The Big Six: Panama retreats

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Tropical forest, beach-facing suites and luxury tents

Tantalo Hotel: Panama City

Packed into a peninsula with views of Panama City's skyscrapers across the bay, Casco Viejo feels far removed from the city centre. The old town has 17th-century churches, peaceful plazas and immaculately restored colonial buildings, one of which hosts the newly opened Tantalo Hotel. Each of the 13 suites has been designed by a local artist. The rooftop bar serves cocktails against a dazzling backdrop, while the Tantalo Kitchen has anything from coconut cashew chicken to Cuban-style pulled pork.

Tantalo Hotel, Avenue B and 8th Street, Casco Viejo, Panama City (00 507 262 4030; tantalohotel.com). Doubles start at US$129 (£81), including breakfast.

Resort at Isla Palenque: Gulf of Chiriqui

Set on one of the larger islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui, The Resort at Isla Palenque has just unveiled its take on colour-splashed luxury amid sparkling ocean, tropical forest, mangroves and lagoons. Spot (or hear) howler monkeys, armadillos, coati, racoons, hummingbirds, toucans and parrots, as well as dazzling marine life. Estate rooms are tucked between the trees, while tented suites will open in the summer.

The Resort at Isla Palenque, Isla Palenque, Gulf of Chiriqui (001 855 777 9260; amble.com/IslaPalenque). Doubles from US$353 (£221), with breakfast.

 

Panamonte Inn: Boquete

Pitched in the cool Chiriqui Highlands, this luxury inn has offered a refined sanctuary to guests since 1914. Tiled floors, wicker chairs, teak furniture and plump beds set the scene, with Jacuzzi baths and fireplaces in some rooms. It's a place to unwind after hiking amid lush coffee plantations, listening for songbirds and howler monkeys in La Amistad National Park, wallowing in hot spring pools or rafting on the Río Chiriquí.

Panamonte Inn, Avenida Central, Boquete, Chiriqui Highlands (00 507 720 1324; panamonte.com). Doubles start at US$138 (£86), including breakfast.

 

El Otro Lado: Portobelo

This colourful retreat is on the "other side" of the bay of Portobelo, opposite the city once prized by the Spaniards as a silver port and attacked by Henry Morgan. The hotel's four villas burst with tropical hues, set against the lush forest backdrop of Chagres National Park. Inside, Arte Povera meets mid-century Modernism, with patterned tiles and local artwork. Caribbean fusion cuisine is served at the poolside Gazebo.

El Otro Lado, Portobelo Bay, Colón (00 507 202 01 11; elotrolado.com.pa). Doubles start at US$490 (£306), including breakfast.

 

Palmar Tent Lodge: Bastimentos

The Bocas del Toro archipelago has gone from dreamy backwater to desirable hideaway. On the island of Bastimentos, the Palmar Tent Lodge lies between the white sand of Red Frog Beach and dense forest where minuscule strawberry poison-dart frogs hop about. Fall asleep in the luxury tents, listening to the jungle, then take a rainwater shower and grab a snorkel to explore the offshore marine park.

Palmar Tent Lodge, Red Frog Beach, Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro (00 507 6880 8640; palmartentlodge.com). Tents start at US$50 (£31), room only.

 

Villa Camilla: Pedasi

The sleepy town of Pedasi, on the tip of the Azuero Peninsula, attracts surfers in search of big swells, off white- and black-sand beaches. Sybarites, meanwhile, come to Villa Camilla, a tranquil hotel overlooking the Pacific breaks. Conceived by a French couple who set up an artisans' workshop in the area, it has seven suites in the main house, beach-facing suites, split-level lofts and a private three-bedroom villa.

Villa Camilla, Playa Los Destiladeros, Pedasí, Azuero Península, Los Santos (00 507 994 3100; villacamillapanama.com). Doubles from US$225 (£141), room only.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory