Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Reviews

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Royal Decameron Costa Blanca  

Avenida Principal, Playa Blanca, Panama

"Definitely not a 4 star."
Posted by: Darlene on Apr 4, 2012
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Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Reviews
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Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Panama Panama

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of 9 Hotels in Panama

User rating 3.8

Based on 37 reviews

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Information


Royal Decameron Golf Beach Resort & Villas Panama offers a traditional All Inclusive experience and more.

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Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Reviews

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 3.8 of 5 37 reviews
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"We will definitely NOT go back"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Diane  on Jun 24, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
335 people found this review helpful

Previous Travels: Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Spain, Thailand, Cambodia, Maldives, Greece, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, Jamaica, Aruba, St. Martins and Grenada.

Ages in our party: 44,33,19,19

You have a 2 hour transfer from the airport. This is well organized as is the arrival at the hotel. Our luggage was delivered to our room without any complications.

Rooms:
Simple.
We were only given 3 regular size towels each day - no facecloths, no hand towels, no bathmat.
Very unclean - sinks were never cleaned. Showers were ok. Toilets were very dirty and hardwater stained to a dark gray.

Airconditioner was on the noise level of a lawnmower. The rooms really echoed and had no sound barriers so you constantly heard the people above and beside your room.

We had an ocean front and our boys had ocean view rooms. I would not recommend paying extra for an ocean front. It is not really on the ocean front and the view from the ocean view rooms was as good if not better!
We did not find the food appetizing, even the A La Carte restaurants were tasteless. Of course, it is not uncommon that resort food is bland to unappetizing.

The evening shows were in Spanish only. We speak spanish, so this was not a problem for us, but we felt it was thoughtless.
Majority of staff speak spanish only, but there are a few peppered throughout who speak english as well to help the english only tourists (when they have time). There were a few really good staff, but the majority were EXTREMELY unfriendly and not courteous.

Be very careful and make sure you take US dollars with you. Do not assume you can change money.
Their exchange rate was US$ 0.65 cents for one Canadian dollar. (the bank exchange at home was US$ 0.98 cents for one Canadian dollar.)
Credit card advance costs 10% hotel service fee.
The bank machines were always empty (probably they were just for show).
Several times the front desk had no money neither.
Loose your all inclusive band, it costs US$15.00
Loose your safe key it costs US$80.00
Loose your room key it costs US$35.00
A second key, you must leave a cash deposit of US$15.00
A safe key, you must leave a cash deposit of US$35.00
Loose your towel card - cost US$20.00
Internet US$15.00 for 24 hours (own computer - only one wi-fi device at a time)
and so on.....

The disco is really fabulous. Lots of people and energy. Weekends is a little too full and getting a drink at any point in time is a challenge. Generally he who screams the loudest wins.

Non-motorized watersports are included in your stay. Excursions are extra and expensive.
Security staff is everywhere

Room Number:
1231 & 1606

Room Block:
12 & 16

Arrival:
You have a 2 hour transfer from the airport. This is well organized as is the arrival at the hotel. Our luggage was delivered to our room without any complications.

Rooms:
Simple.
No irons
No kleenex
No conditioner
No cream
Soap is not refilled many days.
They seem to have a problem with towels - we were only given 3 regular size towels each day - no facecloths, no hand towels, no bathmat.
The rooms were very unclean - sinks were never cleaned. After 2 days we put a dab of mascara on the sink to see if it would be cleaned - it was still there on our 7th day! Showers were ok. Toilets were very dirty and hardwater stained to a dark gray.
Airconditioner was on the noise level of a lawnmower. Once you were used to it, it was ok. It helped drown out the loud noise level of neighboring rooms and outside. The rooms really echoed and had no sound barriers so you constantly heard the people above and beside your room.
We had an ocean front and our boys had ocean view rooms. I would not recommend paying extra for an ocean front. It is not really on the ocean front and the view from the ocean view rooms was as good if not better!

