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“Awesome Family Vacation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Guanacaste

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Hotel Riu Guanacaste
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Matapalo - Sardinal | Carrillo - Guanacaste, Sardinal, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Westfield, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Awesome Family Vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

Trip Advisor Report on the Riu in Guanacaste Costa Rica
My family of four stayed at The Riu from June 22-29. We had read almost every review before we went, so we knew what we could most likely expect. Here is my review, based on staying with our two children, ages 11 and 12 (almost 13). We are from NJ, 20 minutes outside NYC, and took a direct flight from Newark Airport.
We had arranged for a private transfer from the airport to the hotel. This was great. This driver was affiliated with Swiss Tours. Swiss Tours also operates excursions through the hotel. Our driver was waiting for us, and off we went in a large, air-conditioned van. It was about a half an hour drive, with a smooth ride, not too many bumps in the road. However, the drivers all drive pretty fast, and try to pass each other. When we arrived at The Riu, we were given a fruity welcome drink and promptly checked in. The front desk staff is welcoming and we were in our room by 2:00. It was a quick process. We booked a 2 bedroom family suite. This room was a mystery to us because The Riu’s website doesn’t show this room on its website. Why not, Riu? It was great because it gave my daughter and my son their own room, each with their own bed. They also had their own full bathroom, equipped with a bathroom where the toilet and bidet were separate from the tub/shower and double sinks. We were able to come back to the room, and shower in our room, while the kids took turns in their bathroom. I just want to warn you that if you have a back problem, this shower has a high step to get over to enter into the tub, and is very slippery. I always held onto the handle getting in. I almost fell once, and I am fairly young and in good shape! This was a great timesaver, as we would time our beach or pool time perfectly to leave enough time to get ready for dinner. It was a hike to get from the beach to our room on the second floor, so plan accordingly and bring with you everything you want for the beach before taking the walk down. I recommend staying on the second floor, just for the convenience of taking the stairs instead of waiting for the hot elevator each time. We bypassed the elevator on most occasions. I was always able to make a reservation for dinner, except for the couple of times I was out on an excursion. It was simple. I showed up outside of the Italian restaurant, La Toscana at 8:50 a.m. and waited for the girl to come and take reservations. By 9:00, the line would begin to form. It was even fine the day I arrived at 9:30, I still got a reservation. I want to let you know that you can eat at the buffet, Liberia for dinner each night, and the selections looked marvelous. But, personally, I needed to get into a new environment for dinner each night. I only ate at Liberia for dinner twice. The rest of the time, I took whatever specialty restaurant would seat my family for the 6:15 seating, which is when these restaurants open. You are allowed to book for the same day, and the following day, so plan ahead if you have an excursion the next day. I always booked for 2 dinners each time I made reservations. Just keep the ticket given to you, and know your room number when making the reservation. Bring the ticket with you when you go for dinner! They are strict, and unlike DisneyWorld, there are no records kept in a computer upon your arrival!! The Asian one had delicious Sushi. The avacado on top of the white rice was delicious! The miso soup was very good. I was impressed with the sushi here. I didn’t really try the other foods, because the sushi was all I needed. My kids and husband liked it too. If you don’t east sushi, there were lots of other options to select from. Please note that Furama, this Asian restaurant, is a buffet, only drinks are served to your table. I enjoyed the wine, but I am not picky. The red wine made me very tired. My husband enjoyed the Imperial beer. The Italian restaurant was very good as well. When you arrive for dinner, there will be a beautiful buffet all set up with lots of nice choices. But don’t fill up on them, because a menu will be brought to you after you visit the buffet, and you can order a meal that will be served to you! The seafood risotto was very good, but the clams were tiny! The fetuccine was not very good, (not like we expect it in NJ) although my child ate it with no complaints. I cannot understand why someone would say that any of the restaurants were bad. They are all good, especially if you are a mom who does all of the cooking at home each night! The steakhouse restaurant is the best place to eat in terms of service. However, it is outdoor dining. It is housed in Ocotal, the daytime buffet style restaurant near the pool and beach. This was a mother’s dream restaurant, because although we were all a little warm here, there is a bathroom in this restaurant! My kids could get up and go and be back at the table in a couple of minutes, versus being gone for at least 10 minutes or more during dinner in any of the other eating locations. There were large fans to help keep the restaurant cool. If I could have eaten here every night of the vacation, I would have. There are only about 15 tables here for each seating, and the entire meal, from appetizers to dessert are fully served to you! Plus, the food was by far the best in the entire resort. The filet mignon was very good. Even the dessert was good! I didn’t enjoy any of the other desserts at this resort, except for the icecream. They just weren’t tasty. I also only enjoyed the watermelon, avacado and pineapple. The other fruits were tasteless.
