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“Beautiful relaxing place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Matapalo, Sardinal, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Sardinal
1 review
“Beautiful relaxing place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Beautiful relaxing place with lots of stuff to do! Fun, calm and family friendly. Perfect if a relaxing laid back vacation is what you're looking for! :) I enjoyed it a lot! Rooms are clean and confortable

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (408)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
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  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We spent 11 nights at the RIU Palace in Guanacaste. It was fantastic the food was outstanding and the customer service was also outstanding. We need to mention a server that made our stay even more enjoyable. This lady's name is Gina she works in the buffet restaurant. Seek her out she will make helpful suggestions and take the best of care when serving you in the restaurant. Gina Mora was one of our first encounters of a Costa Rican she is an excellent ambassador for Costa Rica and the RIU. Thanks Gina our family will miss seeing you best wishes always :)

Room Tip: We stayed in the Presidential Suite it is a huge room with a king bed we have 2 children so ordered...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 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.
Jacksonville, Florida
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I've travelled all over the world and was led to believe this was a top notch resort. I realize other countries don't always do things the way we do in America, but this was just bad. From the moment we checked in, our troubles began. We booked to junior suites (1 for my husband and I and one for our two children who are 22 (girl)and 19(boy). When we got to our rooms (which were next to each other), our children's room only had 1 bed. We specifically had requested 2 beds, as my children Will NOT sleep in the same bed! When I called the desk they really didn't seem to care and stated that they were completely booked. They offered to bring a cot to the room. After I went to the desk and explained that would not work, they finally gave us another room on a different floor. Better, but not super convenient (being that far apart). The food was a big problem all week. I actually lost weight after the week. The 2 restaurants that you needed reservations for had 2 seatings (6:15 and 8:15). Reservations could only be made between 9-2 at a the desk AND you couldn't reserve more than 2 days in advance. Ridiculous! The food there was ok at best. The rest of the food was all buffets. You couldn't order any food at the pool. You could order drinks, but the service was very slow and then drinks weren't good half the time (2 strong or too weak). I guess when you're serving unlimited drinks to mass quantities of people.......The toilet in our room would shoot water at you when you flushed it, so we had to make sure we put the lid down before flushing, so we didn't get DIRTY water splashed on us.

On the positive side, we were there June 29-July 5th, which is rainy season and the weather was beautiful. No rain at all. The excursions were great (jet ski tour, catamaran, zip lining, etc...).

There are so many more things I could tell you about the hotel, but I think you should get the picture. It was terrible and I DON'T recommend it!

Room Tip: Don't Stay Here!
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

okay....need to try to catch your attention before going to any hotel in the Guanacaste area; I am sure all will be a good time....

need to divert to the EXTREME RIPOFF at the PLAYERS CLUB at the AIRPORT......

go to the trip advisor web site and type in the "players club bar and grill" (or restaurant) and read their reviews before you even step foot on any hotel in the area because if you go to this place when leaving the Beautiful Country of Costa Rica, its people, and the great vacations they provide, you will forever have a sour taste in your mouth......this RIPOFF made me sick to my stomach and if you read other peoples' reviews, unfortunately you will find it appears EVERYBODY gets RIPPED OFF by this SHAMELESS act of greed.....

Room Tip: stay on the garden side for best chance of quiet nights; on the pool side if you like noise and acti...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Ozone Park, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

My husband and I stayed at the RIU Palace in Guanacaste during the week of July 6. We are a young couple..late 20s. I was worried about booking in July because it's suppose to be their "winter/rainy season" but the weather was mint everyday that we were there. We were lucky because it never rained and it had 90 degree days.
The airport is roughly 30 min from the hotel. Check-in was easy and super quick. Our room was on the 3rd fl and a bit far out but it was fine. The room faced the ocean and pool area.. No need to purchase ocean view. There is a jetted tub in every room which was nice.
Food- we weren't crazy about the al la carte restaurants.. They have either 6:15 or 8:15 reservations available. If I had to pick I would say the Italian and Japanese were good. However, we really enjoyed the buffet. Every night they had a different theme..Mexican, oriental..etc.
Drinks- we tipped the bartender on our first day by the pool and we never waited on line for a drink! Ppl think that just because it's all inclusive you don't have to tip. They appreciate tipping and will remember you and take care of you. TIP!
**The bees by the pool bar are out of control! I didn't get stung but a couple of ppl did**Bring bug spray.
Entertainment-the entertainment crew are very friendly and we enjoyed watching their shows every night after dinner.
Excursions-We did the mega tour which included zip lining, horse back riding, mud bath, and hot springs and we loved it.
-We also rode ATVs for 2 hrs and stopped at the canopy to visit the monkeys. We were able to actually hold them..that was pretty awesome.
-MASSAGES by the beach were AMAZING ..$60 for one hour for both of us and your facing the ocean and listening to the waves! If your looking for "white towel service" they have massages in the hotel spa for $300 and up.
So many ppl complain about the beach...we thought it was fine.. It's a black sand beach but it's clean and just as nice.
We loved the RIU so glad we stayed here and would definitely return!
Almost forgot to mention... FYI they charge $29.00 per person at the airport to leave the country. That was a nice little surprise we got when we were leaving. I had no clue.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Royal Palm Beach, Florida
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

This hotel is beautiful, we have stayed at several RIU resorts and this was by far the nicest one! Everything from the décor to the pools to the bars and restaurants. The staff are all on their A game. Wasn't very crowded or at least it seemed that way. The buffets were excellent, food delicious and displayed beautifully. The entertainment staff were a blast. The shows well put together. And the fact that you have access to the sister RIU was an added bonus!

