A group of nine of us vacationed at The Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica April 21ST through the 27TH. These are some of my thoughts and observations.
Terrific! Everyone I encountered was helpful, quick with a smile and to say Ola! From the front desk staff, to the waiters and bartenders all were eager to please. I read other reviews saying the staff was lazy, I never once saw that. They were GREAT!
We’ve been to other AI’s including Riu’s and the service here was the best I have seen.
It is very clean and new. Our room faced the pool and courtyard, and was very nice. The toilet room always had a sulfur smell to it, so we would keep the door closed.
We liked the large walk in shower, but the Jacuzzi tub in the middle of the room was a waste of space to us. I could see the fits and finishes of the trim work were hastily done, and saw flaws all over. But it still looked nice. You need to leave a room card or towel card in a switch near the door for the power to work. I think a business or playing card would work as well. The AC will not work if the sliding door is open, but will stay on without the card in the switch.
At check in, I asked what room I was assigned. I was shown on a map the room was facing the other hotel. I asked for a courtyard room instead. The desk attendant gave me two sets of key cards, one for the original room and for a courtyard room. She said for us to look at both and choose the one we liked the best. The first room faced a wall of rooms of the other hotel, terrible view. The second was so much better, faced the pools and ocean. It never hurts to ask, it made huge a difference to us.
We liked the fact that smoking is not allowed on the grounds. Smokers have to walk toward the beach, past the pool and Riu signs. It was great for us nonsmokers, but I’m sure smokers hated it. The one smoker in our group called it “the walk of shame”.
The tile floors everywhere can be very slippery when wet. I saw a few people fall down, and slipped myself a couple of times. They look great but not really the safest choice.
The Riu Guanacaste next door was nice too; it was more like the other Riu properties I had been to. Being a Palace guest, you can go over there and enjoy what they have to offer too.
We ate at the Buffet for most meals, we all liked the variety of the food and deserts. At dinner there was always a carving of the day. Sometimes whole Turkeys, Beef Filet, Pork. All were good. A pasta bar at one end, and usually shellfish being served. We could always find something we liked. Breakfast was very good, Jeffery was our favorite waiter. He was always on top of things, quick to give you great service.
Papagayos Steak House; we had a 6:30 seating for nine of us one night. Most of us had the Lobster and Filet Mignon. The meat was tough and not very appetizing for most of
us, the Lobster was split lengthwise and grilled. It tasted OK, but not a very good presentation. A few others had the Ribeye Steak, they all liked that. None of us liked it enough to make a return trip. Service was very good as it was everywhere on site.
We had lunch at L’anforna Italian restaurant. We all liked it, the menu was the same as it was for dinner. We did not eat at Tokio or Krystal.
Great! There are five pools all very nice. We liked the retractable sunshade awnings they had, great idea. We could always find a shady spot. Christina took care of us almost every day for our poolside drinks; she was always keeping an eye out for us. She was great! Daily games and entertainment were fun. And they always had a lunchtime snack they would bring out. The dark tile all around the pool area gets so HOT it will sear your feet in seconds! Also very slippery when wet, I saw several slips and falls. One girl was taken away by medics. Not a good choice of material here. Footwear is required. The main flaw is NO nearby restroom. You have to walk to the Papagayo restaurant and use theirs. This leads me to believe many pool goers would choose to relieve themselves on the spot than make the long walk to the steakhouse. Especially rowdy drinking kids at the swim up bar. The Riu Fit building should be re fitted into a restroom ASAP!
We did two.
1) Mega Combo. We booked this one on the beach through alexonthebeach.com.
It included a trip to a waterfall you can swim up to, a zip line excursion, hanging bridges in a rainforest to waterfalls, horseback riding, and thermal hot springs and volcanic mud bath. It was a full day excursion, including drinks and lunch.
We had a private van and tour guide. Eight of us paid $100 each for this, it was a great deal. Swiss Travel wanted $130 each and would not go lower. We saved $240 by going with the beach guys. Our Guide Oscar was great, taught us many interesting facts about Costa Rica’s flora, fauna and culture. Highly recommended.
2) Verde National Park. This included a bus trip to the park, a boat ride to see the wildlife. We saw Crocodiles, monkeys’ lizards and cool birds. We booked through Swiss travel; cost us $65 each for a 5 hour trip. It was worthwhile, got lots of nice pictures.
It was a great trip we had; the weather was hot, upper 90’s each day and no rain.
The landscape was very brown, no real rain there in five months. If you’re looking for greenery, you‘d have to go at a different time of year.
If I return to Costa Rica, I’d like to see the Caribbean side of the country.
The Riu was great, and you can visit the other hotel next door anytime, that’s a plus.
Read my review, I asked for ocean / pool view and received it. South side rooms get morning sun, nor...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.