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“Take a bite out of winter!” 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
North East
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Take a bite out of winter!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

We have stayed in several of the Riu(Palace) Resorts and this was our first time staying in the Hotel Riu Guanacaste. Very nice and clean. Beautiful grounds, gorgeous pool. If you are looking for white sandy beaches you will not find it here. Beach sand is dark, bordering on black. You will need to wear water shoes or flip flops while walking on it along with poolside as surfaces get extremely hot! Fantastic weather!!! 10 straight days of high 90's-100's with a great ocean breeze.
Food: Breakfast was pretty standard. Specialty restaurants were difficult to get into. We managed to get into every one of them by getting to the door no later than 6. Only exception was the Steakhouse. Reservation only.Consistency in food was a problem. Sometimes great, other times just ok. Sushi at Furama was delicious!
Drinks: Loved the Mojitos. Two local beers and only two kinds of wine, Red or White, Mixed cocktails are not a favorite of mine as we find them too sweet and these were no exception to that rule. You want a Corona..walk to the Monkey Bar down off the beach.
Cleanliness: Rooms were spotless and maintained daily, Common areas were clean as well for the most part. First night at dinner in Libera, was extremely disturbed to find the tables covered with tablecloths that were obviously not changed prior to our sitting down. As the week went on we found that they were placing clean tablecloths onto tables after guests have left.
Empty drink glasses and beer cans, popcorn from the sports bar occasionally found in elevators and plant fixures..don't blame the staff as some people are just lazy and gross.
Entertainment team: Mario is fabulously sparkly! Make sure to introduce yourself.
Tours/excursions: We booked the Mega combo through Jose on the beach not through the hotel. (CostaRicaBestTours.com) Had a private van and personal tour guide Diego who was excellent! If safety is a concern for you then rest assured you are in very good hands if you should chose to book your tours/excursions with Jose.
Check out the monkeys in the trees behind Riuland and watch for the few cats who make the Riu grounds their home and you'll find an occasional horse or two on the beach and some pretty big iguanas!
Would we go back? Absolutely!

Room Tip: We are never in our room long enough except to shower and sleep but we had a room on the 3rd floor f...
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (1,158)
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English first
New York City
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

The Riu Guanacaste wasn't bad - it was great either though. The food wasn't so good and the drinks were worse - but Costa Rica itself made up for whatever ills the Riu provided. The location of the hotel itself was awesome - seems it was built right into the side of a mountain. I would actually go back to the Riu - especially since a whole other section was being built while we were there. I loved it.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Grand Rapids, MI
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

My husband and I spent a week at the Riu Guanacaste (2/22-3/1). We enjoyed our time there. Food was plentiful and good quality. It was HOT (94-97 F). We really liked the steak house. They did a special birthday cake for my husband. The Tucan host was RUDE and definitely discriminates against younger couples. We sat right next to the host stand and saw him tell multiple younger couples he was out of tables for the night (when the restaurant was half empty!) and then a 40-50 something year old couple would come in with no reservation and he would seat them right away! I got up to use the rest room and they made my husband order for me while I was gone for 2 minutes. The food at the Tucan was really good.. just very rude workers there. Everybody else was pleasant and gave great service.. especially Melvin who is one of the bar managers.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guatemala Department, Guatemala
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

The hotel was really beautiful..all included for a good price..but the service was a disaster..the bartenders if you dont tip them they doesn't serve you..
I think its ridicoulus to pay 15 dollars extra per day to have internet in your room.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
new york
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2014

I loved Costa rica!!! Riu is 30-40 min from the airport. The hotel is beautiful the grounds are beautiful. The staff was great. The food was not good. The Drinks were very weak! Wasnt expecting much from an all inclusive. When I wanted a good drink we just walked over to the Monkey bar (cute little place off the beach). When your in Costa rica everything is far away I learned, Theres nothing outside the hotel. Pretty much all the hotels are that way. Its very Natural and beautiful. No fancy resturants and shopping. At first thats what I was looking for but I really loved it!! I have all the fancy stuff in New york all year round!! Its nice to experience the country and the local places.

WIFI- is horrible!! 90min they give you free only in the lobby!! Half the time i couldnt even log on. My husband payed for internet that worked by the pool and beach sometimes 3days $40.

Beach/pool- It was presidents week so it was busy. The pool area was very nice. We hung out at the beach which was beautiful!!!! The water was clear and calm. The sand wasnt black it was more of light brown. Dont lose your towel cards!! $20 for and missing card.

Tours- Dont book at the hotel. Find "Alex on the beach tours" there always walking around on the beach. We spoke with Sergio who was such a nice guy, set up a whole day tour for us. We did the combo tour we went Ziplining, horseback riding, swimming in a waterfall, mud bath and hot springs. It was amazing!!! They picked us up at 7:30 am got back at 6:30pm and they also gave us a delicious lunch. $135 pp worth every penny!!! We also took the Hibiscous sunset boat tour. That was amazing, left at 1pm took us to a private beach went snorkeling. They had a lunch spread for us on the beach. On the way back we saw dolphins and the beautiful sunset!! Must do these 2 tours and both were booked through Sergio. They own the Monkey Bar !

NIght- They had pretty good shows every night, Nice bar area. There's also a casino which wasnt bad, We went acouple times. Also Pasha night club, you pay for your drinks here. We took a cab to Coco beach (30 min away). We ate at a local resturant pappagayo seafood SO GOOD!! Some nice outside bars on that street and many souvenir shops.

FYI- I never felt this way before in a hotel but I didnt feel like my belongings in my room were safe?? We had a problem one night with the safe .The manager came up 1,2,3 opened it, laughed it off and said happens all the time. The code we always use wasnt working and the only way it could have been reset was if the safe was opened. Nothing was missing ,It was just weird. Later that day over heard a guy complaining his sons playstation game was missing from safe!!!!

Overall I really did love Costa rica!! Would Def go back!!! PURA VIDA!!!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2014

The best decision we made was to celebrate our honeymoon at the beautiful Riu Guanacaste... Leaving NJ/PA cold weather in February, and arriving at the Riu Guanacaste, we were amazed by the beautiful 100 degree sunny weather and refreshing ocean breeze. The view in our ocean front room was breathtaking. The pool and pool bar was a blast every day and the various restaurants for dinner were great every evening. The cherry on top of everything was the cleanliness of the resort and the unmatched customer service by all of the Riu's staff, especially Emigliano and Javier. They both made every moment of our honeymoon magical, from a fruit basket in the room to a celebratory surprise champagne on ice!!! Thank you gentleman and we look forward to coming back soon and bringing our family back again to celebrate our 1 year anniversary together. ~Pete & Megan

Room Tip: Higher ocean front rooms have a beautiful balcony with breathtaking views!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2014

We stayed Feb 17th to March 3rd. Very disappointed. We would never go back to costa rica. If you smoke the country & the resort are not for you. They are very intolerant of smoking & it's a pain trying to find a place to smoke. 3 of us squished into a room with 2 tiny double beds & a cot. ....it sucked. Nice ocean view tho. Food ok, buffet food always the same, no variety. Al a carte restaurants ok, nothing special. Rooms always made up late, had to call for mini bar replacement constantly. Bars quick service but next to NIL poolside or beach bar service. This country is dry & brown in this season & not the least bit attractive. Fires burning nearby constantly depositing black ash everywhere in the resort. As we havetravelled all over the world we felt this was for many reasons the worst country & resort ever. Definitely a 1/10 for sure. An embarrassment for the usually well rated riu chain. And be prepared for temps around 40 Celsius daily. Also the beach was so windy that it was often uncomfortable to sit there with the swirling sandblasting happening.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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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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