by Amanda Norcross
Upon entering The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort — which made its debut in 2018 — “family-friendly” may not be the term that comes to mind. This is a brand-new, five-star hotel in Panama City, after all.
Look past the ultra-luxurious lobby and surrounds, however, and you’ll discover a city hotel (which feels more like a resort) that’s perfect for families, with features including a complimentary buffet breakfast and stunning pool complex. Family amenities also include childcare services and a Family Excursions package that covers spacious accommodations, a welcome amenity for kids, in-room breakfast, and late check-out (3 p.m.) on the day of your departure. Another family-friendly amenity? Budget-friendliness. You’ll find rates for under $200 USD per night depending on the time of year you visit! The hotel doesn’t charge any resort fees, either.
That’s a reasonable price to pay for a centrally located hotel that also features a Jack Niklaus-designed golf course with a clubhouse, a fitness center, a lovely spa, several onsite restaurants, and comfortable, kid-friendly accommodations.
Our Editor Loves
- Pool complex
- Free buffet breakfast
- Family Excursions package
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Breakfast
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel offers 182 luxurious guestrooms and suites with city or golf course views. All accommodations are equipped with coffeemakers, mini-fridges, and bathrobes.
Cribs are available upon request, as are connecting rooms. Note that tubs are not available in any of the rooms; the hotel offers spacious, heavenly showers instead. (Seriously, this may be the best shower of your life).
Guestrooms are equipped with one king or two double beds.
Suites are available in the following variations: King Executive Suite (extra space), Executive Suite Parlor (living area), and Master Suite (private terrace). The Executive Suite can accommodate up to four guests.
The second we drove up the valet guys were there assisting us and took our luggage. Then i stepped into the hotel and was completely surprised by the beauty of marble, designs and lighting. The lobby and bar was so pretty they even had a coffee shop cafe with pastries and fruit. The room was nice, beds comfy and spacious bathroom. Was very quiet and the pool was nice. Will go back there again soon! Highly recommend!
Lovely spot - not a cheap taxi ride from airport $30 US each way. No airport shuttle but the location is very nice. The staff is professional, helpful and very nice.
The rooms are well equipped with amenities.
The hotel has a sprawling pool complex with plenty of lounge chairs and shaded areas -- it's the best place to be on a hot afternoon in Panama City! Kids will love the waterfall features.
Towels are available by the pool; there are no lifeguards on duty.
Mestizo Restaurant at The Lobby
Open between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. daily, Mestizo is our top choice for family dining. The casual, airy restaurant offers a complimentary breakfast buffet complete with eggs, pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit, pastries and the like. Local dishes are also featured. Lunch, dinner and on Sundays, brunch, are served, and families can choose between indoor or outdoor seating that overlooks the golf course.
Mestizo offers both a kids' menu and a special Kids Corner brunch menu on Sundays.
Visit Ocean Prime for delicious steak and seafood entrees. It's open between 6 and 10:30 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday. Reservations are required.
Visit the onsite coffee shop for coffee, specialty drinks, and grab-and-go meals. Tip: Buy a bag of Geisha coffee as a souvenir or gift. It is the most expensive coffee in the world -- made from a bean harvested in Panama -- and is well worth the cost. It's also not too strong or rich in body. We paid about $40 USD.
AQVA Pool Bar
Head to AQVA for refreshing cocktails (or mocktails) and light, healthy bites. It's open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kids' options are available.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Check-in time is 3 p.m.; check-out is noon.
Parking is valet-only; cost is $5 per day.
Located near the pool complex, the hotel's fitness center offers strength and cardio equipment. Cool towels and water are available. The gym is open 24 hours.
The Best Time to Visit
Panama's summer (high season) takes place between December and April. May to November is the rainy season, but don't let that deter you from a visit! You'll still enjoy sunny days, as well as lower rates at the hotel.
The Santa Maria is located less than 20 minutes from Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, making it a good place to stay the night before you depart or right after you arrive.
You're going to hit traffic in Panama City during rush hour -- there's no doubt about it. But generally speaking, this hotel puts you close to the city's top attractions, including Casco Viejo and the Miraflores Locks (Panama Canal). It's about 15 minutes to the center of town.
Visit the spa for a relaxing treatment! Many of the treatments are inspired by the Holly Spirit Orchid (Panama's National Flower). We highly recommend the Herbal Sachet and Stone Thermotherapy. The spa features a full-service salon, as well as yoga and Reiki classes.
The hotel has a Niklaus Design 18-hole, par-72 championship course.