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First-Time Travellers at JW Marriott Panama

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Panama City. The Panama Canal. Latin America. All amazing phrases that can make the travel mind begin to churn in all kinds of possibilities. Panama City is a rather safe start for any timid traveller wanting to take the plunge into Latin America – or has the all the elements which the adventurous traveller will come to adore. In whichever camp your heart lies, you’ll need to stay somewhere. My first stay was at the JW Marriott Panama when I dipped my toe into the Latin America travel world.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Airport Access
  • Arrival and Checkin
  • Hotel Rooms
  • Pool Deck
  • Other Amenities
Panama City skyline including JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
JW Marriott Panama
Unique half-moon shape of JW Marriott Panama as part of the Panama City skyline. Photo: Lee Rivett.
Unique half-moon shape of JW Marriott Panama as part of the Panama City skyline.
Unique half-moon shape of JW Marriott Panama as part of the Panama City skyline. Photo: Lee Rivett.

Airport Access

The international airport in Panama City is the “Tocumen International Airport” (Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen). It is the main airport serving Panama and is located about 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of the city center. Tocumen International Airport is the busiest airport in Central America and serves as a major hub for both domestic and international flights.

The distance between the airport and the JW Marriott Panama is approximately 3 kilometres (about 1.86 miles). This proximity makes it a convenient choice for travelers, especially those arriving or departing from the airport, as it reduces travel time and allows for easy access to accommodations.

The cheapest and safest way of getting from the airport to the JW Marriott was using Uber to hire a ride-share. We booked it upon retrieving our checked back and it was $15 USD (with no negotiating, haggling, etc. like you would with a regular taxi). I would also strongly encourage the continued use of Uber throughout your trip – as from the hotel to anywhere in the downtown areas was under $5 USD (including the Uber tip).

Tocumen International Airport. Photo: Lee Rivett.
F&F Tower along the route to the hotel in Panama City. The is a 242.9 meter 52 storey skyscraper was designed by Pinzon Lozano & Asociados Arquitectos. Photo: Lee Rivett.

Arriving at Hotel and Check-In

The JW Marriott Panama is situated in the vibrant and upscale neighborhood of Punta Pacifica in Panama City. Known for its modern architecture and luxurious ambiance, Punta Pacifica is a prime destination for both business and leisure travellers. The crown jewel of Punta Pacifica is the JW Marriott Panama building as it is unmistakeable in its shape and it is a defining structure in the city’s skyline.

Your Uber (or transport of your choice) will drop you off at a roundabout at the building’s impressive ground floor. The JW Marriott Panama is only within a portion of the entire building. Over two thirds of the building is private residences; therefore, the ground floor lobby is not where you’ll find the hotel lobby and checkin. This ground floor lobby is called the “Arrival Lobby” and is labeled as “PB” in all the elevators. For inquiring minds like myself, “PB” stands for “Piso Bajo” or “Planta Baja,” which translates to “Ground Floor” or “Lower Level” in English. Once you arrive at the “Hotel Lobby” (labelled as “SL” and stands for “Sky Lobby”), you’ll be able to check into your room.

Round about at entrance of JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
JW Marriott Panama
Round about at entrance of JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
JW Marriott Panama
Hotel Lobby (upper) and Restaurant level (lower) at JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.

Hotel Rooms

The JW Marriott Panama is in the front lower quarter of the building and has six different rooms for guests to enjoy, each designed to create a memorable and personalized experience:

