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Radisson Summit Hotel And Golf
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Reviewed 19 April 2012

As a Marriott gold member, my first inclination was to stay at the Panama City Marriott. I developed my tour itinerary and recognized that it would be better to stay closer to the rain forests. Not only would this provide a more serene and natural environment, but it would also alleviate any traffic congestion related concerns or stress. (Be aware that traffic to, from, and in Panama City is a nightmare during the day. The fact that the Marriott was undergoing renovation and had a scheduled swimming pool closure during our planned visit was one more motivation to look elsewhere.

I explored the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, which was a constant reference point based on location, popularity, and reputation (good and bad). Having attended many large corporate conferences at resort hotels, I wanted to avoid the Gamboa - but have the benefits of its locale. I discovered the relatively new Radisson Summit property on TripAdvisor and found that rooms here were were easily 50% cheaper than at the Gamboa Resort. Additionally, our rate went down after the second night.

Our flight arrived late night and we traveled to the resort from Tucomen airport without any traffic to contend with. The taxi cost was $48, which is pretty much a standard ground transportation cost to this hotel across the board. We were promptly greeted and welcomed at reception. Being a life-long New Yorker, the pace was noticeably slower and more relaxed. Being an easy traveler, I rolled with it and settled into Panama time.

My Spanish isn't great (but I tried at every opportunity) - the man at reception didn't speak great English (and he tried equally hard.) He had our room ready and, based on previous reviews, I was sure to ask for a high floor with a rainforest view. He made a quick and pleasant change and we ended up in a lovely room overlooking the peaceful forest.

The hotel is nice with a relaxed vibe. The dining area is spacious and the infinity pool setting takes advantage of the great property vistas. The free-form pool was more typical of a resort of this type and was more of an attraction for younger kids. Food was satisfactory and reflected the generally plain, bland cuisine of Panama. There food is more akin to southern U.S. cooking than more flavorful Mexican cooking. Think: "meat and potatoes." There was a bar that seemed to serve as a golf "clubhouse", but it was just an extension of the restaurant with a more stylized interior design.

I visited on Easter weekend and booked two excursions through Xplora Eco-Adventures (www.panamatraveltours.com). I've written a separate review for them, but highly recommend the "Bayano Caves: Underground River Trekking Adventure" and "Panama Canal: Wildlife Safari Boat Tour". We returned from these tours and found the pool area crowded, but clean and with an attentive wait staff delivering drinks and food poolside. It was a very well managed operation.

I have two criticisms of the hotel: (1) We spoke with the concierge and front desk separately on our two full days at the property. The first time to make dinner reservations for us at Miraflores Lock. We were told they would call us back with the reservation confirmation and time. They never did. We also called and asked for a wake-up call to ensure we got back to Panama City for our flight to Contadora Island. They never called with the wake-up call. Luckily we were up on-time. (2) I was also bothered by the lack of attention to issues of housekeeping. While our room was always serviced, there seemed to be a complete lack of awareness (or care) about handprints, fingerprints, smudges, and other appearances that really detracted from an otherwise good hotel. I recognize that this is not a "Four Seasons Hotel", but the mirrors, glass doors, stainless steel elevators, and doors to guest rooms were unnecessarily a mess. I'm not sure if this is a staffing is or management issue, but it never got cleaned during our visit.

I imagine the Gamboa has more services, more amenities, more dining options, and a better business center. I didn't come to Panama to sit in my hotel. The Radisson provided all of my wants and needs at a high comfort level and at a very reasonable price. I needed to eat. I wanted a nice pool for post-adventure relaxation, and a clean, quiet place to sleep. You really can't go wrong at this hotel. If you are a golf-lover, add a nother star to this review.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank BrooklynRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

My family arrived on Friday to the Hotel. We did our reservations through a website and one we got to the check - in counter, it took appox 45 mins. to get a room assigned to us. They told us, since it was not made through there website there was only one personal in the staff that could help us with this reservation.
When we finally got our room, it must say they are very nice, no complains on this. The pool area is good as well.
When Dinner came around however, they took 1:30 mins to bring our appetizers, there was only another couple at the rest. To top it all off, the food was as worst as can be, and COLD. So after the entire dinner ordeal we decided to go to the main lobby as it has a bar and have a drink, at 10:00 on a FRIDAY night, they told us the bar was closed and there was NO where in the entire hotel where we could get even a cup of wine.
Next day we asked at the reception desk is we could rent o use some golf carts to drive around the hotel area, since it has a gold course, they told us it was free for guest, we just had to got and ask. When we went to the golf cart club house they said we needed to have payed for the entire gold round in order to use the golf carts. SO as you can see, even the staff contradicts itself. This is how bad it was.

