My husband and I visited the RIU Palace 7/7-7/15. This is my third stay at a RIU and this by far is the best...only a few mishaps. First the good...The hotel is clean (seems like the workers are always maintaining the grounds, cleaning the bathrooms, picking up cups, etc. The room decor is modern, not a cozy feel (probably because there's no carpet in the rooms). The food is good...I prefer Arsenal over the others, and not big on buffets but I liked this one. We ate at the Japanese restaurant, it was okay...food came kinda slow...reservation required. The Italian restaurant was good...no need for reservations. Then there was the Steak House (it was meh)...plus I had a dead fly on my plate. I was done after that...headed to the buffet. The pools are nice and there are plenty of chairs! There wasn't a lot of people at the resort so chairs and proximity to the pool wasn't a problem. We thought it was supposed to be the rainy season but it only rained for a minute, one afternoon. ..The entire time! The nightly entertainment was pretty good...we enjoyed the shows. The staff at the resort are friendly and helpful...tip them! Give a waiter/waitress a couple of dollars and they remember you and take EXTRA care of your needs. Same with the Bartenders! Look for Carlos...He was our favorite. The noon lunch at the pool is a MUST...food is awesome and fresh! Drinks were plentiful. We had a couples massage and I had a pedicure...very nice (a bit pricey).
The bad (or inconvenient)...There doesn't seem to be any air in the lobby or elevators...it gets hot In both. You have to leave your room key in the slot for the electricity to work. It's not a bad thing but they don't always remember to tell you how this works...One night we about baked because we didn't know the sliding door was cracked open. If that door is open, the air doesn't work. We figured out after a long, hot night. Beware of the No tank top policy (for men)...it's at almost every resturant (except for breakfast at Arsenal). My poor husband was turned away twice. My problem with this is that women can come in some restaurants with a towel on but a man can't wear a tank top...In a hot climate (weird). The restaurant closest to the beach (can't remember the name) is infested with bees and flies! You can't reach into the drink dispenser area without the fear of being stung. Flies were on all the food...but it is outside. Speaking of bees...If you have an allergy to bees, carry your epipen. The bees are all around the pool, especially the pool bar...it is bad. The towel card is the worst. You have to give a card for a pool towel. If you lose the card/towel it cost like $20. Well, someone took our towel off our chair. We told the towel guy and he said we had to do a report with the front desk. Luckily, the front desk lady just gave us another card...others may not be so lucky. Last, the pillow cases, towels, table linens, bedding, etc can use a better cleaning or discard the stained ones. I came across a few things, in different areas that shouldn't be given to guest.
We used Issy Tours for our excursions...they are more of a private tour, instead of large groups. We were able to join the excursions with larger groups but because we had a personal driver, so we could leave when we were done...stop along the way to take pictures, etc. We moved at our pace, not a group of 20-30 people. Loved it!
And in case you haven't heard...EAT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE AIRPORT!! I forgot this tidbit and my husband and I ate at the Players Club. We ordered two waters (they only have bottled), one ginger ale, a burger w/fries and burger minis w/fries....$73! That place is a ripoff...BEWARE! Also...There is an exit fee for you to leave Costa Rica. We didn't know until we got to the airport. It's $29 (I think) per person. You can't even check into your airline until this fee is paid.