Waldorf Astoria King Bed Junior Suite
This is technically not a Miles & Points post, as I did not make a redemption, but oftentimes, it is worthwhile to check out some of your credit card benefits. If you check out my earlier post (How I will be staying a Waldorf Astoria for free), it would make sense why I booked into the Waldorf Astoria Panama City, despite the fact that I could have used my fifth night free benefit for my subsequent Hampton Inn Panama City redemption.
It is one block from the waterfront, and a pedestrian park of sorts, which is supposed to be popular with locals. There are also many malls, restaurants, etc. located around the hotel. There are also some large boulevards near the hotel, so if you are taking public transport, that is an option.
Booking with Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection
In this instance, I would say that booking with Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection completely won out over booking directly via Hilton. With Hilton, I would have only gotten complimentary Wi-Fi, which is something that Visa Signature offers in any case. By booking with Visa Signature, I got two added benefits – complimentary continental breakfast, and $25 F&B credit. Benefits:
- Best available rate guarantee
- Automatic room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, when available
- Complimentary continental breakfast daily
- $25 USD food or beverage credit
- VIP Guest status
- 3PM check-out upon request, when available
I booked a Deluxe King Room (79 USD + taxes), and while I was checking my HHonors app the night before I was due to arrive, I noticed that my booking had changed to Junior King Suite, so I guess I got upgraded. If you ask me, I think this is more a Visa Signature benefit, more so than a HHonors Gold benefit. So far, I have had no luck getting better rooms with my status (think low floor rooms). I might be using the Visa Signature Hotel collection booking more often from now on, as there is no real benefit from booking directly with Hilton. Needless to say, I was very happy with my upgrade, as I was given a much larger room (55 sq m) on the 18th floor. When I asked the front desk for a late check-out, I was also offered a 2pm check out.
I was the only person at the check-in counter, so that was rather painless. I did have to confirm my Visa Signature benefits with the front desk, including the complimentary continental breakfast, as there was some confusion as to whether I was going to get that. I was also assigned a personal concierge, who was supposed to attend to me, but I never used the service, so … Bathroom of King Bed Junior Suite
I was given room 1807, a Junior King Suite that is located across from the elevator. The views weren’t spectacular, as there was construction right in front of the ocean-facing side of the Waldorf Astoria. The room was large (55 sq m), with a work desk, sofa, lounge chair, walk-in shower with rain shower and hand wand, double vanity, and tub. They also use Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries.
The room is also stocked with a Nespresso machine, and 6 nespresso pods, 3 Arpeggios, and 3 Decaf. How the machine was situated made it slightly awkward to load the machine with bottle, but I had my platypus water bottle with me, so that eased the water loading part of it.
There were a few surprises for me – for one, I generally expect to find a folding luggage rack in hotels, but I didn’t find one in my room. It was not a big deal, as I just put my luggage on one of the benches in the room. A second surprise was, I couldn’t find slippers. In other premium establishments, generally slippers are provided, so that came as a surprise to me. Those weren’t big issues for me, so I didn’t call down to request for them.
One last thing to note, as the confusing phone/phone directory. I wanted to order room service, so I clicked the quick dial button, which just went nowhere. I then had to flip through the hotel directory, and there were two different numbers associated with room service. Weird.
4 pm macaroons? Oh yea!
I thought it was awesome. I stayed in my room most of the time, working. And when I did not engage the privacy button, every couple of hours or so, there would be some goodies sent to my room. At around 3.30 – 4 pm, I was given a plate with three beautiful macaroons, which served as the perfect counterpoint to a shot of espresso. And at around 6.30 pm or so, the staff gave me some Lindt candy when I opened the door. Weird phone wiring aside, room service was good as well. I ordered an Angus burger, cooked medium, and it arrived, as expected, within the 30 min time frame stated. I had no issues with the food either.
They have a pool, and a jacuzzi area beside the pool. The pool is probably about 20 yards long. If there weren’t construction right in front of it, it would probably be a whole lot nicer. It wasn’t the cleanest pool on earth, as there were leaves and whatever else might fall into an outdoor pool located on the 7th level of a 36 story building. It was a lap pool of sorts, but the short distance made lap swimming somewhat annoying.
Pool service was great. I was given a beach towel within the minute that I arrived. But I guess in all fairness, there were less than 10 people at that point.
The pool is outdoors, so if it rains, I think its utility will be fairly limited.
It is not one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in, but it is definitely the best hotel that I have ever stayed in for like 79 USD. And if I actually receive that 75 USD Visa gift card in the mail when I get back because of the promotion, it is really hard to argue with everything that I got for essentially … 14 USD – staying at a Waldorf Astoria junior suite retailing at 229 USD, some 6000 Hilton points, and free dinner and breakfast.
Minor note: The $25 F&B credits does not include service charge/tax on your food order, so to maximize it, order to up the maximum value of $25. The taxes are extra, and will not be covered by the F&B credits.
I paid $14 for this!!