1Our very own Ohio Sales Manager Tina Tiano just visited one of our newest popular destinations — Panama! If you or your clients are looking for something new, Panama may be the destination. Here are her reviews.

Day 1 & First impressions. The airport was large but easy to maneuver. Customs was a breeze. The downtown area is about a ½ hour drive from the airport.

First impressions — Panama City is a real city! Driving into it, I felt like I was driving into a little Miami or Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, with high rises and lights everywhere. I was expecting a San Jose, Costa Rica style city experience but it felt much more cosmopolitan, modern and trendy — a real international city on par with any U.S. metropolis. This is what sets it apart from other Latin American countries.

22I was taken to Le Meridian and met by the Director of Sales. I checked into my “gold suite”, which was large with a separate living area with couches, flat screen TV and a fully stocked mini bar with an assortment of soft drinks, beers, wine, champagne, hard liquor and US brand snacks (i.e. Oreos, Pringles, M&Ms Snickers etc). The bedroom had a desk, internet access, flat screen TV and a king bed. The views of the city were amazing. The bathroom is very large and housed a shower, toilet, double-sink vanity and corner Jacuzzi tub. The décor is very modern and done in earth tones. This hotel definitely has a corporate feel but would merit a 6 Apple rating.

The Meridian is cosmopolitan and chic and would fit right into the heart of Manhattan. It caters to the business traveler as do the majority of the hotels downtown. It is well located in the city center, close to the major highway but fronting a park and the bay it overlooks both the old and new quarters of the city. It is close to many charming restaurants as well as a lot of nightlife. The rooms are contemporary with large marble bathrooms, flat screen TVs and internet access. The hotel has meeting rooms as well as a nice spa, pool and bar area.

**A note on city hotels**. The majority of the city hotels have a corporate feel and there are no kids or areas for kids. While not specifically adults only, since the bulk of the business is corporate, these hotels cater specifically to this clientele and have no areas or recreational activities for children. Families may be better off staying at the Gamboa Resort or the Intercontinental just minutes from downtown. The Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza is also good for family groups (in the downtown area), as well as the Holiday Inn on the Canal.

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