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Panama Hotel in Seattle, WA

Panama Hotel in Seattle, WA

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Company Info:

Rating: 3.17

Address: 605 S Main St, Seattle, WA, 98104
  • Mon: Open 24 hours
  • Tue: Open 24 hours
  • Wed: Open 24 hours
  • Thu: Open 24 hours
  • Fri: Open 24 hours
  • Sat: Open 24 hours
  • Sun: Open 24 hours

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Comments (29):

1. Miss M.
this place is haunted, Fo real.

05/12/10 | Link | Rating: 1.0
2. MF C.
I love this place. They have great drinks and snacks.  I love the atmosphere! Great place to grab coffee hang out with a friend or just read a book on a rainy or sunny day

13/02/11 | Link | Rating: 5.0
3. Jingwen Y.
A quaint little place in the International District. Cozy environment and of course I went into the " best tea house" to order coffee. I actually liked their coffee which has that HK style. I would not recommend hanging out at this place during a hot summer day because it was like an oven in there. I am a little disappointed they have no wifi but wasn't trying very hard to find it. I would definitely come back with friends.

25/08/10 | Link | Rating: 4.0
4. Gino L.
first off the staff all work for free she wont pay anyone! slave labor  , no toilet seat in the rest rooms mice traps every where, jan treats her staff like dog shit ,she talks terrible about black people and native americans worst place ever to live or to stay there is a hotel manager named paul missing tooth will stand by your door and  listen to you  having sex with your partner  i caught him, awful things go on there,

27/09/12 | Link | Rating: 1.0
5. Chris L.
Great place in the ID to sample a pot of fine tea from their large menu. We holed up during a brief and windy rainstorm in March. The guy behind the counter was knowledgeable and friendly. The room was cozy and warmish.

Before you leave, be sure to look through the plexiglass window in the floor in the back. You'll see in the cellar the personal possessions that Asian immigrants put into temporary storage decades ago.

27/04/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
6. Ruth M.
What a cool hotel. As eccentric as my grandmother's sock collection, this fabulous old place deserves 5 stars for its old world charm combined with fastidious cleanliness and perfectly quirky staff. This is a place for people who want a bit of soul when they travel, as well as a cheap price in a good location, naturally. I'll stay here again.

13/08/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
7. Chris S.
Came here with some buddies that were in town for a concert so that they could drop off their stuff.  The building is old and the beds and furniture is somehow even older.  The bathrooms are communal and you can hear anything that moves in the entire building.  I would not recommend this place to anyone that is concerned about their health.  I am pretty sure that you could die a thousand different deaths while in this place.

30/04/12 | Link | Rating: 2.0
8. Rick S.
I heard about this place from the owner. I had the unfortunate experience of meeting her in the middle of an intersection at Dearborn and 6th. Her Lamborghini Jarama had seized, and I swooped in to lay on hands. After acrushed and fruitless rescue attempt, she offerred me a free tea or coffee at the Panama Hotel.
Despite distractions and trepidations, I finally made it here, and love the spacious , eclectically decorated lower chamber. I only wanted to sit and stay, so I ordered an Americano and settled in to a bench at a huge communal table in the den-like shotgun that is the secondary chamber. It might be my new hideout!! Ssshhh.

13/10/09 | Link | Rating: 4.0
9. David J.
I loved this hotel and would stay again. If you love rich culture and traditions this is a great place to stay in an awesome location.  Don't mind the stairs, it's all part of the charm. The price is one of the best in downtown Seattle area.  The staff are awesome and Jan the owner is quite a wonderful person and fascinating to talk too.  I hope she writes a book of her life and about owning the Panama Hotel.  True, bathrooms are down the hall.  True the beds are on true old tyme spring exposed box springs.  Antiques in the rooms with Asian art.  This hotel has an asian flare.  If you're lucky enough to get a tour of the hotel and the US's only Japanese bath house in the basement then you're in for a treat. Jan was our tour guide. We stayed in late July 2013, slept with window open as there's no AC, but not a problem.  This hotel has charm & old world grace and a strong history.  True this place is not for everyone, but if you love culture and history stay here, meet Jan and tour the hotel.  Just ask about the tour.  Many Japanese people stored their possessions here during the Japanese interment and can be seen thru the glass floor in the tea room.

