Sofitel Legend properties are known for transforming and honoring historic buildings to create a luxe and highly memorable experience for travelers. The French hospitality brand just expanded its esteemed offering of Legend locations with the new Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo in Panama City, which opened in January 2023.
Casco Viejo joins the other five Legends including Sofitel Legend Old Cataract in Aswan, Egypt; Sofitel Legend People’s Grand Xian in China; Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in Vietnam; Sofitel Legend The Grand in Amsterdam; and Sofitel Legend Santa Clara in Cartagena. Just like others in this exclusive group of properties, Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo is located in a historic site, the Club Union of Panama, built in 1917. It’s since been transformed into a sparkly, modern destination with the brand’s distinct French savoir-faire.
While touches of the city’s history and the building’s past can be found in design details throughout, (including photos hanging in the hotel of the Panama Canal construction and of Queen Elizabeth II, a guest of the social club), the only original part of the structure that remains is the French colonial façade. Panamanian architect Manuel Choy was inspired by photos of the original social club in the new construction, which took five years to complete. The French-style architecture is carried throughout the interior with marble checkerboard floors in the ballroom and wrought iron balcony as well as brass touches. Of course, Panamanian design is incorporated too. There is locally-made artwork, nautical nods like navigation instruments used as decor and a large wall mural in the lobby that honors the city’s most famous marvel, the Panama Canal.
Just like other Legends built in historic areas, this location is situated on the edge of the historic district Casco Viejo, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Because of its prime location overlooking the Pacific Ocean, guests can take in the views and sounds of the tide (80% of rooms have balconies), and marvel at the glittering financial district of Panama with its soaring skyscrapers, making this a prime location to get the best sights of the city.
The 159 rooms and suites on the property all boast tranquil design details with gorgeous views of either the Plaza, the Pacific Ocean or the Casco Viejo neighborhood and have touches of local amenities, like a French press coffee maker in each room for a delicious morning treat. The bathrooms are equipped with Diptyque products and feature freestanding tubs, which gets even more luxurious if you allow one of the Sofitel butlers (or majordomes) to draw a bath with specially-scented salts and oils.
A wellness oasis awaits on the lower level, where the gym, spa and infinity edge pool are all situated for ultimate relaxation. The Sofitel Spa offers premium products from the French brand KOS and special treatments like the Harmonious Balance experience, which utilizes Tibetan singing bowls to create a meditative state, and the Mineral Miracle, that uses ancient techniques like Thai massages with Himalayan hot stones.
While there are plenty of delicious local eateries to visit during your trip (including the fish market, Fonda Lo Que Hay, rated Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants), there are many delicacies to enjoy on the property from Michelin-starred chef Lorenzo Di Gravio including the Mediterranean brasserie, Caleta, that focuses on fresh, local seafood. Grab a pre-dinner drink or quick lunch at Mayda Lobby Bar & Plaza, which extends onto the tropical floral-filled outdoor deck. There’s also the Pool Bar, stocked with fresh juices and smoothies — and craft beers and fruity cocktails if that’s more your speed.
Before you leave to explore all the city has to offer, the hotel also houses the Vera Gourmet Café, a grab-and-go pastel-colored shop off the corner of the lobby, serving exclusively blended Panamanian coffee and delicious French pastries. Soon, Ammi SkyBar will open with 180-degree views of the ocean and skyline, with an exclusive speakeasy lounge attached.
If you’re looking to continue to make your stay in the city even more memorable, the staff can arrange a private yacht experience with spectacular views of the Bridge of the Americas. Like all Sofitel Legend locations, there’s an evening ritual — a tradition that was inspired by King Louis XIV. In Panama City, local dancers perform for the crowd each evening on the Palace terrace in traditional dress.
Staying true to Sofitel Legend roots, while bringing a French flair and resort-level relaxation, a truly rejuvenating stay awaits in Panama City.
For more, visit sofitel-legend-panama.com.