In the News from Panama

Casco Viejo Hotel Draws International Raves

The opening of the Sofitel Legend, the renovation of a classic 1917 building in Casco Viejo, is attracting the type of attention reserved for the world’s great hotels.

“It’s not often that a UNESCO-listed district can claim a new addition,” Travel and Leisure writes in a recent rave view. Grazia calls it a “luxe and modern oasis.” Several global hotel sites listed it as among the most anticipated new hotel openings of 2023.

Now that the hotel is open, it’s easy to see why. Even in Casco Viejo, where there are several stately hotels, the Sofitel Legend stands out. 

The hotel takes over the waterfront French Colonial building that was once the prestigious Union Club before it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The building sat empty for 30 years. But it was still regal enough to serve as a setting for movies, including the 2008 James Bond thriller, “Quantum of Solace.”

Sofitel gave it the full luxury renovation, as part of its expansion of its top-end “Legend” brand. The Panama City hotel is only the sixth Legend in the world. All that remains of the original building is the French Colonial facade.

Now it is a stately hotel with beautiful open spaces and old-world charm. There are 159 rooms and suites on the property all with views of either the Plaza, the Pacific Ocean, or the neighborhood. Naturally, it also has a full-service spa, gardens, and several top-level restaurants.

The property is full of elements of old Panama, with many features invoking the old social club, which hosted such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II.

.“Architects worked diligently to preserve as much as possible of the history and patrimony of the building, which holds an importance both for Panama and the Panamanian people,” general manager David Kianni told Travel and Leisure. “We wanted to make sure we had this historic, colonial feel.” 

In addition to the waterfront and the easy stroll into Casco Viejo, the hotel boasts the largest pool in the neighborhood. With all the amenities and spectacular location, Travel & Leisure concluded the hotel “feels Like a private island resort,” even though it is next to a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Panama City has many fine hotels, and the addition of a new facility of this quality is a sign that the capital is really moving to the next level of international standards.

Read the Travel & Leisure article here.