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“Excellent hotel” 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
Hannover, Germany
1 review
“Excellent hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed today NEW

Our stay in the Riu Palace Costa Rica in November was everything we had hoped it would be. Our room, the food, the beach, the service and location were all absolutely excellent. We would like to express our particular thanks to Mrs Gina Mora and Mrs Monica who really helped to make our stay so enjoyable with their attentive, friendly service. Best regards, Marion and Ralf Rawisch, Hanover, Germany

  • Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,355 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (502)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Victoria, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

The hotel is very modern and clean. The bathroom including the walk-in shower was great. If anything went wrong, like a faulty hair blower, maintenance was fast and efficient to repair what was required. Staff were friendly, although it helped to have Spanish with the housekeeping staff. Wifi was included and worked well in our room facing the ocean, but was weak in other parts of the hotel. The air conditioning worked well in our room, but sometimes was non-existent in the lobby and bar. Wish it had more open (outside) bars and restaurants. We enjoyed the food at the buffet, the Steakhouse and the Krystal, not so much the Italian. Overall, I would rate this hotel as a wonderful place to stay, particularly if you like four and five floor resorts..

Room Tip: Rooms on the ocean side facing west
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  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
Guelph, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I recently stayed at the Riu Palace in Guanaste Costa Rica. The hotel is new, modern and very clean. The staff for the most part was amazing and catered to our group of 14 who were celebrating my mother in laws birthday. Unbeknownst to us this is a NON SMOKING HOTEL.

The beds in the standard room were smaller than I would prefer. The decor is not for everyone (hot pink, black) but clean nonetheless. The house keeping didn't clean our room some days until 3:30pm and I was not a fan of that. All alcohol is included in the rooms though. :)

The a la carts were not my favorite as they were at set times (6:15pm and 8:15pm) the menus were not at all geared towards children. The "Steak House" only had 2 cuts of beef and the staff did not want to serve us drinks from the bar. Only wine.

The buffets had great spreads and the staff were like ninjas. Your plate did not sit longer than 30 seconds before they were cleared. This is good and bad because when my husband and I went up for seconds the staff flipped our table for new guests thinking we had left. The chef cooked the red snapper my nephews caught and I thought that was awesome.

There was a lack of music through the whole resort. One guest had even played music from his cell phone at the bar because it was dead silent.

The entertainment was great. The staff around the pool were amazing however, don't be surprised if you can't find anyone serving drinks around 2 pm. Not sure why.

The beach was clean and uncrowded. Tons of loungers both pool and beach side with little cabanas.

The only "issue" I had during my stay here was the guy who ran the water activities hut. He was not friendly and denied me of everything I tried to rent. (Kite surf board, paddle boat, kayak) because I had my young daughter with me. There are beach vendors who sell excursions and they are well worth booking with.

I tried horse back riding ($30/hr) deep sea fishing and zip lining. Nexus tours are part of the hotel and they are great too.

There is a disco, casino, spa and a couple shops right between this hotel and its sister hotel.

Make sure you get out and experience all of the excursions available to you at this location. You won't be disappointed.

For all of you techies: there IS wifi but it's not the best.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms have less noise from the monkeys
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  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Sacramento, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Wonder place. Food was just OK, could have been better. The Italian Restaurant was superb, but the Steak House and Japanese was not up to par. The service was impeccable though and we really enjoyed it.

Wifi signal was very weak and unreliable.

  • Stayed December 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Stayed here in late May 2014 and had a wonderful time! The location is right by the water, as well as the rainforest-y area, excellent for spotting monkeys and other beautiful wildlife. The food was exquisite, and as a vegan I never went hungry, plenty of options for everyone. What really sets this place apart is the wonderful staff. Everyone is super accommodating and sweet. Our room was cleaned everyday and we always had plenty of fresh towels or toiletries. It was a very relaxing experience and we will definitely consider Riu first when looking for an all inclusive vacation resort!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