There were always chairs at the pool, in the sun or shade. There were many available chairs at any time of the day. The same applied for the beach. No need to rush out and claim your space, as we do when we go down the shore or on a cruise ship. Many people leave the hotel daily to go on excursions, so it never felt crowded. You are allowed to smoke on the beach. I am always baffled at how some people can smoke and not have concern for those around them. We are a non-smoking family, and didn’t appreciate how some people just light up with no concern for their smoke invading others lungs. There is some confusion to me regarding the hotel’s smoking policy. Although there are signs posted that say no fumar, there are ash trays on the balcony! And of course, our neighbor to our left lit up every time I stepped foot onto my balcony, even at 6 am. This was very upsetting, as I was trying to enjoy the morning air. Smokers, we smell your smoke! It’s not fun when your child has asthma. Riu, remove the ash trays! There were also thoughtless men walking on a clearly marked no smoking path who threw their ashes down while we were barefoot behind them. Really fellow guests? Please be more considerate! We stayed on the second floor, which didn’t face the construction. It was facing the entertainment area. It gets extremely loud between 9 and 11 pm. There is no way to describe it other than to say bring your earplugs if you want to sleep and are above or facing the stage area. It was fun the first couple of nights, but it does get annoying. We only went to one show. The Riu puts on the same kids show each night beginning at 8. It is for very small children. Mine found it babyish and boring. The real entertainment begins at 9. By then, it was 11 pm East Coast time, and we were all exhausted, so we went back to the room to rest. I wish the kids show would have started at 7, since it caters to pre-schoolers, and then the adult show could start at 8. The folklore of Costa Rica show was boring, and we left soon after it began. The beds are very hard. I requested a soft mattress cover four days into the trip, and it was put on the bed. It really didn’t help, though.
Wear your water shoes to the beach and in the water. My husband and son got stung by a spiny creature, possibly a sea-urchin on our last day there. There was noone at the Medi-center to help us on-sight early in the afternoon. Riu, where were you? There was a dye injected into the foot, and spiky little splinters were inserted. My son still has them a week later. We witnessed 2 others get stung during this day.
We were very strict with putting our money, or valuables in our safe. Nothing was stolen. The cleaning staff is so nice, the women are super sweet. Ours, Ana P. went above and beyond and folded my kids messy clothes for me! She made our room look so nice every day, adding fresh flowers. She always stocked us with new waters. We left her a tip daily, only 3 or 4 dollars, but she was so worth it to us. We tipped everyone. It’s not expected at all. However, fellow vacationers, this resort is not that expensive to begin with. The people who work here are so beautiful, kind and welcoming. They all kept it clean and in outstanding condition at all times. We left at least between 3 and five dollars each time we ate, even at the buffet, where they are constantly serving drinks and clearing your table, all with a smile. Tip your bartenders, too. They don’t even look for it. They just deserve it. Also, we brought our own cups after reading others reviews, but they were not necessary. There are huge bottles of water given out to you on the beach all day long, and the pool bar is always on hand with drinks.
The women who gave us our massages were great. They were on the beach, and were set up right near the little shops. My husband, my daughter and myself got an hour massage for as little as 90 dollars. We handed the woman a 100 dollar bill and she was extremely thankful. Carla, Marlen, and Juacuita were at Spa #3. I promised I’d put their names on tripadvisor.
We talked to Marvin of Costa Rica Amazing Tours (white shirts) on the beach. He sold us the tour to Palo Verde River excursion, and Rolando was our driver. We shared his van with a lovely family of three, (hi Diane, Dave and Amanda from NY!) and he was so much fun! If you have kids, try and get Rolando to take you on this tour. He will really make it special for them. Alex met us there, also from this same tour company, and he was a wealth of knowledge, pointing out amazing sights, teaching us so much! We went horseback riding at The Riu, and it was okay. Make sure you bring OFF bug spray and put in on before horseback riding. The horses don’t like it when you spray, and we had to get off of them to put it on. My husband and kids went on the ATV’s at the hotel as well. This is a strenuous excursion, and although my son loved it, I thought it was a bit extreme. They got to see lots of Howler monkeys on this excursion! We went to Miravalles with Tony. His son is Alan, and they have their own company on the beach. Tony was a good driver, however, he takes you out in his own car, which was bumpy. We gave him a good faith deposit the evening before, and although he was 20 minutes late picking us up on the beach, he got us to Miravalles, zip-lining and the Cortez Waterfalls. The reason we booked with him is because we wanted to go on an excursion the day after we arrived, and he was the only guy on the beach when we arrived. If you have to go with him, he is a very nice man, and will take lots of pictures of you and your family. We were the only people at our excursions, which I liked instead of going with a large group.
This is a beautiful hotel, but you need to take excursions if you have a young family. It is great to ride around and see the country. Pack at least a 60 sunscreen. My husband got burnt the first day using a 30. Be prepared to reapply at least 4-5 times a day if you don’t want to burn. Bring a hat for everyone, too! Make sure to pack your own conditioner, girls and ladies, as well as lotions. There are none here! Also, the kids club is not for kids, but for toddlers and infants. Don’t plan on dropping your child off there all day if they are over the age of three. It is also very small. I think it would be good for a supervised nap-time. Pura Vida!

