3.6 on December 25, 2011
"Met expectations" is a good rating for me, judged against rates and local conditions. I stayed for 19 days, enjoyed it and expect to return. This is a fledgling operation with lots of good intent but modest practical hospitality experience. Albrook, as a former US base, has few access points, making it quiet and safe. The casa is a converted house of typical US Canal Zone construction. There are 6 bedrooms, 3 shared bathrooms (each with shower), a communal kitchen, two eating areas, and a living room. Some thought in fleshing out amenities still is needed but all rooms were functional and the beds comfortable. The feel is somewhat between a B&B and a hostel. Management is very friendly and responsive. The owner is multilingual but not resident. One can get by with only English by communicating through the owner. Functional Spanish or Portuguese will let you interact directly with the resident managers (lovely married couple) and access to lots of local knowledge and interesting conversation with them and other visitors. If you stay long enough it can begin to feel like a home. It is not (yet) for persons who expect all details to work smoothly all the time - of course, Panama isn't for those persons either. My personal requirements are cleanliness and quiet. The premises were cleaned thoroughly every day (except when the maid quit without notice; this happens in Panama) and noise was not a problem. The thought of fleas and barking has me hoping the owner reconsiders his intent of welcoming pets. I have stayed several times at a nearby (similarly named) hotel, for significantly more money, which gained me a private, but cramped bath. I have also stayed at a larger chain hotel near the Amador causeway (for even more money) and been unimpressed, except by the lack of personal interaction. I highly recommend Casa Albrook to anyone comfortable with adjusting to life's small twists and turns, and not needing 24h service.