Restaurants and Bars:
This is an "All Inclusive" hotel boasting several restaurants and bars.
We did not find the food appetizing. There were 3 buffets and the food was the same everywhere. They supposedly had different themes in the different restauraunts, but that would be 3 disshes different (and terrible) to create the theme. Of course, it is not uncommon that resort food is bland to unappetizing. The drink service at the buffets was fast and courteous.

Even the A La Carte restaurants were tasteless. Service was poor, unfriendly and extremely slow.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
We had a lot of fun at the beach. The pools and grounds were beautiful.

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"Caos no hotel decameron royal do panama"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  joao  on Oct 14, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) BRAZIL
Visited on: Oct, 2011 | Leisure | Solo
234 people found this review helpful

Estive hospedado no hotel em setembro, os aptos são em pequenos blocos e foi-me imposto um no terceiro piso (haja escada). No interior do mesmo não havia frigobar, não havia controle para regulagem do ar condicionado (fixo em 26 graus, tornando-o uma sauna). Cobraram-me uma taxa, sem prévio aviso, de US$21,00 pelo uso do cofre. Quando das chuvas tínhamos que ir sob água até o restaurante, onde chegávamos encharcados. Uma praia sem nada de especial. Apesar de proibido o uso do tabaco nas dependências dos bares (placas escassas e mal situadas), havia fumante vontade contando com a complacência dos funcionários ( simpáticos por sinal). Na saída tive que esperar mais de quarenta minutos para que alguém pegasse minha bagagem, já estava alojado acerca de quatrocentos metros do lobby. Os restaurantes, tumultuadíssimos, serviam não mais que cinco tipo de alimentos excetuando as saladas, sobremesa precária...enfim, um caos.

Room Number:
01

Room Block:
13

Arrival:
27/09/2011

Restaurants and Bars:
enlameados com as chuvas

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
algumas piscinas interditadas após a chuva

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"This was the worst vacation ever."

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Lydia  on Jan 8, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
127 people found this review helpful

Stayed at the Royal Decameron for 1 week (Dec. 7-14, 09)with nine family members. This was the worst vacation ever. The workers at this resort were all rude. We tipped everyone but got terrible service. The rooms were only cleaned on the first day, the other 6 days the maid just emptied the garbage and brought clean towels. The wait staff were the worst...just ignored us.
We have travelled all over the Caribbean and central America but this was the worst resort we have ever stayed at and will never return.

Rooms:
Had to pay for Fridge, Safe, and water. No iron but was given one when requested and never worked. No coffee maker. No Conditioner. Rooms were only cleaned on first day.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bland or too salty.
Served the same dishes every day.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
OK!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Panama canal tour was good.

Other Comments:
Don't stay at the Royal Decameron, you will only be dissapointed.

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"Unfriendly, uncomfortable and highly over-rated"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Robin  on Dec 2, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2011 | Business | With Spouse/Partner
247 people found this review helpful

In all my travels, which are extensive, I have never felt so uncomfortable in a resort (Nov 2011). The only redeeming qualities of this establishment were the beach, ocean and well-kept grounds (albeit they strictly enforced their “stay off the lawn” policy). We upgraded to an oceanfront room. I had three warm showers in 11 days; never had a full complement of towels; I watched the black mould grow in my shower, had a twin bed that was like sleeping on plywood (my husband's bed was broken); the air conditioner had one temperature - frigid; and, daily, the staff rifled through our belongings. We were kept up by rancorous shouting, partying and yelling throughout the night including the security staff and other employees.
The resort sells day passes to the locals, and particularly on the weekends was overwrought with ill-mannered, rude children and adolescents; and condescending Spanish-speaking people. Most staff members were not much better (three exceptions in 11 days). I quit handing out tips as the staff would grab the money and not even smile (let alone say thank you). One can forgive a lot if you see the staff putting in extra effort. This was not the case. Do not expect good customer service or warm hospitality from this Royal Decameron.
The food was sub-standard; the presentation was poor; the most appealing food was the watermelon, poached eggs and rice pudding. Many Spanish-speaking patrons had no respect for line-ups of any sort, and often cut in front with no regard to those in line. At my final meal there was a 2 year old running around only in his diaper, yelling at the top of his lungs; and a dozen other youngsters literally jostling me as I dined.
I would never return, and strongly suggest you consider another resort, if not another country, for your vacation. And yes, November is still rainy season, in spite of what your travel agent may say.

