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“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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Toronto
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

Our family returned from Costa Rica this past Monday. It was our first time in CR and we enjoyed our stay at the Palace immensely. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and must say that I am surprised that people have had any issues at the Riu Palace. I found the resort, amenities, pools, services, food, and beverages excellent. The only time there were 'discomforts' was because of other guests (coming down the hallways loudly after partying/drinking and yelling). Some guests can be very demanding and I noticed that the Riu staff were consistently polite and worked very hard.

The resort is beautiful. The main buffet is incredible. There are so many options! Our party ranged in ages from 78-13 and everyone had lots of positive things to say about the choices. Someone posted that they felt Indian food should be available to which I kindly respond - if you want particular food from a nation perhaps you should travel to that nation instead. I very much enjoyed trying out the Costa Rica cuisine. We did try the Italian a la carte restaurant which was fair at best. The lunch pool side and Papagayo were wonderful! There are even fresh coconuts!

There are lots of bars throughout the hotel and many delicious drinks to try!

The surrounding mountains are beautiful. The beach area is nice. It is the ocean and there is active marine life around. The weekend was quite busy as many Costa Ricans check in the enjoy the wonderful resort. The cafe is a great place to enjoy coffees and pastries. The pool area is lively and the loungers are plentiful. We did two excursions; to Nicaragua and zip lining/tubing/hot springs at Rio Perdido. Both were terrific! My mom enjoyed the spending the day traveling through Nicaragua. The kids and I revelled while zip lining and exploring the gorges. The trips were arranged through the hotel and were well organized.

It was an amazing trip and I very much enjoyed the time spent in Costa Rica and the Riu Palace!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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1,359 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)
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English first
Dallas, TX
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
186 helpful votes 186 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

First thing you should know; this resort is not close to anything within walking distance also the sand is neither white, golden or completely black.

I have stayed at several Riu's and always have a good experience.

Check in: 4* Front desk agents are very friendly. The check in process is kind of slow especially if you are paying for your stay upon check in.

Rooms: 4.5* The rooms start at Junior Suites therefore being very spacious. The rooms are very modern with sleek lines; neutral walls with pop of purple. The rooms do not have a "traditional" bathroom. The bathroom is not in a private room; the components are in the open. The shower does have a frosted privacy door; the double vanity is in the open. The rooms do have a jacuzzi tub but it is in the open separating the "bathroom" from the rest of the room. The toilet is in a private room with a door. The beds are large and comfy. The closet has the standard safe; iron/ironing board, wooden hangers and extra pillows. The rooms also have separate sitting area with a small couch and coffe table; across from that a table with 2 chairs. The balcony is spacious with only 2 chairs, a towel rack to hang wet clothes. Overall the rooms are very nice.

Food: 5* I'm keeping the short and sweet. WOW!!!! OMG!!!! THE FOOD HERE IS SO DELICIOUS.

Beach: 2.5* Not my fave. The sand is not beautiful (I recognize the resort has nothing to do with this; however part of the experience) Also the spoiled part of me did not appreciate dragging my beach lounger to the beach. This is not previously set up.

Pools: 4* The pools have plenty of seating in and out of the water; a wonderful swim up bar and great music. Bonus every chair does have shade.

Overall the the resort is a great resort with awesome food.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

Great customer service they will go out of their way to make you happy. Food is great but there were bugs everywhere. Make sure you have bug spray. Rooms are nice. Expeditions are far but is better to stay here. They have great shows and entertainment at night

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
San Diego, California, United States
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

This place is unbelievable! I would recommend Costa Rica to anyone! We were a short tour guided drive away from the Zipline/Waterslide/Horseback ride & volcanic mud bath tour also known as the "Mega Combo" I recommend this one if you plan on doing any excursions. Junior was our private tour guide for this excursion, he was also who picked us up from the airport and brought us to the RIU Palace. He was very personable and told so much about his beautiful country you can tell he loves what he does! Now to the Hotel its self, this place is awesome! Such great food and atmosphere. I will start off with our wonder waitress Gina Mora, we sat in her section every morning for breakfast and sometimes for the buffet dinner! We absolutely all loved her, so be sure to say hi to Gina! Next was the guys at the Coconut Swim up Bar, these guys were a great time, Julio and Eduardo especially, two great guys they made sure we were happy and full of delicious shots! This place puts more alcohol in their beverages so be careful, if you have stayed at a RIU before my experience was that these drinks are a lot stronger which isn't a bad thing, they just sneak up on ya! If your a surfer go check out the town of Tamarindo! This place is rad, I place on going back and I might not come back! The locals of Costa Rica are very friendly and love to share the knowledge the have about their country. If you have every heard any bad things about Costa Rica forget them, this place is safe and full of beauty! There is a saying everyone uses in Costa Rica be sure to learn it they will say it to you, its apart of their culture and also their way to say hi and thank you! So when a local says "PURA VIDA" say it back! It means "Pure Life" or as a local what it means they will be happy to share the story of its meaning with you. Oh ya and they have a beer called Imperial its made in Costa Rica with natural spring water and all natural ingredients. Its real good and refreshing! Still trying to find it in the states, its that good! Most of all get out there and enjoy every bit of Costa Rica.
PURA VIDA

