Whenever I visit a new city, I try to picture if I could see myself living there. I spot the coffee shop where I would spend my afternoons working from my laptop, the narrow streets that would become my favorite route home. I select my would-be neighborhood bar, and the park where weekend picnics would become our tradition. But most importantly, I imagine my dream home in this alternate reality. No matter the city, this home always includes a gorgeous balcony and lots of plants.
On my recent trip to Panama City, my usual game of playing house felt like an actual reality thanks to Las Clementinas. This apartment style boutique hotel is in a renovated building from the 1930’s, with each of the nine rooms more charming and inviting than the next. It’s also located right in the center of Casco Viejo- the picturesque historic district of Panama City, and a clear choice for my if-I-lived-here dream neighborhood.
Aside from the inviting apartments of Las Clementinas, what originally drew me to this hotel was its history. The property was owned by Clementina Jaen- a rebellious spirit who unapologetically smoke, drank and never married. She followed in her mother’s footsteps, the original Clementina- a fiercely independent woman whose legacy includes being one of the first women in Panama to wear pants!
When we arrived at Las Clementinas, Miguel warmly greeted us before offering a welcome drink of (delicious) local rum and showing us around the property. Attached to the building is a lush courtyard and seating area, as well as Mahalo- a perfect go-to spot for brunch or cocktails with a pinterest-worthy interior design.
The hotel also boasts one of the best views in Casco Viejo from their rooftop- an ideal option if you want those sunset views without the crowds of the other nearby rooftop bars.
Because our time in Panama City was sandwiched around a trip to Bocas del Toro, we had the pleasure of staying in two different apartments. While each had a similar set up- a spacious living/dining room, kitchen and adjacent bed and bathroom, plus two balconies- the decor of each apartment was distinctly different.
Our first apartment had a music theme, with brass instruments and a shiny piano adorning the playful living room. Even in my wildest imagination, I never pictured a piano in my pretend foreign city home, though it’s now become a must- right up there with the balcony and plants!Our next apartment had a chic neutral palette, with photography-themed accents like vintage cameras and coffee-table books.
In both cases, there were flowers and treats waiting for us on our bed, as well as a Walking Tour guide book. Above all else, these many thoughtful touches are what really made our stay so special.We actually spent a lot more time in our apartment than planned- and I mostly blame the bed and chocolate!
Las Clementinas was an absolute dream (literally)- right down to the multiple balconies. And while I’ll sadly never get to have a drink with Clementina, it was enough just to be a guest in her home, look out from her rooftop and raise a glass to all the Clementina’s of the world.
We were hosted by Las Clementinas during our stay, but as always, all opinions are my own.