3 Replies Latest reply: Dec 13, 2016 5:04 PM by ssindc RSS

SPG, Westin First Impressions - Panama

ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

My first/initial (and somewhat preliminary) experience/impressions with SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) linked to Marriott Rewards and the Platinum/status match, here in Panama City, Panama.  On, and, frankly, I didn't have a lot of experience with WESTIN, either, so here goes...

 

Quick summary: for the most part, I was impressed, pleased, and pleasantly surprised with both SPG and this particular Westin.

 

First, a little background on Panama and the Marriott

 

So here I am in Panama at the Westin Playa Bonita

20161211_114226.jpg

  • This is a VERY different property than the Marriott downtown!
  • Nice, large resort property on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal.
  • Front desk clerk offered warm platinum welcome, and we had a nice chat about the merged programs.
  • Cheerily upgraded to top floor with killer balcony looking out over ocean - the phone pic, above was taken from my balcony.  The view was equally expansive in the other direction, but my phone couldn't do it justice....
    • Front desk staff APOLOGIZED (whoa) that there were no suites available, but told me that - if I wanted to move after the first night, I could have a suite for the rest of my stay.  (I was delighted, but declined.)
  • The executive lounge, with killer floor to ceiling glass looking out over the ocean (looking out into the ocean where dozens of cargo ships of all sizes are waiting for their passage/appointment through the canal), has many features
    • in appearance and staff - similar to JW level properties;
    • Full table layout: china, glassware, flatware, linen throughout the day;
    • Food offerings were limited but generous. I've seen better (recently at the Marriott in Abu Dhabi - nice!) and worse (more places than I can count).
    • Nice coffee/espresso machine;
    • Finger food/fruit & nuts during the lunch hour;
    • Limited wine and beer on offer during limited hours.  Bloody Mary's available Sunday morning, a different alcoholic breakfast drink on Monday.
    • One irrelevant but (to me, fascinating) ornithological point .... dunno if you've ever seen the magnificent frigate bird (no, I didn't make up the name), it's typically classified as a cormorant ... stunning - looks like a kite (but a big one - wing spans of 7-8 feet - no, that's not a typo).  Anyway, the only time I've ever seen them in large numbers has been here in Panama - at the canal locks (another trip), where the fish get caught and driven up to the surface, they are ubiquitous... up on Ancon hill, they're common as well... But it's wild (sorry, no pun intended) seeing them flying at, around, and under the hotel windows and balconies... At the moment, there's one riding the thermals up (e.g., circling) - it appears to be climbing at about two stories a minute - and at no point during when it was in my field of view, did it move its wings.... incredible...
  • Comfortable room, spacious, nicely appointed bathroom, robe and slippers, different (but satisfactory) toiletries.  Two bonuses:
    • post-9/11 travel basics - including tooth brush/paste, razor/cream, Q-tips, etc. and
    • Zika-area handy insecticide wipes....
  • Recycling container in room! (C'mon Marriott, get on board.....)
  • Mini-gripe - solid desk chair but NOT ON WHEELS and not adjustable.  ARGH.
  • Pools, pools, pools, swim up bars, water volleyball, etc... But, hey, I'm here for a conference so that's all lost on me...
  • Strange and inexplicable ... head-scratcher: the Starwood web page is chock full of information, but much of it is ... um ... just plain wrong.  WEIRD.  Among other things, I sent emails to three (3) different addresses prominently displayed on the web site, and I received responses from, you guessed it, none of them.

 

In any event, a good first impression of Starwood, SPG (Platinum Match), and Westin.

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

Location Brand Hotel
Panama City, Panama
  • Re: SPG, Westin First Impressions - Panama
    rlswider Platinum 7 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I had a similar great experience while trying out the newly Matched Platinum Status at the Westin Grand Munich. I agree strongly as to a good first impression of Starwood, SPG (Platinum Match), and Westin. I am looking forward to trying out other Starwood Options in the near future

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: SPG, Westin First Impressions - Panama
    iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Great report and good to learn more about SPG and their welcoming gestures at this resort.  Seems then got the name right as it looks/sounds like a beautiful resort.

     

    Recycle Container.....I had one in my room in Puerto Vallarta at the CasaMagna Marriott last week.

     

    Executive Lounge......Sounds as if they are on top of their game especially if one is able to make their own Bloody!!

     

    Thanks for the information as from what I've seen of the Marriott offerings in Panama City, pretty lame so it is great to learn of a spot to consider.

     

    P.S.  You made the right decision to fly Copa, love them and entering the U.S. in MIA I've heard is less than fun. Rather put a sharp stick in my eye than enter there if the stories I've heard are even close to being true.  PTY is a very nice airport and easy to connect through as well with a huge Copa Lounge.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: SPG, Westin First Impressions - Panama
      ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Absolutely, IAHFLYR, over the last few years, I've become a fan of both Copa Airlines and PTY airport.  (And, yes, I avoid MIA at all costs!!!)

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)