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Le Méridien Panama City

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From small beginnings great things come.

One’s stay at this Méridien hotel proceeded like a Hollywood romantic comedy, not the formulaic “meet-cute+falling in love+dramatic break-up+musical montage+forever together” kind, though. More the “dislike at first sight+getting worse+cursing the ceiling” kind, which fortunately, as everyone knows results in happy endings+adorable moppets.

Arrival was tough. One of the lobby door was broken and remained so during a whole  week, while the hotel was literally crammed with people either destroying part of the bar, trying to fix opiniated elevators, repairing the pool or even, at some point, getting one’s toilet to flush. One is happy to report that given time everything was fixed but the lobby door.

Three things work against this property: its location on the very busy Avenida Balboa with unsufficient soundproofing; the micropool on 6th floor, exposed to gushes of wind strong enough to capsize a small boat; the mini club lounge on first floor serving a nano continental breakfast. The lounge used to be by the pool, with a huge terrace and a great view on the isthmus. One suspects a couple of children were taken away by the wind and marketing commanded to stop the mayhem.

But what the hotel lacks in public areas is more than compensated in hospitality and friendliness. Even the guys at the door, filtering arrivals and calling cabs, are friendly and smiling, when usually they are a bunch of thugs one wants to punch in the face. The Front Desk crew is truly fine, under supervision of the unextinguishably vivacious Wendy. In charge of the mini lounge, Eric provides grand service.

There are three levels of suites, Gold, Platinum and Diamond, from big-ish to lavish. The Diamond suite includes Molton Brown bathroom amenities, bliss in a bottle. Also, the hotel has a agreement with the Intercontinental Miramar next door for its guests to enjoy their huge pool free of charge.

So you see, checking out was one of those endings, a bit sad but happy. One knows everyone’s first name and most importantly, when said that one must come back, it sounds right, warm, and inspired by genuine care. Thank you guys!

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