Room Block:
31

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
All off site activities hours away and expensive for what you got. Recommend renting a car from National Car Rental near lobby 1.

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"Good value"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Carolyn and Craig  on Apr 23, 2010  >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
232 people found this review helpful

We are a couple in our 50's and have travelled extensively in the Carribean.For comparison purposes we would suggest this resort is 3 star resort comparable to Breezes Curacao and Jolly Beach Antigua better than Salinas in Cuba but not in the same category as Sandals in Jamaica or the Bahamas. This trip we travelled with a large group (50) as were going to Panama for our nieces wedding. A good choice for a destination wedding.

Your Arrival:
We booked thru Air Transat and Nolitours. The flight from Toronto was long approximately 5 hours followed by a 2 hour bus ride to the resort thru the countryside and Panama City. We upgraded to Option Plus with Air Transat and would highly recommend this. It costs $50 extra per person each way but for this you get assigned seating, an extra 10kg per person for luggage, priority boarding and baggage handling,headsets, blankets and free champagne and alcohol with the food service. Well worth the extra money!! Air Transat is a good carrier and Nolitours is very efficient.
Customs and security were handled efficiently in Panama and there was a pit stop half way to the resort for those that wanted washrooms and food.The bus trip to the resort was a good way to see Panama City and parts of the countryside.
Check in at the resort was bit hectic with a large group but it was handled well and organized so it really did not take that long.

Rooms:
We stayed in the 10 block (room 1007) on the first level of the resort. Its well worth paying the extra for Oceanfront as you are closer to the beach most pools and a good choice of restaurants.
The rooms are adequate and simple, we had a king size bed that was comfortable. The walls are paper thin and you can hear EVERYTHING that goes on in other rooms, so be forewarned.
The air conditioning is either full ON or full OFF but it is a godsend when you come in from 40 degrees heat.
We had to ask three times for towels on arrival but this was not a problem after that. The rooms are cleaned daily and they restock the room with a large water bottle every day (hide the water bottle if it is not empty so you get a new one each day)
It costs $21 extra to rent a safety deposit box for the week, this is well worth the extra money for piece of mind.

Restaurants and Bars:
There are 8 a la carte restaurants with sittings at 615 8 and 930. Most North Americans eat early most Latinos eat later. On arrival you are given a restaurant booking for the first night. Reservations are made for the a la carte restaurants at one of the 3 Lobbies for the rest of the week. You can initially book 3 additional nights and then return on a daily basis for the rest of the nights. We ate at one of the a la carte restaurants every night at the 8 oclock sitting.
Our favourite restaurants were El Canal (seafood), Cafe Med (Mediterrean food where we had a good paella and live flamenco music) Kontiki ( a great seafood crepe with curry),and Panamai (Italian) We did not enjoy Sushi Samba as mush as the tepayanaki style of cooking was done at one station instead of at your table and the food was not as good. The food is very salty here.
There are lots of bars around the resort and getting a drink is not a problem!
Sometimes spanish speaking people get preferential treatment and get served first.
The bar in Lobby 1 serves spanish coffees, cognac and a good dirty martini in REAL glasses but they watch you like a hawk if you try to leave the bar with your drink!
We had breakfast and lunch at one of the buffets and they offered good choices.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Grounds are beautiful and there is always someone pruning, cutting, cutting etc.There are many pools and they are all well maintained and clean. Lifeguards are stationed at all the pools and on the beach and they are very vigilant. The adult pool which was an infinity pool was very nice albeit a fair distance from our room but we found it colder than the other pools so we did not use it as much.
The beach was very nice, the sand was quite hot and you needed shoes of some sort.
A short walk on the beach to the left of the resort is Manuel Noriega's old beach house and is worth seeing. A short walk to the right of the resort is a bar called Woodys and it is owned by Woody and Monique, expatriate Canadians who used to be in the Canadian Forces, it is worth the walk to see.
Iguanas and peacocks room the resort and they are nice to see.
The resort is large and the shuttles they operate dont seem to operate regularly but when we preordered them for our 88 year old mother they did show up on time and were efficient.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The shows at night were really all in Spanish and catered to the Latino crowd and were not all that great.
There are variety of tours that can be booked by DECAMERON EXPLORER at Lobby 1.We did the Embera Indigeneous community and this was a highlight and not to be missed. It costs $80 goes from 8 am to 6 pm with a 2 hour busride thru the countryside followed by a 30 min dugout canoe ride to the Embera. You get to have a refreshing dip in a waterfall, experience the culture of the Embera, see their village have a nice lunch of fish and fruit and buy Embera crafts if you wish.
We also rented a taxi at the main entrance for $50 for five of us and the driver took us into Penonome to see the local crafts.This is well worth it.