PS....Feed the dogs on the beach with buffet food.

Room Tip: Avoid the construction and main show stage
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

No hesitation in referring this hotel. It was top notch. We went there last december (2011)
Food : GREAT, Room: GREAT Services: GREAT It was simply paradise. We left Montreal i a snow storm and cold spell to arrive to this beautiful resort. Surrounded by wild flowers, trees, monkeys. It was simply fantastic. My only hick was the beach. It is black sand (sticks to your feet) and is terribly hot. But overall I would go back in a minute. If you are planning a trip to Cosa Rica,
Have a nice trip. Ola

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Arlington,Texas
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

This was our second trip and we were not dissappointed....The hotel and staff are impeccable but what makes this country so amazing are the people....They are the most laid back friendly happy people in the world. I am in awe of them... As for the hotel food is good but repetitive we were in a family suite and worth every penny of the upgrade.
It was very crowded this time and the hotel could expand on some of their amentities to keep up with demand but every expierence was handled proffesionaly and with a smile. We were delivered a nice note and a fruit plate for our anniversary. They have made a lot of changes to the animation staff and I was very dissappointed with this group and I would say it is my only negative but if your not 25 and a size two they don't acknowledge or have anything to do with you....they should have kept the fun friendly folks from the past.
Ok as for tours you MUST do 4 wheelers on the beach and ask for RONNIE he is quiet but sooooo sweet and knowledable about his country( a cutie as well lol) you will not be dissappointed please don't forget to tip your guides they pretty much live off of this just a reminder.
Ok as for Tours or Excursions we took advice from here on trip advisor and used ISSY tours and let me say from my first email to the three excursions we used them for NOTHING but top of the line service our guides were brothers and took such good care of us and took us to places off the beaten path that was not included in our tour made us Mango salad and fresh cerviche...MAde sure we had amazing photos and put us in front of the line for everything never ever rushed us answered all my questions patiently pretty much made us feel like family!!! DIEGO AND ALEX at ISSY TOURS!!!! We have traveled quite a bit and have never had more honest and friendly guides these guys are amazing and will go so far out f their way to make you feel comfortable and happy......
We white water rafted and it was so much fun we were taken to Touniro (MP) river adventures and We were put with Jose as our guide this guy was on the national team and competed in white water rafting in Holland for Costa Rica we were the only raft that never tipped he made us feel safe and made sure we had the best adventure top notch company and ISSY deals exclusively with this company!!! Please consider them!!
One more thing about the hotel be sure to ask for foam and they will get it for you becuase the beds are very HARD but they will help you out they are very accomadating! Hope this helps feel free to aask me any questions...
Now as for excursions

Room Tip: Famly Suite
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

The Riu Guanacaste has stole my heart!! I have always wanted to travel and stay at a Riu Resort but never had an opportunity to do so before until this trip to Costa Rica. The Riu Guanacaste was significantly discounted due to entering the “rainy season” of Costa Rica and we definitely took advantage of a generous 45% off sale. Costa Rica has been on my list of places to visit and I am so glad that I did travel there, even during the pending inclement weather.

We traveled from Monday, June 25th 2012 and returned on Sunday, July 1st 2012…what a fantastic vacation!! We flew into Liberia Airport and the transfer from the airport to the hotel was approximately 35 minutes with Jacamar Tours. We had a lovely, scenic ride with an informative guide who really made a lot of sense. He first said that we traveled at the best time…I looked quizzical stating that I thought it was the rainy season and he did confirm that but he explained the following. He stated that the dry season is peak for travelers, which is from February through May, guaranteeing no rain however everything is brown…the trees, the flowers, the shrubbery, etc. and that is due to no water.

