We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful Hotel/Grounds/Food/Everything!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

Best prices for -
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
You added Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica to your Saves list
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Matapalo, Sardinal, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel website
Hotel packages
Hotel deals
Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful Hotel/Grounds/Food/Everything!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

We have been to a few all inclusives and this was by far the best. We loved the modern decor of the rooms (possibly because the hotel seems to be just a couple of years old). Very clean rooms with a fully stocked mini bar at all times.
The food was excellent! We ate everything and loved all of it. The normal buffet is just as good as the specialty restaurants so don't be disappointed if you couldn't get a reservation. We tried all the restaurants and loved them. We got a surprise from a few frogs at the steakhouse. They hopped in while we were eating but you can't blame them, it was their beach first!
Pools were in great shape and there were enough lounge chairs for everyone. Loved the wait staff and absolutely miss the Dirty Monkeys (best drink ever!). It does take quite a bit of time from the time of drink order to when you receive it so we ordered 2-3 each every time :) It was to be expected as there were only a few guys taking everyone's order then heading back to the bar to make them themselves. Great staff! Always courteous and always willing to help. Very friendly!
The beach was coarse sand and the water wasn't the greatest but the walk along the beach was nice. Walk down to the monkey bar and take a look at the wild monkeys or walk the other way and notice the danger signs on some of the trees. Lizards are hiding everywhere so don't be afraid. It was nice to see all of the nature aspects still intact (ie. lizards, monkeys, etc).
Shows were entertaining. Recommend the Michael Jackson and Rock of Ages for sure. We liked the street carnival. There was a stage built on the street entering the Riu properties and both hotels were invited. Bars were setup outside with games for kids. The show was nice and we liked the change of having it outside.
Shops are just outside the hotel and aren't the greatest. As everyone has said, make sure you bring your own toiletries and necessities as they are grossly overpriced (over 5 times more than what you would spend at home). The casino wasn't our thing and neither was the disco but they are there if you want to check them out.
Overall, great experience. We would highly recommend this place. Makes us want to visit another Riu Palace for our next trip as this was our first ever Riu experience!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,667 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
See reviews for
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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (612)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Karns City, Pennsylvania
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

I spent August 4 -11 here and enjoyed every moment. The resort is clean and the food was great.

The atmosphere created by the entire staff was one of calm and security making this a grand place to just lounge.

As one of those people who workout even on vacation. A complete set of weights to go along with their excellent cardio and strenght machines would be great addition to the resort.

A good time was had by all.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irving, Texas
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

My husband & I researched tipping policies online since this was an all-inclusive resort & $1- $2 dollars goes a long way! The employees of this hotel act as though they are well paid with the exception of a few (of course this is expected). First know that there are two hotel Riu. One Guanacoste (we had family & friends staying at this one) & one Palace. If your staying at the Palace (which we did) then you can eat & drink at both hotels walking distance from each other, but if your at the Guanacoste (not the palace) then you can only eat at the Guanacoste. White wrist bands for the Palace & red wrist bands for the Guanacoste which is what they place on you when checking in. The Palace room we stayed in was pretty modern and had a large tub about 6 feet from the king bed (which was weird) other than that the room was set up pretty well. The toilet completely separate from the shower & sink area. which is a plus! The Guanacoste hotel (we saw a family members room to compare) had a normal room set up not too bad. They do have shops between both hotels to walk to and they were pretty pricey, there are also vendors on the beach near the Guanacoste hotel edge which is better shopping! We took a boat ride ($15 p/p round trip vs taxi ride of $30 p/p one way) to Coco Beach to shop and the prices there were not that different and Coco Beach, was not that impressive. Costa Rica is pretty expensive expect to pay $8 for 1 shot glass and T-shirts $24 and up. HOTEL FOOD: Being a great southern cook & baker myself, the food variety was great but lacks taste. I love dessert (who doesn't) but it had no flavor (which was kind of a good thing if you didn't want to over eat on sweets) My husband who usually tries everything & can handle any type of food, had severe stomach issues...I kept to the norm on food and was ok. Monkey's & Iguanas are everywhere on the beach/trees & if you don't bother them, they will not bother you! They are very entertaining! Knowing Spanish helps, but is not necessary as most hotel employees know English.

Room Tip: We stayed in 4072 and loved the view & even though it was close to the elevators it was really q...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Greenfield, Wisconsin, United States
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2014

I have read some of the bad reviews and I am just dumbfounded by some of the 'complaints' people have. Although this was my first all inclusive trip and first trip out of the country, you have to realize that you are surrounded by forests and mountains and the ocean! There are going to be bugs and critters everywhere! You are in Central America...not everyone is going to speak English! Do not expect the country to bow at your feet upon entry because you are American or any other nationality. I can understand why some of the hotel staff would be less than friendly, especially dealing with some arrogant, pompous guests all day when nothing is ever good enough for them! So, with that being said, my experience was absolutely amazing!