Other Comments:
A good vacation and good value for the money. Very HOT and HUMID in April and if we went back we would probably go in January. Bugs were not a problem like in other places and bring lots of sunscreen. The heat can be oppresive.
Checkout was a bit convoluted. Luggage had to be out by 430 am but you could not check out until 5 am, just in time for the lineups to start. This needs to be rethought! Breakfast starts at 5 am on the day of departure and the first bus to the airport leaves at 7 am so its a long day to get home.
We found the 2 hour bus ride way to be a bit long and that might preclude us from going back, but all in all it was a good valued vacation someting a little different than the norm.

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"Definitely not a 4 star."

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Darlene  on Apr 4, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
218 people found this review helpful

My spouse and I made our trip to Panama 27 Feb-5 Mar 2012. We enjoyed Panama very much. The weather was awesome, about 30-32 celius and sunny every day we were there. Can't say the same about the resort or with the Nolitour organization of our trip. The bus ride to the resort was 2 1/2 hours, which I really wouldn't have minded except there was no toilet on the bus and they had nothing on board to drink. Usually, especially with such a long bus ride and after a 5 1/2 hour plane ride, they would have complimentary juice, water, pop or beer. Nope not this trip. The bus ride back to the airport was even worse as we had to change the bus we first got on because the luggage wasn't on it. Then instead of moving the luggage to our bus they had all the passengers move onto the bus the luggage was on. Not very customer friendly. Then the bus broke down a half hour out and we had to wait for another bus, then move the luggage and pax on that the new (very old) bus. Keeping in mind no water,juice, or toilet on the highway in 30 degree temps. The Nolitour rep was no help and had no organization skills. He never once let the pax know what was happening.
Our room was quite worn and could have used a little updating. We were in a room with two double beds that sagged in the middle and were very uncomfortable. The air conditioner wasn't working correctly and sounded like a train going through the room. Bathroom and shower were updated and very nice and big. We immediately went to the lobby and requested a new room but they stated they could do nothing that night but come back tomorrow. To make a long story short, we ended up going back and forth to the lobby for three days before they finally moved us to a room with a king bed and a quiet air conditioner. The new room was nice but we had young adults in the room next door and believe me we heard every word and action, if you know what I mean. We brought ear plugs with us and put those in when we were sleeping.
The beach area was awesome!!!! The beach was big, clean and the water was beautiful. The beach area was the best part of the whole resort. The resort lay out was nice, but none of the lobby bars were open during the day, only the pool bars were. The pools did not open up until 10:00am and closed at 5:00pm! Food was okay, even the a la cartes were nothing special. We have travelled all over the world, staying in accomodations rating from 2-5 star and this resort may be a 3. Not up to the Decameron standard. Will return to Panama some day but never to this resort.

