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“Great Value!” 4 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, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
New York
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Great Value!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

We visited over holiday time and the price seemed almost too good to be true for that time period. Additionally, I was concerned after reading reviews about people missing things from their room. However, we did not experience any of those issues with housekeeping whatsoever and felt they did a great job. Our room was always clean and they never interrupted us during our 6 night stay.

The staff was very friendly and the grounds were very well kept up. We found the food during breakfast and dinner to be good, while lunch lacked new options and became monotonous after 3 days at the hotel. The property was very nice (beach and pool grounds) and that alone is worth staying at the Riu. The only reason I hesitate giving it 5 stars is because of the restaurant reservation policy and wifi being down several days at a time. Restaurant reservations need to be done in person during certain hours and could eat up an hour or more of your day (not to mention an early wake up). Who wants to do that on vacation?

All in all, we felt that this was a great hotel and would definitely come back. This is also a great multi-purpose hotel and is good traveling as either a family, couple, solo, or friends.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the pool if you want a direct beach view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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3,665 reviews from our community

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,157)
Date | Rating
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English first
Manchester, New Hampshire
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

I really like this resort. It is on the small side, so when you make friends you get to see them all the time! The size is also good because it does not take very long to walk from place to place. It took 5 minuets to walk from the ocean to the lobby. The service was excellent, from the bar tenders to the wait staff. My glass was never empty. There was always someone around to ask if you need something. The food, even at the buffet, was pretty good. That being said, there were some very interesting quirks...
The room: there were not very many outlets in the bathroom. Just one in our room. The shower is recessed into the wall and there is no light in the shower so I gets pretty dark in there. We also booked an ocean view room. It was amazing to wake up to the ocean and resort, however, the entertainment at night is loud and I think pretty much every room facing the ocean most likely was effected.
The pool: the pool is nice, but crowded. You need to get there early if you want to get a poolside seat. There was a lot of fun entertainment there during the day. There really were not bathrooms at the pool. The closest one was in one of the restaurants, so you had to get out, and get dressed and walk to the restaurant.
The beach: NO BAR!!!! I was very surprised there was no bar or bar service at the beach. There was not bathroom facilities either, but I didn't spend a whole lot of time down there. There were also no chairs set up, you had to get them yourself and drag them down the beach to where ever you were going to be. My favorite thing about this beach was it is a protected area for sea turtles! We went down to the beach at night and got to see a giant sea turtle come to lay her eggs.
We booked all our excursions through Swiss travel and they were excellent.
If I return to that area of Costa Rica I will most definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: Think long and hard about an ocean view room. If you need to go to bed early, the noise will keep yo...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brandon, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

We were in this location from Jan. 21-28, 2013. Everything is very clean, tasty food, friendly staff, beautiful surroundings! Gerry, the PR director, was ready to help if needed. Took the time to talk with us and answer questions. The only suggestion we would have is to put umbrellas or huts on the beach because there is not much shade areas. I would not hesitate to recommend this resort to anyone! The negative reviews confuse me because we did not encounter those issues.

Room Tip: Ground level views are not great but did not spend much time in room anyway.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St Thomas
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

The staff were very helpful. Room was very clean, always. A la carte restauants....no problem getting a reservation. We did enjoy the buffet.
Pool was okay, but with all the kids in it the pool staff had a hard time keeping it clean.
The cleaners were always sweeping and washing the floors, furniture, etc.

Room Tip: We emailed the resort and asked for a room facing the ocean. We got a room not only facing the ocea...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

Hotel itself was nice looking and pool was good. Rooms were not that great, service was pathetic, food was horrible, and liquor watered down. Like everyone mentions trying to get reservations for the two al la carte resturantes is a complete joke, we got one to the steak house and the food wasn't that great but better than the slop they served at the other places. If you are looking for a place to drink nasty watered down booze and nothing more than this is the place for you! The party itself was pretty lame, lots of older people. It felt like a cattle farm everywhere we went, hords of people, you basically get treated like cattle as well.

We are basing this off of the only other all inclusive hotels we have been, Sandals and A nice on in Cozumel. Those places seemed much more fun, friendly, all around better and less people. It prolly didn't help we had just come from The Springs Resort in Arenal which was the most fantastic place we have ever been. When we go back to Costa Rica The Springs Resort and Spa will be where we stay the whole week.

Room Tip: A room at a different resort would be the best choice
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
El Paso, Texas
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

The staff looked like they were afraid of you if you asked them for something. I speak Spanish so its not a language issue. The buildings themselves are gorgeous. The pool is ok. The hot tub wasn't very hot. and the pool hours weren't very late. The food is just OK. The "western" stlye restaurant was the only better than ok food but we were only allowed to eat there ONE TIME. So when they say you have a choice of this resaurant and that one they forgot to mention that the only good one was limited to one night. Ridiculous.
The resort is very isolated so if you want to get out and see Costa Rica get a rental car but get it AT THE AIRPORT. Its cheaper if you reserve one in advance. The car rental company at the resort is expensive. The closest village is by car or by boat and both can be pricier than if you rent a car. We still had a great time but spent much more money than we planned because we didn't realize how isolated the resort really was.

Room Tip: Ocean view is the best view. Jungle view gave us a view of the hill and lots of noise on an access...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lansing, Michigan
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

We stayed is Costa Rica January 7th - 17th. Riu was a pleasant stay. Nice rooms. Bed a little hard, but my husband likes them that way. Nice beach. Good to great food. I found that the buffets (including the Asian buffet) and the steak restaurant was the best. Skip the Italian Restaurant. Lots to choose from like most resorts. The staff were great. The entertainment was ok. Could use some work. Prince does bingo in the lounge bar. Join him he's great. You can get Wifi in the lobby. Ask someone to help you get connected and your good to go.

The best part of Costa Rica is Costa RIca. The weather is perfect everyday. This is our second time to Costa Rica in the past few years and we can't wait to go again. It is a wonderful place. Lots to see and do, so PLEASE do not sit around and hotel everyday and than say Costa Rica is ok. Go fishing, water-rafting, see the volcanos and waterfalls. It is all great. If you do book excursions go through the guys on the beach with the bright green shirts. I believe there company is called Geteicko. We worked with Haner and Joselee and our driver was Norman. Great trips, people, and prices. Heads up on the Riu Palace. It is more for a laid back crowd (older). We had several people from Rui Palace hanging out at our hotel at night. They said the Palace was lame and nothing going on.

Room Tip: We had ocean view which was ok. In the middle close to the entertainment. Kinda loud. I suggest get...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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
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, 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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