from Boone, North Carolina
Submitted on 18-10-2016
Just returned from my trip to Shores of Panama....I traveled with my husband, mother-in-law, and five children (ages 16, 14 (twins), 9, & 6). We stayed in unit #2224 (1 queen bedroom, 1 king bedroom, bunk room, pull out sofa bed, and 3 bathrooms) on the 22nd floor, which overlooks and pool and has a nice ocean view as well. We stayed in the off season (October), so we didn't experience some of the issues that other reviewers have mentioned. We didn't have to wait more than a minute or two for...
Just returned from my trip to Shores of Panama....I traveled with my husband, mother-in-law, and five children (ages 16, 14 (twins), 9, & 6). We stayed in unit #2224 (1 queen bedroom, 1 king bedroom, bunk room, pull out sofa bed, and 3 bathrooms) on the 22nd floor, which overlooks and pool and has a nice ocean view as well. We stayed in the off season (October), so we didn't experience some of the issues that other reviewers have mentioned. We didn't have to wait more than a minute or two for the elevators for most of our stay. However, the day before we left more people were arriving and we did notice that we had to wait quite a bit longer and the elevators were sometimes full. The parking garage is an absolute nightmare! Parking spaces are numbered with what appears to be no rhyme or reason...our parking spot was on the 11th level (one level from the top), and it took a loooong time to make it up to our spot. Some of the spaces were so tiny, I don't know how people were able to get out of their vehicles after they parked. However, our spot had a big empty space next to it, so I had plenty of room to park. Also, we had two vehicles, and had no problem getting an extra spot...just spoke to the front desk before we left home and were able to get a guest spot just a few down from the reserved room spot. I am very thankful that the parking garage was 3/4 empty during our stay (again, off season!)...I cannot imagine trying to make it through that garage during peak season! Several times my husband walked across the street to Walmart rather than driving, because it took so long to get in and out of the garage.
As far as the unit goes, it was fairly nice. The beds weren't the most comfortable, but they were clean and extra pillows and blankets were provided in the top of one of the closets. The kitchen was nice, except that one side of the toaster didn't work, and we found a couple of dirty pans in the cabinet when we were cooking. We washed all dishes before using them. There were a couple of cigarette burn marks on the night table in the master bedroom, and the couch was a little worn, but not awful. My big complaint was that the air system was full of dust and I don't know what else...it flared up my asthma and my son's quite a bit. The ceiling fans were also caked with dust, so I turned them off and didn't use them again. Another thing that irked me was that there is no maid service. I generally put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign anyway, as I don't like people in my room when I'm not there, but it would have been nice to have a couple extra towels. I washed what was in the unit daily because with 8 people in the unit, we used up what was provided daily. That wasn't a big deal really, but we did run out of toilet paper (we were there for a week), and when I went to the front desk to ask for more, I was told that they do not provide any more than what is in the room, and they don't even have it available to buy....so my husband walked back to Wal-Mart at 9:30 pm to get toilet paper. That seems a bit ridiculous. I've not ever had a resort do that before. The unit also had HORRIBLE Wi-Fi...for the majority of our stay, it didn't work at all...when it did, it would work for 5-6 minutes, then go off again. Again, I asked the front desk, and was told that it was an issue for Comcast and they couldn't do anything about it. Ok....you can see how helpful the front desk staff is.
The outdoor pool is beautiful, but freezing cold. We did go in October, but temps were well into the 80s and it was still freezing. The kids enjoyed it anyway, and would just run to the hot tub every few minutes to warm up. The indoor pool was so chlorinated it would burn your eyes horribly, but at least it was warm. However, I couldn't go in because of the fumes (asthma), and my 6 year old got sick to her stomach after being in there for a few minutes. Her eyes turned blood red, so I didn't allow her back in there again. I've seen people complaining about paying $30 for the arm bands to use the pool. We did not have to pay that (maybe because it was the off season??)...ours were free. However, if you lose your arm band, you do have to pay $30 for a replacement. Thankfully that didn't happen to us. If your band breaks or is damaged, you can take it back to the desk and they will replace it for free as long as you have the original to show them. We did have issues with the kids' bands not working (you have to scan the bracelet to get into the pool area) after a few days...they got really worn very easily.
Our biggest issue at SOP was some of the other people staying there. Not anything to do with the resort really, just other rude guests. We stepped out onto our balcony one morning to see the couple staying in a nearby unit "getting busy" on their balcony. Needless to say, I checked outside before letting the little ones go on the balcony after that. We also had people check into a nearby unit the day before we left who were very fond of smoking pot and it was pretty noticeable when we walked out of our unit. Again, not a problem with the resort itself, just other guests.
The beach was great, just crowded (again, can't imagine how awful it must be in the "on" season). SOP provided us with complementary beach chairs & umbrella rental each day of our stay, which saved us $40/day. Not sure if that's something they do all the time or just during the off season, but we really enjoyed it.
Overall, I'd say if you're going to visit SOP, do it in the off season!! It could have been better for sure, but I think a lot of that comes with staying in a larger resort. Attention to detail just isn't the same as it is with smaller resorts that see less traffic.