I am aware that the hotel have good reviews here. So either we just choose a bad weekend to go, or the service is going down hill. Would definitively stay elsewhere next time.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank gnovey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jcalvoc, General Manager at Radisson Summit Hotel And Golf, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2012

Dear Guest

On behalf of our entire staff at Radisson Summit Hotel & Golf Panama I apologize for the concerns you shared about your experience at this hotel, this is not our regular standard services to our guests. I have addressed also the dinner and lobby bar situation with our team, and I assure you we are working diligently to ensure a similar situation does not occur again in the future. Golf carts are available to our guest but for a small fee, or free with a hotel personal ride, I do not recommend to drive alone cause there are to many hills and very dangerous curves. I will address this miscommunication to our Front Desk and Golf Club Staff.

Please dont hesitate to contact me if need it..

Warmest Regards
Jose Calvo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

My husband and I spent two weeks in the Western side of Panama birding with a scuba diving detour in Bocas del Toro. Gamboa was the last "chapter" of our trip and we were staying at another property. But the heat and humidity of the Gamboa region was getting to us. One day, our private guide, Beny (who we always turned to for lunch recommendations), suggested we have lunch at the Radisson Summit Hotel.

I thought I had walked into a dream. The entire building was air conditioned (our other property wasn't), there were two pools to cool off in (our other property didn't have any pools), and there was a restaurant on the premises (our other property didn't have a restaurant).

No sooner than lunch ended, did I walk over to reception and book my husband and I a room for our last night in Gamboa. We took a loss on our last night at the other property, but in the end (and my husband and I both still stand by this), we were totally fine with the loss on the other property.

The thing that completely shocks me is that birders aren't really aware of this property. Usually they flock (sorry for the pun) to Canopy Tower or its sister property, Canopy B&B. But the Radisson's amenities are a godsend when you consider the pool. To be able to cool off at the end of the day--or even in the middle of the day when the birds are taking siesta from the heat--is a necessity. There is even a trail in the back of the hotel's own forest/jungle where you could get some birding in.

Our last night and days in Gamboa were perfect here. We were tired and took advantage of the pools and all we had to do was step out on our balcony and watching the massive hawk migration overhead. In fact, hundreds of raptors settled down for the evening in the forest behind the hotel and then next morning we saw incredible numbers rising from the forest--A SIGHT TO BEHOLD!

The hotel needs un poquito help with the food. They tended to undercook their meats. Our Spanish was limited and our server's English was limited, so the communication of "well done" got lost. Instead, our burgers were a bit raw (and my husband has a low bar when it comes to "rare.") BUT all it took was for me to explain to the server (when he noticed that we had only taken a bite or two out of our burgers) that the meat was not cooked and he apologized and when he presented the check, we didn't have to pay for our entrees at all! Great service!

Other nice things: Free wi-fi, flat screen TV with plenty of English-speaking channels

Would like to see: Chairs on the balcony/veranda

Next time we're in Gamboa area we're going to stay at this property for certain!

Room Tip: For birders: INSIST on the Forest view. Floor 5 or above is great. (We were on Floor 5) It puts you right at eye level of the canopy.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank MsBoice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

We stayed 4 nights at Easter in the Radisson Summit and felt very comfortably. Even though we arrived at 11pm no problem with the check-in. The requested roll-away bed wasn't in the room but was delivered within 5 minutes which was very nice. We were not sure with our choice since we wanted to stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort but after reading a lot of reviews and the better deal having breakfast included at the Radisson we booked with them and haven't been disappointed. Clean and spacious room, same with the bathroom. Pool and nature trail were nice as well. From the hotel we made couple of trips to Panama City, Colon, Caribbean coast, Canal, etc. Only downfall is the drive out to the location but better this than staying in the city.

A great help was our GPS: for Garmin you can download maps for $29.95 (http://www.gpstravelmaps.com/panama.php) which I only can recommend. We drove about 600 miles withing a week and had no problem at all. And at the rental car companies you easily pay $15.00 per day for a GPS unit.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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Thank readingpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2012

We just got back from Panama and I'm all excited to write my reviews. We stayed here for 4 nights and had a great experience. The people at this hotel made it over the top amazing. Everyone was so friendly. We were the horrible Americans that could barely speak Spanish. Communicating was difficult at times, but that was our fault, not theirs. They did their best and were so nice about it. The rooms were very clean! The views were beyond spectacular. The kid's pool was perfect. It was HUGE! My tall 3 yr old could stand in the whole thing but still fun enough for my 7 and 9 yr old to love it too. We got to ride the golf carts, just for fun. Definitively do that, the grounds so amazing.

I really want to give it 5 stars. But the food is the only thing holding me back. Its not that the food was bad, it was just so limited. We were so bored of the menu by day 2. There are no kid's menus which really stuck. I get it's not a family resort, but there were so few options and who wants to spend $16 of a 3 year old to eat, right? If the hotel is listening, make more options in your menu! You have everything else down PERFECT, there just needs to be more food options. A solution would be renting a car. If you had a car, you would have more choices. We took the free shuttle to the mall one night to eat something different. That was fun! Security, cleanliness, friendliness, all make this place a 5 star!

Room Tip: Ask for a high floor with rain forest view!
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank yayajones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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