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“All-Inclusive Beautiful Resort” 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   |  
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Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Miami, Florida
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“All-Inclusive Beautiful Resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

Wonderful honeymoon experience. Amazing service, amazing amenities, and wonderful location. Pools were marvelous, the view from anywhere was beautiful, and the beach was splendid. Drink service available from the pool to the beach.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
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1,361 reviews from our community

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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 (503)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Joppa, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

Just returned from a week's stay here. Impressive new. modern facility for Riu. Place was spotless. Staff was efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. Rooms were large, well-maintained. FANTASTIC WIFI throughout the resort--and free!

The large buffet restaurant was impressive with a wide selection of local and international choices. Excellent server staff, too. Was not so impressed with the themed restaurants although of the three (the Japanese, Krystal, and the Steak Place), the Steak Place had the best food selections. The Japanese restaurant's food was bland and small portions. Service there was terrible. The Krystal restaurant was only sllightly better.

Our tour rep handled our excursions and we did a number of them, white water rafting on the Tonorio River was exciting and fun. 1/2 day sport fishing, an all-day, exhausting excursion to the Arenal volcano for zip-lining and a visit to the hot springs. A great excursion to Tamarino Beach for surf lessons.

My oly suggestion for the resort (which is oddly located right next door to the Riu Guanacaste) is that there needs to be more restrooms available poolside. There was only one located in the Steak restaurant-which was a healthy walk from the farthest pool. Speaking of pools--all were well-maintained and inviting. Beach access was easy but all beaches in Costa Rica are public. That means as soon as you leave the Riu properties you are hounded by beach vendors. Not all the time but frequently. Beach was very buggy-bring bug lotion/spray.

Overall excellent resort.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the pools can be a bit loud with the outside entertainment bands going on til 11PM. Our...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

A beautiful, modern, and luxurious hotel in Guanacaste. The breakfast buffet was out of this world! The presentation of the food at the other restaurants on the property was also incredible. A very friendly and helpful staff, and a decent variety of options to sign up for excursions. It's also a nice option to take a short walk to Riu Guanacaste to spend the day at their pool, but for a romantic and luxurious experience I would recommend Riu Palace.

I admit, the area of Guanacaste is not very green (during then dry season in April), and the hotel grounds are somewhat barren looking. Going on excursions to the other side of the country (to Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, etc.) to experience the natural beauty of the country and the green/rain forest/natural hot springs was an amazing experience! But, our time at the Riu Palace was relaxing and luxurious. We loved it.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
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
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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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irving, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 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...
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  • 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.
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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 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:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste

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