Panama is marking the official opening of a new luxury boutique hotel, Las Clementinas Chambers, Café and Bar.
Las Clementinas is located in Casco Viejo (Old City), Panama City’s walled, historic center situated near the Panama Canal. It is the sister hotel of The Canal House, which has recently been called Panama’s “top boutique offering” by Lonely Planet Travel Guide.
The fully restored building, which was constructed in 1930, has six oversized suites. Though the historic district of Casco Viejo is best-known as a destination for leisure travelers, the hotel’s 800-square-foot suites with separate living areas and full kitchens are designed to be an ideal base for business travelers on extended stays.
“Las Clementinas is unlike any property in Panama,” says Olga Quelqueje, general manager of Las Clementinas and The Canal House. “It has beautiful ocean views, hidden gardens, over-sized suites and a tropical, Old World character. The positive response we received from guests during our soft opening was overwhelming.”
The Cafe and Bar serves contemporary Panamanian and Caribbean dishes by Chef Javier Lamarca, whose experience includes the Michelin three-star elBulli in Barcelona. Las Clementinas’ interconnected gardens and private dining room offers a unique setting for small- and medium-sized special events.
Las Clementinas was built in the 1930s by Clementina Herrera and her daughter Clementina Jaén, owner of a successful jewelry shop. The site sits on top of the original city wall built by the Spanish in the 1700s to defend Casco Antiguo from attack. The wall was dismantled in the 1850s to make way for more development.
After Doña Clementina’s jewelry shop moved, the downstairs commercial space (now the Café and Bar) were leased to Panama’s National Police, whose nearby station known as “La Secreta” (the Secret Police) became notorious during the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega from 1983 to 1989.
Directly behind the building is a garden, sold at the turn of the century by the Government to Ramon Arias Feraud with the express restriction that the lot never be used “other than as a garden for the conservation and embellishment of the city.”
Las Clementinas is the latest restoration in the quickly revitalizing historic district of Casco Viejo (also known as Casco Antiguo), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its grand theaters, eclectic architecture and burgeoning nightlife, Casco is becoming an international destination in itself, as well as a central point for exploring Panama.
The property is owned and operated by Conservatorio SA, a developer of hotels, condominiums and affordable housing in the historic district.
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