I just visited the RIU Guanacaste last week and was really disappointed. I will break it down into topics so this is easy to read.
Excursions 5/5 - I am starting with this because this was my favorite part! I had done a lot of research and read about doing excursions with Victor from Victours. I was so lucky to bump into him. He did not try to sell me anything. We walked by him and he just simply said hello and asked where we were from. He was very nice and I noticed his shirt said Victor and had Victours on the back and boy were we lucky to find him. He was FANTASTIC! He gives you an incredible price and goes above and beyond. We did the all day tour to Buena Vista Lodge and it was AMAZING! We rode horses through the jungle, zip lined down, went in a hot spring, got lava mud scrubs, did a water slide through the jungle (which is apparently ranked #3 in the world by travel channel), and had an exclusive lunch with just the 13 people in the tour and Victor. After Buena Vista, we drove over to Cocoa Beach (go to Cocoa Nutz! It's an awesome bar with great food! It's owned by a guy who went to Costa Rica on vacation from America and decided to buy the bar and stay!) to check it out too. NO ONE else that we spoke to offered this tour and got all of the things that we got in our package. Tour guides will tell you they go there, but what they don't tell you is that its 40 people and you only zip line and head back. People paid WAY more than we did and they got way less and were not happy with the amount of people on the trip. We also did the catamaran sunset snorkel cruise, which was nice. We decided we needed to do one more adventure and called Victor and told him we needed to. He told us he would take us to a beautiful waterfall. He rearranged everything and took the two of us privately to this waterfall to see it. Like I said...he is the man to go to because he is the best! I could not say enough great things about him. Send him an email before you go so you can be sure to link up with him. If you need his email address, let me know!
Cleanliness 5/5 - Our rooms were incredibly clean and so was the hotel.
Staff 5/5 - very nice and accommodating.
Rooms 3/5 - Our room was nothing special. The beds were hard and the pillows were terrible. Definitely as for more pillows. We had a jungle view and it was the best view you could have at the hotel! We woke up and drank coffee in the balcony while watching the monkeys and wildlife. Definitely request a jungle view. Also, they are stingy with giving water bottles in rooms. We had to ask several times for water because we were out and you can only drink the bottle water.
Food 2/5 - the buffet was not very good at all. Stick to the Steak restaurant (you need reservations and you need to make them between 9-1 the day before to get in) because it was the best. We wish we could of ate there every night. The Japanese was not bad either, but again it was a buffet. The Italian was ok.
Pool 1/5 - The pool is huge and looks gorgeous; however, someone puked in it the one day and it was shut down for a little to "clean" and another day there were two poop incidents. They obviously did not drain the pool and I was left wonder how it was clean?! I also found it very odd that there were children in and sitting at the swim up bar pool. They were jumping a splashing in there while there was plenty of other pools for them to go in. I was shocked that the hotel did not regulate this. The pool just skeeved me. I did not see one person skimming it.
Beach 3/5 - The beach is the place to go! The sand is blackish from the volcanic ash so the water does not look blue like the Caribbean. It is still gorgeous though. The downside to the beach is that they allow people to come up to you trying to sell things. It was constant and annoying. I had never experienced that because other places I went to did not allow that.
Other things they do not tell you - I read on here that they open the hotel to the locals on the weekend right before I left and everything I read was true. They did do this and it was AWFUL! They give them a HUGE discount from Friday-Sunday and they take over the hotel. The hotel was overly packed everywhere. The restaurants, pool, bars, elevators, etc. It was very disappointing knowing how much I spent and the fact that I couldn't be at the hotel (we planned excursions to get away) those days. For this reason alone (minus all the others), I would NEVER stay at ANY RIU again.
Get a jungle view and ask for more pillows!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
September 4, 2013
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We would like to thank you for choosing our hotel for your holidays and for taking the time to give us your constructive and valued feedback.
On the one hand, we would like to thank you for bring up your satisfaction regarding our beach, clean hotel and our staff.
On the other hand, in order to fulfill every guest expectations regarding food, our main buffet and specialty restaurants offer a great range of food options. We were concerned to note that we failed to live up to your expectations. But we can assure you that we strive to improve our service daily in order to offer all our guests in house and future clients a pleasant stay.
We thank you very much for your helpful and reasonable criticism. We would be delighted if you would honor us with another opportunity to convince you of our RIU service and quality.
With our best wishes we remain,
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.