25/08/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
10. Maura W.
My 15-yr-old son and I stayed here for one night in September while we were in town for a night Seahawks game and it suited us fine.  I loved the historic feel to it, the creaking stairs going up, the plush beds on real bed springs, and the teahouse that provides continental breakfast.  We were getting up too early for the breakfast so they packed it up for us the night before in paper lunch sacks to take to the train.  The "office" is a sitting room/den and they still do things the old school way with pencils and copy machines.  It is a fast 5 minute walk to Amtrak, Seahawks Stadium or the Mariners.  You can't get anywhere else cheaper or cleaner.  We slept with the windows partially open and the only bad part were the garbage trucks at 4am barreling down the street.  When you are there you feel like the rooms all have stories to tell and I would put money on it that there are ghosts from past visitors when it was a Japanese boarding house that are roaming the halls.  IN the morning, while I went across the hall to use the bathroom, I came back to a kitty waiting outside our door to say hi.  We let her in and she jumped on the bed to peak out the window. Super cute!  I would stay here again and again.  If you can't climb stairs, or you must have a TV in your room, don't stay here.

19/09/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
11. hannah a.
there are two aspects to the panama hotel: the tea shop/cafe, and the hotel.  the tea room is *awesome* and quite and lovely.

the hotel, however: eeech.  rumor the owner inherited it as well as significant wealth (see owner's lamborghini parked out front), and so this is a hobby rather than a business, and it shows.  the rooms are flea-infested (literally: cats roam the hotel.  not at all acceptable for people with asthma, allergies).  people rent rooms by the week, the seedy druggie kind of people.  this is a flop house that is banking on old-world charm and absolutely no financial investment or care.  this might be a step-up from sleeping in the alley, but only marginally (the hotel has rat traps under the beds...need i say more?)

26/06/12 | Link | Rating: 1.0
12. Audrey L.
I really like this place. Its well decorated, clean, has nice touches (lace curtains/clawfoot bathtub/globe in room). We had a corner room that overlooks the ID which had a lovely cross breeze, pressed linens, and antique furniture.  Its quiet, the staff was helpful (provided us with a place to lock up our bikes and keep our bags after checkout), and you get tea and breakfast with your room served in their beautiful cafe.  Its affordable. I will reiterate what others have said, if you want the Westin, stay at the Westin.

16/07/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
13. Dianna S.
This place is great! Would stay again. Very pretty, clean, unique, and friendly owner and cats.

12/10/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
14. Libra J.
I would highly, highly recommend this affordable, comfortable, and old-fashioned inn for an authentic Seattle experience. It's an eclectic, historic hotel with lots of staircases, deep dark wood, old carpets, creaky mattresses, and shared toilets. Fortunately, as it was a rainy Wednesday night before Thanksgiving there was hardly anyone else on my floor. Each room has its own sink, dresser, chair, and bed... not much room for much else in there! Yes, the owner does keep cats, but they don't wander around the hotel and their dander is only noticeable in the lobby.
The underground coffee/breakfast room is very charming and revitalizing before you brave the wet cold of Seattle winter.
p.s the cafe makes very good coffee and pastries and pie!! I loved this place!!

20/11/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
15. Missy W.
Rude rude rude never ever never going there again it was creepy experience, creepy guy was so unwelcoming, so rude, not helpful didn't stay, we left, worst experience, the old smell could not get use of it.

12/08/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
16. Sooyun C.
My boyfriend and I stayed here for 5 nights. He booked the hotel and honestly when I first got here I was kind of shocked because I was expecting something more like the Sheraton... The bathroom and shower is shared for the entire floor, the room is pretty small, the bed wasn't completely flat and it squeaked,...

I wouldn't say it's spotlessly clean, but it definitely is clean enough. I did enjoy my stay here, and the staff is really friendly.

I read some of the negative reviews about this place-- I don't really give a shit about the rumors surrounding the owner or whatever (she was really nice and friendly to us), and we looked and found no mouse traps. I slept well at night, it's super affordable, and overall a pretty good experience. And free breakfast next door!

17/08/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
17. Just T.
My GF and I stayed here in October of 2014. It's OOOOOLLLD. It is an old hotel in Chinatown/Japantown area. I read reviews before we reserved rooms and was entertained by all the whiny, spoiled babies who "didn't like the stairs" or "how squeaky the beds were" or "how small the rooms were". Nonsense. It's a grand OLD hotel, showing its age, but worthy of admiration. It's awesome that the owner(s) have spent the effort required to keep the hotel alive. The rooms were smallish compared to other "more modern hotels", but, man, the old original fixtures, AWESOME. The little sitting room next to check-in, with the old coke machine, ADORABLE. The adjunct tea-room downstairs, LOVED IT. We had breakfast there every day we stayed: Try the Bergamot tea and a flaky croissant and grab one of the board games or newspapers. It's a great hotel. If I ever stay in Seattle again, this hotel is a definite candidate.

