Family Hotel Review: Riverside Inn, Boquete, Panama
Set just outside the popular hill station of Boquete is this lovely boutique bungalow that offers families a genuine chance to relax and unwind in a stunning setting.
Best For: Frazzled families in need of a rest!; kids of all ages.
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Firstly, I just want to say that I really loved this hotel! Set just outside the popular hill station of Boquete, alongside a mountain river, this is a genuine boutique property where frazzled families (such as mine!) could relax and unwind in a beautiful setting.
With only six rooms, Riverside Inn really delivers on style and comfort. So many properties label themselves ’boutique’ or ‘luxury’ only to fall short on both counts. Riverside Inn on the other hand, excels. There’s a lovely lawn, the interiors are modern and elegant with plenty of space and light, and in the evening a fire is lit in the communal sitting room and candles twinkle throughout the property. The feeling is one of being at home, if only my home was this calm and serene.
The other huge plus point is The Rock, definitely one of the best restaurants in Boquete and reason in itself to visit Riverside Inn. Positioned in a separate building at the bottom of the garden, between the slopes of the Jaramillo Mountains and the banks of the Palo Alto River, The Rock was a definite holiday highlight and I returned home at least several kilos heavier.
Why The Kids Will Love It
Despite the Riverside Inn being a small boutique property (and therefore popular with couples) it very much welcomes children. I visited with my two kids, aged 7 and 5, when my husband was away and the manager could not have been more accommodating and helpful.
We had a Loft Suite, which my children thought was fantastic. As the name suggests, there’s a mezzanine loft area with two twin beds, so more than enough space for the three of us. The large gardens were also a huge hit and the kids spent most of their time running around in the cool temperatures. Given that we live in Panama City where it is always hot and humid, the more temperate climes came as a very welcome break!
The Riverside Inn can organise a number of different activities for families from bird watching, river rafting and rock climbing to horse riding, mountain biking and zip lining – plus much, much more. We spent one afternoon exploring El Explorador, a small private garden home to curious objects, quirky sculptures, winding paths and a fanciful suspension bridge.
Riverside Inn has just six rooms. All rooms come with the following amenities:
- King or Queen-sized bed with 100% Eqyption cotton linens and duvets
- Two twin beds in the loft area (Loft Suites only)
- Television, Direct TV, DVD player and stereo
- Wireless internet
- Bath tub and shower
- Coffee maker
- Quality European amenities
- In-Room snacks
- Honour bar on the Terrace with a selection of fine liquors and wines
- Continental breakfast served daily
Master Suite Orchidea: The largest and most luxurious suite is subtly decorated with calming colours and original works of art. There’s a king-size canopy bed and a private balcony overlooking the river with stunning valley views. There’s also a jacuzzi tub in the oversize bathroom.
Junior Suites Bajareque and Jardin: These spacious suites offer a sophisticated luxury with fine linens and other amenities. Both come with king-size beds and original works of art and come with garden views.
Double Suite Arco Iris: This oversize suite is ideal for a family and is furnished with two Queen beds.
Loft Suites Baru and Maracuya: These extra spacious suites are ideal for a family or even two couples. Downstairs you’ll find a king-size bed and upstairs in the loft are two additional twin beds.
Best Rooms For Families: We stayed in the Maracuya Loft Suite, which was excellent. The kids loved having their own private sleeping area and so did I! The bathrooms are really spacious and it was lovely to return to a hot bath after af full day outdoors. Either of the Loft Suites would work well for families or the Arco Iris Suite.
The Rock is one of the area’s best restaurants, I would come back to Boquete just to eat here again. The restaurant is located at the other end of the garden to the hotel, which worked well as my kids played on the lawn while we waited for our food (tip! ask for a table outside). Expect delicious food, artisan beer and a relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant is open to outside guests and reservations are recommended.
Breakfast A continental breakfast is served daily from 7am – 9.30am and includes freshly baked house bread, homemade fruit jams, cooked ham, local pressed fresh cheese and yoghurt with granola. Coffee, tea, fresh fruit juices and hot chocolate are also available. Additional breakfast options (charged as extra) include corn tortillas, eggs to order, fresh toast, cereal with dried fruit, fruit with cream, pancakes and sausages.
Lunch & Dinner The lunch and dinner menu are the same and feature soups, salads, burgers, steak, shrimp and more. Some of the house specialities include suckling pig, vegetarian Thai curry and local Boquete trout. The restaurant is open from 12pm – 9pm.
For Kids: There’s a very good kids’ menu with usual child-friendly staples such as pasta and fish and chips.
Activities for Parents
Riverside Inn can arrange any of the following activities:
- Day spa
- Bird watching
- Rock climbing
- Horse riding
- Coffee tours
Activities for Kids
In addition to the activities mentioned above, the following can be arranged for the family:
- Canopy zip line
- 4×4 mountain safari
- Thermal springs
- River rafting
- ATV adventure tour
- Mountain biking
- Mini golf
- Nature walks
We also visited El Explorador, a wonderfully eclectic garden that my kids just loved! For more ideas and inspiration on what to do in Boquete, check out our Top 10 Picks of things to do with kids (coming soon!)
Common rooms, doctor on call, nearest hospital is David (1 hr drive), laundry, pushchair-friendly, travel desk, WiFi (complimentary and available throughout the property).
Rates vary from US $110 – 230 night. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
Boquete sits at around 1200m (3900ft) above sea level and enjoys more of a temperate climate than Panama’s tropical lowlands, not dissimilar to a good English summer. Temperatures can vary from 7C (45F) at night to 23C (75) during the day. When the sun is out it’s strong so do take care.
The dry, ‘summer’ season runs from mid December to April and the rainy, ‘winter’ season runs from May to December. Rainfall tends to come in short, heavy downpours and builds momentum as the rainy season progresses.
Location & Travel:
Riverside Inn is located just outside the hill town of Boquete in Panama. The nearest airport is Enrique Malek International (DAV) in David, 44km from Boquete – approx 1 hour by car or taxi.
The property is located 482 km. from Panama City, Panama, and a similar distance from San Jose, Costa Rica. From both capitals it is a 7 hour car or bus ride.
Riverside Inn, Boquete, Panama
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Contact The Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) Pack some warm clothes! It’s hard to imagine feeling cold when you are in the lowlands of Panama, but it significantly cooler in the hills. E.g. jeans, a light jumper & trainers as opposed to shorts & flip-flops.
2) We loved El Explorador gardens. Definitely worth a visit with small kids.
3) See our pick of the Top 10 things to do in boquete with kids (coming soon!)
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