Nine of us arrived at the Riu Palace, Costa Rica on Sat., Aug 16 and departed on Sat., Aug 23, 2014. We had read about some problems on Trip Advisor like some bees at the pool bar. Not true, we saw a few but no problem.
On Trip Advisor, we heard about the noise from the nightly entertainment. In most spots you could not hear it in the room. Our rooms were Courtyard View. In a few rooms near the entertainment, you could hear some of it, but it was over by 11pm. If you want away from the entertainment side, request rooms on the left side of the hotel facing the ocean.
Also, some complained about food, but we gave it a thumbs up, and we are Food Critics and write cookbooks and Cook for lots of people! The buffets by all means give a much larger selection, and the food is excellent.
Service from the staff was excellent and especially at the pool bar. All bartenders were top notch. Our hats go off to all of them, but a few exceptional ones were Eduardo, Luigi, Marlon, Nicole, and Julio. These people entertained as well as supplying refreshments.
The individual restaurants were above par - the Steakhouse, Krystal, Italian were great. Tokyo was good but not quite as good as the rest.
We took an all day trip with Apple/Swiss called the Mega Tour which included zip lining, a 1400' water slide, horseback riding, a mud spa and lunch for a full day event. It was the most entertaining side trip that we had ever taken in all of our travels which include a lot of places.
Also, we four guys did a deep sea private charter and were very successful with all catching fish and one of our buddies caught a 40# Mahi Mahi - yes, a 40# one on a half day trip!
The rooms and hotel overall was spotlessly clean. We saw staff continually cleaning. The front desk staff and all others were most accommodating.
Also, a hidden gem is at the main lobby where a little area has food and drinks - 24 hours a day like hot dogs, burgers, snacks, popcorn, breakfast in the morning, etc. It was a very active place where people could play cards, play games, watch TV or just relax.
Sometimes, I believe that reviews are only done by complainers or people who want to make a place look great. We are neither, but we are being truthful. This place is a gem. The layout is beautiful, lots of pools, beautiful beach, friendly staff, great food. All nine (9) of us agreed that this was our best trip to date.