Room Tip: I don't think there is a bad view of any room at this place you either get rainforest covered mo...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014 via mobile

This was my first visit to Costa Rica and first all-inclusive experience. I tried to keep my expectations in check as the staff has to handle a big group of people all the time. They even had a poolside buffet every day at noon. The staff at this resort are GREAT! Especially, Gina Mora at the Arenal and Princess at the spa. Gina took good care of us and we made sure we sat in here section when she was working. Princess was so welcoming and because of her, we tried out the spa.

My only pet peeves. The beds were NOT comfortable at all. We had to ask for blankets to make them softer. They were super firm. Light food service should be available poolside. With all the drinks they offer, so light food makes sense.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

Its a beautiful and tranquil place.The food at the Japanese restaurant was ok, the fried ice cream was awesome. I tried my bf's mango ice cream and it was pretty good too. I enjoyed the surf and turf at the steakhouse we didn't stay for my Alaskan ice cream desert because we didn't want to miss the 9pm show. The nightly shows were entertaining. What i enjoyed most was the BBQ from 12pm to 1pm. Lots of pools you get access to the next door Riu Guancaste where there were way more younger folks but hard to get serviced. We went ATV riding which was fun. Overall the trip was a B+, coming from a 30 year old.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

I just returned from a GLORIOUS stay at this property (Aug 6-11, 2014). It was literally THE BEST vacation I have ever had! I'll give you the short, then the long.
THE SHORT:
ALL INCLUSIVE INCLUDING PREMIUM LIQUOR
Hotel/resort: As gorgeous as the pictures.
Beautiful grounds. Sprawling property.

Service: Unparalleled gracious and knowledgeable staff. They live to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. Very humble people who care about their jobs

Room: We had a 4th floor ocean view room which included a view of the ocean, pool area, grounds, mountains, and the sister property next door which is also gorgeous. The semi-circle shape of the hotel optimizes the view. Large balcony for sipping that great rich Costa Rican coffee in the morning. Super clean, comfy bed, huge shower (yes for two), Sitting area, fully stocked mini fridge.

Food: 5 on site restaurants. Buffet is unbelievable. Several upscale options. All delicious. All inclusive. Do yourself a favor and lose 5lbs before you go. Seriously.

Spa: beautiful free standing building, luxurious inside, exceptional staff. We opted for a combo massage in the couples room (50 minutes). They offer massages in a cute curtained cabana out by the pool, nice option but Costa Rica is not only hot but very humid. Don't sleep on the experience of the darkened room, candles, relaxing spa music and that wonderful spa aroma. Ahhh...I got you now don't I?

Pool area: FABULOUS. you could hang out here daily and not take one excursion/tour and be completely happy. 5 pools/swim up bar/under water bar tables & stools. Activities...more on that later.

Location: please note this resort is remote. This is NOT a con. The closest city, Liberia, is 45 min away. Most excursions/tours are a 3 hr drive away (rainforest, volcanoes, etc). So staying less than 5 days is not recommended (my personal recommendation). I met people who were there for 3 days and they said they were having a fabulous time though.

Unique features:
1. All inclusive, including premium liquor. Full sized liquor bottles mounted upside down in a glass case on the wall in your room, with nozzles. Just stick your glass under. Seriously.
2. Nightly Vegas style shows, excellent talent, don't skip them
3. The buffet.....again the buffet!!!!
4. Daily noontime party at the pool, the chefs grill fresh meats, fruits, veggies right out by the pool. The activities staff is conducting salsa/merengue/Cumbia lessons to a live band, there are water aerobics, water basketball and water volley tourneys. But it's not overly busy to where you can't enjoy the pool. There is a ton of time to just chill and sip the freshest and best piña coladas I have ever had.

Excursion: shout out to Cat Tours!!! Take the Catamaran Tour. Marina is 20 min away. Sail out to sea on a huge catamaran, anchors for an hour to allow you to explore an cave, snorkle and paddle board. The ride back - they serve you a nice lunch and crank up the jams, party on deck. We spotted whales, dolphins, Tortuga tortoises and the most beautiful scenery ever!!!!

Shout out to AAA Travel in Houston/Justine. I was not comfortable booking international travel (beyond the Caribbean) online. She handled everything, it was simple and painless and she was knowledgable.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean view room on the 4th or 5th floor. Spring for ocean, the difference for us, for the...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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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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