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Come To Panama For The Canal, Stay for the Cool Hotel Art

February 13, 2012 at 9:10 AM | by | ()

It's been two weeks since we returned from Panama, but still we find ourselves flipping clicking through our photos from the trip and letting out tiny sighs. One thing we loved about almost every hotel we visited was all the cool lobby art on display—all of which had a great way of summing up the look and feel of each property.

Inside the lobby at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, there's so much animal art, it feels like the safari's begun before you even setting foot in the rainforest! In addition to banners embroidered with frogs and butterflies hanging from the ceiling—not to mention some beautiful metal sculptures of birds poised in mid-flight—we loved this intricate metalwork on the railings, reportedly done by a Colombian sculptor at the request of the hotel owner's wife.

Over at the InterContinental, this wall of flowers in the lobby perfectly captured the fanciful garden vibe of the beachfront property. Panama is rich with foliage everywhere you turn, so it makes sense to incorporate some of that greenery into the design.

This is a hotel we wish we'd spent more time in. Located on the downtown strip, the super-trendy Le Meridien Panama draws a late-20s to mid-30s crowd at Latitudes Bar, just off the lobby. We fell in love with the dark, swirling textures everywhere and the neon green glass corridor leading from the bar to the bathrooms.

Immediately upon walking in, you'll be greeted by a porthole-inspired piece (above) by Moroccan artist Younes Rahmoun. Sitting behind the Front Desk, "Mucharay/Net" glows orange and gold and offers a peek at some faraway cityscape. Swoon!

On the ground floor of Trump Ocean Club, sits this sculpture by Colombian figurative artist Fernando Boerto, showing a rather widely-proportioned woman reclining on her stomach. This reminded us slightly of the giant twin statues in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, and sure enough, a quick search through the NY Times confirmed that they too were done by Botero.

Inside the Westin Playa Bonita, a gaping, beige-and-white-accented lobby is set off by little nautical treasures like this one of an oversize snail shell. Through one giant window, the entire ocean is visible, so we considered the lobby an extended part of the shore.

PS, we realize some people actually do come—and stay—for the Panama Canal. Check out this vid we posted on Jaunted last week of a giant container ship passing through one of the canal's lock systems!

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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