Visit was 10/5 to 10/12. Read a ton of reviews on this site before booking this hotel. Majority positive. Got to say, those reviewers that had complaints must have been at a completely different hotel, or they don't know value for money or how to have a good time, could say some more about this aspect but would probably be censored...but anyhoo.
Food Quality in General: Excellent. Buffets were wonderful, such a wide selection, breakfast at Arenal was great, and lunch at Papagayo was spectacular and what a wonderful setting. Speciality restaurants...Italian, never could find it open, not a problem...Steakhouse, I ordered the Ribeye, very thin cut wasn't great but I realize now, as you all should, that it needs to be ordered rare and it should come how you like it, my wife's Lobster and Filet were perfect, Krystal, was very good, however, the best was the Japanese specialty Restaurant...loved it, every course was superb. Just an FYI, I love food, I love to cook...all in all a great selection for everyone. If you can look out for Mauricio one of the waiters at breakfast in the Arenal, wonderful service.
As far as booking the specialty restaurants, Carolina, went out of her way to help us when we had to make a seating change for the evening on the same day as our original reservation. As to the specialty restaurants, you may book up to two days in advance. During this time of year that is no problem whatsoever.
This time of year: Rainy season...what rainy season, as far as I am concerned this is the best time to visit, lush green foliage, best price and great weather...7 days...high 80's to low 90's all week, rained twice around 4pm for about 45 minutes, and then at night a couple of times...came back with a great tan.
The pools etc...: Spoilt for choice. Entertainment staff: Wonderful, absolutely wonderful, standouts, Johan, Adriana, Grevin...just wonderful, make sure you take part in as many pool side events as possible, you will not be disappointed. Waiter's, Esteban, bent over backwards to help. Oh, the proximity of the bathroom thing, hey it gives you a chance to get up and walk a little..lol...Papagayo is probably closest, make sure you wear your flip flops or whatever, tile is really hot in the sunshine, and very slippery when wet.
Beach: Dark sand = hot in the sunshine...however, you can put loungers under the trees on the beach and you might have a 10 foot expanse of sand to cover before you hit the sand that has been cooled by the tide.
Excursions: All companies offer the same kinds of trips. Go to the Palace area of the beach and speak with Daniel, at the Guanacaste area of the beach speak with Sergio, they will be able to help you with everything you would like to do. Speaking of Riu Guanacaste, do take a walk over to the hotel, it is very pretty and the grounds even more so.
Massage: Tent number 2 with Carolina and Isabela....$65 for a 1 hour massage for two you can't go wrong.
Beverage Service: Excellent, and choices the same...what we did was tip initially $5 to all the waiters/waitresses that took care of us and then $1 at a time after that...never had to wait for a beverage, and the bar staff at the Coconut, pool bar, were great.
Wildlife: Saw whales and dolphin/porpoise from the beach, also a couple of black sea turtles mating (nesting sites are on the beach, check them out) Howler monkeys. Dolphin on our sunset cruise...
Go, have a great time....you won't regret it...in mho.
Should anyone wish, please feel free to contact me.
Go high, we were on the 4th floor garden suite. Which had the sun streaming in through the windows o...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.