The recent opening of Tántalo in Panama City’s historic Casco Viejo quarter is shaking things up for a city that, till now, has been better known for being a nautical short-cut par excellence. Eschewing the area’s colonial Spanish and French flourishes, the American architect Andrea Steele has furnished each of the 12 rooms in a spare but modern palette of specially commissioned artwork, a lush two-storey high green wall and furniture made of recycled material and timber from the Panama Canal. The best views in the house are from Encima – the hotel’s rooftop bar that’s accessed via a staircase emblazoned with artwork by a local graffiti artist – which offers cotton candy mojitos alongside a startling 360-degree panorama of the city’s bristling modern skyline and Casco Viejo’s UNESCO World Heritage trove of cathedrals, churches and 18th-century architecture.