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“Great time..great people..great memories!” 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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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #2 of 3 hotels in Sardinal
Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great time..great people..great memories!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

First let me say that we read all of the reviews for the past year prior to going, and with the mixed bag we were a little confused on what to expect. The photos and reviews from the September earthquake were concerning as well. We arrived on October 3rd and we seen no visible signs of an earthquake.

The service was exceptional; from the front desk, to the dining room staff, to the entertainers...they were all nothing but friendly. No complaints in this category.

The room - our room was cleaned daily, well at least we received clean towels (sometimes flowers) and the room was straightened. They didn't sweep the floor so the sand we brought in the first day stayed with us the entire time. We were there for a week and I believe our mini bar was restocked twice which was more than enough for us.

Food - There was plenty of options in the main dining room (Liberia). The Italian restaurant was good as well, but we enjoyed the steakhouse the best. The Asian was so-so..but we do not like seafood so I cannot speak to the sushi and spring rolls. Overall, we enjoyed the food and the various options. As some people have pointed out, getting reservations can be difficult but we were able to eat in all of the restaurants and we were only there one week...so it is possible.

Experience - using Deltavacations.com we found a great rate for airfare and hotel ...we have been to other resorts (both all inclusive and not) and felt the RIU was an exceptional value. We had a great time and felt staff were great as well.

Our only complaint (from my wife) was that the beach is not white sand. Some people have mentioned this before so it wasn't really a surprise...for what it's worth the beach was just fine for me...there was sand..and water...so I was happy. :-)

We would definitely go back!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,092)
Date | Rating
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English first
Reston, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

All inclusive resort on a beautiful beach. Staff was excellent and friendly. Food was as to be expected for an All Inclusive. Mexican Night was the best. Rooms were clean. The beach is beautiful with clear blue water. We went on a few excursions using the reviews we we read on Tripadvisor. Booking with the guys on the beach is better than booking through the hotel. The best excursion we went on was with Diego from Sibu Tours. He was awesome. He customized the tour for the two of us and went above and beyond to make sure we saw and learned as much as possible.

The resort is geared more toward families. If you're looking for a romantic couples resort this is not the place. There are children everywhere including the swim up bar.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, NY
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

The Rui hotel is on a cove by itself. There is really nothing nearby to do except enjoy time on the resort. You are limited to whatever the hotel has to sell and offer for tours. We used Alex on the Beach and got some decent rates for the same tours the hotel was pitching. Look out for the crocodiles if you go walking on the beach. (You will see the posted sign for this).

Food - The steak house was well worth the RSVP. They even had filet mignon (not on menu, you have to ask for it). I had the Ribeye and it was cooked just right. Skip the Asian spot, coming from NYC with 3 different Chinatowns, it is not Asian food. The Italian spot was okay. The buffet had a great selection, similar to what you would find on cruises. They even had theme nights to spice things up. Breakfast had the typical selections. Eggs made your way, fresh fruits, fresh fruit juices, and some local dishes.

Check-in - Front desk was slow for my friends checking in around noon. I had no issues around 3pm. Pack a change swimming trunk handy. You can check in, but room will not be available till close to 3. So go change, hit the buffet and jump into the pool or sit by the pool bar for your first Frozen Miami Vice.

Rooms - The bed in my room was dirty. It had black sand all over it like someone returned from the beach and went directly to bed. My friends room did not get made till 6pm one day. Had to call the front desk 3 times to get them to come.

Tips: Call the front desk to have them stock your minibar with drinks. They will fill it with water, soda and beers. Comes in handy when you go on your tours. Make dinner RSVP at Steak house. Use Alex on the beach for taxi to airport if you didnt pre-purchase this with your package ($45usd). From the aiport, its about a $50usd taxi ride. We haggled it down from $70. Shuttles (must be booked online before you go) are about $25 per person. FYI - the place does get pretty crowded on the weekends when the locals come and stay at the resort.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

I'm stunned that I've seen so little mention of the bee problem. Maybe it's a bit more of a seasonal issue, but this was a significant annoyance for my boyfriend and I. Any drink you get by the pool will instantly be dive-bomb attacked by these things. Even the poor bartenders had swollen hands from all of the stings.

The grounds were nice enough - can't complain. But we couldn't get our room cool enough to sleep comfortably. Maintenance tried, and weren't able to make it better.

It was annoying to have to make a reservation to have any kind of shot at having decent food well in advance. The seating periods were too brief. We wanted to sit and chat with other couples we met, but were promptly kicked out for the next seating. Oddly enough, the buffet had the best food. But it would have been nice to have a relaxing dining experience where you are served an unconcerned about time.

The beach was okay, but covered in these weird cage/trap things. Something for bugs? I don't know.

Air conditioning was a big issue everywhere we went. I love an outdoor dinner, but it was just too hot and humid. The only cool place was in the sports bar, so we found ourselves there frequently just to cool down.

Will not be back.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

The rooms are spacious, high ceilings, large bath rooms, well appointed. The food is better than most all-inclusive. The best is the beach: terrific for swimming, long walks, snorkeling by the reef, and warm water! The shows at night are cheesy, but fun. The whole place has a very nice vibe to it! We would go back! P.S. It is only 20 minutes from the airport!

Room Tip: Stay on the first floor, by the pool and dining rooms. Otherwise, you will be walking, walking, wal...
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  • Stayed August 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
    • 4 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.
1 review
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012 via mobile

Overall the hotel was beautiful male staff where very friendly but the women staff not friendly at all. The maids did a horrible job with the rooms a few times we ad to call the front desk for towels. The food not great just ok.

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2012

My friend and I vacationed at Riu for four days in August and enjoyed the resort. It was clean and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The food on the other hand was not very good (I had tummy troubles the entire trip) with the exception of the steakhouse which was delicious. We attempted to have dinner at the Asian restaurant one night and there were flies flying around the food and gnats in the steamed rice. Needless to say, we went elsewhere for dinner. This place isn’t great for singles as there are mostly couples and families. So if you are single and are planning a trip to Riu Guanacaste make sure you book plenty of excursions during the day because the night life is boring. There are tons of excursions that can be booked in the hotel lobby. I highly recommend the Rio Celeste guided rainforest hike, it was AMAZING! Overall, we had a good relaxing time at Riu Guanacaste, not sure if I will go back to this resort but will definitely go back to Costa Rica.

Pura Vida!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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*
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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