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“Great Experience” 5 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
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Massachusetts
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014 via mobile

My wife and I stayed here from December 29th to January 5th. Compared to other all-inclusive resorts that we have experienced in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and the Maya Riviera in Mexico, this was the best. Clean, excellently maintained facility with ample, friendly staff. Very large and nice pool, and nice beach. Food was overall excellent. Buffet had a great variety of delicious options for salads, entrees, and desserts. There were also four specialty restaurants at the facility. A little hard to get reservations thus we only tried two of the four. Liked the buffet best of the dining options. Best all-inclusive food we have experienced to date. No health issues with on-site food, water, mixed drinks or ice.

Relatively short distance from Liberia airport.

Swiss Travel did a good job with our transfers and off-site excursions.

So would I recommend to a friend? Absolutely, yes.

Would I go back again? Absolutely, yes.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,007 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (1,276)
Date | Rating
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English first
Ingersoll, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

Let me start with the pros:The hotel itself is beautiful and the grounds are much nicer than the palace next door. We got a free room upgrade from Taty the best customer service rep. The pool is nice. The buffet restaurants were all good. The people were all pretty friendly and we had no problems with theft in our rooms, we would leave out our iPad and other stuff with no worries. However we did hear from another couple that had stuff stolen, so definitely use the in room safe if your worried. Now for the Cons: the kids pool was pathetic and the kids club wasn't the best. The beach wasn't bad but wasn't the best coco beach was much nicer. The à lá carte restaurants were horrible had to eat at the buffet afterwards. But by far the worst was on the weekend when the locals arrive, they are rude and take up every seat at the pool and shows. So save your excursions for then. I guess I was disappointed cause you pay so much to go there and then the locals come in and receive the same luxuries you do but for peanuts.

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Helena, Montana
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

My family, 13 of us just stayed at the RIU from Dec.28th-Jan.5th, 2014. Our ages ranged from 9-71. We have traveled a lot as a family to several all inclusives in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I read a lot of trip advisor reviews before we left and found them very helpful. We were treated royally, didn't have one complaint, everyone was so helpful and cheerful. We enjoyed the variety in the food, the shows at night could be better, but fun, the help at the pool are lively, some a little phony at times, but exuberant. We were all so impressed with the effort that the staff put into making New Years Eve such a wonderful occasion. The food, the tables, candles, fireworks, lumineria, music was fantastic. The staff goes out of their way to meet your needs. The carnival on Fridays was a blast. We got so much help with our tours from Delta vacation reps.We spent a day at Vandara and found it to be an awesome experience:ZIP LINING,WATER SLIDES,HORSE BACK RIDING,MASSAGES, GOURMET 5 STAR LUNCH, MUD BATHS, AND HOT SPRINGS, PLUS OUR OWN TOURGUIDE FOR THE DAY! The massages on the beach were a bargain and very good. We like all of the speicalty restaurants but everyone liked the Asian (Fumara) the best. Steakhouse was great. I liked the lay back attitude of the management. This was a big group with wide variety of ages, and everyone of us had so much fun. My only advice, and I am the oldest, in the group is that if you don't like the sound of the loud music don't get a water front room. I had read that, but didn't realize how loud it would be. We would all return it was that enjoyable.

Room Tip: the water front rooms have a gorgeous view, but very noisy from the music day and night.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