Room Tip: I suggest a junior suite with an ocean view. Not much more but plenty of room for a couple
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Our stay was June 24th thru July 1st, 2014. Let me preface this review by saying that I am an experienced world traveller, and NOT one of those people who visits foreign countries expecting "American" standards. With that being said, I felt like this resort fell far short of the Riu standard... I have stayed at several Riu resorts before, Cabo, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and had wonderful experiences at all of them, thus our choice of the Riu Palace Costa Rica. Upon arrival, I was very disappointed in the initial impression of the lobby... I think it was designed to be modern/contemporary, but it came off as throwback '80s, and very impersonal, not that warm, tropical vibe you get at most Riu resorts. The lobby was not the "open air" style you get in most tropical locations, and it was very quiet, not much activity. While there was a wall of windows on the back side of the lobby allowing a view to the resort grounds, pools and ocean, it wasn't open air, so there was no breeze and it didn't feel very festive or tropical.

We booked one of the largest suites in the resort, with a wrap-around balcony and private hot tub on our balcony, so the cost averaged about $500 per night. While our suite was clean and well-maintained, it had a damp mildew smell that would not go away. I travel with Febreeze and scented candles, but the smell persisted. It wasn't enough to be a deal-breaker, but we've been back home more than a week, and I can still smell it on all of the unworn clothing articles I packed for the trip. My biggest disappointment In the room was the fact that we spent extra money for the novelty of a "private" hot tub, yet our balcony and hot tub were VERY visible from every floor, and most of the common areas on the resort. Other than that, things were clean, the mini bar was well stocked, and housekeeping was very efficient.

The resort grounds were kind of austere, sterile-looking, not really what I would classify as "pretty"... Part of this was because the resort is only about three years old, and the trees and foliage haven't had a chance to mature and fill out. There are several pools in one general pool area, and they are clean and well-maintained, but there is no shade, no mature trees, and for the most part, not a lot of activity. The pools actually close at 8pm, but sunset was about 6:30pm, and after that, they turn the lights out at the pool and it becomes pretty much a ghost town. The beach itself was pretty much the same. Black sand, so you expect it to be gritty, but it's actually very fine and powdery sand. The water is crystal clear. There is only one real pathway from the resort out to the beach, and while it was only about 150 yards from the resort, the grounds in between were overgrown and unkept looking, like the beach was an afterthought. There were just some plastic beach chairs that you could drag out to a spot In the sand, but no umbrellas, no trees, no cabanas, and no service or attendants on the beach at all. You were pretty much on your own. The water was very warm, but the advisory flag was on yellow every day and you swam at your own risk. Not the most user friendly beach if you have children or are not a strong swimmer, or if you'd like an occasional drink while you work on your tan.

THE FOOD: This is where I really feel that this resort didn't meet the Riu standard. At every Riu I've ever visited, the buffets have been extravagant and WONDERFUL, you could always find something to suit your tastes, no matter what. Not the case here. Just poor, mass-produced representations of other cultural cuisine, and almost nothing of the local cuisine. That's where I would have expected them to shine! If not duplicating Chinese or Italian food, then at least give us some really good local tastes!!! But no, it was not to be had. The best food we had was either off the resort, or at the daily barbecue they did poolside at noon, with fresh chicken, beef, pork, and rice and beans. The menu for the barbecue was the same every day, but the meat was fresh, well seasoned, and very good. And it's hard to mess up rice and beans!

The staff was VERY friendly and efficient!! I have absolutely no complaints there. The scheduled resort activities seemed pretty bland, and the nighttime shows (only one per night) seemed geared toward an older crowd. The nightly show is over by 9:30pm, and after that, the resort is quiet.

We were pleased to find that we had unlimited access to Riu Gunaucaste on the same property! While Riu Palace is somewhat pricier and supposed to be an "upgrade" from Riu Guanacaste, Riu Guanacaste is actually a MUCH prettier property, with beautiful grounds, lively pools and bars, and TONS of activities!!! Much more in line with the experience I expected from a Riu property... We ended up spending most of our daylight hours at Riu Guanacaste, and going back to our room at Riu Palace to sleep. My advice, SAVE YOURSELF SOME $$$ AND STAY AT THE RIU GUANACASTE!!!!!!!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

Address: Playa Matapalo, Sardinal, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Sardinal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica 4*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste

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