The guy who checked us in was pleasant, informative, and straight up. He even carried our bags for us. Who even DOES that anymore?!?!

The bathrooms are shared, but they are cleaned frequently. If you have a problem with that it's probably because you are a spoiled brat. Sorry, just a truth.

All in all, it's a nice old hotel in a slightly rough area. Not a drug dealers rough kind but a few bums down the street kind of rough. I never once felt I was in danger from anyone around there and my danger radar is impeccable.

Go stay there. It's a great place. And if you play your cards right, you might even get to see a tour of all the WWII era stuff down in the basement.

03/11/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
18. Jerry J.
Stay away from this Hotel! if you believe that making a reservation through booking.com or tripadvisor.com , etc. means something to these people at the Panama Hotel your very wrong!  This Hotel is a breeding ground for identity theft!
Let me explain: When you arrive they take a photocopy of your drivers license & then they jot down all your credit card information (including your CVV code on the back of the card) on a loose leaf binder & leave your information laying on a table in a public room where anyone can view it. If this isn't bad enough the staff are rude & just plain weird!  When my grandson & girlfriend went to check out in the morning nobody was there to assist them, nor was there a Continental breakfast as mentioned.  I'm encouraging anyone reading this review to google  "Panama Hotel, Seattle & do some advanced reading of reviews from others. There's all kind of reviews, both good and bad so I'm just passing along information that my Grandson & his girlfriend experience just recently.  Be forewarned!

15/09/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
19. Jane F.
You have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy the experience of this hotel. I like historical places and I have a large dog. It was very reasonable for downtown Seattle. To the unaware traveler it might seem a little creepy and rundown but for me it was perfect. Very clean and quiet. The place was a haven for Japanese immigrants and it is located in an old Japanese neighborhood. My room was very charming and cozy. The bed, an old iron bed with bouncy springs which I love. Lots of big poofy pillows and crisp sheets. You do share a bathroom but not a big deal for me. Included a free breakfast next door at a very cool cafe. I would call this place a backpacker's hotel or a glorified youth hostel type hotel. If you like history and especially if you have a dog this is a reasonably priced little gem in a great location for walking downtown. There is a fee based parking lot next door, $15 per day and free but limited time street parking out front.

14/06/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
20. Xilofia R.
The building is really neat but the owner is a nightmare.  She talks on and on about herself, bragging about how a book is written about her.  But what upsets me the most is the way I've seen the way her talk/yell at her employees, very demeaning and abusive.  Supporting businesses that treat their employees well is important to me, so I wont be supporting this nasty hotel.

06/04/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
21. Stacie G.
Update:  I feel compelled to say something in response to hannah a.'s post.  The owner of the Panama Hotel gave my friend and I a great recommendation for a seafood dinner down on the waterfront during our stay and then gave us a ride there in her car to beat the evening dinner rush.  She told us all about the neighborhood on our drive and was very friendly.  She definitely was NOT driving a lamborghini.  In fact, her car was something along the lines of an older model Ford or Chevy and the inside was just as lived-in looking as mine.  Please don't let a post like hannah a's leave you with a faulty impression.  It's very much off the mark and shamefully harmful.

19/05/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
22. Captain L.
I really enjoyed my stay here! Despite the building being over 100 years old, the facilities were as clean as they could be.
My room was very cozy.
The staff was very friendly and the owner was awesome. I felt like I could ask her anything.
I would definitely recommend this place to people who want to experience a different hotel experience.
But if you really don't like sharing a bathroom, this place is not for you.

17/11/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
23. Mikhail H.
I will give you a few warnings on staying here - I was not expecting several steeeeeeep flights of stairs but the building in very old so I should have known better but if you have trouble with stairs, be warned! Sometimes they have someone to come grab your bags - we did luck out on that. The service is not your typical fancy hotel staff - these folks are down to Earth and that's fine by me since the price was right and we enjoyed our stay. The owners and staff were super sweet to us. They were very good at explaining things and offering recommendations or help with the area etc. Using a bathroom and shower down the hall was a bit strange and that shower is not just tiny but combined with old pipes (so you have to keep fiddling with it to get an even temperature) it takes some patience. Our room was clean and just fine though with a firm but cozy mattress. If you are looking for some luxury, spend some extra bucks and stay at a hotel but this place is just fine if you are on a budget.

