I took my entire family, 5 adults 2 children down to the Riu Guanacaste over the Holiday, and it was great for all. The Hotel is a beautiful property, located out of the way on a brutual stretch of road. Although most get a shuttle service we rented a car at Liberia Airport, which was fast and easy. It also allowed us to explore Tamarindo and Cocoa Beach two cool local areas that are worth day visits escpecially if you surf (Tamarindo).
There are 5 restuarants and candidly the reservation system is quite annoying. You need to book early in the morning and if you don't you will be left to the buffet, which is probably your best choice regardless. I have stayed at many RIUs and the food at all of them is typically 7/10. It is designed to serve the masse, we all agreed the buffet is the best bet.
There are loads of activities to do not only on property or off, we participated in several excursions over 8 days and can recommend the diving, the snorkeling, the arenal tour, and the horseback hot springs tour.
So now the good and the bad:
1) Value - was well worth it.
2) Room Size and views - very nice and clean
3) The pools and grounds - are amazing
4) Family friendly or solo/romantic
5) Noise - hotel was quiet
6) Entertainment - the entertainment was generally pretty good
7) Beach location - (private, but see below)
8) Service - very good and consistent
9) Refridgerator - Fully stocked daily with beer, waters, and drinks.
10) Kids - very family friendly
1) The Alcohol - Horrible. So bad we went to another RIU in Cabo, but decided we would not go again. We are a family of wine drinkers, the wine was beyond horrible, the cheapest most vinegary we had experienced at any resort.. This help up at the the RIU Cabo as well. If you love skip all RIU properties. We have stayed at the Occidental and Guanacaste Hilton their wine was amazing and included. The mixed drinks are aslo of the cheapest quality with poor mixers, expecially the margaritas and horrible pina coladas.
2) The Beach, it is a rough, hot, small, disconnected volcanic (read dark dirty sand) beach. Thankfully the amazing grounds and pools compensate for an absolutely dissapopinting beach .
3) Food - The restuarants are ok, but the reservation system is annoying and frustrating. The Buffet is absolutely bet, would be an 8/10 with the rest of the restaurants 6/10.
4) Pool Seating - it fills up very quicly and as with your typical resort towels are dropped at 6/7 am and people dont show unitl 9/10am.
5) Lots of locals on the beach selling goods, some got aggressive.
6) Internet needs some work.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel lies directly on the beautiful, fine-sandy Matapalo beach, next to the hotel Riu Guanacaste. * The guest of Riu Palace Costa Rica may use the facilities in sister hotel Riu Guanacaste, except dinner meal * Main Building 6 floors 538 rooms * Next City Liberia 42.0 km approx. * Airport Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) 33.0 km approx. * Next ATM / Bank: 200 m * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste