This 55-year-old hotel, with its attractive, mock-colonial facade, has the fanciest accommodations in David. It also offers the most amenities, including a casino, a cinema, an outdoor swimming pool, and three restaurants. Guest rooms are fresh and clean, with tiled floors, orthopedic mattress beds, and run-of-the-mill, chain-hotel decor. The Gran Nacional hosts mostly businessmen and travelers taking a break during the drive to either Costa Rica or Bocas del Toro. David's humid weather makes the swimming pool key, and their on-site restaurants are decent, serving mostly Panamanian dishes, pizzas, and pastas. Given the dearth of decent restaurants in David, consider dining at the hotel even if you're not lodging here. Every day from 5:30 to 10:30pm, the hotel's outdoor restaurant has a barbecue special with beef, chicken, and seafood. The front-desk staff is friendly but inattentive, and could use a refresher course in hospitality.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010