The hotel was beautiful. I stayed on the first floor facing the mountain. Very clean, the staff was always smiling and friendly. Not all of them spoke English but they made sure to greet you the best they could. I loved coming back to my room every night and finding my blankets transformed into origami pieces like swans and flowers and even anteaters! My fridge was always stocked. My towels were always replaced. Mosquitos were out in the mornings and mostly moths flickered around the lights at night. Little lizards hung out on my balcony all night and I could watch the iguanas on the trees and ledges of the spa.

The restaurants were ok. I'm not a fan of sushi but at least it looked pretty at the Japanese restaurant. The steakhouse was ok. Arenal buffet was excellent. They had any type of food that you could want and lots of different desserts. You will not starve.

If you want crystal clear blue waters, go to the Carribean side. Same goes for the white sandy beaches. The views were breathtaking none the less. Never had a problem getting a lounge chair. Never had a problem getting a drink and of course its going to take a little time getting one. The waiter has to take multiple orders and walk the beach back up to the hotel pool bar to get them. There are lots of free water activities but you have to pay for anything motorized like jet skis.

I had the unique pleasure of hanging out with some of the local people on the beach. They mostly were venders selling jewelry or tours. Some people say to book your tours through the hotel but I disagree. The hotel will charge you more and it's standard service. They also pay their employees very little and keep the $$ for themselves. The locals sell you quality...they know all of the best places in the area and I felt very safe with them. I talked to them, met their families, learned as much about their culture as I could. I went horseback riding, ATVing, diving...every tour was better than the next! I want to give a shout out to Norman! I was pressed for time as my best friend was getting married in the afternoon. We had to be at the spa 3 hours beforehand and I wanted to get a special wedding gift but the shops around the Palace are pricey, limited, and every shop had the exact same stuff. Norman had to drop his sons off in Coco Beach and offered me a ride. He did not expect anything even though gas goes for almost $8 gallon! He took me to some different shops and stayed with me while I shopped, translating everything for me. He went out of his way and expected nothing in return...I cannot thank him enough! Jorge, Norman, Cesar, Alonzo....they were all amazing, wonderful people and I highly recommend them for any of your tours! Do not go to Carlos...the man in the yellow shirt. He completely screwed over a group out of their tour and when they wanted their deposit back he wouldn't give it to them! Just sayin'..

And the wedding...wow. Absolutely stunning. Rui took care of every last detail. They took care of us. I have no words that could accurately describe how fabulous it was!

I do not have anything to compare my experience to but as a first timer the whole experience was amazing!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014

Gina met us every morning for breakfast with a smile on her face and quick efficient service at all times, which was especially good because my wife drinks ....heavily, most nights and can a be a bit of a grouch in the am before her first Bloody Mary. (Kidding about the drinking but not Gina.)

Gina was extremely helpful for our larger family who arrived at different times during the course of the morning. She always had our favorite hot beverages ready and was willing to go the extra mile to make our breakfast enjoyable.

By the way, my husband got hold of the iPad while I was writing this review and so take the first paragraph about my drinking with a grain of salt... Pura Vida!

Room Tip: We had a room that overlooked the mountains and the garden. It was on the second floor on the south...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

I absolutely loved our vacation here. All inclusive is really the only way to have a vacation! Everything you could ever want is included at this place! Every detail is well thought out even down to the scented toilet paper. All of the buffets and restaurants are beyond delicious. We booked our vacation from Apple Vacations and had a wonderful lady named Yari who helped us book everything. Did the half day zip lining and jet ski guided tour which I highly recommend both! Being guests of the Palace allowed you to access the other Riu property next door that had a nice pool as well. I did notice that there were more children over there compared to the Palace. You must go to the Monkey bar to the left of the beach, they were really nice. You should really come here if you want to have a good time!

Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014 via mobile

I stayed at the Riu Palace Guanacaste 8/3-8/10 for my annual vacation with my best friends. We absolutely loved it. The lobby & the rooms were modern. The grounds were well maintained. The staff was always pleasant. There were occasional issues due to language barriers( ie drink orders etc), but nothing unreasonable. They need a better reservation system for the specialty restaurants, but quite honestly the food in the main buffet is actually pretty decent so even if you don't get a reservation you'd still be fine. The beach was so-so. Our first day on the beach We encountered lots of empty food wrappers, hulled pineapples and a weird spikey dead fish, so this was a little off putting. There was no staff on the beach to set up chairs or anything ( I think you have to do that yourself & it was literally 500 degrees outside so dragging beach chairs in the hot sun was not high on our vacation to-do list). We ended up mostly hanging out at the pool ( they have plenty of them) and then checking out some other local beaches ( tamarindo & coco). All in all i would definitely recommend the riu palace guanacaste!

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Price Your Stay
Hotels you might also like...

Been to Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

Address: Playa Matapalo, Sardinal, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Bar / Lounge Beach Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa 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*
Number of rooms: 538
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Caribbean Online Mgt Corp., Expedia, BookIt.com, Priceline, getaroom.com and Hotels.com so you can book your Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.