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"Good and Bad"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  John  on Jan 26, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
372 people found this review helpful

First the good..beautiful hot weather, beach fantastic, all resturants were okay although the buffet's were somewhat the same food every day. Very polite and friendly staff in all respects. English is not spoken much. Entertainment (dancers) in evening at Lobby 1 we could not speak more highly of. So much enthusiasm. We were there for our 42 anniversary and had requested a king size bed (nothing more). They took us to three different rooms all with double beds, finally we accepted that was what we were going to get in the Villa's. Golf was a highlight and the Villa's were around the golf course. I am blond and my dear husband has little hair at all. One evening after spending a day in the fun and sun we came back to our villa to hop in the shower and there was a mound (yes a mound) of long black hair. We told the reception and the only other one who has access to the room is housekeeping so it appeared one of them had had a shower in our unit. Not happy at all! When they say 2 - 2 1/ 2 hour ride (actually closer to 3 hours) from the airport to the resort is very true. The hotel and villa's are old and quite small. There was mold on the bottom of our shower curtain which housekeeping did not try to remove. Lots and lots of pool's and resturants and bar's, all very acessable. From Vancouver it is a very, very long plane ride.

Room Number:
52-2

Arrival:
January 18 - 25, 2011

Rooms:
Old, moldy smell, small

Restaurants and Bars:
All great

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Excellent

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Excellent

Other Comments:
The shuttle service between the villa's and the lobby's and resturants was great and friendly

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"A first nice trip to Panama"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Robert  on Jan 25, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
203 people found this review helpful

We go down south every winter and in the last 2 years, we were bad lucky with the weather in Cuba and Riviera Maya in January and February. So this year, we decided to go way south to Panama and we chose the Royal Decameron for a 1 week stay. We were not disappointed by the weather we had a 32-33C every day, 22C during the evenings and no rain.Between January and April, you are sure to get good weather in Panama.I read many reviews before going to the Decameron so I was aware of what was to come.

Room Block:
21

Arrival:
Arrivals and departures are very well organized at this hotel. They are used to get many travelers and it shows.

Rooms:
Our room was in the garden section up the hill. Air conditioning worked well. No little fridge in the rooms (you have to pay to get one) which I think is a little cheap for the price we pay.One bottle of water (1L) at room temperature is all you get everyday. You also have to pay $3/day to use the safe in the room which again should be included in the price we pay. The room was very clean, the king bed was comfortable and it was quiet in our block (21).

Restaurants and Bars:
Food is good specialy in the many "a la carte" restaurants. Not bad in the buffet but it is hard to get hot food from the trays, it is always tepid or cold unless you wait till a server puts new food in the trays. Drinks are not too bad but instead of using reusable hard plastic glasses, they use soft plastic glasses that you often find lying in the sand at the beach. I cannot understand that people leave those glasses (and straws) on the sand when there are trash cans everywhere.Barmen, servers and maids dont smile very much but I think it's because they are shy and they dont speak english. I tried a little spanish and they were more smiling at me.



Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beautiful gardens very well maintained. There are many beautifull pools and they are very clean but not many places to hide from the sun around them. The beach is nice but the sea is a little rough even when it is not windy, nothing like the caribbean. Lots of chairs on the beach and around the pools, it's not a problem to get some of them anytime during the day.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Entertainment is good but the theater is not so great; no roof, no tables, it looks like an arena, you sit on concrete during all the show. It really has to be re-designed or at least they should lend some cushions. There is a lack of local musicians on the site. There is a show every evening but it is a little too late (21H45), no live bands, music is always provided by a disk-jockey. There are many nautical activities, we would have liked to do some kayaking but we saw too many people having a hard time to come back to shore because of the current.
There are a couple of excursions available but most of them are around Panama City and the canal which means a 2 hours bus ride to get there and another 2 hours bus ride to come back. We did the cruise on the canal and liked it very much, we had a very friendly and good guide (Wesley)who gave us lots of informations on the canal, the city and the people of Panama.

Other Comments:
Overall, I would say that Panama is a nice place to go specialy for the weather; you are sure that it is going to be hot in January end February which is not always the case for Cuba, the Domican Republic and Riviera Maya. For me the decameron is a good 4 *. We heard from many visitors that go to Panama every year that the Royal Decameron is the best hotel in that region, I have a tendency to agree. But for the same amount of money, I would wait till March and April and go to the Riviera Maya which is a lot better for the resorts, the food, and the beaches.

