The moment you tell people you’re visiting Casco Viejo – to stay there for a couple of nights and not just breeze into then out of some souvenir shop – it immediately becomes awkward.
The majority of these people are either Panamanians (who are still slightly freaked out by the neighborhood) or other tourists (who go by what they read in over-exaggerated or out-of-date guidebooks). They almost all think about Casco Viejo as a sight: a place that you go for a few hours. Therefore staying in Casco Viejo seems equivalent to a sleep over at the Washington Monument. Why would you want to do that? Their faces seem to say.
For a number of years, Los Cuatro Tulipanes was the only nice place to stay in Casco Viejo. We followed the lead of a boutique called Casa Mar Alta, which closed due to insufficient tourists. These were the years when Casa Blanca was the main restaurant in town and certain streets were still a bit iffy at night.
The transformation from then (2004) to now (2012) has been remarkable. Yet fortunately, what has been preserved is still a sense of rugged, authentic Panama. This means that when guests stay at Los Cuatro Tulipanes, they’re not just getting a basic hotel experience. They’re getting a true immersion into one of the last remaining bohemian historic sites in the Americas.
Most guests who stay with us don’t consider it a vacation but rather an experience. As opposed to the traditional image of lounging by the pool with a daiquiri, a stay in Casco Viejo is not one of textbooks. Instead of valet parking and room service, our guests don’t consider a stay complete until they’re calling out locals by name, dancing in the street, and finding individuals – whether they be locals or other visitors – they can relate to.
You may be on vacation, but when you stay with us at Los Cuatro Tulipanes, we want you to experience life like a local in a truly foreign and authentic place. You’ll have the creature comforts of home inside your apartment. But once out on the street, you’ll feel like you’re entering another world.