We were hesitant about staying in a resort that had recently opened (we stayed Feb 6-12th), but the staff could not have been friendlier and the resort beautiful.Upon checking in, we asked if we could have a room near another couple who was traveling with us (they had an ocean view room and we had a courtyard view). The room we were assigned was on the opposite side of the hotel (which is huge), but not only did they move our room near our friends, but gave us an upgrade to ocean view as well. We had to get used to the jacuzzi tub being the separation between the bed and the bath room (afraid we would wake up in the middle of the night and trip on the granite-enclosed tub!)
The pool areas were spacious and the water temperature was refreshingly cool even though they were in direct sunlight and the air temperature never got below 85. The swim up bar was fun and the bartenders knew what they were doing.We enjoyed the water arobics in the pool. The beach area was not the beaches we are used to in the states; they were a mixture of vacanic sand and white sand, but we knew this before we left.
Excursions: Do not pre-book any excursion. We overpaid for one excursion we booked (horse back riding) prior to arriving in Costa Rica. In the lobby there are many agents helpful to guests with planning an excursion. We took the ATV 2 hour trip with the CAT company.Tip on an ATV trip: wear old clothes and shoes as you will get filthy from the dustry roads, but stop along the way at a local beach side restaurant for an ice cold beer. Our bilingual guide was fun and informative.We had a ball!! We also did the Palle Verde river cruise, which was okay. We saw monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, and birds (also a lot of sugar cane on the way to the park). The sunset cruise from Coco Beach was very relaxing, although the snorkeling was disappointing. We only saw foggy water; no fish. I had a massage on the beach for $35/an hour. The massage was through a vendor on the beach (got a recommendation from a woman I talked to at the pool). Vendor station number 5. Massages through the hotel are more than twice that and not directly on the beach.
Food: The main dining room(s) offered many selections. You will not go hungry. We ate at all the specialty resaurants; the Krystal was the best, followed by either the Japanese or Italian. The steak house was not very good. We had surf and turf; the surf (lobster) was rubbery and the turf (steak) did not look like a filet. The best prime rib I ate was in the main dining room. There are several areas around he property to get food and drinks at any hour and the selection was good (not Grey Goose vodka, but not Aristcrat either). We did a comparison of the Riu next door (Guanacaste) and there is a definite difference in the food and drink selection. Palace customers can go there (but why would they?) but Guanacaste customers could not go to the Palace. Also, I read that someone wrote about long lines to get reservations for the specialty restaurants, but we found the the wait was very short and you can make reservations for that night and the next with two seatings each: 6:15 and 8:15 (please note that the Krystal Restaurant is very samll and may fill up quickly).
We bought coffee to take back and found it the cheapest at the hotel (Paid up to $17 for it at an excursion site, but it was $10.50 at the hotel). You will either need to ship the coffee back or pack it in you checked luggage. It will be confiscated otherwise in carry on luggage.
We only stayed for a week, but we should have booked for at least 10 days. A great vacation!!
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste
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