13/08/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
24. Peter N.
Owner was extremely rude from the get - go,  demanding our luggage doesn't hit the stairs. No offer to get a bellhop. The proprietor just simply disappeared after that. This was the beginning of the nightmare.

No elevator, no AC, no TV, they demanded to copy all of our ID (why?). And none of this was on the website. I don't care how historic the building is, I've been to plenty of hotels in Sweden, Finland, Norway. There is still a basic level of decency you need to provide to your guests.

28/07/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
25. Jerry P.
I was suckered by all the "historic" talk and lingo, and my wife an I love quirky, out-of-the-way, non-chain, unique little places. But we also value cleanliness, safety, comfort, and good customer service. Sadly, the Panama Hotel FAILS in those four categories, miserably I might add. Historic is one thing, Old and threadbare is quite another. I really wish I had the $$$ to buy this place from Jan, keep her as the historian, but hire REAL hotel front desk clerks, not just other people who happen to LIVE in the hotel. With modest touch-ups, (OKAY, some not-so-modest) one could envision this as one kick-ass retro place,  Right now, it's far from it.

No AC? No problem, except windows are screenless, and there are no fans available. Safety, PERSONAL safety was really not in evidence here. Windows open at the end of the hall, at the fire escape. When I checked out a few hours after checking in, I tested the fire escape from the parking lot, wasn't hard to jump up to the ladder, and then If I'd wanted to, VOOM, I'm in.

The key they give you? It's a real key, I can live with that, not every property has to have a key-card, But not ANY property should give you a key, with the room number stamped on it, AND the hotel's address too, ASKING for theft.

If you do go here, WATCH your CREDIT CARD. The room check in procedure is Identify Theft Class 101.  They photocopy your drivers license, what? They they hand-write your cc number, expiry date, and your security code? what? what? what?

Then, as if all of that is not bad enough, they simply put your info, YOUR info, in a three ring binder, on a table, in a COMMON room! Anyone, and I mean anyone, could walk in and look and/or take or copy your info.  I know, because when I checked out, I did just that, I took MY info sheet right back. I'm still not confident that someone didn't copy my cc info in the few short hours I stayed there.

If you are married, avoid costly legal battles, and don't stay here, because your wife will certainly divorce you.  If you are young and single, and male, maybe/  I think I would have thought this a "cool" place when i was in my twenties....

But the drunks, and the cussing, and the loud, REALLY loud, street people were just the icing on the cake. I checked in, and soon thereafter, checked right out.

I will give them this, the sheets were crisp and clean, but the bed sagged like a broken trampoline when both of us lay down on it.

Jan, the owner, has done some great work on preserving this property, but go for a visit, just don't stay the night. It seemed to me that a great deal of people who were there, LIVED there, not a good sign.  Jan is also very verbally abusive to her own employees, in FRONT of guests, again, not a good sign.

When reading other reviews, and I encourage you do read ALL the reviews on Yelp, and TripAdvisor, read them the same way you read real estate adds.  That is "cozy" really means "small".

Unless you have luggage that fits on your back, it's also one heck of a stairway from Hell to navigate just to get to the 2nd floor, where one checks in...

16/07/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
26. Deb M.
Eclectic historical hotel in the heart of the International District.  Walking distance to the Lunar New Year celebration, and numerous Asian restaurants, with reasonable parking available in a lot next to the building.  Staff and proprietor were all friendly and helpful.  The rooms are small, but clean, and nicely appointed with antique furnishings  and nice fluffy bedding.   It was quite clear to me at the get-go that this was a 100 year old building and had shared baths.  Funky and quirky, great overnight stay.

24/02/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
27. Jeewon J.
Definitely was a mistake.

Stayed here for a night in hopes of a new experience.
Definitely not.

First of all, this place is old. I'm not even sure how this place is called a hotel... even B&Bs are better than this.  Management was rude and very creepy. THEY PHOTOCOPY YOUR ID... whether it be a passport or driver's license. And they just keep it in a drawer that anyone can open.... and they also ask you to write down all your credit card info on a piece of paper as well.. which is also stored in a drawer that anyone can open. We asked whether this was safe and the management replied with some BS about how they really cared about security.

