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Set in the undisturbed farmlands and private shores of the Panamanian Pacific rises a heavenly escape, the JW Marriott, as a golf and beach resort it offers spectacular environs in which to enjoy both of these pleasures and many more in between. What is even more attractive is that the greater area within which the resort is built, known as Buenaventura is an ever expanding complex of shops, neighborhoods, villas and specialty stores which will continue to thrill visitors who come in the future for first or repeat visits.
Tourists should know that it is around a two hour trip from the Panama Airport but the roadway is pretty easy to follow and it is a scenic drive of towns and landscapes. Once one nears the town of Rio Hato there are plenty of signs signaling where to turn for the hotel. A good tip is to visit the place in low season, which runs from September till the end of November. It is rainy season, but even on the most rainy days there will be plenty of sunshine in the mornings.
The hotel at first glance captures the leisurely luxuries of its seaside locale. The open air lobby is a spacious breezeway wherein check in happens quickly and the personnel are happy to be of service. Our rewards status was recognized and proper upgrades were given. The overall look of the hotel structure is a rich colonial style with earthy tones, stone walkways, high ceilings, lots of rich wood and comfortable seating. The staff were exceedingly friendly, on occasion there was a certain delay or miscommunication from requests to have things brought to the room or the turn down service to be made, but apologies were rendered.
The most striking feature about the rooms was the combination of the fine décor with the unparalleled views of the pools and sea on the horizon. The fine weather and spacious balcony beckons one to leave the sliding doors open to the beauty outside. Bath products are first class and there is plenty of space to enjoy all the benefits of a lengthy vacation. There is a nice little spa which is in a separate building, it is not complementary which we sort of get, but not for even the highest Marriott rewards members, a practice we’ve only encountered here. The gym is quite small and could be better.
The overall campus is large and there is plenty to see and do around. The outdoor dining area is perfect for nighttime entertainment and a relaxing sunny breakfast. The halls and open spaces around the hotel are filled with decorative arts and quiet courtyards. There is even a chapel with Sunday services, and a little complex with a minimart and some specialty stores. There are several pools, which form a secluded labyrinth in which guests can relax, sun themselves and cool off with excellent drinks and meals. There are adult only pools and an expansive infinity pool that stretches right to the Pacific Ocean. Some of the shaded poolside chairs provide a perfect bedding for a lazy afternoon or the one right on the beach allow one to soak up some sun with only the sound of the waves nearby. Many excursions are also offered as part of the activities at this grand resort from sea escapes to horseback rides on the beach.
All things considered it is a splendid hotel in an idyllic location. It truly masters the union of a classic JW luxury experience with all the carefree and relaxing aspects one hopes to find in a resort. Some little things we mentioned could be improved to make it even better, but all around an excellent property which JW should be proud to keep their name on.