I am writing this review to dispel or agree with all of the other reviews ive read before my vacation.
Airport - If you book your hotel on the RIU site or any other site for that matter. Purchase the 90 dollar hotel transfer (for 2) beforehand and NOT at the airport. We ended up paying 75 dollars from the airport and then 50 dollars back (purchased in the hotel lobby). Also pay the extra 3 dollars and pay your exit taxes in the hotel lobby(32 dollars card only), it will be worth the time you save in the airport. Also bring a pen with you, seems simple but we made that mistake and it was very annoying asking people as you will need to use it at least 3 times.
Hotel - The resort is beautiful, they take very good care of the grounds and lobby areas. Hotel lobby is wide open with over 30 ceiling fans and we did not have a problem with being uncomfortably hot(as other people have said in reviews) Its Costa RIca, expect to be hot and expect for there to be bugs/animals. Just make sure u pack bug spray and suntan lotion. If you buy it at the resort it is 30 dollars but something we noticed, in the far store theres a section in the back that sells natural products(i.e volcano mud mask, facial cleanser etc) there's sunblock spf 50 and 30 in a green bottle that i believe was 12 or 15 dollars. If you need sunblock i suggest you go with that.
Room - We had a oceanview room in the middle of resort, if possible we would have called before hand and ask them to put us on the far side or the right side. From there you will get a better view of the sunset. From our room the side of the resort blocked the west view but it was amazing nonetheless. Also people complain about a kind bed being 2 twins pushed together. Its only 2 twin box springs pushed (and secured together) with a king mattress on top of it. honestly if you dont look you most likely wouldnt be able to tell. there wasnt any dip in the middle of the bed that made me aware of that it was 2 twin box springs.
Food - The food for me wasn't good. This would be my main complain, you can tell the food prep and delivery was rushed due to the large scale of the hotel. The flavors lacked although we did find something to eat every night. Also bbq night was our favorite where the beef steak and grilled chicken was very delicious. On our anniversary we made reservations at Ocotal (make sure you make reservations early as they book up fast) The steak was good but everything else was poor, we almost walked out and did not even wait to the dessert came. This wasnt totally due to the food but also there are like small bat sized moths that get trapped in the outdoor area and are to dumb to get out. It made our eating experience very uncomfortable.
Pool - The pool was always warm and nice to be in. There are ALOT of bees by pool bar and dead bees in that area but after a couple of days you kind of get used to it. They dont sting u or buzz by your ear..They are just prevalent in large numbers which could make it stressful waiting for your drink. I wish the staff did implement more hygienic ways to organize their fruit and syrupy sugar drinks to avoid bees.
Beach - It is the darkest beach Ive ever been on and it does get very hot at times. Also there are ample seats for everyone as i know in some other resorts you HAVE to go out early to reserve a seat. Here it actually seems like more people hang out by the pool than beach. The locals selling souvenirs do tend to get annoying as most of them are selling the same exact thing. Also bring water shoes, there are alot of small rocks and pebbles towards the shallow end of the ocean and it makes it annoying being in the water at times. The views are what makes the beach amazing not so much the sand and water.
Entertainment - The entertainment is very hit or miss, they have some talented dancers but coming from NYC our standard for organized choreography is alot higher than the average person but even with that aside the performances weren't very engaging. The most fun entertainment experiences Ive been involved in at other resorts are when they have the men doing silly stuff etc on stage. Here they are more like performances with horrible lip singing attempts and female dancers who are at various levels of expertise. I truly feel that RIU can afford to bring in expert teachers atleast to put together a show and train these dancers on the basics enough to have a strong dancing routine. Their club 'pacha' was also interesting to say the least. It does get crowded since it does serve both the RIU Guanacaste and the RIU Palace but one of the nights there were no AC and you have to pay for drinks there and not for bacardi/smirnoff but for the 'cortez' brand that they serve in the actual resort. I truly dont get the logic in that, if you are going to sell alcohol on a all inclusive resort, then you might as well make it a liquor that you wouldnt normally get in your room/lobby. They probably would get more sales that way, i would have def paid for some grey goose. Also please be wary of the local male staff hitting on you at these clubs. Most if not all of the day to day staff on the resort live in a near by RIU staff quarters so as would any 20-30 year old male would do is go out at night. But being a guy myself even i could see what they were after, if you are single and there for fun then this may be right up your alley but if you are a parent and decide to let your 18 year old daughter go out to dance then just be aware of that. The music is subpar but i am also very biased and the 3 nights that we went to the club it seemed to have the same soundtrack, with different small variations. If they play the electric slide, then the wobble and finally cha cha slide then you will know what im speaking about.
All in all it was a beautiful resort and along with our excursions we had a great time. Im in no rush to travel back to Costa Rica, as there are a lot of other places id like to visit but i would definitely recommend it to any of my friends or whoever reads this review.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Opening winter 2009/10. Situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste. Located on Playa de Matapalo beach. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 6-storey main building. Surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens. Closest village: Nuevo Colon. 13 km / 8.1 miles from various shops. 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with BookIt.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity and Jetsetter so you can book your Hotel Riu Guanacaste reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica