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“Costa Rican Paradise” 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
Denver, Colorado, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Costa Rican Paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

We went to Costa Rica for the first time in August. It was such an excellent trip. The countryside was beautiful. The RIU was on par (for the most part) for most RIU resorts. The service was slower than what we are used to, but the lifestyle is slower too! I actually enjoyed it! The food was good and the room was clean. We enjoyed the beach and the water was great. We had a great time and want to go back! We did a couples massage on the beach and it was fantastic. The mosquitos are bad, so make sure and take repellant with you or be ready to purchase some there!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 3 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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3,669 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 (1,159)
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English first
Centereach, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

If you are looking for absolute relaxation, the all inclusive Hotel Riu Guanacaste, Costa Rica is the place for you! From the moment you walk into the beautifully appointed lobby and check in, you will want for nothing! The service, food, pools, entertainment are all top notch! Definitely a vacation you won't regret!

Room Tip: Request an Oceanview Room!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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Houston, Texas, USA
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

We came here for a family wedding. The grounds at this hotel were amazing. However, the amenities were average. Our room was very nice and our maid was excellent. Now for the food....breakfast was good, but the rest of the meals were mediocre. The liquor.....lowest grade. Beach.....too many vendors trying to sell you other activities and the drink service on the beach was bad. Entertainment.....there should be more beach entertainment to bring people out to the beach so that the pools wouldn't be so crowded..wall to wall!! Speaking of the pool....drunks that can barely stay afloat should be taken out of the pool for their sake and the safety of others...did not happen. Wedding...was beautiful, planner did a good job. The only complaint I had with the wedding was that I thought there should of been some type of meal at the beginning that brought the wedding party together. 37 of us and I didn't meet everyone until 4 days later at the wedding. Overall...average. Don't think I would ever come back to this hotel again if I was in Guanacaste.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronx, New York, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

The hotel welcome was nice...the staff were friendly and check in was fairly quick. The room was nicely decorated and modern...the toilet room had no vent and the plumbing was slow.
The food was delicious...we spent the entire trip at the buffet. ..lots of great choices.The dining staff were friendly. The pool area was spectacular,but the beach left little to be desired. We booked two excursions. Went ATV riding...excellent trails, stopped in the town, gave you a real opportunity to view the beauty of the land and people. Next day went on Nicaraguan tour...extremely long but so worth it..great guide and driver with Bed Hotels. They even gifted us personalized maracas at the end of the tour.
We didnt like the departure arrangements...and were put off by the nonchalant attitude of Yari (she was who gave us our departure info). She wasnt helpful and seemed
very dismissive. We waited for assistance from customer service in obtaining our boarding passes...waited over 30 minutes..which ran into our departure time. Our scheduled pick up left us..no one called for us and when we inquired we were told that they had looked for us. Yet no one even stated that the bus left us until we inquired the third time.
The hotels customer service could be better...they might also what to let their staff know that it is rude to answer someone with "what"when they are asked a
question. Excuse me or I don't understand would work best...I encountered this on at least three occasions.
Nonetheless, it was obvious that the housekeeping staff worked hard....someone was always mopping.
Not sure if I would go back.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

This was an amazing vacation! Turtles had nested on the beach, and we actually got to see them hatch and help release them into the ocean on our first night there. The salt and pepper beach was beautiful. The buffet was typical for a Riu. Nice rooms and great staff! Costa Rica is amazing, tons to do and see! Highly recommended for the nature lover!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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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Oak Hill, Virginia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

You've read the good and the bad reviews and don't know which are true? Well, a little of both. we just returned on Sept 1st and this was our 3rd all inclusive hotel (Jamacia and Dominican Republic) and 8th foreign trip, so here are a few thoughts.

Location- only about 35 minutes from the airport but still very isolated. Nothing within walking distance. Coco Beach was a 30 minute drive and other than the grocery store and a few restaurants, its not worth the trip. (Dirty 1970's beach-party town)

Room Smell- The AC had been off for some time when we arrived, so the room was a little musty, but this soon disappeared. The sewer smell others complained of has apparently been fixed. The toilet had blue tinted water so it looks like the RIU is adding disinfectant or de-ordorizer to the reclaimed water.

Food- Really quite good for an all inclusive. Lots of American style food and my picky kids could always find something on the menu to eat. Vast breakfast buffet, lunch a little less impressive but still good. Dinner was best in the Toucan, next in the Italian restaurant, the Asian was pretty poor (maybe the sushi is good as we saw several people come in just for that). Didn't try the steakhouse as the reservation process is a pain). The Sport Bar had nothing but nasty nachos and old soggy sandwiches. I would not eat anything from the Sport Bar. The buffet is always an option if the sit down restaurants are full or the menu is not to your liking.

Drinks - Imperial (Costa Rica local) on draught was the only choice for beer , except in the mini-bar which has 2 cans of Bohemia. Bring large plastic tumblers and they will fill them for you at the pool bar. In the supermarkets you can buy Beck's, Coors Lite, Bud, and other Latin American Beer. The RIU pours "Disco Brand" vodka and gin and some rot gut tequila. The rum is OK, which is good as it is used in almost all the RIU's drinks. If you ask, most of the RIU bars have Jim Beam, J&B, Johnnie Walker Red and Canadian Mist. Bar Service was very good. The Toucan Restaraunt pours a nice Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and some bottled white wine. The Italian had a red table wine from a carafe that was passable with enough red sauce. The buffet had bottled wine at dinner that was served from an ice bucket so it was too cold to have a taste. At lunch, the buffet was wine on tap that was actually hot, I poured a half glass just for the experience. Nasty

Beach/pool- The beach was nice, not white sand but still clean, nice and uncrowded. The pool is large and the kids had a blast there and in the surf. No complaints here.

Locals- Serious problem in the off season. Friday night when we returned from a day trip the hotel was packed. Our guide said that every weekend in the off season was like this and that locals can rent for about sixty dollars per night. This was why we planned our excursions for the weekend.That night drunk people were shouting in the stairwells at 02:00. The restaurants were full and only the buffet was an option. Did not check out the pool on the weekend.

Rooms- Yes, the beds are hard and the pillows are kind of skimpy, but they weren't that bad. We all slept fine. We wanted to upgrade to a 2 bedroom family suite, but they only have 8 and all were booked. We had a family room with a King and a full sized bed which turned out OK. We slept 3 in the King and 1 in the full (our kids are 8 and 11). TV had 3 english channels (CNN, Fox News and Warner Bros). Everything was clean and in good condition, but not "plush".

Overall- The hotel was a fantastic value. For the package price with air we couldn't pass it up. It was no 5 -star but we weren't expecting it to be. Just try to avoid weekends from May through October. For more upscale lodging try the Westin or Reserve in Playa Conchal which is a beautiful beach. Good luck and enjoy!

Room Tip: Jungle side is the quiet side
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Overall I was pleased with my stay here, although I have been to much better 5 star resorts (in other countries).

Costa Rica is beautiful (maybe my favorite country) and I would visit this resort again as we got a good price. Some downsides were the service - for example we ran out of bottled water and called down to get some brought up to our room but they told us we had to go to the front desk to get it (and were kind of rude about it). Other resorts we've been to would have brought water right away. They were OK with drink service around the pool, but not overly great. Restaurant service was average. Food was pretty good. Most staff members were friendly. Activities were good.

Again overall it was a great time, and I would go back again but I've been spoiled by some other great resorts that had better service.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 3 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, 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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