It just started bad from the moment we got there the problems started it took over an hour and a half just to check in. Fist they couldn't find our reservation even after they finally found us in there system which reminded me from that scene in that movie zoo lander with the computers. I thought it would be ok from here on in. wrong!!! We booked two rooms and we were assured that our rooms would be together. My parents were with us. That was the big deal they couldn't get us together but after many rude and just clueless people at the front desk they finally put us together. I guess they figured we were not going to give in so they put us together. Now on to the rooms they had locks and keys that did not work. A card system would have been better but had a hard time getting in every single time reported it a bunch of time but like previous post before me state. They just don't care !!! They don't clean your room until after your second night. Why? Who knows but that is true. Don't pay for the wifi it is terrible. There are no king beds They just push two beds together. They are very hard and uncomfortable. The pool is loud and noisy the liquor is all bad I didn't recognize and of the brands. In Mexico at least they used known name liquor. I know not to expect top shelve but this was bad. The beer was draft like most other places you go but it was hit or miss on the different places they had it if it would taste flat or not. The food was ok at best nothing special nothing that terrible either but I'm not a picky eater that's probably why so many other people complained about there food. The beach was not the white sand beaches you would think the water is clearer at the jersey shore but I've been to Costa Rica a bunch of times and found other beaches to be much much nicer. Not to far away is playa hermosa great beach clear water and clean. Entertainment was ok just don't expect broadway shows lol standard for these type places. I had higher expectations for this place to bad it turned out the way they did.
For the management I know you often wright your comments after people make unfavorable comments like this one. Please don't say your sorry and your going to make things better or to write your costumer service or any of that your best bet is try to take care of the people while they are there. This way you wouldn't see any of these type of reviews.

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Woodlands, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

Bad sleeping pillows, moldy showers, moldy smell from AC, bad TV channels, Slow service, Reception/Emergency line never answered in many occasions. Bad front beach.

Food and drinks is good overall, entertainment is good.

Beware of the tours offered, they offer the world but short deliver.

Room Tip: Check your room for bugs before sleeping.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

As with other reviewers, we weren't sure how we would like it, but it was great for a family vacation and we really enjoyed our stay. The buildings are nice, the grounds are beautiful, with the landscaping now having grown in, the pool is big and nicely laid out & surrounded with lots of shady areas to sit, the beach was pleasant, and the rooms were good too, everything was clean. People have mentioned the beds being hard, and while they weren't the most comfortable beds we encountered on our trip, they were acceptable, we slept fine. The large variety of food means you can always find something good to eat; the only thing we weren't especially fond of were the desserts, which seemed to mostly be variations of mass-produced moussy/spongy things, but that was actually a good thing, as it meant we didn't overindulge (except for some brownies...)(and some ice cream)(and of course there was a lot of fresh juicy fruit, which more than made up for the lack of other interesting dessert options). We booked a bird-watching tour through the 'Geckotico' fellows on the beach; they were friendly and helpful, so don't hesitate to chat with them about tour options. We had a room on the quiet jungle side, and enjoyed watching the howler monkey family in the trees outside our veranda. Overall, we really liked the atmosphere...it felt like an upscale hotel without the pretentiousness, the perfect place for 'regular' people who still like the finer things in life. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because the beach is not great for snorkeling or boogie-boarding (the slope of the beach seems to make the waves crash quickly, rather than having a long run out)(this may be affected by time of day/tide though), and the sand is on the darker side (so it's not as exotic looking as other beaches); also, the location is a little bit remote in that there aren't a lot of other easily accessible quiet beaches/parks/areas nearby, so it's not like you can go for a short drive down a coast road, stopping at several beaches along the way (or maybe there are roads that weren't on our map, but we found you had to drive in and out to get anywhere). Having said that, the remote location meant the beach wasn't crowded and the resort feels nicely tucked into the surrounding hills. The kids loved it here and our six night stay was a big success.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the jungle (and the hill nearby) are quiet and you will likely see the howler monkeys c...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

This was our 1st time to Costa Rica and the RIU Guanacaste.

Excellent hotel well laid out with all the restaurants in one area and close to rooms. Have to reserve 1 day ahead only for the steak restaurant which was excellent.

Beach is great with attendants that help you get chairs. We had great waves during our stay. You can walk quite far to the right of the resort which is great excercise.

Rooms are great.

Took a water taxi for $15.00 each to Coco Beach which enabled us to see the coastline. Watch out for the sharks that try to sell you a time share saying it is a local merchants contest.

Tours are cheaper on the beach than in the resort and we used Alex on the Beach who will say whatever you want to hear but they did deliver an enjoyable tour which included zipline, hike up in rainforest, horseback riding, mud bath etc and lunch for $120.00 each which was reasonable for what we got. Zipline was great except you spent too much time getting belted in and out due to the many short zips..

Room Tip: we asked for and receive top floor rooms with ocean view (5th floor). which were quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled on business
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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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