Chic Comfort in a Former Bakery
Where to stay in Panama City? Casco Viejo, the old district, is the edgy, cool area where the creative restaurants, historic squares and native markets convene. Tattered neglect is rapidly giving way to tasteful renovations and vibrant renewal. Think of photos of Havana, Cuba’s crumbling colonial manses of faded glory. Picture heavy stone buildings with missing roofs and woody weeds rising to the sky. In Casco Viejo, trash-strewn shells are being revived with polished wood and buffed ironwork, with sparkling lights, sophisticated foods, music and goods. We stayed in Casa del Horno, a boutique hotel in a refurbished bakery. An Italian designer couple exposed the brick walls, created apartment suites with balconies and iPod speaker-decked sitting rooms. Breakfast is delivered on a beautiful tray by a smiling gracious concierge. It’s a lovely little place just steps away from historic churches, squares and the Presidential Palace. (And yes, I should have straightened the bed).