RIU PALACE COSTA RICA - was just wonderful! Went the last week of Nov 2014 with our 3 children 13, 10 & 9. Hotel was very clean & food was v good. Had a family suite which was perfect! Two big rooms, 2 bathrooms. A/c worked so well we had to turn it down most days. The pools (5) were lovely. They were not connected and the swim up bar was restricted to 18+ so my kids could not get a drink there unless they walk over. Didn't pose a problem since there was wait staff around all the pools all the time taking drink orders and bringing them to us. WALTER, was just amazing! Friendly, polite and funny. There were photographers that came around & into the pool to take photos. Can purchase the photos at the end of the trip, very pricey but we still bought 19 on a cd. It was about $230USD. Mariane and Felipe were just great! Johan Molina who btw, is mucho sexy and caliente was at the pool(s) every day along with other entertainment staff. Johan organized water polo and volleyball etc. Our 9 yr old daughter "fell in Love" with Johan and he was so sweet to her. He is so friendly and thoughtful. Every night our kids participated in the nightly childrens entertainment from 8-9pm. Then we would stay 9-10pm for the adult show which our kids stayed for too. Some nights better then others but still great and worth seeing. The buffets for breakfast and dinner were very good. The lunch buffets are down by the pools. Not as much variety but nice. We didn't bother going to a la cart restaurants. Our boys are picky eaters and buffet was just great for all of us. William in the Arenal buffet was great along with Ramon the manager. also, from 12-1pm each day was a bbq by the pools. Don't get chairs near the bbqs, you will regret it and the smoke will over take you. We loved the pool with the basket ball nets. Bring snacks from home, they are a fortune to buy there. We also gave staff halloween treats from home which they really enjoyed. We managed to go to two different local grocery stores, a lot of fun and picked up some things to take home. Buy the coffee at the grocery stores too, much cheaper than in the souvenir stores!! We splurged and did all of our excursions privately. So worth it! To and from the airport and a 4 hour catamaran trip, half day horseback riding and Arenal volcano/waterfall/hot springs. I have reviewed them separately. I had paid for them prior to flying there but might wait next time and do it through the hotel. Not the people on the beach, was told from other travellers their excursions were cheaper booked through the hotel. we also took a shuttle to shop the day before we departed to Coco Beach. $15usd return on a shuttle from the hotel. Not cheap when you have 5 people. Ended up just going with my daughter and good thing was so hot my boys would have hated it. Stores nice but mostly all the same things. I can say that the people of Costa Rica were by far the most friendly and genuine that we have met when traveling so far.Top of my list for friendly people, never once did we feel nervous, afraid or bothered. Safety was never an issue. Please read my reviews for our excursions. On our way to the airport our driver stopped for us since our kids were hungry and we would be waiting at the airport for hours (btw, if you eat ANYTHING at the airport you will need a 2nd mortgage on your house - everything is outrageously expensive). So we stopped at a local pizza parlor which was by far the best pizza I have ever had - Tomatti pizza. We ate it there and would have ordered another one if time wasn't a consideration. Our guide/driver went across the plaza to get a cup of coffee to Sun Burst coffee. I was full so I wasn't going to go in for one but I love coffee and just went in to look. I am so glad I did. I bought 2 bags of coffee to take home and the smell was so magnificent couldn't wait to brew some. Most amazing coffee!!!! You can order it on line and shipping to Canada is free. The only sad thing was, I had already purchased from the grocery stores about 30 bags of coffee for gifts etc so I thought 2 would be good enough. I am on my 2nd and last bag from Sun Burst! Thank you to all the people we met on our trip! German Cruz from Jacamar tours - you were fabulous!!!! Johan Molina at Riu Palace, thanks for your kindness, you are sweet and one handsome guy! We loved our trip and wish we could have stayed longer. Gracias por todo!

Room Tip: We had room 3116, elevators so no problem if you don't like stairs. We looked out onto the hills...
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  • Stayed November 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Los Angeles, CA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Just returned from a 10 day trip from Costa Rica last week. We visited other cities and ended our trip with a 4 nights stay at Riu Palace. My first impression as we entered the lobby was 'NICE'. Very spacious area with contemporary design. White lighting with grey and deep pink contrast color. Our room was upgraded to a partial ocean/pool view and was quite spacious and clean. Again with grey as main color in white lighting which was unusal for hotel rooms. Food was overall not bad for an all-inclusive resort. Keep in mind that food preparation is massive for this kind of resorts so it will be unrealistic to expect michelin starred restaurant kind of food. The speciality restaurants were actually not bad. Again do not expect celebrity chefs quality but it's still pretty decent. The 4 nights we stayed we tried them all and our favorite was the Krystal fusion. Bar service was overall very good but we found that all mixed drinks were just too sweet. The one thing we truely enjoyed was the nightly shows. Especially the Latin Dance show and the Michael Jackson were just fabulous. The 'Crazy Show' was funny, entertaining and everyone had a great time. For a small production of a resort we were impressed by the quality of the casts, dancers, costumes and stage setup.
Overall we enjoyed our stay. However one thing we found which became more and more annoying by the day was the white lighting in the room. It is horrible lighting to put on make up or just to look at yourself in the mirror. After a while it actually became depressing? By the end of the 4th night we were totally 'annoyed' by it. I understand they want to stay with the 'contemporary' theme but it would be better to keep it simple and comfortable for the guests. This white lighting is definately not.

  • Stayed December 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 2
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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