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"Fantastic resort but needs improvements."

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 3.5 of 5

Posted by:  Karen from Oshawa  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
86 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Jan 19 - 26
bus ride long but enjoyable.

Rooms:
Not what we expected for the money we paid. Not overly clean. Showers had no pressure. No face cloths, no tissues, ran out of toilet paper, only 1 drinking glass.

Restaurants and Bars:
bars need more bartenders who spoke English and also should have been more friendly. Would like to have had more seafood and beef in rests. Lacked variety of food.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Grounds were beautiful, pools exquisite, beach great. Adult only pool stil had young children using it. Should have horse manure cleaned often instead of being buried in the sand by handlers. Vendors on beach should use "inside voices"

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Took other tours not from resort due to high prices.

Other Comments:
Found many people very pushy, shovey, and rude at bars, restaurants, and shows. Must have gone at bad travel time. Need more English at shows so we could understand theme nights. Resort should be more accessible for those with disabilities. Need more computers for internet users. Fantastic resort but needs improvements. Panama is a beautiful country and I will return but at a different resort.

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""Not recommended for people with restricted mobility”"

Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
User Rating:  Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Sandra & Byerbill from Brighton  on Jan 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
98 people found this review helpful

Our Arrival:
This was the first trip that my wife and I (mid 60’s) had taken to Panama. We were pleasantly surprised at the spacious seats on our Air Transat Airbus 300 for the 5 hour flight from Toronto.

Panama airport clearance was fast and efficient. Nolitours had several reps to meet our plane at the airport. The hotel had its own table next to the baggage carousel. Here they handed you a brown envelope with resort info and tie-on baggage tags (with your room number), a resort map, and other information. After tying these tags to your own bags you move them to a nearby coral at the far side of the room where they are loaded on a truck for the resort. Next time you saw our bags they are at our room.

A couple of hundred feet further there is a bus awaiting with a refreshing complimentary ice cold can of water, beer or pop. The first hour of our bus trip a guide gave us an informative narration of what we were seeing as we drove along. After a short washroom break the second hour on our bus trip we saw a narrated video of our resort and tours that we could book at the hotel. Each Monday about 1,000 new guests arrive at the Decameron from Canada alone and since most arrive late afternoon the resort pre-books specialty a-la-carte restaurants for the first night’s dinner. Each bus from the airport is booked to a different restaurant.

Upon arrival at the resort there were tables outside the lobby (about 10) numbered like your coded brown envelope where you got your room keys, beach towel cards, and wrist bands. If you want a room safe key/lock go to the table at left end inside the lobby. ($2 US/Day). I prefer a second room key and this were immediately available at the main desk for a returnable $15 US deposit. The process is efficient and well organized. An informative orientation was held the next morning at the convention centre which was well presented by 8 or 9 speakers.

Rooms:
This is a very large resort with different room locations. We requested a 2nd floor beachfront room and got what we ordered. Many of the other rooms are on top of a hill which is 65 steps above the beach which seems further each time the thermometer rises. Our room (#1120) was basic but quite acceptable and near most facilities such as bars, restaurants, stage and ocean. Central air conditioning worked well. Room came with TV (limited English channels), bottled water, hair dryer, telephone, shower and room safe as well as a balcony. Our room was made up at 4:30 pm the first full day so we requested that it be made up by noon in the future. (assuring uninterrupted afternoon siesta). This was done as requested on all future days.

Restaurants and Bars:
The Atlantis and Pacifiko theme buffet restaurants are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Pannamai is open as a buffet for breakfast and lunch. (becomes Italian a-la-carte at dinner). Each night the two buffet restaurants rotated menus so you could choose your favourite. (e.g.: Spanish, Caribbean)

There are several restaurants which serve as snack bars in the afternoon 12:00-4:30pm

There are eight a-la-carte restaurants each requiring advanced reservations for your choice of three evening sittings. I have photographs of these menus and have posted them about half way through my resort pictures at http://www.worldisround.com/articles/351157/index.html

Reservations can be made at any of the three lobbies or over your room phone.

