Date: 9/6/13-9/21/13 (6 days, 5 nights)
This is definitely not a 4 star hotel! It does not meet the standards of many other Riu Hotels we have visited in different countries. Its very disappointing. If you are looking for class, this is not the place. I would not have my honeymoon at this Riu either.
We are a biracial black and spanish couple from NJ spending our 1st Anniversary here. We have been to several other countries including Bahamas, Aruba, Jamaica, St Thomas, Colombia, Cancun, Dom Republic, and etc. All of these places we have stayed in All-Inclusive highly rated resorts.
Booking: We booked our room and transfers directly through the hotel via the Riu Reservations Call Center. We are Riu Members.
Transfers: Riu gives free transfers to and from the hotel to its Riu Members. My husband confirmed this via telephone with the Riu Call Center. However, you will see below, that was not the case. When we arrived at the airport, the Riu transfer agent did not have our reservation. We had to wait behind as they filled the transfer van. They had to call the hotel to confirm that we were indeed not to be left at the airport. Our first impression of the hotel was a bit tainted but we travel very often. Remaining positive was not too difficult at this point.
Check-in: After a short ride to the hotel, we arrived at the hotel lobby. It was very chaotic looking from the windows of the transfer van. It was Monday morning and the lobby was filled with kids running around, rude, loud talking adults everywhere, and pure disorder. Luggage filled the floor and it was just hard to appreciate the grounds at that time because it was overwhelming and disappointing.
Our first problem we encountered at the hotel was during check-in. The room we confirmed was called a senior suite without Jacuzzi online. When we checked-in, the receptionist refers to it as a junior suite. I was confused because Im under the impression that I paid for something more. So I had to call customer service myself to be told that they do not have senior suites. The largest suite they have is the junior suite with Jacuzzi. We had booked the Junior Suite w/o Jacuzzi. Ok, big deal, lets move forward so we didn’t have to deal with anymore confusion. Also, you had to pay on arrival, which is contrary to what the customer service agent said.
Room: The “junior suite w/o Jacuzzi” was nice.
Pros: We did have a soaking tub which was spacious and rather soothing. It was clean. We had one of the best suites with an ocean front and jungle view room. It was a corner suite on the fourth floor. Actually, the views from it were absolutely stunning. Just like most of the reviews say, you can hear the howling monkeys in the morning. Its breathtaking and you can almost not believe your ears. The balcony in this room is a double balcony compared to the other rooms in the hotel. You are overlooking the bar and Jacuzzi side of the pool area, which is in front of the beach and along side of the balcony is the jungle view. Its beautiful.
Cons: Though, there were many many downfalls. Honestly, the best thing about the room is the view. The room is very large but is not to the standard of any other Riu we have been to in other countries. They need renovations. The toilet looked like it had not been cleaned on the inside for a long time. The tissue paper holder was bald and all the toiletries were missing. We were starring at some rusty empty toiletry holders. Forget the mini bar. It is only stocked every two days of one of each drink. Good luck if you want to try the liquor supplied on the shelf. Your best bet is to bring your own liquor from a duty free. Use that to add to your cocktails by the pool.
Lobby: Pro: Costa Rican feel and décor. Nice and clean. This is one of the reasons why we chose the Riu Guanacaste over the Palace. Receptionist had a hard time finding our reservations.
Con: Too hectic for the check-in process. No order. Locals cutting in lines and etc. Also the hotel staff needs to be trained on their ‘knowledge of product’. The management staff was unaware of the free transfer service given by the hotel for its members. They were of no help. Thankfully we had our documents and were able to aid ourselves to get transferred to the hotel. Also, 90% of the time, the hotel is 90% filled with locals from Costa Rica. During this time, service was the worse.
Grounds: Pros- Rather nice. Nothing special. Pool chairs could use some upgrading. Grounds were well but nothing spectacular.
Restaurants: In general poor. The buffets were never fresh or hot. Food was cold at times. You will eat the same food everyday. There are not enough meat choices. The buffet tables are bigger for the salad and bread rather than the hot food. You will never get greeted. Its more like, figure it out yourself. Service was mostly poor. Staff was unfriendly. If you were not sitting directly in the front, you had to motion to get a server to bring coffee. We have never experienced service like this before. The restaurants are also buffets so it doesn’t matter if you go to a restaurant or a buffet, you will still be getting up to get your food. Some of the food was not labeled, so you would never know what it is.
Pool: Pro: Well maintained and modernly shaped. Space for children and swim up bar area with cool Jacuzzi areas. Bartenders were good to ok in the swim up bar area. There was always enough seating.
Cons: No poolside drinks. There is no pool side service. Non-smoking everywhere. Boring at many times. Also, no food is allowed on deck either.
Entertainment: At the Pool: they were pretty good. Probably the best entertainment within the hotel. But that really doesn’t say much. Nightly Entertaiment: Were very cheesy and horrible. Very similar to other hotels but just a little worse.
Management: Horrible. Will not speak unless you speak to them. Not even a smile. Though, would chat with the locals.
General Staff: Very unfriendly and unprofessional. Do not expect a good morning, a Buenos dias, or nada. We couldn’t understand why everyone seemed so unfriendly. The servers are also used to not being tipped we found. We were the only ones tipping and did because we wanted some type of treatment. There was only one server from all the restaurants that we became acquainted with. Besides him, I felt very uncomfortable there. We will never visit this hotel again based on the service.
Land: Costa Rica is beautiful. Sept and Oct are the rainy seasons and its very green. The plant and animal life is very different from ours. There are many beaches that we visited which were all breathtaking. The towns inland were safe and driving with our tour guide was much better than renting a car and getting lost.
People: We do not understand how this can be rated the “happiest country in the world”! That is by far the most craziest thing we have heard regarding Costa Rica. Im so sorry, we do not feel this way. We were treated very rude by most of the locals at our hotel. From the management, hotel staff, servers, watersport staff, chef, children to the locals..we found to have an attitude of this is our country and we come first. We were completely underminded in a negative way.
Adventures: Go with Crazy Alex. He was by far the most friendly and inviting person we met in Costa Rica. Crazy Alex Adventures was found via Victor behind the Riu. You will get a better deal if you go out to the beach rather than through your transfer or hotel rep. We booked the Mega Tour Day Trip. It included Volcanic Hot Springs, Waterfalls, Horseback Riding, Water slide, Lunch at Ranch, Ziplining, and a tour of Costa Rica. Alex was THE BEST. He was very personal and we always felt 100% safe. I could go on and on about this man. He actually made our trip here and salvaged a lot of the horrible feelings we were having about our hotel and service. We would highly recommend him. And check out for him on youtube.
Do Not Expect Luxury
Do Not Expect Customer Service
Ask for a Jungle Room View
Bring Your Own Li...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.