Westin Playa Bonita: Central American Beach Getaway at the Edge of Panama City

by Shelley Seale /
Shelley Seale's picture
Apr 12, 2014 / 0 comments

Some travelers are beach people, wanting the sand-and-water experience under palm trees. Others are city travelers, preferring the excitement and diversity of entertainment that a metropolitan vacation offers.

Westin Playa Bonita in Panama City is one place where you can have both – in style. The gorgeous property is just at the outskirts of the city, across the bridge from Panama City’s lively downtown and the Panama Canal. On this peaceful stretch of Pacific Ocean beach, with its golden sand and blue waters, the Westin Playa Bonita has all the makings of a hidden-away tropical resort; yet is only minutes away from the sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife that thriving Panama City has to offer.

Westin Playa Bonita

Guest Rooms

The rooms have an elegant, understated modern décor, with fantastic bathrooms and views that either look over the Pacific Ocean or the tropical rainforest that surrounds Playa Bonita. The beds are seriously comfortable; in fact Westin has trademarked it as its Heavenly Bed, and that it is. All rooms feature a 40-inch LCD television, iPod docking station, refreshment center, separate shower and deep soaking tub, wood Panamanian furnishings and some have private patios.

The 18th floor is home to the Westin Executive Club Rooms, all with stunning views from private balconies and access to the Executive Club Lounge, serving food and drinks throughout the day. Suites are also available, from the Revival and Renewal Suites meant for a relaxing stay to the Presidential Suites of 1,600 square feet, with ample living space, kitchen and dining table for six.

Onsite Facilities

This is the kind of place where you can do as much or as little as you like. Four beachfront pools provide an escape overlooking the ocean, with several bars and the ability to have snack foods and light meals served. Take a stroll along the beach, or participate in some of the fun daily activities ranging from salsa lessons to beach volleyball and kayaking. There is also a fully equipped fitness center onsite. If you really want to experience total relaxation, check yourself into the Sensory Spa by Clarins, which specializes in holistic remedies and hydrothermal healing with their many choices in body and facial treatments.


When it comes to dining and nighttime fun, there are plenty of choices here. Depending on the level of package you have booked, three large dining rooms serve sumptuous buffet meals three times a day. These are not your typical buffets; on my stay we were highly impressed by the quality and diversity of the food offered. There are also several other restaurants onsite. The chic Soléo offers Mediterranean tapas by day and cocktails and karaoke by night, while Asiana is a sophisticated dining experience specializing in sushi, curries and other Asian dishes. Finally, Tierra Y Fuego is an upscale steakhouse with a Latin flair.

For after-dinner drinking or dancing, the Oasis Bar & Lounge has a great vibe, personable bartenders and live music most nights.


Neighborhood/Nearby Attractions

All the sites and attractions of Panama City are a short drive away, five to 25 minutes. Check out the history of Casco Viejos, the old town that is both falling apart and up-and-coming at the same time, and the newest hot spot for the hip and creative. Don’t miss the nearby seafood market, a taste of local culture and where you can get some amazing, fresh ceviche for three to four dollars.

Of course, the Panama Canal is a huge draw. Take a tour of the canal and its lakes and byways; or visit the famous Miraflores Locks for a birds-eye view of ships passing through the locks.


  • Location – on the beach yet minutes from the exciting, lively city and the Panama Canal.
  • Food – an excellent variety of all sorts of food using fresh ingredients and chefs who are serious about what they are putting out.
  • Atmosphere – this can be a fun party place, with good times by the pool and evenings listing to live music while sipping delectable cocktail creations; or you can simply relax by the beachside pools or in the spa.
  • Staff – the people who work here are generally a friendly and helpful bunch, who will make you feel at home.

Good to Know

  • If you’re traveling as a family, you’ve come to the right place. The Westin Kids Club for children 4-12 offers supervised activities, completely free of charge. Attentive staff will lead the kids in crafts, music, playground and beach activities and much more.
  • Weddings and events are big here. With 20 multi-purpose event spaces that compromise 65,000 total square feet, and a professional events team, having the perfect wedding, renewal ceremony, party or corporate event is a breeze.
  • The Westin Playa Bonita is pet-friendly; they’ll even provide your four-legged friend with its own Heavenly Bed!


The Westin Playa Bonita

Km 6 Camino a Veracruz

Panama City, Panama

Phone: (507)(3) 04 6600

Website: starwoodhotels.com/

Email: reservations[at]westinplayabonita.com

Rates: $170-1,500