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“BEAUTIFUL RESORT”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Ontario
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“BEAUTIFUL RESORT”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Nice place great service but not alot of shade. Food was top notch drinks very good. Pools were very warm and very clean. Lots of walking the place is huge. Had a great time. Weather was so warm. Internet was down for a few days but did get it up and running. I cant say how nice the rooms are. Beach was nice and bought stuff on the beach. We went on the Canal Tour bought on the beach Diego was our tour guide. Spoke very good english and took the time to explain things to us. We also saved money by booking on the beach. Nice place to visit but kind of to hot for us. Not the resorts fault at all truly a 5 star

Room Tip: Pay exit tax at resort costs 31 dollars but well worth the time just zip thru the air port
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
10 Thank Marilyn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ontario
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

This was our first trip to Costa Rica. We expected a lush rainforest but were surprised by the dryer landscape. Guanacaste, in which you will find the city of Liberia and many resorts, is actually the driest province in the country. Nevertheless, it's still quite beautiful and impressive with several volcanos to be seen.

Riu Palace Guanacaste is a beautiful hotel. The service was wonderful; I don't understand why there were complaints about this. There were plenty of waiters by the pool; if you wanted your drinks to arrive faster, you just had to walk to the pool bar and get them yourself. The hotel staff are hard workers, keeping the property spotless. They take pride in their work.

We're not picky eaters, however the a la carte meals were not up to par. I think they're working on this. Skip the grouper; it's a fishy tasting fish. On the flip side, the buffet was excellent, serving surf and turf almost every night. You had your choice of appetizers, seafood, sushi, meats, deserts (including my favourite, a chocolate fountain). I wish we would have skipped our 3 a la carte meals for the buffet. If you do count on going to an a la carte, do the steak house. It was the best out of all four.

We loved the beach, even with its darker sand. Each morning we spotted turtle trails along the sand and saw the craters where they burried their eggs. We found a trail at the end of the beach where we saw plenty of howler monkeys. The trail is about a 45 minute walk and takes you back to the hotel. We booked two excursions through Sunwing at the hotel. Both were amazing and fun. Riu Perdido (the lost river) is a zip line adventure tour in a canyon with an afternoon dip in the hot, volcanic pools. It's a little paradise in the middle of nowhere. We also did the snorkeling, sunset cruise on the catamaranl. It was fun in the sun! Snorkeling was great!! We also had the best massage of our lives on the beach ($65 per couple for an hour massage). Don't miss it!!

Anik
Sudbury, Ontario

Room Tip: Choose an ocean view room if you can. It's really a great view of not only the ocean, but the po...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank flipflopfoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Central, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
124 reviews
83 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We stayed at the Riu Palace for a week in late December/early January and, overall, were pleased with the experience. We found that if you made even a small effort to connect with the staff they went out of their way to take good care of you. As an example, I - like everyone else posting here – had trouble with the Wi-Fi, but I made an effort to be kind to a front desk staff member who took the time to show me exactly how to log-in and exactly what settings to use on my iPad. After the first day of our trip – I was able to use Wi-Fi all the time in the lobby and, when it worked, in our rooms.

Yes, our rooms. We are a family of four and had to get two ocean-facing King rooms instead of a two-bedroom family suite like we wanted because the place was totally sold out when we booked. While this was inconvenient, we made it work. Parents of young children, beware of all the sharp edges in the room as they are all over! And, as been mentioned ad nauseum - the location of the bathtub is perilous and defies logic. I can see someone enjoying their in-room alcohol a tad too much, tripping and falling head-first into an edge or corner. I hope Riu has good insurance!

The good (I hope Riu is reading):

- We were content (but far from impressed) with the food at the buffet, the Italian place and the poolside steakhouse. Good thing, because the one time we wanted to dine at the a la carte place Tokio – and I stood line for :45 minutes to reserve - it wasn’t going to be open. We won’t give RIU any more of our business for this very reason. Not only do you have to stand in line to make dining reservations at the a la carte places, but they WON”T TELL YOU WHEN THEY ARE OPEN OR CLOSED. At the Barcelo in Cabo San Lucas in 2011 we could make reservations at our convenience.
- The staff – really. We got to know our housekeepers and left them US$2 daily and our rooms were spotless, everything was replenished, extra towels were provided, extra pillows, and they even made a cute little bed for my son’s stuffed animal on top of the bed in the room. Waitstaff in the restaurants were attentive and friendly (tipped US$1 per meal), pools waitstaff were great (US$1 tip every third drink) and front desk staff were most helpful with Wi-Fi issues.
- Excursions: cannot say enough about the Marlin del Rey catamaran snorkeling day cruise out of Playa del Coco. We did not want to get off the boat! Conga River zip-lining gets an A+ in our book, but we probably would not do the river cruise again because of the looooooonnnnngggggg drive there and back.
- Being able to go to the neighboring Riu resort to watch the Packers NFL playoff game. No game to be found anywhere in the Palace, so we went next door. Glad we did!