As it starts to begin to rain in June, everything becomes lush and lush it was! Everything was beautiful, colors were bright and vivid and simply stunning!! The flowers were in full bloom, the trees were plentiful and the ambiance was warm and inviting. Secondly, he recommended that we do not use insect repellant…that it totally controversial to all that I had read and researched; plain and simple, he explains that the natives never get bitten so when the repellant is used, it actually attracts the insects. We followed his advice and never got bitten in the 7 days there, including on an excursion that we took through the swamps and jungle!!

When we arrived at the Riu Guanacaste it was breathtaking as I titled this review!! Everything was a sight of beauty!! The hotel lobby was symmetrical so that each side mirrored the other. The ceilings were hand painted murals of floral designs. The art pieces were magnificent, the floral arrangements were unique, the colors used were subtle but bold and the light fixtures and lamps were unique. This hotel has 703 rooms. The Riu Guanacaste does an EXCELLENT job in providing attentive service, the entire resort was spotless, the staff were friendly and quick…an overall delight and surprise for a hotel with that capacity!!

Check In – Was quick and easy with Wisbee. She was kind, sweet and informative. She took her time with us and explained everything in detail. Any questions we had, she explained with a smile. Also, the hotel offers 90 minutes daily of free Wi-Fi in the lobby only. If you sign on and log off before the 90 minutes are up, you cannot get the service for free again that day.

Room – Gorgeous! No other way to describe it. We had a regular room that had a balcony and faced a “mini-jungle”. The rooms were painted a pale yellow, with while crown molding and dark colored wood furnishings. We had a refrigerator that was stocked with soft drinks, water, and beer along with dispenser of an assortment of 4 liquors that were posted on the wall. The closet was spacious and there was a rather large electronic safe. The bathroom had double sinks, made of granite and a large shower. The bed was on the firm side but was comfortable. There was also a cocktail table, with two chairs and beautifully upholstered drapes that matched the chairs. The floors were shiny marble. Each day, when the room was cleaned, the maid would create decorations out of the towels and leave fresh flowers.

The Grounds – BREATHTAKING!! Everything was well manicured, and meticulously designed. The property was ALWAYS clean!! The staff were constantly working, always doing something. Lots of beauty…mountains in the backdrop…lush everywhere!! So many different types of flowers, shrubs and trees.

The Pool – Although there is only one pool, it is HUGE!! There are many points of entry to the pool, including a walk in section. There are stone lounge chairs built into the pool as well as Jacuzzis. There is a waterfall and a sprinkler as well. There is a pool bar with plenty of chairs and tables built into the pool. The pool was always kept very clean and the temperature was very comfortable. Tons and tons of chairs, that are cushioned and plenty of tables. They even offer waiter service for the pool and a waiter quickly takes your drink orders and returns with them with a smile.

The Beach – I have never experienced a beach like this before. As you walk towards the beach, it doesn’t look so nice and the water looks dirty and murky but that is all a hallucination! The sand is a dark grey/black and is very hot to walk barefoot. That is because there is larva under the sand and volcanic ash discolored the sand. The water looks murky because if the color of the sand but as soon as you enter the ocean, it is as clear as day. It is so clear that although I did not have an underwater camera, I was able to take clear photos of what was in the water. So, you do not have to get snorkeling gear because the fish come right to you, even at knee deep! And, what beautiful fish they are! The sand is powder soft and the fascinating part is when the ocean water meets the sand and the water retracts, the sand looks as it was marbleized…so beautiful! There is plenty of rocks and coral to the side of the beach and on the other side, it has been said that if you walk about 30 minutes in that direction very early in the morning, you will see the monkeys! There are also plenty of chairs on the beach and waiter service. There are people who offer to sell things to you on the beach as well. There are also little huts to the left where they sell merchandise as well as give massages. We had an hour couples massage, on the beach, protected by the sun with a tarp on top of the hut for $65!! And to be quite honest, that was one of the best massages I ever had!

Restaurants – Overall, the food was good, not the best but good and there was something for everyone. All of the restaurants were decorated beautifully and the ambiance reflected the cuisine of the restaurant. The buffet, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner had something for everyone. Lots of different types of foods that was very clean and the service was astounding. A special compliment to Julia who was attentive, kind, polite and sweet and honestly so were all of the staff. Everyone smiled and said hello. The Occtal open for lunch buffet and converted to the Steakhouse for dinner was my favorite specialty restaurant and which was the only specialty restaurant that was 100% a la carte.. Although not on the menu, filet mignon is served every evening and is very good. The Asian and Italian specialty restaurants were not very good to my liking. The Asian, although better than the Italian in my opinion, is a buffet of Asian food. The Italian, has a buffet for salads and desserts and a la carte for dinner, was not a hit for me.