Secondly, getting a good night's sleep is super hard here. THERE ARE SO MANY PLANES FLYING BY it is ridiculous. You can also hear everything when anyone speaks. Whether its the person upstairs, next to you, or outside your window.

Thirdly, WAY TOO EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT YOU GET.

But seriously, they  need to upgrade because historic value don't mean crap when they put all your personal information at risk.

Stay away.

13/11/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
28. Danielle K.
This was by far one of the worst experiences I have ever had at a hotel, if you want to call it that. Its really an overpriced hostel with CREEPY rude staff.

My friend and I planned a girl's weekend in Seattle, she wound up booking us 2 nights at the Panama Hotel for lodging. I arrived first after a long drive from Portland. When you first walk in you have to climb two flights of stairs to reach the check in area. What used to be the front desk is covered in clutter, the hallways are lined with ripped old rugs piled on top of each other. A very nice man greeted me and went through the check in process, which seemed very outdated. They didn't have a computer, he scanned a copy of my ID and hand wrote my credit card information on a piece of paper stating that the owner is the only one who runs card information. I found it odd but was still going along with it. Then he showed me the room that we would have, on the way down the hall he pointed out the shared bathrooms, which was news to me.

Shortly thereafter my friend arrives. She also did not know that the place had shared bathrooms despite having spoken to the owner over the phone (seems like something she should have mentioned). The man starts to go through the process of checking her in when the owner showed up. She walked into the room and abruptly said "He doesn't work here." Which obviously made my friend very uncomfortable. The owner then checks her in herself, and even has to call me over to run my card... even though the man took down my information... Very strange. This is also the only place I've ever stayed where they make you pay up front rather than at check out. Probably because people would leave.

Eventually we get all checked in and decide to go our for a walk. We get back around 7pm to get ready for dinner, as we were walking up the stairs talking, there was an older man hanging over the railing looking down at us, "Can I help you??" said in a very 'what the fuck are you doing' kind of tone. I responded "Uhh.. we're going to our room..." A few moments later I went to use the women's toilet but the door was locked and I couldn't hear anyone inside. My friend started to look for an employee to help but no one was to be found, she called out "Hello??" Only to be shushed by the old guy who was off hiding in a corner somewhere. Shushed in a 'hotel' at 7:30pm on a Friday??!!?

The next night we got back around midnight after seeing a show. We parked at the nearby lot and were walking towards the front. A different old guy was standing directly in front of the double doors smoking a cigarette. I assumed he was another one of their staff though I hadn't seen him before. In order to avoid another rude question, I said "good evening sir, we are staying here." He didn't so much as smile or give a friendly nod as he said "I know." Neither did he open the door or move the fuck out of the way, therefore I literally had to reach around him to open the door and get in. What a creep. My friend and I both hurried up the stairs and to our room, too freaked out to even look back.

The next morning as we tried to check out but not a single employee was to be found. I even played lookout while she looked through the binder hoping to steal our information back but no such luck. Some poor guy was standing there waiting to be helped for like 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure the "staff" is just a bunch of creepers who work to live there. The owner lives there as well. Its too bad, I love the antique charm of it but so much needs to be fixed. Especially the customer service.

13/11/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
29. a p.
Ok, second try. my first attempt equated to a small novel... There is so much to say.

But first a comment, if you write a review and lie in it you may as well not write a review and go rant somewhere else, just sayin'

Pass the doors of the Panama and walk literally back in time.
A grand staircase greats you, (there are also hills in Seattle if you do not like stairs or hills don't come to Seattle).  Your room will be crisp clean and filled with antiques, antiques are everywhere. No tv here to disturb you. The hallways are alike a big old mansion. Other places swipe your cards, Panama writes it down, it's charming. If you have the pleasure to meet Jan she might size you up a bit and you can do the same, then sit down and have a chat, she is an amazing women. We talked for a few hours over the time I stayed at the Panama. What she wants to do and the respect she has for the building and its history is commendable.
I visited last year for a convention and I am here to book my stay at the Panama for this year's meeting. I cannot wait to see the room i will get, Jan decorate each of them with a different theme relevant to the building history. With a bit of luck, I will meet Jan again and we might pick-up our conversation about life, living, building human scale cities, etc.
Making a fuss about the washroom is just silly.

Go to the Panama Hotel.

Alain
Vancouver BC

02/01/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0