better the second day after receiving supplies. We had a nice plate of fresh fruit. Breakfast is continental, but eggs are available to order. Also, it is served buffet style. I would suggest that the staff at least serve coffee and juice at the table. The setup is not conducive for a buffet setup. The breakfast staff is very nice and we tipped generously.
The hotel’s restaurant dinner service is not run by the hotel, but is run as a concession. Lunch is not available. If we had to do it over, we would pick up some extra items at the supermarket. We were not impressed with dinner service. The first night, there was a printed menu. The second night, the menu was read off to us. The menu is so small; it wouldn’t take much to print off the menu every night if the cook takes the time to preplan. The kitchen is limited and so are supplies, but they try hard to present something out of the ordinary. A word of caution, their description of the dishes is flawed and may not match the actual dish. The first night I had “shrimp cocktail” which consisted of three shrimp on a plate with some remoulade sauce smeared on the plate. The second night my husband had five shrimp floating in a sauce with some tomatoes and peppers. When the couple next to us ordered the same dish, the presentation looked completely different. Since the entrees are small, you have to order the appetizer and dessert in order to be satisfied. Expect to pay about $50+ with one beer and one glass of wine for two people. The first night there were some diners that did not stay in the hotel. They had their dog with them and were smoking in the dining area, a violation of Panama law. The deck above the dining area is very nice to have a before or after dinner drink, but it is also used by the cook’s girlfriend as a hangout and smoking lounge. We also didn’t like seeing the girlfriend with long hair hanging on the cook in the kitchen when we walked in. One night there was a cat walking through the dining area. This did not bother us at all. We eat in places with cats, dogs and chickens in Panama and don’t have a problem. But since this place presents themselves as a fine dining establishment, we had a problem when we saw both the cook and the server pick up the cat at one time to take it outside without a thought of washing his hands. The whole place has a too casual atmosphere for the prices they charge and for giving the appearance of a fine dining establishment.
The bottom line, the restaurant needs polish if they are going to continue charging the high prices. It would be nice to know what the menu is ahead of time. The second night we asked the cook about 5:30pm if the menu was going to be the same. He said No, and when asked what it would be, he said whatever inspired him. It appears that he is much more into surfing than cooking. We already made one drive into town for lunch and did not want to drive after dark so we gave the restaurant another try. The third night we ate in town and were very happy with traditional Panamanian food.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Villa Romana is an oceanfront hotel in Puerto Escondido (Pedasi), Panama. It features 21 ocean view suites with air-conditioning, Satellite TV and minibar. The 180 degree ocean view from the main terrace is spectacular. ... more less
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