By Donna Polizzi
Panama City was beyond expectations.
If you’re looking for a luxurious boutique hotel in Panama City, book the La Concordia, in Casco Viejo. The architecture is stunning. It is triangular in shape and situated at the helm of a busy intersection. Montecito Village Travel recommended it for being placed in the midst of the Panama City action.
Walking into the room will definitely make your eyes open wide and “wow” will be the first word that pops into your head. Expect an elegant, classic European design. Our room was huge, with a comfortable king-size bed and a striking crystal chandelier overhead.
The bathroom is spacious with a walk-in shower and big white claw-foot bathtub. Little things, like extra pillows, bath salts, candles, ear plugs and confections make the stay even more enjoyable.
Suite number 8, has seven sets of double, wooden doors with large windows, that open in every direction to showcase a birds-eye view of the city below, from the balcony.
On the first floor of La Concordia is the Tarroco Restaurant. It is very elegant, offering exquisite Mediterranean cuisine, made with fresh, local ingredients. Trip Advisor also rates it as excellent.
For breakfast, I ordered the Mi Panama, which is Panamanian jerked beef and a spicy tomato sauce, fried eggs, corn tortillas, local fresh cheese, and avocado.
Panam Tarraco restaurant is excellent down to the smallest of details. If you ask for milk with your coffee, friendly servers will quickly bring you warm, frothed milk. My husband ordered the Shakshuka, which is eggs poached in a savory tomato sauce, perfectly spiced, with a side of four small dishes, containing vegetables, hummus, veggies, and black olives. You won’t go away hungry and, of course, many of the dishes include corn tortillas or pita bread.
Panamanian coffee is delicious, especially if you like rich and strong, yet smooth coffee.
The food is very different from what we have in the states. Even the breakfast flavors are rich and savory. The corn tortillas, made from Masa, are about three inches in diameter and roughly a quarter of an inch thick. They’re fantastic and addicting.
If you like the nightlife, the La Concordia has a rooftop bar called the Numen Gastro Lounge. It’s a perfect place for cocktails and tapas. Every detail of the hotel is spectacular, and the rooftop ads to the mystic. We enjoyed generous drinks, awesome food and live music filled the air, well into the wee hours of the morning.
Convenience is another plus at the La Concordia. Less than a block down the street was a market called REY that is open seven days a week and had everything that a local or traveler could possibly need.
Casco Viejo it is a cultural gem and historic district of Panama declared a world heritage site in 1997. Today, its infrastructure has been recovered and restored into restaurants, bars, museums, churches, shops, and upscale residences. It is where old Panama meets new.
Something we found unusual, is that many of the streets don’t have street signs, most people use landmarks for directions.
Within several blocks, there is amazing architecture. Fascinating places like Casacasco, which was a four-story building, with each floor featuring a different type of cuisine and decor. On the top floor is a fabulous rooftop restaurant and bar, named Costa Del Este, overlooking the entire city, from the Pacific Ocean to the skyscrapers of Panama City.
The women working here all had long, dark hair, wore tight black dresses and looked like supermodels. I ordered a delicious drink, called a Brown Skin, with Patron, chocolate liqueur and Orange Cointreau, the perfect blend for a city that blends old world with an influence of modern European design.
There is so much history tied to Panama, including the famous pirate Henry Morgan, according to local legend, Morgan searched for the Golden Altar at Iglesia de La Merced Casco Antiguo, but he did not find it. According to local legend, the altar was dismantled and hidden in different areas to evade discovery.
Of course, no trip to Panama would be complete without the purchase of an iconic Panama hat, made internationally famous when then-President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Panama Canal construction wearing a Panama hat. Life’s a Trip…Get out there and have some fun!