East Panama City
Sheraton Panama Hotel and Convention Center (Vía Israel and Calle 77 across the street from the Atlapa Convention Center, tel. 305-5100, www.starwoodhotels.com, rack rate US$340 s/d) has the most loyal clientele of the Panama five-star hotels. It’s a huge complex with 362 rooms, three restaurants, a shopping gallery, an appealing casino that has expanded in recent years, an athletic club, a pool, a spa, and so on. This is the second-oldest luxury hotel in the city, after Hotel El Panamá, and it’s changed hands several times through the years; it used to be called the Caesar Park, and its incarnation as a Sheraton is fairly recent.
This is definitely a place to book well in advance, as it’s possible to get a room for around US$200 with enough warning. Expect to pay more than twice that if you plan to visit with less than a month’s notice. (Do not confuse it with the more business-traveler-oriented Four Points Sheraton in Marbella.) Note that the hotel is on the eastern outskirts of Panama City, quite a hike from everything but the convention center, the ruins of Old Panama, and the international airport.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition