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“Beautiful Resort” 3 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
Michigan
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I led a group of 22 to this hotel in April. Agree with what others say - reminded me of many Mexico all inclusives. This reminds me of other Riu's we've stayed at. Large, lush, clean, staff friendly and helpful - nothing unique but certainly perfect if this is what you are looking for. Some thoughts I wish I'd been prepared for: There is no cell phone signal at the hotel - 6 days without business e mails was a blessing - until I got back to the US and had over a 1,000 to respond to!!! (someone said you can have the front desk program your phone for 90 minutes - not sure if this was part of the internet cost they can charge.) Hot, hot, hot - 100 degrees at 9 in a.m. (We were told April is hottest month of year). Humid, humid, humid - rainy season is expected to start in a couple of weeks so the humidity is linked to that! We were told only (2) hotel sites in all of Costa Rica are not on the (clean) water line but use wells - Riu Guanacaste and next door Riu Princess!!!. So we needed to watch brushing our teeth, etc. with the tap water. We still had several people get 'upset intestinal tracks'. Not sure if it was food borne or viral. Very isolated - Not a lot to do except lay around pool or walk beach - you need shoes as sand is very hot. There is disco type and shows for entertainment in the evening. Massage on beach was great! took bus into Coco Beach to visit several small touristy shops for souveniers for grandkids but could have shopped on beach just as well. Many in our group took the excursions - loved them. We've heard how lush and beautiful Costa Rica is but isolation did keep us from seeing the real 'Costa Rica'. Other than hotel property, everything we saw was dried up and dead (just moving out of the dry season when we were there). Overall, nice, average all inclusive. You have to pay $29 US for a departure tax (that can not be paid before you come to CR,) or they won't let you leave the country. Never saw that before but understand many tourist countries are beginning to implement that. Also, AFTER all security screening at the airport, we purchased water ($8.50 a bottle!!) then they wouldn't let us take it or any beverages on the plane & we had to toss it!! Only complaint - there was a 'sewer' smell everytime we flushed, and when we walked the property. Assumed it was backdraft from septic tanks. If I went back to Costa Rica I'd make sure it wasn't during the humid season. That was a bit much!! But lots of sun and fun with friends!!!

Room Tip: We upgraded to beach sight rooms but it was too humid to sit on the balcony and enjoy it. Our peopl...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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3,547 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 (1,126)
Date | Rating
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English first
windsor, wi
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Traveled as a couple, to costa rica, and it was our second time to the Riu Guanacaste. We paid and asked for a ocean view room, and had to change our room twice, since the first was not in the front of the hotel as we had in our first visit, and the lock was broken on the door. The second room offered was on the first floor way in the corner and did not have a nice view. The third room was on the second floor and had a view of the pool, which was more to our liking. We have been to Riu's six times, in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Dominic Republic. Although I prefer a Riu Palace, we visited the palace next to the Riu Guanacaste, and were so glad we did not stay at the Palace,. It is very , very modern, bright lights, and cold feeling. and the price is quite a bit more. The apple reps were great at helping us find excursions, and we went on the white water rafting excursions, which was great. We rented a car for a day and explored ourselves, going to Coco Beach and up the coast to find the white sandy beaches, very beautiful. The cars come with GPS's so go explore. We also went on a sunset cruise, with snokeling included,. very nice. The hotel was very clean, food was as usual in a all inclusive, and the people friendly. We were there over the Spring Break season, so many Costa Rican families were traveling also. The entertainment seems to be the same, at all the Riu's, We've seen the Michael Jackson show all too many times. but it is always entertaining and being in a warm climate when it was still snowing at home in Wisconsin, was more than enought to make you want to return. All in all, I would go back in a second, and love Costa Rica,. As I said we were there twice, and still haven't explored all we would like to see!! Enjoy

Room Tip: Courtyard or ocean view, fun to watch people and relax on balcony
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

Every little detail about this hotel is perfect. The food is amazing, so is the service. I honestly couldn't say better things about this place. IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO GO HERE, GO! The beach is not crowded like at other resorts, and the pool is actually very nice! We loved our room and had an incredible view of the mountains to wake up to each day. I loved every minute there and can't wait to go back one day!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Danbury, Connecticut
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

We spent the last half of our Costa Rican vacation at the Riu Guanacaste and had a very nice time. This is the typical all-inclusive cookie cutter resort, but it is perfect if this is what you're looking for.

GOOD STUFF: the hotel itself is beautiful, grand lobby with paintings and traditional decorations. Pool area is full of trees and plants, grass roof shaded areas. There is a swim up bar tables in the pool itself. The pools are interesting with ramps and in-water chairs. The rooms are beautifully designed and spacious. It was very quiet at night - we slept very well. Also, the service was excellent. Every employee was always smiling and making conversation, also very helpful.

BAD STUFF: the food is buffet style, even at the restaurants except the steak house. There are a few very good dishes, but most of the food is just ok. The beach is black sand so gets very hot - need shoes to walk on. The visibility is very poor - we tried snorkeling but saw absolutely nothing. Also, I have never been to a place that has such aggressive tour advertisement. You would step foot on the beach and 3 separate tour company representatives would attack and try to convince you to go on their tour. They remember your name and do not leave you alone even the next day and 2 days later.

Would stay somewhere else next time...

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2013

Beautiful resort, clean room & facilities. Food was displayed beautifully, but got tired of the buffet. Loved the Toucan restaurant the best-should have gone every night for dinner. NOT crazy about the "all inclusive drink" selection. The rum tasted funny (I like Captain Morgan, and their spiced rum is not even close). By day three I gave up trying out new mixed drinks and stuck with wine (not a beer drinker). with one exception- a Dirty Banana (good but fattening). The nightly entertainment was pretty repetitive every night, dancers that were wanna-be vegas showgirls. Ended up in the casino, which is down the street, and the staff there was great. So friendly, and funny as hell as they took my money. But they made it fun, so I enjoyed myself!! Would recommend if on a budget like myself.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

This resort is a big beautiful, well maintained space. It has pretty much everything you could need behind the gaurd gate, but it isolates you from experiencing the real "Costa Rica". We took advantage of the excursions offered from the groups on the beach. Unique tours offered an incredible adventure package for a great price. Also not associated with the resort were some massage tents on the beach, which offered full body 1 hour massages for $65 per couple. AMAZING.

As for Riu, the rooms were nice. The food was pretty decent. We didn't like the restaurant organization. Reservations could only be made in person from 9-12 each day, for the next day so with excursions we missed being able to make any for the steak house which meant a lot of buffet. We did get in to Tucan which was pretty good, and the Japanese restaurant wasn't bad either. The pool is incredible. We had a great time, and the bartenders are fantastic.
I don't think we would use this resort again on a return trip to Costa Rica. Aside from the bartenders, the rest of the hotel employees were not very helpful and borderline rude.

For our first "all-inclusive" experience I believe we got our money's worth , and it really is a beautiful resort, which was very clean and well maintained.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Tampa, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

It was a very nice hotel great room great food and great service but you have to pay 40 US dollars
For Internet and then it does not even work well the pool was great and the beach was cool to there is lizards all over the place they are cool you get a free chance to go scuba diving in the pool witch was fun I really liked how in every room you had a safe loved that and the food and the drinks are all FREE at this hotel so overall it was pretty cool

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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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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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