It is fair to say that previous reviews of this hotel have been mixed, to put it mildly. I stayed at the Stanford for seven nights in January 2017, booking online and paying a total of around 250 GBP, inclusive of breakfast. I thought that this represented pretty good value for money, as Panama City is not the cheapest of destinations and hotels in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) - the UNESCO World Heritage listed site which is the most interesting and attractive part of Panama City - tend to be much more expensive. On balance, I enjoyed my stay at the Stanford and found that the positives outweighed the negatives.
On arrival, I was allocated the best room in the hotel: the penthouse suite on the sixth floor. I'm not entirely sure if this was the room I'd booked or whether I was given an upgrade, but I was generally happy with my room. It had no fewer than five windows, which meant it was bright and airy. The views of the city were absolutely superb and definitely the best thing about the hotel. My bed was large and comfortable, although I suspect some guests might have found it a bit on the hard side. There was an excellent small fridge, a large flat screen TV and plenty of space for hanging clothes. The adjoining bathroom, with a 'walk-in' shower was spacious and satisfactory, although the water never really got hot. This, however, was not really an issue, with outside temperatures in the low 30s. The room and bathroom were adequately cleaned every day,
There were, however, a few negatives about the room. Internet connectivity was generally OK, but it took a very long time to upload and download items. The air conditioner in the suite was old and very noisy, although in fairness it was very effective. There were also a couple of ceiling fans, though they were less effective. Thicker curtains would have made having an afternoon nap easier. Sound-proofing could also have been improved in order to block out noise from the busy square below (the Plaza 5 de Mayo).
One major plus: I found the staff on the reception desk, most of whom spoke good English, very pleasant and helpful.
As far as the breakfasts were concerned, the food on offer was minimally adequate. The coffee, however, was completely tasteless - no more than hot liquid.
As mentioned above, the Stanford is located on a busy square, on the far side of which is a handy metro station. From there it is only one stop to the main 'bus station (Albrook), where there is also a vast shopping mall. I was advised that it was quite safe walking along the pedestrianised Avenida Central to the Casco Viejo before 2000, as it is crowded with shoppers and there are lots of security personnel on duty. After 2000, however, it is much quieter and darker and therefore less safe: on one side of the avenida is an area called Santa Ana, which I was told is very dodgy. Not a place where tourists would feel comfortable or particularly welcome.
Unfortunately, there are no decent cafes, bars or restaurants close to the hotel - just fast food joints. The nearest decent ones are in the Casco Viejo, best reached by taxi in the evening.
Basically, the Stanford is a hotel that has seen better days and is in urgent need of refurbishment. The public areas are really very shabby. I could not spot any other hotels nearby, which suggests that this is not a touristy part of town, something that might well appeal to some visitors. I personally did not mind that, as there was no shortage of 'local colour'. I would certainly stay at the Stanford again, provided that I could have the penthouse suite for more or less the same price that I paid. I did not see inside any of the other rooms, so have no idea what they are like. I am relieved that my experience of staying here was not as awful or as memorable (for all the wrong reasons) as it clearly was for other reviewers.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC