Set along a fine beach on the Pacific Ocean, the Playa Blanca resort offers all-inclusive holidays. It is a small resort, and the garden spaces between the various buildings help make it feel friendly. Although it is currently secluded, in 2011 the hotel will become part of a seaside resort currently under construction around it, and the new facilities will include a 17-acre swimming pool!
This hotel review is a translation of the French version published on our French site Easyvoyage.com.
The Playa Blanca resort is on the Pacific coast, about 3 mi from the little town of Farallon. Panama City is 85 mi away, a journey of about 1.45 hours.
Guests can enjoy shows given at the Playa Blanca resort every day of the week: 8.45 pm for children and 9.45 pm for adults. Ramps are provided throughout the hotel to assist guests of limited mobility. The cleaning ladies can also help out with a few hours of baby-sitting.
The Playa Blanca is one of the first constructions of a huge building project due for completion in 2011. The 165-acre site will gradually see the construction of hotels, several apartments for sale, shops, casinos, spas and even the second biggest swimming pool in the world, where sailing will be one of the activities on offer. The pool will cover an area of 17 acres; the current record-holder, in Chile, covers 18.5 acres.
Built in 2004, the various buildings of the Playa Blanca, 7 of which are taken up by the rooms, are set in a big 3.5-acre park complete with lawns and well-maintained paths. A large proportion of the communal areas are covered open-air spaces, starting with the big lobby, where the shortage of staff and lack of information was a big let-down. Guests longing for a rest can stretch out on the deckchairs around the swimming pool, where silence reigns. Another one, closer to the beach, is the focus of the organised activities, with loud music (too loud?) and games. Nearby is the big buffet restaurant, a theatre staging a show every evening, bars, a minimarket, etc. It is a pity that the dune opposite blocks your view of the turquoise Pacific, and also acts as an obstacle on your way to the beach.
Apart from 3 suites, the 219 rooms of the Playa Blanca are identical and carry the same price tag, whatever the view. The upstairs rooms in some of the buildings have distant views of the sea, but they are noisy because of the proximity of the swimming pool where various aquatic activities are organised. Buildings 1, 2 and 3 each have a lift to their 3 floors; the other buildings only have two floors, for example building 4, which houses the family rooms (also found in building 2). The rooms are decent enough, big, bright, and functional, but nothing more. They have either a balcony or terrace, and are furnished with painted wicker furniture, comfortable beds, a television set, a free safe, individual air conditioning, a fridge and a (non-direct) telephone. Be warned though: not all the appliances work, for example the clock radio, and there is often a real lack of attention to detail. The bathrooms are provided with a shower.
The main restaurant is a covered open-air space in the middle of the resort providing a different buffet every day (Italian, Mexican, Panamanian, etc.). Watch out: the space can easily become very noisy. Otherwise guests can try the Japanese restaurant next door (no reservations). On the beach, a big straw hut attached to a wooden boat serves grilled dishes in the evening (be sure to reserve in the morning). At lunchtime it offers the same food as the buffet. Although there is plenty of choice, the range of flavours is really limited. Also, a new Mexican restaurant and 5 bars opened in 2008.
Both immensely long and immensely wide, the Playa Blanca has a supervised beach with enough room for everyone to find their own peaceful patch of sun. Deckchairs and parasols are set out on the white sand. The turquoise water makes for a pleasant setting. Take care in the sea though - there could be skates there, which can give a painful sting. If you like walking, you will be heartened to learn that a whole mile of unbroken beach unfolds along the Pacific coast at this point. A wide variety of water sports is offered at the hotel's club, but the prices may put you off unless you are tempted by the kayaks or pedalos, which are both free!
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