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“Oh - THANK GOSH we found you!!” 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
Certificate of Excellence
NorCal
Level Contributor
87 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Oh - THANK GOSH we found you!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

I had looked into booking one of the RIU properties before leaving the States & they both were full. Luckily, by the time we arrived at the local Hilton? Things had opened up! We selected the Junior Suite with an Ocean view - transferred Hotels & felt like we'd stepped into the lap of luxury compared to the other location! The room was comfortable & clean - very modern - although, felt NOTHING like you're in Costa Rica. And, the walls are very thin - people would be moving about making so much noise as they came in from partying at 2am - - or departing for Excursions at 6am - - and it made sleeping difficult. The doors also SLAM closed - there's no way to do it quietly. We wandered thru the vast Shopping (yay!) over to the neighbor property & the Lobby looks much more 'Tropical' there. Not sure what the rooms are like - but, the pool was a MADHOUSE compared to the Palace. Our little one jumped right in - but, I felt like we were stepping into a giant bathtub with tons of strangers - many of which (we're told) are locals. There was garbage everywhere in the Pool - very sad. The Pools at the Palace were much calmer & cleaner - although, a worker did tell us the Palace will be transitioning to "Adult Only" soon. The Buffets at the Palace were nothing like we've ever seen. EVERY type of food you could ever dream of - and, the quality was amazing - not the pre-made, packaged stuff we've seen in Vegas or on Ships. Top-notch! Our little one decided she wanted to stay up to watch the "Las Vegas" production - which was totally inappropriate for children - although, the dancers worked their booties off & were entertaining. Overall - - I will DEFINITELY be looking at RIU properties as we Travel - but, I do need to say - it was very 'Cruise Ship' feeling - - an overabundance of food + pool time + cheesy shows + a huge mix of people bused in for their 'Package Adventures'. Location is just about 40 mins from the Airport & very convenient. LOVED our time here!!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,783 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (651)
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English first
Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

I took my family there to spend a week together, It was really very nice, from the rooms to the food. we had to make reservations which they only let you do a day in advance. The buffet was also excellent, actually the kids 19-22 preferred it. Rooms were very clean and maid service was good.
We book the zip line and quading through the hotel just to be safe, which turned out better because the guys on the beach would have given us quads that were not automatics.Something to think about when your family doesn't know how to drive them. My wife and kids did get a massage on the beach for half the price and were vey happy. I take my kids every year for the past 10 years to a nice vacation and this was there 3 favorite vacation so far.
Wifi in the hotel is really bad, it works but forget about Skype or another type of communication.
Oh no High end alcohol like Kettle one, Grey Goose etc...

Room Tip: Corner rooms have bigger balcony's overlooking the ocean.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Perth, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014 via mobile

Well situated near the beach although the waves were pretty high when we were there, but the three pools were great
Good food in the restaurants . Little far to travel to points of Interest but we did the zip lining close by and it was superb fun. We dud take the longer trip for the boat ride and saw the red macaws, as well as a lot of river wildlife.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
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Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joppa, Maryland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 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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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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