Latin America

Breezes Panama

written by | Posted on January 1st, 2010

One of the most immediately striking aspects of Panama City is its blend of nature and urban life. Driving into the city from the airport, travelers see roads lined with tropical greenery give way, almost instantaneously, to jammed highways lined with concrete. As they enter the city, travelers cross over a narrow bay that looks as if it divides two different worlds: on one side, a deserted island, overgrown with lush palms, through which you’ll see the remnants of an ancient fort; on the other, a dense collection of high-rise buildings.

At Breezes Panama, set about two hours outside Panama City, clients find a similar combination of resources. Its location is undeniably remote, offering guests access to unspoiled beaches and spectacular tropical scenery. But its amenities are modern, on par with Breezes resorts anywhere else in the world. It’s this pairing—the established Breezes chain with the relatively undeveloped coast west of Panama City—that makes SuperClubs’ newest resort so noteworthy.

familiar favorites Though the resort is new to Panama, many of its features will be familiar to agents and clients who know SuperClubs’ product in other destinations. Its 294 rooms run in blocks perpendicular to the shoreline, giving most guests a direct view of the resort’s swimming pools with the ocean off to the side. Larger suites, with ability to connect so that they can range from one to four bedrooms, face the ocean directly, with a second floor offering better views and ground floor suites that “are an exact copy of the suites atGrand Lido Negril,” explains opening sales manager Delano Miller. These beachfront jr. suites come with walk-out access to the beach through a private terrace, affording a bit more privacy for clients in a resort that spans so much space.

That privacy may appeal to honeymooners or other couples, but Breezes Panama is mainly focused on luring families to its first property on the Pacific. At its kids’ club, children learn while they play with Spanish-language classes, toys that teach about the country’s history and culture, or simply creating art out of sand. The kids’ play area is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., then reopens for a special themed dinner party each day, such as a traditional Panamanian dinner that parents and kids can enjoy together.

The kids’ club appeals to the 10-and-under set; older kids who need a break from the sun congregate in the teen room, an arcade-style space with a ping pong table, video games, air hockey and pool tables—all designed in a graffiti theme. Judging from the number of kids (and even a few parents) we saw taking advantage of all the fun inside the teen room, it’s an incredibly popular amenity.

Just next door, parents can catch a little “me time” at the Miraflora Spa. Spa Manager Lizeth Blaisdell says the spa was designed to evoke “all that’s based on flowers,” leaving the music and tourists of the resort behind in favor of one of the resort’s best amenities, the local scenery. The fitness center lets clients run on treadmills while looking out to the beach, while inside the spa itself, clients can prepare for treatments in separate men’s and women’s facilities, “each with saunas so guests can relax before and after the treatment,” Blaisdell explains. With just four treatment rooms in total, the spa has the feeling of a boutique facility, complete with unusual treatments like a seashell massage, which uses warm seashells like hot stones. “Hot stone massages work with the different chakras,” Blaisdell explains. “With the seashells, it’s more relaxed,” with added benefits like hearing “the ocean” when therapists hold the shells up to spa-goers’ ears mid-massage.

Of course, it’s far from impossible to relax outside the spa, too. One of the resort’s signature traits is its series of cascading swimming pools that flow into one another down the hill to the beach, creating several small, intimate spots to swim rather than one mammoth communal pool. Plenty of spaces are shallow enough to place a pool lounger right in the water, an ideal way to spend a relaxing afternoon.

on the menu Travelers who know Breezes’ signature restaurants won’t be surprised to discover a branch of the chain’s popular Munasan—but they might be surprised at its appeal. “This is my favorite Munasan of the group,” says Miller. “You can do a lot here—sushi, teppanyaki, a la carte.” The restaurant puts diners face to face with their chefs at teppanyaki stations, giving clients a culinary show before they’re served Japanese beef, chicken, fish and veggie dishes, along with a hearty helping of fried rice. Along the back wall, a sushi bar further tempts diners with expertly crafted rolls. Though chain restaurants like Benihana have made this style of dining common in North America, Miller points out, “This is new to Panama. There are about five similar restaurants in the whole country.”

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