Sports Bar – Offers many televisions, a pool table and a ping pong table with a full service bar. They also have a few snacks like nachos, burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches but the foods that are supposed to be hot are refrigerated and need to be warmed in the microwaves. The food, in that sense, did not appear appetizing so we did not try anything there.

Entertainment – The nightly entertainment was great and I really enjoyed it. The audience participation on some nights is what is key to a hilarious show. The entertainment staff works very hard, day and night to have the guests involved to enjoy themselves. There was also, very attentive and quick service from the cocktail wait staff and the drinks were good and plentiful.

Nightclub – Although the nightclub is on the grounds of the hotel, admission is free but there is a cash bar. It was actually one of the larger nightclubs that I have been to in an all-inclusive resort and the music was good.

Casino - The casino is on the grounds of the hotel as well and features tables and slot machines. Someone we met at the resort actually won over $500 there.

Spa/Fitness Center – The Spa looked very nice and the prices were reasonable however we did not use the spa since we received such a great bargain on the beach. The gym is small and simple and does not have free weights but serves its purpose.

Excursions – We booked an excursion on the beach with some friends that we made at the resort. We took an hour and a half ride to take a boat through the swamp to see animals, including monkeys and crocodiles. This was the highlight of the trip! The monkeys came to the tip of our boat to eat the bananas and the guide put a raw chicken wing on a stick to lure a crocodile to eat it…simply amazing. We saw many types of birds, iguanas the size of cats along with many other animals. It was really exciting! Afterwards, we went to Coco Beach for shopping and lunch at a seafood restaurant.

And, for those of you wondering, during my 7 days of the “rainy season” it rained once or twice in the afternoon, a small drizzle for less than 3 minutes but on our last day, after returning from the excursion, it poured like I never saw before for about two hours. It started at about 5:45pm and ended about 7:45pm, with thunder and lightning. However, at that time of the day, it did not interfere with our plans at all. At that time, we were getting ready for dinner. I am so glad that we traveled when we did because if we would have went during the “dry season” I know I would have been sorely disappointed by not being able to see the true beauty of the country.

Overall, I had the BEST TIME ever at the Riu Guanacaste. It surely exceeded any expectations that I may have had. It was amazing to visit Costa Rica and I would highly recommend both, traveling to Costa Rica and the Riu Guanacaste. We enjoyed ourselves so much that in November 2012, the Riu is opening up another resort, right next door, that will be all suites…we are already eyeing returning there!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tulsa, OK
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

The resort itself is very tropical, lush, nice, etc. We went in March which is their dry season, so everything within hours of the resort was dead brown. I personally will not go back anytime soon, as there are lots of others places I would prefer to go. Do not get me wrong... I'm glad I went to Costa Rica... the people were very nice.

Room Tip: 3rd floor and up ocean side ... less noise and great ocean views!
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Great State of Texas
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

The Riu Guanacaste is a gorgeous property and very clean. The beds are HARD! I had the misfortune of having a room above where the nightly show takes place. Forget about getting any sleep until after midnight if you are stuck here. The food is pretty much the same every day, was not impressed. Costa Rica is beautiful and I will go back, but not to the Riu Guanacaste.

Room Tip: Stay far away from the area where the nightly show takes place.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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NYC
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

We loved Costa Rica. The hospitality cannot compare to any other place. Riu was great. The food was great. Spotless. Special thanks to Anna, the restaurant manager. Super hospitable. The internet at the lobby was slow at nights. If you want to video chat with the family back home, do it earlier in the day.

Also want to point out that we traveled with our 8 month old daughter. The employees could not be more accomodating: always brought the highchair when we came in to eat, baby area with the baby pool was pretty neat, and just overall great.

Definitely see Luis "the solution" at the beach for the excursions. A few bucks cheaper and you pretty much get a private tour. Definitely recommend him as a tour connection. He is not your typical sales person. He only suggests what is best and really wants you to have a good time. We booked all of our excursions with him. A+ service.

Room Tip: Boot trips at the beach. Only a few dollars difference, but less people in the tour and no waiting o...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Guanacaste

Address: Playa Matapalo - Sardinal | Carrillo - Guanacaste, Sardinal, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Guanacaste 4*
Number of rooms: 701
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opening winter 2009/10. Situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste. Located on Playa de Matapalo beach. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 6-storey main building. Surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens. Closest village: Nuevo Colon. 13 km / 8.1 miles from various shops. 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica

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