1) You will be booked automatically to one a-la-carte for the night you arrive.
2) On Tuesday of your first week and on Sunday of yours second week (for 2 week stays) you may book any 3 a-la-carte restaurants in advance for each week.
3) On any day that you do not have a previous a-la-carte reservation you may book for that night only. Usually this is best done before 9am. Yes this is correct…you can eat at an a-la-carte every night of your stay. You can also book any a-la-carte restaurant more than once.

We feel that the a-la-carte food is better than the relatively limited selection at the two evening buffets. The most popular appears to be the Panammai (Italian) which fortunately is the largest.

The local beer (Balboa) is on tap at all bars and restaurants. All drinks are served in light plastic disposable cups except at restaurants and lobby bars where glass is used. This resort would be a good place to bring your own insulated mug due to high average temperatures. The Argentinean house wines served with meals were at best acceptable with the red the best in my opinion. A number of people preferred to buy their own wine locally and bought it to dinner.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
January is the dry season in Panama but there were exceptionally heavy rains in early December this year which might help explain why everything was such a magnificent green with many bushes in full floral bloom. For those of you who check Panama weather on the internet before you go don’t worry if it says rain. The resort is positioned in an area where there is seldom any rain. We saw about 45 minutes of misty rain the 2 weeks we were there. The resort is like one gigantic botanical garden with many of the trees carrying identification labels. Gardeners were everywhere as were garden watering hoses which ran 24 hours a day. Peacocks roamed free on the upper level. Birds were everywhere both on land and over the Ocean.

The resort is very large and in built in two levels on the top and bottom of a steep hill. These levels are joined by 3 roads and two sets of stairs. There are numerous pools and many of these were on the length of the beach just in from the Ocean.

The beach is among the widest that I have seen with soft light coloured sand. 20 foot tides come and go twice each day. Lifeguards man the beach and it is interesting that, likely due to the tides, the beach flags were always orange with no green ever visible. The ocean was exceptionally calm at all times due to winds blowing offshore all the time we were there.

Activities:
As well as the usual nightly shows, poolside games, golf, disco, casino, and other activities, the resort had lots for you to do. Each Monday and Wednesday night local crafters display their wares in the resort next to the Atlantis restaurant. The Decameron Explorer had tour desks in each of the three lobbies where almost 20 tours were available. Many are all-day tours as there is a two hour bus trip each way to Panama. We chose the Panama Canal Partial Transit which gave us a 4 hour trip through two sets of locks in a 300 capacity boat combined with a lunch on board. At $110 each it might have seemed expensive until you hear what it costs to take a boat through the Canal. This trip runs Friday and Saturday with alternative days going north or south. The excursion was great but I wished that we had locked with one of the larger ocean vessels instead of the smaller yacht that joined us. Such is luck of the draw. I have posted a few pictures here: http://www.worldisround.com/articles/351162/index.html After the trip we went to a duty free shop and although the prices seemed good they were actually much higher than we found at the airport later on.

Other Comments:
By traveling on a Monday instead of the weekend the airport was much less crowded. The dominant language heard among guests at this resort was French. (Montreal) with Spanish (Columbia) and English (Canada, USA) a distant third. It is truly an international resort. As Nolitours brochure clearly states “This resort is not recommended for people with restricted mobility” as the necessity of traveling between the two levels. Food was great. (especially the a-la-carts) although we found the buffet’s assortments were small for a resort of this size. This is a giant resort with a large number of guests but staff is well trained to handle large numbers of people so at no time did we fell crowded and line-ups were few and far between. You can see this from our pictures. There is a rumour that a second international airport might be built in the future nearer the resort. This would help. For those of you who smoke there is a law in Panama that limits smoking in certain areas. The resort allows smoking in two locations only: 1) On your room Balcony and 2) on the beach. ( Marlboros $19US/carton at airport duty-free) We had a great trip, met many new friends and certainly would consider returning and many people who we spoke with have already done so.

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