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“Nice place to visit... not going back” 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 | Canton de Carrillo, Sardinal, Costa Rica   |  
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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #2 of 3 hotels in Sardinal
East Liverpool, Ohio
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Nice place to visit... not going back”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

When it rains it really rains! and Costa Rica is NO CANCUN! only saw 1 howler monkey. The resort is very nice and clean. Went on the jungle cruise it was nice! Overall I just wasnt impressed.... food sucked too.... and the booze was HORRIBLE! I STAYED SOBER!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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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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 (1,001)
Date | Rating
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English first
north hollywood
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2013

We went to costa rica with a group of 15 people, we all loved it. the best thing about it were the activities, we booked them on the beach with a guy named Eric with The Orange shirt, He took the best care of us we booked 4 activities with him he had the best prices and treated us like family i highly recommend him to everyone who goes there. Overall it was great!!!!

Room Tip: go with the jungle view.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2013

Never ever written a review b/4 online but feel obliged to this time to warn all of you so as not to spoil your vacation. We had 14 in our group. 2 grandparents, 7 adults and 5 kids. BTW, we've travelled many ctries and places and are not picky travelers. What you pay is what you get. We understand this concept very clearly.
Room: yes, it could be a hit or miss. BUT this is true. Riu uses recycled water. When it gets crowded on weekends (due to them opening their doors to locals for cheap rates), the sewage stanch in the bathroom is UNBEARABLE!!! Made me gag many times. They attempt to fix the problem by cleaning the bowl but it did not help a bit. I had them come 3 times to fix problem. That brings me to my next point. It always takes them 1-2 hrs to come to the room. Asked for extra pillows... 1hr. Asked for bottle of water...1hr. Asked to fix sewage smell...2hrs. They offered to change room but having kids and tons of unpacked clothes hanging around, it was too cumbersome. Besides, my friends' rooms had the same smell and we had only a night left. Friend was smart. She read the reviews and brought a air freshener just in case. Helped a lot!
Reception: asked a guy there if he cld help me with the wifi on my iPhone coz I cldnt seem to get thru... He was soooo rude. Pointed at some pic on my phone and said "can you read?" OMG!!! He's lucky I'm a very nice person and swallowed his comments. I thought to myself "maybe it's a language thing." I was not in the mood to be mad was it is only the beginning of our trip.
Food: asian was the best. Food was nothing to look forward to. Steakhouse was ok. Ribeye was tasty but again it is a hit and miss. A few of my friends thought it was BAD. Whereas my hubby and I liked it. Toucan restaurant was not too bad too.
Entertainment: was enjoyable. Relaxing at the end of the night. I think it is the hotel's best selling point. Otherwise, service, room, food... All basically shld be 3star hotel.
You want a good, no sewage smell, all inclusive place, I heard from our tourguide that Ocatelle villa is fab. My spelling might be a bit off but do check it out. Westin is also a pretty gd hotel to stay. Just don't stay in Riu Guanacaste. Seriously. There are better ones out there. If you choose to stay in Riu, remember do NOT stay over weekend. AWFULLY crowded. Entertainers don't even bother speaking English coz they cater to the locals.
Bar: drinks were out to make us have diabetes. Super sweet. Alcohol watered down. Tip them good if you want more alcohol in yours.
Other than that.... we LOVE ATV, zip lines, tabacon hot springs, horseback, hanging bridges... Costa Rica is beautiful. Our stay wld be more enjoyable if we stayed somewhere else.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
RiuHotelsandResorts, Social and Community Relations Manager at Hotel Riu Guanacaste, responded to this review, September 4, 2013
Dear guest,

Many thanks for sharing your experience with us. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

We always welcome feedback from our customers, since it gives us the opportunity to make appropriate improvements and changes where necessary.

We regret that your stay at our hotel did not fulfill your conception in general. Our policy is to make every attempt to please and keep our guests content. We are deeply disappointed to find that our team did not turn around this situation to your complete satisfaction during your stay.

Please be assured that we have shared your comments with the respective heads of departments involved and actions would be taken to address all your concerns.

We hope you will choose to visit us again, and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of Guest Service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

Visited the Riu Guancaste the period of July 15-22. I have to say that this was the perfect time to travel to Costa Rica (specifically the province of Guancaste). It rained only one evening (for about a couple of hours) and that was pretty much it.

I have visited numerous resorts (big and small) and have to say that our stay here was one of the best. Yes, the rooms have a typical Riu look and there is a strange smell due to the plumbing but how much of the time are you really going to be spending in the room anyway? You’re on vacation – go out and enjoy!

