Last Updated on February 12, 2024

A refreshing addition to the Panama hotel scene has arrived. Amarla (translated to ‘purity’) Casco Viejo is a eight-key boutique hotel located in Casco Viejo, Panama’s most historic UNESCO-designated region. 

Founded by British entrepreneurs Asher Warr and Robin Faulkner, the duo made a statement with their first property in Cartagena debuting in 2022, putting a marker in the sand with values rooted in local culture, community and design. Amarla Casco Viejo followed in those footsteps in 2023. 

Born out of a passion for travel, human connection and authenticity, Amarla Casco Viejo has been created using ‘purity’ as a watchword, with all aspects of the design based on this philosophy. Every facet of the hotel has been personally created by Panama’s finest craftsmen, utilizing the local arts and artisan practices that are unique to the region, offering something completely different. 

Not only is the property a striking departure from the staid, traditional hotels dominating the local hospitality scene, it is connecting with a growing group of adventurers who are searching for travel with purpose and inspiration. Only a handful of cookie-cutter accommodations have existed in the area until now. Amarla marks a new dawn for the old town, bringing together a like-minded community of travelers with tropical, earthy, yet premium accommodation and social spaces. 

It has a soul like no other hotel in the area, with a focus on authentic experiences and wellness, meaning guests leave feeling better than when they arrive. 

Highlights of the Amarla Casco Viejo hotel

Amarla Casco Viejo hotel interior.
Amarla Casco Viejo hotel interior. Courtesy Amarla Asco Viejo.

Perched in the heart of the historic district of Panama, Amarla Casco Viejo is the jewel in the crown of the rustic old town. Designed to offer guests the chance to experience understated luxury and local Panamanian culture, every facet of the property is inspired by the rich local heritage, from the architecture to the locally influenced restaurant. Amarla Casco Viejo offers an authentic cultural experience while simultaneously offering comfort and indulgence to modern explorers. 

With only eight rooms, Amarla Casco Viejo is intimate and serene and the handicrafts of native artisans tie each of the rustically styled rooms and suites to a Panamanian province. Each room has a set of photos by Phoebe Montague that depict highlights of the natural, cultural, and human wonders of Panama, from the Darien to Chiriqui.

In the design, the overarching aim was to build a contemporary adults only hotel, while leaving the surrounding area and local culture untouched as possible. In doing this, the hotel team created a concept that is greener on the inside than the outside, offering an urban oasis of giant palms and vertical gardens blossoming with jasmine and orchids. 

Guest Rooms and Amenities

Amarla Casco Viejo hotel rooftop
Amarla Casco Viejo hotel rooftop. Courtesy Amarla Casco Viejo.

Every room at Amarla might be designed differently, but there’s one thread that ties everything together in a beautiful, artisan bow. The hotel’s love of local artistry is woven through every individually styled space, like the hand-decorated coffee cups painted by a Panamanian tribe, and the hand-spun textiles draped over your bed. Much like the multicultural Panama City, elements from far-flung corners have found their place beside the locally sourced treasures, including brassware from Morocco in the bathrooms, Indonesian silk in the British-made kimonos, and Portuguese linens. 

For honeymooners or guests travelling for a special occasion, the Superior Duplex Suite is the ideal accommodation as the hotel’s largest residence. Split over two levels with twin balconies and a special remote-controlled skylight in the vaulted ceiling, travelers staying in the suite can watch the twinkling stars from bed. 

Amarla forms the core of a community of like-minded businesses in Casco Viejo, a neighborhood that is fast becoming Panama’s creative hub, and features the restaurant Kaandela, a unique collaboration combining local Panama cuisine with Amarla’s design and architectural expression. 

Kaandela Restaurant and Bar

Since the beginning of time humans have come together around fire to share stories, music, laughter and food. That is the essence of Kaandela.

Fiery local flavor’s await and the bar has a spirited South American selection of mezcals and coffee (best sipped on the rooftop, overlooking the trendier-by-the-day Casco). The design is bold, seamlessly integrated within the centuries-old walls of this historic casona yet contemporary and relevant.

The space is an embodiment of the area—sexy, elegant, laid-back, and tropical. Crafted cocktails and spirited tunes accompany the dining experience, while the restaurant team leads guests on a sensorial journey of explosive flavors. 

Wellness

Wellness travelers will be pleased to know that wellbeing experiences lie in the healing hands of the hotel’s certified wellness instructor who guides guests through a series of breathwork, meditation, and yoga sessions, followed by a debrief in the bar with a cleansing herb-packed smoothie. 

The hotel marks a catalyst for a new era of tourism in Panama, attracting a fashionable crowd of explorers, creatives, wellness lovers and adventurers from across the globe to explore the old town. Authentic local experiences, art, incredible design, visiting practitioners, make this one of the most exciting, and forward-thinking, properties not only in Casco Viejo, but in Panama itself. 

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