The Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort, Panama, great place for an overnight getaway from the city. You can be there sitting on the beach or poolside with a cocktail in a little over an hour (traffic pending, of course). Upon arrival, at 3pm for check in, it was a bit of a Zoo. Everything seemed a little hectic and disorganized with a makeshift check in counter for new guests. Once checked in, you get your keys for the room, then you have to get them activated at a "different" desk, then only can you get access to your room. (The concept of line-ups in Latin America puzzles me). I'm sure check in will be better when the construction in complete.
When getting to our room, we noticed they had not placed us in the room we requested with a King Bed, however 2 doubles. When we went to see about changing rooms, they could only put us in a room next to the elevator shaft - NO THANKS!!! We decided to stay, however, the staff were polite enough to offer us an extended checkout the following day for the inconvenience - great move!! (5pm instead of 12pm).
The rooms are small, compact and have everything you need - beds, AC, balcony with a sea view, TV, washroom etc..etc... Very comfortable and clean-ish. There were a lot of bugs upon arrival, but they may just have been due to the room being just serviced and the deck doors being open. The hallways echo, so make sure you ask for an end of hall room. The walls are a little thin too, we could hear the TV, family and "crying" baby next door, however, we did also have a connecting door between rooms. The beds are super comfy with great pillows (yes, those are pillows), so getting a good night sleep is definitely on the cards.
The staff are very polite and accommodating in both English and Spanish, no matter where you are and what you are doing, some even have the time to ask you how you are, whether you enjoyed your meal and or enjoying your stay. Maybe some of the hotels in PTY City can take some training tips from these guys!!
KIDS KIDS KIDS - Everywhere. Arriving on the Saturday it was like a kids club. Apparently Panamanians take their families here for the day and use the facilities. It did clear out later in the afternoon, but you can forget about the quiet cocktail around the pool bar till later in the afternoon/early evening. There are loungers everywhere, a little Vegas style (right on top of each other), and beach towel service too, however there are a good number (of sun loungers) under palapa's on the grassy slopes and on the beach - Not too many kids. Here you can enjoy a little peace and quiet till the sun goes down. The pool bar does close at 6:30pm which was a little early and the only other bar was up in the hotel, a trek when wet an search for that last "sundowners" cocktail.
Dinner is buffet service, which judging by other standards in PTY is OK. A mix of fresh (pending on what time you get there) salads, soups, fruits and breads, four dishes to choose from chicken, pork, beef, fish and then the added bonus of a fresh carvery. Wine, beer and soda's with table service. There is an Italian, which you can reserve and I would recommend. Alternatively, there is a Japanese restaurant, which is supposedly very good - book early otherwise you'll be disappointed if you are here for one night you might not get a reservation. There is light local entertainment in the courtyard for families and everyone interested. Watch out for breakfast - either go early, or late - it's like people think they will never be fed again.
The late checkout was "worth the mix up in the room" - the pool and hotel was pretty empty and very quiet - a great end to the weekend. Be careful, as they may charge you for the late checkout if you do not agree this in advance and its almost the price of another night's stay.
All in all - well worth the stay and value for money - polite service, comfortable rooms, pool, beach and everything to eat and drink at your fingertips. Will go back here for sure and recommend for a night or 2 - Kids or no kids.
- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Bijao Beach Hotel
- Sheraton Bijao Beach Hotel Santa Clara
- Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort Panama/Santa Clara
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