First off, the resort is beautiful. Its well manicured and you can find iguanas and monkeys if you look around. The resort is very clean, ceilings are fun to look at and overall it’s well managed. The workers are pleasant but you have to be pleasant to them as well.

We spent most of our time on the beach….what a glorious stretch of beach! We walked along the beach and found our own private area away from all of the crowds. It was amazingly peaceful! The waters were filled with millions of fish! We’ve never seen anything like it.

The pool was loud with a bunch of bees and bugs. We tried out the pool for a couple of days and the pool water was warm.

Massages are effective and cheap on the beach. You pay $65 total for a couples massage and they are quite good in form.

We could always find something to eat so I don’t understand how people can complain. We ate at the Italian, Asian, Steakhouse and buffet and all were really good.

Other than the smelly rooms, the only other thing to comment on is the weak drinks. We started ordering “Smirnoff” so if there’s a suggestion here, pick your alcohol!

We booked some excursions with the resort and one with one of the vendors on the beach. To be honest, they all offer the same thing but you can negotiate them down at the resort as well. We got a very similar price with the resort that we would have received from the vendors on the beach.

Overall, I would recommend this resort. We had a great time!

Room Tip: Jungle side will allow you to see monkeys.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Get a jungle view and ask for more pillows!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiuHotelsandResorts, Social and Community Relations Manager at Hotel Riu Guanacaste, responded to this review, September 4, 2013
Dear guest,

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,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bayside, NY
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

I went to Costa Rica with my niece. This is a beautiful hotel, and very clean. However, you do have to deal with bugs:) . With that being said, we both sprayed and I ended up with only one mosquito bite!
I am a picky eater, and ate at the buffet mainly. Since I am used to authentic Italian food, I was not impressed with the Italian restaurant. We had to wait on a line at 5:50 just to get in. The staff is friendly and helpful, although not all speak English. MY biggest gripe was with the WIFI situation. We had to use the free WIFI at exactly the same time each day which was ridiculous. I even spoke to one of the managers about it. It is in the lobby and reception can be poor.
By the way, they have the busiest gym that I have run across in a hotel. You need to get there early or late to use the machines not 4:30 or 5:30.

Room Tip: I agree with getting a room facing the mountain. We could hear monkeys in the morning! I did not thi...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

We went on a family vacation July 13-20. 2 grandparents, my husband and I and 2 kids 10 and 5. If it weren't for our pets, the kids might have stayed forever.

The grounds are gorgeous. The hotel staff are friendly and extremely hospitable. I asked for a cappuccino, not knowing it was only available in the Sports Bar and my waiter at the buffet walked over and got me one even though he didn't have to, I gladly would have done it myself after breakfast.

The rooms are small, the beds are a bit harder than usually and the pillows are flat, but I'm a pillow person. I didn't see or hear any construction and could hear the howler monkeys in the morning - we stayed on the side closest to the Riu Palace. Our air condition was ice cold and our rooms were always well maintained.

The beach is different. Its 'black' sand which was a little off at first but we found snorkeling to be a blast - we saw puffer fish, octopus, and all kinds of fish (bring your own gear but it gets a little rough by the rocks on the right side of the beach). It was beautiful, wonderful and honestly we wondered off and a guy who worked nearby and spoke no English walked with us about 1 mile to show us the home of a about 20 Howler monkeys near the Monkey Bar. He hung out, showed us the monkeys and off he went. These are the kind of people that you will encounter in this amazing country.

Out of all the restaurants, I have to say that the Asian was my favorite we ate there 2x. The steakhouse was good, but got a very rare, somewhat salty steak instead of my usual warm pink medium. But it was ok. The Mexican place was my least favorite, and the Italian was pretty good. Even the main buffet was very good - we went on international night and there was lots of seafood and pasta that was delicious. The house wines are nothing special, but the drink were good. We took bubba mugs to eliminate multiple trips to the bar for all of us.

The pool was amazing. We spent about 2 hours a day at the beach and the rest of the time at the pool. It was huge, beautiful and warm.

The highlight of the trip was getting away from the resort. We used Alex on the beach. He was wonderful, tailored our trips just for us. Was so knowledgeable and friendly, the kids missed him (we saw him 3 days! - we all did) when it was time for us to go. We did the Mega Combo tour. It was spectacular, and I highly recommend it and the 1/2 day trip to the waterfall nearby (about a 45 min drive). Do the zip line in the megacombo tour. Life changing, and we ALL did it (ages 5-60+)

We have stayed at Grand Palladiums before and this was more hotel like, but very welcoming and we would come back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Guanacaste

Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica
Address: Playa Matapalo | Canton de Carrillo, Sardinal, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service 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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