The Best Boutique Hotels to Book in Casco Viejo, Panama
American Trade Hotel is set in a stately neoclassical building overlooking leafy Plaza Herrera | Courtesy of American Trade Hotel / Booking.com
Cobbled streets lined with Spanish colonial townhouses, hulking bell-towered churches, views over palm trees to Pacific Ocean sunsets: Casco Viejo, the old colonial quarter of Panama City, Panama, has bags of character and a wealth of boutique places to stay. Here are the best – bookable on Culture Trip.
Selina Casco Viejo Panama City
Courtesy of Selina Casco Viejo Panama City / Booking.com
Aimed at travelers on a budget, the Selina hostel chain offers flashpacker comfort with modern co-worker fittings in cities around the world. The Panama branch sits on a hill overlooking the Casco Viejo, with Pacific views from some dorms and doubles. These are adorned with cool stencil art and decked out in distressed woods. Shared spaces include co-worker lounges, a pool, yoga deck and movie room, and there are organized activities on offer, from walks to ceviche making classes. There are a number of restaurants in the surrounding area.
Courtesy of American Trade Hotel / Booking.com
Set in a stately, balcony-fronted, neoclassical building overlooking leafy Plaza Herrera, a block from the ocean, this grand dame offers rooms in a white palette offset with dark woods, balconies overlooking the square and bathrooms in cream metro-tile and marble. The bar serves great margaritas and there’s an on-site jazz club.
Courtesy of Hotel Magnolia Inn / Booking.com
Choose the Magnolia for the views from the upper-floor rooms – you’ll see either a romantic tumble of terracotta and bell towers, or the ocean and the glass spires of downtown Panama City. Rooms and public areas are guesthouse-cozy, with simple wood-laminate flooring, rattan-weave art and wooden-shuttered wardrobes. There are dorms, too, ranging from slightly pricier four-bed rooms with ensuites to a 12-bed ballroom, which has no air-conditioning.
Courtesy of Central Hotel Panamá / Booking.com
The Central is the most luxurious hotel in the Casco Viejo, sitting in a handsome 19th-century neoclassical building overlooking Plaza de la Independencia. There’s a rooftop pool with gorgeous bay-and-ocean views, plush rooms and a destination restaurant serving Argentinean steaks. Roosevelt stayed here during the construction of the Panama Canal. The hotel has been renovated since, and won a design award for its 2017 refit. Decor is bright and modern in creams and dark woods. Suites come with French windows opening onto large balconies.
Courtesy of Tantalo / Booking.com
Tantalo is a hipster boutique that suits a young, party crowd. With bright, individually themed rooms decorated with customized stencil art and modernist paintings, and furnished with bucket chairs and renovated industrial bric-a-brac, it’s in a great location just a block from the beach, and stays include breakfast. The real standout feature here is the rooftop bar, with views over the ocean and the Panama City skyline that will have you longing to linger. Watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand, or stay for the DJ-driven, dance-music nights.
Courtesy of Casa Sucre / Booking.com
With heavy 19th-century raw-stone walls, drapes over the bedheads and Edwardian furnishings, Casa Sucre feels like a hacienda. Yet the hotel is in the heart of the Casco Viejo, two minutes from the beach, with busy restaurants and bars on the doorstep. Book the apartments overlooking the tranquil inner courtyard – a modest upgrade from the standards, but more spacious, opening onto large balconies and free of street noise. The included breakfast is huge and varied.
Courtesy of Las Clementinas / Booking.com
With exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling balcony windows, polished wood floors and strong blocks of color offset by warm pool lighting, Las Clementinas is a modern, urban boutique housed in a balcony-fronted early-20th-century building. There’s a zippy bar serving great cocktails and comfort food, and a tranquil inner garden courtyard. But the best feature is the rooftop sun terrace, with wonderful views over the tumbledown terracotta of the Casco Viejo and the boat-filled bay to the modern Panama City skyline.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Brittany Schering.
These recommendations were updated on September 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.