There’s an air of Old Havana to Panama City’s Casco Viejo. The city’s oldest neighborhood still retains a colorful charm as skyscrapers crop up on the coast and Panama City comes into its own as a cosmopolitan metropolis. As a travel destination, Panama is soaring in popularity, with some lovely new hotels as proof. Among those, the American Trade Hotel & Hall deserves a special shout-out.
A landmark neoclassical building in the Casco Viejo was converted by Atelier Ace (the design team for Ace Hotels) in partnership with LA-based Commune Design and local agency Conservatorio. It was an ambitious restoration project, that took years, and the buzzworthy hotel finally opened its doors at the end of 2013. The results are dreamy, a design-driven hotel with all the mod cons (like free wifi and Aesop bath products), plus a rooftop pool, and fitness center.
As described by Wallpaper magazine, “Inspired by the building's provenance at the crossroads of culture and trade, Commune brought together a pastiche of design influences, ranging from Vienna secessionist to Mexican modernist and Italian postmodernist.” Overlooking Panama Bay or the Casco Viejo, the 50 guest rooms come with hardwood floors, rain showers, Frette sheets, and well stocked mini bars.
American Trade Hotel, Plaza Herrera Casco Viejo, Panama, Tel: (+507) 211-2000, www.acehotel.com/panama