TÁNTALO HOTEL / KITCHEN / ROOFBAR BRINGS NYC URBANISM AND COOL TO PANAMA CITY’S CASCO VIEJO
2012’s Most Talked About Travel Destination Mixes A New Breed of Modern Luxury and Art With Its Historic Old Town Culture
March 1, 2012 (Panama City, Panama)— One of Latin America’s hottest travel destinations is finally home to a stylish new hotel, restaurant and roofbar destination. Tántalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar is an innovative, eco-conscious and modern boutique hotel located in the heart of the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panama City.
Chosen as the NYTimes.com’s “No. 1 Place to Go in 2012,” Panama is rapidly gaining popularity as a premier vacation destination due to its accessibility, plethora of adventure sports and white sand beaches. The Tántalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar is located in the “Old Town” neighborhood of Panama City, known as Casco Viejo. The area began its revitalization in 1997 after UNESCO (The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared it a World Heritage Site. Casco Viejo reflects the influences from previously occupying countries such as Spain, France and the United States intertwined with the history of Panama. Second only to the Panama Canal as the most-popular destination in Panama, the Old Town is considered one of the most attractive Spanish colonial destinations in the Americas.
Once a derelict collection of abandoned and graffiti-tagged buildings, Casco Viejo has undergone impressive revitalization since 1997. More recently however, Casco Viejo has gained a reputation as the art and creative district of Panama, becoming the favored canvas for street art and other artistic expression. The area plays host to art festivals, shows and public art demonstrations throughout the year. The allure of this old world nabe lies in its age, historic buildings and hidden alleyways where you never know what beauty you may discover. The only thing missing from this microcosm of artistry was a destination of creativity and expression whereby artists and the public can interact. Tántalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar was created to fill this void.
Tántalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar plays host to a multidisciplinary art collective, representing the true, urban art scene of Panama and its unabashed characters and politics. Occupying what was previously an apartment building built in the 1970s, Tántalo Hotel is owned and operated by Blesso Properties of New York City.
“Panama City has transformed so rapidly into a major international hub of business, but has not yet developed many of the modern cultural amenities found in other international destinations,” Tántalo Hotel owner Matt Blesso said. “Because we have seen firsthand that people generally like to be surrounded by creative individuals doing interesting and inspiring things, it’s easy to understand the need for aspiring artists to have a medium to engage with the public. And when they do not, then both the artists and public are losing out. The desire for art and culture is not a New York or even an urban quality, but a human one.”
Bringing touches of modern New York City design to the colonial architecture entrenched in Casco Viejo, the Tántalo Hotel incorporates artwork by emerging local artists throughout the hotel’s stunning interiors and in each of the 13 uniquely designed guests rooms. Every room has a different artist harnessing a different type of artistic expression and theme, utilizing numerous art mediums including photography, graffiti art and light boxes.
The Tántalo Kitchen, the hotel’s communal-style restaurant, is the perfect setting for digging into international-inspired comfort food dishes designed for sharing and developed by Panamanian born Chef Pierre DeJanon. Lively conversations and new friendships spring to life between patrons around the beautifully constructed, bar height, Panama Canal eco-harvested wood tables. Guests will re-discover the familiar meats, fish and vegetables that are native to Panama, but seasoned with Indian, European, American and Latin American flavors and spices for a completely original dining experience.
When guests enter the hotel, the Tántalo Kitchen Restaurant / Lounge area immediately greets them, inviting them to become part of the often-energetic scene. Unlike a typical hotel, the check-in area is small, while the rest of the ground floor is buzzing with energy and saturated with art. The lounge provides the perfect area to enjoy a few of the house’s hand crafted signature cocktails, iced coffee for those hot Panamanian afternoons or any number of the Kitchen’s dishes while being surrounded by locally inspired art and the iconic green wall’s beautiful plant décor.
“As Blesso Properties got to know the city and understand Casco Viejo, we saw an exciting opportunity to leverage our core competencies, namely redevelopment and innovative design aesthetic, to create a product in an up-and-coming area that we believed would be a game-changer for the city,” Blesso Properties vice president and project manager Adam Rosenberg said. “We strongly believed that if we brought the concepts that are familiar to vibrant metropolises around the world including NYC and coupled them with art and the desire to foster creativity, we could create a successful project unlike anything the city has seen.”
The first of its kind, Tántalo’s live green wall is an eight-meters-wide and two-stories high celebration of 983 examples of native Panamanian flora, nourished by rainwater reclaimed from the skylight atrium located high above the lounge. Adding a twist in design to an otherwise mundane area, Tántalo’s ground floor bathroom features an always-interactive and interesting communal bathroom hand-washing trough.
Already the talk of the town before the official opening, Tántalo invites guests to step into one of Casco Viejo’s only elevators to ascend four stories and experience the unmatched panoramic view at Tántalo’s rooftop lounge: Encima Roofbar. Patrons enjoy live entertainment of all kinds while sipping drinks at Casco Viejo’s first and only rooftop bar and lounge.
Visitors to Casco Viejo are treated to beautiful restored architecture throughout the ruins, plazas and cathedrals that populate the neighborhood, while a growing number of restaurants, shops and art galleries provide entertainment and celebrate culture. Panama City ranks No. 5 on National Geographic’s “100 Journeys of a Lifetime, The World’s Must-See Destinations” and has recently been featured in ABC’s television series “The Bachelor” and one of the highly coveted locations of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Located in the Latin American country with the lowest crime rate, Panama City celebrates a distinct Caribbean Latin culture melded with American and European influences offering the perfect getaway just a 3–5 hour direct flight from New York City, Washington D.C., Miami, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco airports. Direct flights are available from Amsterdam, Spain and Asia. Operating on the U.S. Dollar, Panama City is also the hub of Latin America, with trips to numerous other countries just a direct flight away.
ABOUT TÁNTALO / HOTEL / KITCHEN / ROOFBAR
New York City urbanism meets Panama contemporary style at boutique hotel Tántalo / Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar. The classic Panama City exterior gives way to a completely modern interior, but Tántalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar keeps the Casco Viejo flavor in the details property-wide. Check out Tántalo’s website for more information at www.tantalohotel.com. For the latest updates, “Like” Tántalo on Facebook at facebook.com/Tantalo-hotel-kitchen-rooftop and “Follow” us on Twitter @TantaloHKR.
TÁNTALO, THE TALE BEHIND THE NAME…
The word "tantalize" comes from the plight of the mythological character Tántalo (Tantalus as he is known in English), who was a Greek King and a son of Zeus. Mortals admired Tántalo because he was often invited to feast with the gods. To further impress the mortals, one night, Tántalo stole the divine food and beverages from the gods and presented this bounty to the mortals so they could enjoy what he had come to know as well. The gods were so offended by his betrayal that they condemned him to an afterlife of eternal hunger and thirst, punishing Tántalo by forcing him to stand, neck deep, in a pool of thirst quenching spring water surrounded by luscious fruit trees hanging above his head. Each time Tántalo tried to take a drink, the water would recede just below his bending body. When he tried to reach the dangling fruit to satisfy his hunger, the branches retreated escaping his grip. Tormented and teased by the gods, satisfaction would forever remain just beyond his grasp.
ABOUT BLESSO PROPERTIES
Blesso Properties is an innovative and socially-conscious real estate development and investment firm based in New York City. Founded by Matthew Blesso in 1997, Blesso Properties has won six design awards and has broken multiple sales pricing records for its innovative designs. Having garnered both design and humanitarian awards, Blesso Properties blurs the boundary between real estate and design with the aim of creating the very best products that also stand alone as works of art. Thanks to a focus on creative design and attention to detail, Blesso Properties has produced award-winning construction while embracing sustainability, harmony, organic forms, timelessness, preservation and fun. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship remain integral to the success of Blesso Properties. Blesso Properties works hard to ensure that its projects contribute long-term aesthetic value, while reflecting the unique character of neighborhoods and communities. For more information, visit www.blessoproperties.com.