  • Deluxe Guest Room: Yes, this is the most ‘basic’ level room available at the JW Marriott Panama, but it overflows with comfort and contemporary elegance. This is the room which we chose; hence, the photo tour below. The rooms are 549 square feet (51 square meters) and come with two bed configurations: a king sized or two double sized beds. The room is one large space with the shower and toilet being the only areas having a physical separation. The bathtub and vanity are in the same open space as the bedroom, except can be visually separated by a curtain. Besides the bed configuration, the rooms also come with:
  • Partial Ocean View: These rooms are set back a bit from the front of the building with more view of the neighbouring residential tower; however, with a generous ocean view as well. This is the room that we enjoyed and you can see the view which no one would complain about.
  • Sea View: These rooms are in the more prominent, forward section of the building and ahead of the neighbouring residential towers.
  • Skyline view: This room is facing towards the city skyline without much of an ocean view.
JW Marriott Panama
Deluxe Guest Room at JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
JW Marriott Panama
Deluxe Guest Room at JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
Enclosed shower (left) and toilet (right) in Deluxe Guest Room at JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
  • Concierge Level: This room is identical to the “Deluxe Guest Room”, except it has access to the M Club lounge and only has “Partial Ocean View” rooms.
  • Curve Room: These rooms have a bit more space to allow for the bathroom to be separated by a partition wall (not a solid wall) from the bedroom. The room is only available with a king sized bed (no separate double bed option) and is 678 square feet (63 square meters). Concierge lounge is also included.
  • Executive Suite: Building on the “Curve Room”, this 882 square foot (82 square meter) room has a separate living space included in the large space. Same restrictions (only a king sized bed, “Partial Ocean View”, and partition wall) and benefits (Concierge lounge access and separate bathroom).
  • Grand Room: This 947 square foot (88 square meter) room has some restrictions like the same bathroom-separated-by-curtain experience, only a king sized bed and only a “Partial Ocean View”; however, has a solid wall with a door between the bedroom/bathroom and living spaces. This results in 1.5 bathrooms, two televisions, separate dining space and separate living space. It also has Concierge Lounge access.
  • Presidential Suite: The 1,560 square foot (145 square meter) suite has a partial ocean view, King bed, 1.5 bathrooms, separate dining room, separate living room and access to Concierge Lounge.

The only thing that perplexes us is that the lowest room or the biggest suite all have a maximum occupancy of 3 guests. Either way you slice it, the hotel has something for every budget.

Deluxe Guest Room with Partial Ocean View from JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.

Pool Deck

One of the amenities which made us fall in love with this hotel was the swimming pool deck. The outdoor pool (open 7am to 7pm), the Infinity Pool (open 7am to 7pm) and pool-side restaurant service with the ocean view was worth several afternoons of relaxing with a book, martini, or swim. In the mid afternoon, the sun goes behind the tall buildings bringing a comfortable respite from the heat to relax from the daytime adventures before beginning your evening Panama plans.

South pool deck (there is an identical deck on the north side of the building) at JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.
Infinity pool at JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.

Other Amenities

The hotel has two restaurants and two lounge/bars:

  • MASI: ire + Ceviche + Terrace = MASI. Flavors and textures are the main characters at this colorful and unique restaurant in Panama City, Panama. We offer a live ceviche bar experience paired with distinctive local touches.
  • AZUL: Soak up the sunshine along with stunning views of Panama City, Panama, at Azul Restaurant. Transcend the ordinary with a tropical cocktail and healthy meal at our poolside restaurant and bar.
  • CAVA 15: Ambient lighting, leather armchairs and gold accented details radiate an inviting atmosphere for dinner at Cava 15. Sip on a cocktail and savor mouthwatering appetizers in Panama City, Panama.
  • Executive Lounge: Offering soft drinks, coffee and snacks. Appetizers served from 5:30pm to 8 pm. Breakfast will continue to be served in MASI
View from Panavera on the 66th floor above the JW Marriott Panama. Photo: Lee Rivett.

The hotel also has a complimentary gym (open 6am to 11pm) with:

  • Cardiovascular Equipment
  • Elliptical Machine(s)
  • Exercise Bike(s)
  • Free Weights
  • Rowing Machine(s)
  • Strength Equipment
  • Treadmill(s)
  • Weight Machines

See my other article on “Top 10 Things To Do In Oslo Norway“!

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