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Ritz Carlton to launch its first Panama hotel in 2016

The Ritz Carlton is set to make its debut in Panama with the launch of a 220 room luxury hotel in the eagerly anticipated 29 storey mixed use development known as the Soho Panama project. The Ritz Carlton Panama City hotel, expected to launch in 2016, comes at a time where Panama's luxury market is said to be gaining momentum.

Ritz Carlton to launch its first Panama hotel in 2016

The Ritz Carlton will launch its very first hotel in Panama in 2016. The 220 room luxury Panama City hotel will form part of a 29 storey mixed use development.

The hotel will offer all the key luxury amenities holidaymakers have come to expect from the Ritz Carlton brand including a luxury spa and fitness centre, two swimming pools and four restaurants and lounges ideal for socializing.

Reportedly the Ritz-Carlton will also launch a second Panama hotel in 2016 on Pearl Island located 45 miles south of Panama City. The 80 room Reserve on Pearl Island will feature three restaurants and as many swimming pools along with its own marina. The introduction of the Ritz Carlton brand to Panama comes at a time when the Central American country's luxury market is said to be taking off.

Real-estate firm Westline is the owner of the $360 million Soho Panama project- the mixed use development that will house the Ritz Carlton Panama City and a casino as well as several other luxury retailers including Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Fendi. Westline executives are confident that its heavy investment will pay off stating in an email to the Wall Street Journal:

"...the luxury market is just starting to gain a foothold in Panama, and there is still a lot of room to grow. Our corporation has a long-term view and will lead this market to maturity."

Once the Soho Panama project is completed, Industry insiders expect that an increased number of holidaymakers will be drawn to Panama as a key luxury shopping destination. Panama's accessibility both by air and by sea and more importantly its low sales tax rate in relation to other destinations in Central America and South America are said to be key pull factors.

Panama charges a sales tax of just 7 per cent compared to the 16 per cent charged in Colombia, 19 per cent in Brazil and 21 per cent in Argentina. Rosalind Baitel, owner of the Promises Consignment Boutique stated:

"Panama is becoming a hub of shopping for luxury goods for people coming from south and north. They know they'll get product that they might not be able to get back home at an affordable price."

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