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Playa Matapalo, Sardinal Costa Rica
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What is Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best?
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Travel safe during COVID-19
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What you can expect during your stay
  • All linens sanitized in high-temperature wash
  • Face masks required for guests in public areas
  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Floors marked for social distancing
  • Hand sanitizer available to guests & staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
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Updated 12/22/21 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
A note from Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Updated 12/22/21 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.


#1 of 2 in Sardinal
2022 Travelers' Choice Best of the Best
The 24-hour all-inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica opens all year round and is located directly on the beautiful Matapalo beach. Our guests may use the facilities in the sister Hotel Riu Guanacaste, except dinner meal. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Daniel Oduber Airport LIR (33 km) and Playas del Coco (18 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 538 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa, or get in shape at the fitness center. 4 outdoor pools, 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment, as well as our Pacha Discotheque. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main restaurant, Japanese, Italian, Fusion restaurant and Steakhouse, as well as 6 bars and our Cappuccino patisserie & ice cream parlor.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room
Bar / lounge
Pool / beach towels
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Fitness classes
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
Swimup bar
Poolside bar
Entertainment staff
Evening entertainment
Table tennis
Nightclub / DJ
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Kids club
Airport transportation
Taxi service
Business Center with Internet Access
Conference facilities
Banquet room
Meeting rooms
Couples massage
Facial treatments
Foot massage
Full body massage
Head massage
24-hour security
Baggage storage
Currency exchange
Gift shop
Sun loungers / beach chairs
Sun terrace
Sun umbrellas
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning
Laundry service
Ironing service
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Room features
Private balcony
Room service
VIP room facilities
Laptop safe
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Ocean view
Good to know
Languages Spoken
Hotel links
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6256Reviews1925Q+A100Room tips
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Most Recent
Danny M wrote a review Today
Hattiesburg, Mississippi177 contributions41 helpful votes
Exceptional all-inclusive resort. Spent a great week here recently. Outstanding staff, especially the front desk. Very nice and spacious rooms. (Great shower water pressure … one of my benchmarks.). Wonderful collection of restaurants. Great pools and pool service — but don’t miss the beach, especially at sunset. Lots of excursions available. Make sure you zip line down the volcano. Trust me. Now, the reasons I didn’t give it five stars: I know it’s the tropics but our air conditioning was only so-so. Thank goodness for the fan. As a matter of fact, the same can be said for the entire indoor property. Don’t know the answer, but it got pretty uncomfortable at times. But the biggest complaint: the bed pillows. They are the worst pillows I’ve ever tried to sleep on, and second place isn’t even close. I tried the sofa throw pillows, I tried various combinations. Nothing worked. They are god-awful. And I’m not one of those who brings his own pillow. I’ve stayed in lots of hotels and I’m pretty easy to please, but these things are embarrassingly pathetic. I’d go back in a heartbeat — but I’d damn-sure take my own pillow.
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Date of stay: May 2022Trip type: Traveled
Room Tip: Bring a pillow.
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PVRLoverOhio wrote a review Jun 2021
Ohio3 contributions18 helpful votes
Hotel's Favorite
I recently stayed at the RIU palace for 8 nights with my 16 year old and 19 year old and had a wonderful vacation. The activities staff...especially Leida, Greivin and Johan...were excellent. They got everyone involved and made our stay especially fun. The waiters...Slayter, Paul, Dennis, Victor, actually all of them are excellent and work very hard. Of course things weren't completing up to par due to COVID but I gave 5 stars because everyone worked hard to make sure we had a great vacation and I have no complaints. We took a tour with Marco Polo who you can find on the beach to the right. He did an AMAZING job with our Buena Vista excursion and took lots of pics for us. I highly recommend Marco. Also, I had 2 massages and my daughter had 1 from Rebecca at the beach. It's $35/hour for relaxing or $39/hour for deep tissue. We both received deep tissue massages and they were incredible. Rebecca can be found at the beach to the left. My kids made lots of friends at the resort and we all want to return. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the people are so kind and welcoming! Thank you RIU Palace and staff!!!!
