We made a reservation at the Penthouse Hotel prior to arriving in Palau, based upon its reviews and cost. The reviews on various web sites were in the 4-plus star range, and the cost with taxes was about US $110, both of which are pretty damned good for Palau. Reviews tended to describe the Penthouse Hotel as providing a clean, basic room at a good price; which we found to be an accurate description.
The hotel provided a shuttle service to and from the airport, for a cost of US $20 each way. When we arrived, the driver was waiting for us.
The hotel has three stories. There are stairs, but no elevators, which might be of concern to some folks. As for carrying heavy bags up and down, the hotel staff is pretty helpful.
The hotel is located in downtown Koror, one street over from the main drag; road noise could be heard from our room. There are no views from this hotel, other than buildings and streets. Restaurants and a grocery store are within walking distance.
Upon arrival, it was apparent that this was not a resort hotel. The entrance area and front desk were small and simple. On the upper floors, we found the occasional hand-written sign tacked to a wall. A vacuum cleaner was staged near the entrance to our room, in a location that was convenient for the hotel staff, but not for the aesthetics of the residents. There was worn carpet throughout the rooms and common areas, which gave the place a subtle odor. The impression was that of an older Best Western hotel in the United States.
Our room was basic hotel fare. In the main area were a king-sized bed, television, air conditioning unit, night stands, desk, small table with chairs, small refrigerator, and a small safe. In the bathroom were a sink, a Western-style toilet, and a bathtub with shower head and curtain. There was a balcony overlooking the street, with a small table and a couple of chairs. Free, reasonably-fast, wireless internet access was available in our room, at no additional cost.
The hotel’s restaurant is located on the first floor. We read that it is frequented by locals, which is always a positive indicator, and appeared to be true during our stay. Our breakfasts cost us about $20 for the both of us, including coffee, and not including the tip. Lunch can be had for about the same cost. And here’s a plus: The restaurant might have the best beer selection in Palau, which included selections from Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Company.
Throughout our stay, the hotel staff was friendly and helpful. When we needed to figure out how to get a rental car, they did it for us. When we needed to get a shuttle arranged, they arranged it. When we needed to contact our kayak rental company, they worked the phone. We have no complaints about the service at this hotel, only compliments.
Despite this, we cut our stay short by a day and moved to another accommodation. This was prompted by the live band that blasted music from Mingles bar on a Friday night. Mingles is located a block or less from the hotel; it was visible from our balcony. We were awakened at 11:30pm to a thump, thump, thump that reminded me of hotel stays on New Orlean’s Bourbon Street. It made sleep impossible, and it didn’t stop until 1:30am. The next night was Saturday night, and we weren’t going to stay for an encore performance.
Overall, this hotel is a decent option if you are simply looking for a place to sleep and store your gear, and if you can withstand the street noise and the live bands playing at the nearby bar. The rooms are basic and no-frills; but they are clean, and the service is attentive and decent. The restaurant provides good food at a reasonable price, and the location is central to Koror and within walking distance of most of what the town has to offer. But, like Koror, the hotel is a place to go from, not a place to go to and spend the day. If you want that, go somewhere else, and expect to pay an extra $100 or more a day for the pleasure.
A final word of advice: Do not stay in Room 202. We stayed there for a day, waiting for our departure flight. It is a long, narrow, “shotgun style” room. Its door opens onto the staircase landing, enabling anyone there to look throughout the length of the room. It shares a wall with the exercise and laundry rooms. It is a room that should not be.