In 2005 and 2006, hotel prices in Panama City were incredibly cheap. You could book a room at the Veneto for $70/night or Hotel Milan for $40.
When I moved here in early 2007, hotel room prices began to rise due to an influx of tourism and lack of supply, and places like the Courtyard Mariott at Mulitplaza were at the time offering weekday rates that could go as high as $300/night. Hotel rooms were in short supply, occupancy rates were running in the high 70s, and hotel operators took advantage of the situation.
But then the developers came in and refocused on building hotels instead of high rise condos, and when those new hotel rooms hit the market, things started to get interesting…
Fast forward to today, October 28th 2014, where we now have DOUBLE the amount of hotel rooms compared to 2007 (literally, Panama City has twice as many hotel rooms now than it did 7 years ago) and you’ve got a very interesting scenario shaping up for the last two months of this year.
If you are considering a visit to Panama, now would be the time to take a serious look at booking a hotel room, ideally between November 1st and December 31st.
With all the crazy competition, hotels are engaged in a price war. And this week’s la Prensa reported that occupancy rates are running at right around 50%…bad for hotel operators, great for tourists.
I’ve seen weekend rates for both Hard Rock Hotel (which has, I might add, 1463 rooms!!!) and the Riu coming in at less than $100/night.
Granted, neither are five-star (maybe 3.5), but they are both well-located, relatively new hotels with great facilities.
Luxury hotels like the Trump Ocean Club have also reduced their rates, although Trump boasted a full house this past weekend due to the grand opening of the Sun Casino. Plan on just south of $200/night in Trump these days, and over the weekend just under $180.
One final piece of advice: Black Friday in Panama is a month-long event and usually features deep (40-60%) across the board discounts in some of our high end shopping malls. Those sales usually last from Thursday – Sunday so try to visit over a weekend.
Hope to see you down here before the new year!