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Date of stay: May 2021
15 Helpful votes
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded Jun 22, 2021
Dear Guest, Thank you for your visit and your time to share your experiences with us. We are happy to serve you and are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay. We hope to your return in the near future. With our best wishes we remain, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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iec04 wrote a review Today
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom68 contributions49 helpful votes
Great 2 weeks here. Staff were awesome. Special mention to Branly at breakfast and Leonardo by the pool. Both exceptional with customer service, polite and friendly. Spoilt for choice with the food, which was delicious and choice if pools to lounge around. Highly recommended.
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Date of stay: May 2022Trip type: Traveled
JSC wrote a review May 18
Isla Mujeres, Mexico25 contributions9 helpful votes
Stayed here 4 nights with a bunch of friends and colleagues. I’m 52. Well traveled. I enjoy fine hotels, both luxury and primitive. Been to Costa Rica a thousand times. Speak the language fluently. Lived here in my younger years. Seen most everything in Costa Rica. Love this country. That said, if you are anything like me, the Riu has nothing to offer you. First of all - the Riu is not Costa Rica. People come to Costa Rica for the jungle, wildlife , beaches, fishing, seafood amongst others. You will find almost none of this here. There is very little jungle or wildlife nearby which is to be expected since they cleared out all the vegetation to build their resorts. Next, to no fault of theirs, this hotel is in the driest part of the country - the rain forests way south. So most wildlife is found in the rain forest. The beaches in this region are known to be nice - and this one could be - except that there’s a red tide in with an algae bloom in the bay. Not safe to swim in. Stinks like hell. There are no marinas close by so this is not a great place to stay if you love fishing. Seafood at the hotel not great at all. We will discuss food below. This place does its best to trap you in, and trap everything out. They want you to never leave the resort. Maybe that’s your thing - if so why even come to Costa Rica ? You will not experience anything Costa Rican at the Riu. Next - this is a 3.5 star hotel at best. Sure the lobby looks nice but the rooms and amenities are average at best. Rooms are decent size and moderately comfortable but look and feel aged. Sinks didn’t drain well. Some rooms in my group smelled a little dingy. Room cards stopped working every day and I had to make the long walk to the lobby for them to reprogram. Every day. Pools are big but always packed. Loud music and party atmosphere is the norm. It’s pretty difficult to find a nice peaceful place to relax anywhere in this hotel. Outside included. They seem to think that loud music all the time is pretty cool. At nights loud music and bands blare until late in the evening. Don’t even think about staying in a north wing or an ocean view if you want to sleep before 11:00. This is an all inclusive hotel - and the food is what you would expect from an all inclusive: crappy. Not kidding that the best food I had all week was at the airport. Not even their fruit was fresh, And this is Costa Rica where mangoes and pineapples and bananas grow like weeks. For transportation - except for arrivals, they lock all taxis and external companies out of their grounds and force you to use their overpriced transportation service. When you leave the hotel, they even make you have a special card that shows that you have checked out or they will not “let you leave”. The resort is really not near any towns or local nightlife ( 20-30 minute drive ). So you are stuck in the resort which is their goal. Look, if you want to come to Costa Rica - go to Arenal , Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Uvita, Conchal, ( a great all inclusive is found here), Flamingo. All of there places listed above have a great range of hotels and offer a great Costa Rican experience. Don’t waste your time or money here at the Riu.
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Date of stay: May 2022Trip type: Traveled
1 Helpful vote
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded today
Dear Jason C, We appreciate you took the time to leave your impressions regarding your recent stay with us. It is disappointing to read that despite our efforts we could not fulfil your expectations in some areas and the music made your stay less pleasant. We would like to thank you for having chosen our resort for your stay. We will take note of your observations for future arrangements. Warmest regards, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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Shawn Marche wrote a review May 17
Toronto, Canada11 contributions2 helpful votes
This place is a complete dump! We visited back in 2018, and it was incredible! We just arrived today for the second time and this room, an upgraded ocean view is awful…we can only see palm trees not water/ocean! We are a group of 3, we paid $2,000 =$6,000! Cons - No working tv, no a/c, only cold water, broken tiles, filthy bathroom, toilet room (smells like an outhouse), plug-ins not working!! Swim up pool bar was packed with people who seemed like they were sitting there all day! Pros: staff is friendly! Again; I’ve been at this resort in 2018; and it was magical, beautiful and CLEAN, fast forward to 2022, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY! It is very sad to see how this resort is being run-down due to poor upkeep! For those who say to ignore the negative reviews; I get it; the grounds and staff are friendly!! But this is NOT a 4 or 5 star hotel anymore..! For those wanting a beautiful resort, check out “azura resorts”!!
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Date of stay: May 2022Trip type: Traveled
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded yesterday
Dear Neonsoapbox, It is very disappointing to read about your experience, since it is never our wish to make any guest’s holidays less than perfect. Needless to say, we appreciate you took the time to bring these areas to our attention, so we can inform the management department, discuss it and apply the right measures. Best regards, Hotel Riu Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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Paul S wrote a review May 16
Sheffield, United Kingdom6 contributions6 helpful votes
Stunning resort, even as soon as we arrived we were greeted with ice cold drinks and champagne from the lovely staff after a long 11 hour flight, it was a really nice touch and we knew straight away how nice our stay was going to be. There is only 1 flight a week from the UK, so they make an effort to welcome everyone. I will admit the rooms maybe need a bit of a revamp, but it is honestly not bad at all (unless you are used to the Ritz or whatever) - it is an enormous hotel, so I don't blame them for trying to save costs here and there especially after the horrific time hotels have had during COVID. Food is absolutely amazing, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can choose to go for one of the speciality restaurants in the evening (which were great) but we weren't normally ready for 6pm and loved the buffet, so mainly went to the buffet most nights. A word on the staff; they are lovely, and work unbelievably hard. Costa Rica is a poor country, so I think most people who visit need a dose of perspective. Outside of the hotel you see people living extremely basic lives, so your complaint about the fridge not quite being to your standard temperature isn't really such a big deal is it? Yes it's not the Ritz, but we thought it was incredible value for money and loved everything about it. The daytime entertainment was fantastic, and we had such a good laugh and made lots of friends by getting involved in the games - water volleyball is the best! You can also use RIU Guanacaste's bars and pools too - they have a great sports bar which has table tennis and a pool table. We all did all of our excursions through our TUI rep who (and they were brilliant). There are plenty of people on the beach you can book through who are probably a bit cheaper to be fair, so you have plenty of options. The entertainment in the evening was great, with professional dance shows, Karaoke on a Sunday, and a band every night that finished at 23:00 every night (yes, it's loud but doesn't go on until the small hours like some have said...). UK visitors will likely arrive during the Foam Party on Wednesday afternoons, which is bizarre at first as you feel like you are in Ibiza, but it's just a special event they do every week. Shout out the Freddy who is part of the entertainment team - legend! Found every staff member lovely, but specific shout outs i'd like to be passed on go to Luis at the Coconut Bar, Greivin at the Cafe near reception, and Gonzales & Branley at the Buffett - lovely people and made our stay even better. Make sure you leave any money in your room in your safe if you go out - if you leave cash out that disappears, it's probably because Maids think it's a tip. I know British aren't big tippers in our culture, but the Americans are big on the tips and sometimes give big ones over there (I saw someone tip a waiter 100 dollars), so that is probably why peoples cash goes missing in the room in most cases. There is tonnes of wildlife a walk down the beach, you don't have to go far to see Iguanas, Monkeys and all other kinds of bugs! Trust us you will love your stay if you just relax and don't expect it to be absolutely perfect. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, with so much to see and do, I would recommend anyone to visit if they can and the RIU Palace is a perfect resort for you. p.s. yes some Americans were a bit loud (aren't the British on holiday too?), but 99.9% were really friendly and great to chat to. There is also a quiet pool away from the pool bar if you want to get away from it all.
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Date of stay: May 2022
Room Tip: Rooms on south side away from stage are quieter, but shows end at 23:00 anyway.
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1 Helpful vote
Lynne W wrote a review May 14
Haslemere, United Kingdom14 contributions11 helpful votes
Hotel was great staff great food great what more could you want? Staff mention for Bryan in the main bar such a character and so hard working also Andrea in the buffet bar so friendly and helpful only downside was the loud mouth yanks on their weekend beano!!
