I had lunch at Miramar Intercontinental. The food and service were excellent — property appears beautiful and very centrally located, but again, very corporate.
I then went to The Riu Panama Plaza. This property is very large — over 600+ rooms. It is located within the city but logistically a little difficult to get in and out of this location. This hotel may be a bit confusing to the normal travel agent or Apple client because unlike other RIU, it is not all-inclusive. Rooms are ultra modern and each floor’s corridor and rooms are done in 1 of 3 colors; orange, purple or lime green. They deviate from the consistent RIU look as there are true king beds and no bottles of liquor on tap in each room. The ends of each hallway are all glass, which lets a lot of light into the hotel. This is the quintessential incentive hotel as there is a ton of meeting space — great for large groups. There are 3 restaurants including an area for takeaway — sandwiches/bottled water etc. Their sushi bar is the area hot spot. They also have a very scenic pool/bar area as well as an excellent spa and wellness center.
Radisson Decapolis. The hotel is connected to the casino and mall by a walkway from the lobby, which is very convenient. The lobby is small and nondescript and the public areas of the hotel are a little darker. Rooms are nicely appointed with brightly colored accessories and are contemporary in feel. There are large 4’X 8” photos of native tribes on the wall in keeping with the Panamanian theme (Note — The women are topless in some of the pictures. Sometimes Americans clientele are not receptive to this). There is a great martini and sushi bar in the lobby, which gets a lot of local traffic. It attracts a heavy South American clientele. The restaurant has a glass ceiling that looks into the pool above — so swimmers beware! The pool is on a terrace overlooking the city. It is very small and the pool bar and spa is a bit older.
The new 600-room Radisson is being built next door and is slated to open 2011 but every one is tight-lipped about the property itself and is keeping all info under wraps.