I always read the reviews on any place I am going on vacation just so I can get a sense of how people feel and felt while on vacation. But reading the reviews on this resort, confused me a lot but RIU GUANACASTE was everything plus more. If you are looking for a great place to stay then this is it. From the food and beverages to the resort and staff, everything you can ask for was right here.
Check-in was very easy and they are very accommodating to your needs. We were a very small group of 4 and we asked if our rooms could be near each other and we were easily relocated. You get a welcome drink (non-alcoholic) Mango Punch which was nice and cold. The lobby is huge and here is where you can get your 90 minutes of free wifi, and by 90 minutes I mean 90 minutes flat. Once you go over your minutes you can't connect for 24 hours. But your on vacation so whats the point of using your phone, unless you really have to but we did not.
Rooms - Our room was located on the first floor not the ground floor which we had no complaints about. Room is very spacious, mini-bar with fridge that is replenished every 2 days. Drink the water from the bottle as you should not drink their tap water!! Their brand of beer is Imperial which is good, I thought it tasted like coors light. Toilet, shower, sink, bathroom were all clean thoroughly. Always got new towels after we used our room towels. Bed was firm but comfortable and pillows were very thin but they provide you with 4 pillows so we doubled up on them to sleep on. The quilt is very heavy and you will sweat with it over you. AC/Fan worked great and kept the room very cool. They were different settings that you can change to accommodate your room temperature to your liking.
FOOD - We thought the food was DELICIOUS. We ate at the "Furama" Asian grill which is a buffet style meal. Variety of different foods, sushi, fish, chicken, duck, beef, etc... No reservation needed for this restaurant. The poolside buffet was good, again variety of food. Pizza, nachos, cheese, guacamole, salsa, refried beans, fried fish, chicken, pork and so on. Only precaution is that all fried foods seemed to be cooked in the same oil and same batter. Steakhouse "Ocotal" needed reservations so we reserved here for one night and the food was portioned very small. If you have a big appetite like we did, you would eat your food here and then grab some more food at the open buffet "Liberia". The Steakhouse had good food but again you get small portions, we ordered filet mignon, chicken, and ribs and we all looked at each other and said That's it. 2 ribs, 1 piece of chicken, and a flat filet mignon over cooked after we said medium well. Also you get 1/3 of a corn on the cob, 1/2 a tomato, and some carrot sticks. We ate our food and left to the buffet to continue eating.
We did not eat at any other restaurants as we enjoyed eating at the Liberia buffet because of all the foods they had, and each night they had a special selection of food, theme wise.
Drinks- your typical all inclusive drink menu, drinks can be watered down but we always asked for a double shot of everything when we ordered a drink and that seemed to make the difference. They do have top shelf liquors, Bacardi, Absolut, Jose Cuervo Gold and you just have to ask for them in a drink. We tried a variety of drinks and after mixing drinks by the poolside we felt a slight buzz. Margaritas were good both frozen and on the rocks. Pina coladas, mudslides, Blue Hawaiians, Miami vice, Daquiris, Mai Tai's were all good. But again always ask for a double shot, it will make it much better. Try the Costa Rica shot, very sweet and goes down like water. One drink we did enjoy drinking were the BBC (Baileys, Bananas, Coconut) Very delicious and was like a smoothie except with liquor in it. If you rather make your own drink, the mini bar in your room would do you justice as you can add as much as you want and have options of Rum, White Rum, Tequila, and Vodka.
Club was fun to us but the same music was played every night over and over. We are dancers from NY so we made the best of the music every night. But again, we knew the exact playlist the DJ was going to play. Variety of music, spanish, reggae, reggaeton, hip hop, r&b, dance music, club music, cha cha slide, wobble, and cupid shuffle always get played so that everyone in the club can dance. Drinks are not free here but water is, and you would need water because it gets very hot inside the club. The drinks here are better than the club as they have Heineken and again top shelf liquor. Opens at 11 and closes at 3am. Locals, staff workers and Riu Palace guests were all in there and we enjoyed ourselves and everyone else did as well.
Entertainment was good. They try their best to please everyone and put on a good show. Karoake, Grease, Music Timeline performance from the 60s up to current music was good as we saw this show at the Palace before it was performed at Guanacaste so we enjoyed it but stood to watch it again. Poolside activities were fun and funny to watch. The staff were great, Charlie, Otter and Prince were the three main staff members we enjoyed participating in activities with, partying with and hanging out with after their shifts were done.
Beach/Pool - Black sand beach and can get very HOT quickly so flip flops, sneakers, water shoes, etc.. are needed. Plenty of chairs to choose from. There is no humidity so you will feel the sun beaming down on you as soon as you get outside. Wear sunscreen as you can tan in less than 10 minutes. 15 minutes and you will be burnt and lobster red. Wear a high SPF sunblock. Ocean water was cooler than the pool water. Pool was warm water and the Ocean was a much better selection of where to hang out in but there is no drink service down at the beach. Strong riptides so be careful as it can get deep quickly. The locals come by to sell you items but a polite No Thank you or No gracias and a smile and they will walk past you but come back later. There are a lot of tour guides on the beach welcoming you and trying to get you to book an excursion through them or through their company. We spoke to one guy named Erick, orange shirt and hat who was offering us different packages but we declined nicely. One of the guys we met at the pool recommended VICTOR from VicTours and he gave us a good price for the Mega Combo, $100 for the combo that included horseback riding to the top of the mountain, 10 zipline courses down from the mountain, tarzan swing, waterslide, mud bath, shower, hot tub and pool and then organic homemade lunch. We had a blast and he made us feel comfortable just like we were his family. Honestly, this man Victor was the nicest person we had met on this trip. He is the only tour guide that will stay with you the entirety of the excursion and do the activities with you. He also offers other tours but this was the best one for the price. I'd recommend him over anyone or any other tour guides offered through the hotel or on the beach. Tell him David, Amanda, Richie and Sean sent you and he will give you a good price, He will even show you his signature book (sign in book) and ask if that us. We enjoyed this excursion very much.
Overall, this all around experience was well worth it. Wouldn't have stayed any place else than Riu Guanacaste. So from us 4 we give it 8 thumbs up and 5 stars!! When you leave and head back home, EAT AT THE RESORT as the hotel food is very expensive. $16 USD for a quizznos wrap with fries and soda. And the other restaurant at the airport is much more expensive as a piece of chicken (1 thigh) will cost you almost $14 USD. A slice of pizza was $15 USD (1 slice)... Bag of chips that we pay maybe $2 for (doritos, Lays) will cost you $9 USD. Eat before you leave.. And another heads up, you have to pay $29USD to leave Costa Rica as their Departure Tax fee. Other than that, we definitely enjoyed ourselves and would love to come back here..
- 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