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Date of stay: April 2022
4 Helpful votes
Brandon S wrote a review May 14
1 contribution2 helpful votes
My family and I stayed here 7 nights at the beginning of May this year. There were lots of friendly people and beautiful plants and animals. There was a ride ride of sewage that my wife and daughter got bit by many bugs. Our food at the resort was always bland and cold. The astetic maintenance of the facility was nice; but the safety features were corroded and improperly installed. I didn’t feel life safety or property protection was a concern here and wouldn’t stay at this hotel chain again.
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Date of stay: May 2022Trip type: Traveled
2 Helpful votes
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded 2 days ago
Dear G3460VIbrandons, Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback in regards to your recent stay with us. We really regret not being able to give an outstanding service, despite our genuine efforts and that your experience with us was not what you expected and we apologize for the inconvenience. We regret to hear that the food options did not meet your expectations, as we always try to satisfy the taste of our clients with our gastronomic variety. Needless to say, RIU Hotels & Hotels greatly cares about the safety and wellbeing of our guests. We regret if you had a different impression. We hope that you will decide to return to visit us soon to allow our team to demonstrate improvements achieved from your feedback. Yours faithfully, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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lonestartraveler2016 wrote a review May 13
Houston, Texas2 contributions4 helpful votes
Don't believe in everything Riu Palace Guanacaste posted in their web page. Definitely this is not a 5 starts resort. What they call premium drinks is just some second tier generic spirits, there is no decent scotch, cognac, vodka or any brand liquors such Grand Marnier, Frangelico, Cointreau, Disaronno, etc. A la Carte Restaurants open at 6:15 pm and close at 8:30, so if you are not able to get into the first seating there are very low probabilities that you can get dinner. If you go after 7 pm for dinner go straight to the buffet, no way that you can get in A la Carte restaurant. BTW, no reservations allowed, this is first come, first serve. Wine served at the dinner is the cheapest found in the market. Be aware that there are dishes that are on the menu, but they are never available, in particular if the word "lobster" is part of the description. The all inclusive 24 hours room service is just a joke, there are only few snacks, but not real food. Rooms are outdated and horrible decorated, they look like a motel room from the 80's. Terrible and uncomfortable pillows, we requested twice for different pillows and they never were changed. Blankets are very old, stained and with holes. Management and front desk personnel are very rude, arrogant, unpolite and they really do not care about guests complaints. They are not willing to help and they just make sure everything is paid upfront. Their motto seems to be "The customer is never right", they think they are all the time right and if not, they have an excuse. Overall this resort is not worth for the money and I would give just one start, but considering the grounds and service at the swimming pools I give 2 starts.
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Date of stay: May 2022
2 Helpful votes
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded 2 days ago
Dear Lonestartraveler2016, It is very disheartening to read that despite our good will and best efforts, the situation described does not match the reality of our resort. We appreciate you took the time to leave your impressions regarding your recent stay with us. We will take note of your observations. Sincerely, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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slandy2022 wrote a review May 13
1 contribution
Everything was amazing, staff were very friendly, Brandley at the buffet was the best, Ana my housekeeper was very nice, she cleaned our room everyday and brings us towels. The riufun team was always creating activities. I will definitely go back to this resort and recommend. Best baecation with hubby
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Review collected in partnership with riu.com
Date of stay: April 2022
Sleep Quality
$225 - $310 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Costa RicaProvince of GuanacasteGulf of PapagayoSardinal
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Frequently Asked Questions about Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Which popular attractions are close to Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Nearby attractions include Monkey's Bar & Restaurant (0.4 miles), Playas del coco (3.9 miles), and Playa Danta (4.1 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include a swimup bar, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Guests can enjoy a swimup bar, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Conveniently located restaurants include Sentido Norte Restaurant, Guayoyo Coffee House, and Maracuya Beach Front.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Yes, guests have access to a pool, a fitness center, and fitness classes during their stay.
Does Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica have airport transportation?
Yes, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Are any cleaning services offered at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Yes, dry cleaning and laundry service are offered to guests.
Does Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica offer any business services?
Yes, it conveniently offers a business center, meeting rooms, and a banquet room.
Does Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the ocean view available here.
Is Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access and facilities for disabled guests. For specific inquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.