Spent a week in costa rica. We had stayed at the RIU Aruba so we had that as our expectation. RIU guanacaste was not as good as Aruba. The location of the hotel was in a great location remote but a20 minute car ride to resort towns nearby. The road in to the hotel was really rough but you are in Costa Rica it should be expected. It's part of the experience. The resort is only a year old so it is in good shape. The open air lobby and common areas are pretty unique and interesting. We really liked the facilities and beach. The sand is brown but again it's Costa Rica. It's volcanic. Bugs were not a problem for us. At sunset the bugs came out at the beach but we were ready to go by then. Never saw bugs inside the hotel or room. Don't know how they do that.
We did a lot of SCUBA diving with Rich Coast Diving of Coco Playa who picked us up from our beach. Lots of great diving here. Bat Island was incredible. Bull sharks and big manta rays. Very cool. Local dives and Cat Island also good.
Food at the resort is the biggest reason why this isn't 5 stars. Food quality was not great. Good in most cases but not great. Main buffet menu was really almost the same everyday. The specialty restaurants (Asian and italian) were good but you can only make a reservation every other day. Didn't eat at the steakhouse based on reviews and the quality of the beef at the buffet. Tough and stringy. The biggest compliant though was no room service or early breakfast. We had an early excursion almost every morning and your options before 7 am was nothing or a really bad cup of coffee and cheese sandwich at the sports bar. To be fair one morning they had some stale muffins. In Aruba you could get a continental breakfast brought to your room early. I did figure out though that from 6:30 am on you could some stuff at the main buffet. Just walk in and get what you want. No one helped you but were ok with people just walking in.
Drinks were fine and if you had a drink request the bartenders were happy to try to make it. Name brand liquor was virtually inn existent. Beer was the local Imperial brand and the wine was never named red or white from a big cask that's it. Really not good. If you want decent wine stop at one of the markets on the way in to the resort. You have to go to bar from beach or pool to get a drink but as soon as it's empty someone picks up the glass. Only one server ( Guillermo) ever brought a new drink when he picked up the empty. Why? The staff in general were indifferent and like robots. Never went out of their way to see if a guest needed anything or was happy. They just did their job. Aruba had much better staff.
The other thing that keeps the fifth star away is the fact that there is no valet to park your car. There is only a small lot and the rest of the time you have to park on the road into the hotel.
Lastly, the only free wifi service is in the lobby. Cell phone service was non existent. So the lobby was full of guests sitting on their computers sending emails. Kind of silly really. Not the look you expect in a 5 star resort.
We thought the resort was really nice overall and the price was a good value. Don't expect 5 star experience though but the price wasn't 5 star either.
- 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