The bad (I hope Riu is reading):

- Standing in line for a la carte dining reservations. Riu will get no more of our business until they change this absurd practice.
- W-Fi not working 24/7 in your room. Come on Riu – this is 2013!
- Food in the 24/7 lounge – barely edible. Riu – you can do better than cold nacho cheese, stale chips and hot dogs that have been floating in a cool water bath for hours!
- Pool bartenders who are friendly but who don’t know how to mix a cocktail. A little training would go a long way. They have no clue how to make a martini, a manhattan, etc. Laminate some cheat sheets and have them at the bar. If the lobby bartenders know how to make these traditional drinks, all of the bartenders should know how to make these traditional drinks.
- Riu needs to invest in a better key-coder for your electronic keys. If you happen to carry two keycards in the same pocket- because you only have one pocket in your swimsuit - you are in for a looooooonnnnggggg walk to the front desk for re-coding. This gets real old real fast.
- Please install an ice machine on every floor. We are on vacation and we don’t really want to walk all the way to the end of the hall and down a flight of stairs to get ice for our in-room toddies.


Our family truly enjoyed living “la pura vida” for a week in Costa Rica and we will almost certainly be back – but not to any Riu property until they change many of their policies and offerings. One could do a lot better elsewhere!

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the left (west) side to be away from the nightly entertainment noise.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
10 Thank Davooda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
montreal
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Well for those who follows my reviews you already know that i don't like to find faults and nag about everything negative ...So i will start with the good and finish with the so so...
The location :
Very nice spot , superb view .. But - far away from everything else. So if you are looking for excursions be prepared for min 1.5 hours one way and prices from 125.00 per person. Forget about getting a cheap ride - no taxis- other then arranged by hotel $$$
Hotel :
New , clean, nice decor. Yet-rooms have a smell of a backing up septic tank to a point that at times flashing included opening patio's , fans and doors. We had 2 rooms, both had the same problem and lot's of other people complained about it. The management is aware of it and they working on improvement.
Rooms are clean, nice size with new furniture.
The rooms it self are designed in a weird way. So leave your self a bit of light or you will end up in your tub if you are walking to the bathroom at night.
I find that the room are not children friendly at all.
Be aware-one wing of the hotel faces Riu Guanacaste-side by side-so if you are the "lucky one" getting that location as your room you will be looking face to face at your neighbor . Being in that room makes you feel like you are in a fish tank.
Pools :
Kept clean , lot's of them so you have a choice of being quiet or loud . But ...Only one bathroom is available for all the pools and the beach , which both are a good walking distance. It is located in a restaurant so you must dress for the occasion...lol I saw people sitting in pools ,sipping on those wonderful exotic drinks and never coming out once through out the day. That is not acceptable for a hotel "5" stars to provide people with 1 bathroom.
They are short of shaded are due to the complex being so new. It gets very very hot ,so every where you are heading to -you walk in the hot sun. The temp. got as high as 45 every day.Riu
Guanacaste next door looks like a jungle -Riu Palace needs about 5 years to catch up...
Restaurants :
Italian- no reservation-very tasty and fancy.
Japanese - res. required- tasty
Krystal-res.required-small meals-well presented
Steakhouse-res.required-outdoor-nice meals but no ambiance, lots of insects,very hot on some night's .
To get the reservation's as they say - "early bird gets the worm"
Buffet-breakfast-satisfies almost everyone. No complain there. Supper-pretty good.
Wine- if you have no choice you get used to it lol
Lunches at the beach buffet-every day the same stuff. First week you okay -the second week you don't feel like having it anymore.
The staff :
Big thank you. From management to maids everyone is there to please you. They work hard to make your stay wonderful. Bravo !!!!!
The excursions:
Our family of 4 - we used the services sold on the beach.We used Ronald Harmon ,which was extremely knowledgeable and prices are all the same. The advantages are , that if you use the beach tours you are on your own with your guide and taxi ; so you avoid the bus and follow the leader ....You also decide when and where you want to stop etc...Very safe and convenient.
Would I go back ????
To Costa Rica -yes. Love that place and people. To Riu Palace- it is been there done that sort of thing. It does not compare to other Riu Palaces in many ways. It is not bad -but it is not 5 stars. And not worth the money they charge in high season !!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank brygida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nebraska, USA
Level 5 Contributor
32 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We had originally booked the Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica. When the shuttle took us from the airport, they pulled up in front of the Riu Palace and said they were giving us an upgrade from the other hotel. I thought it was really presumptuous of them changing our hotel without notifying us ahead of time. It is right next door to the one we booked. The Riu Palace is slightly newer than the Riu Guanacaste, and it has a very contemporary decor. The other one is more typical of the culture with "old world" charm and after comparing the decor to the Palace we chose the Riu Guanacaste. So, it was a disappointment that they changed it on us. The Palace is a more expensive hotel and had a jacuzzi in the room, so it really was an upgrade. We walked over to the one we booked and asked why they did that to us and they said they had overbooked the hotel. They said we could use all the facilities and restaurants at both hotels. The ground's landscaping was more mature with more shade around the pool. We were resolved to be happy with the Palace and did go back and forth. The reason I didn't give it a 5 star rating is that they were quite slow in cleaning our room...sometimes it was 4:30 pm before they came, and also because of the hotel change without our approval. I must say the Arenal buffet restaurant had an enormous variety of foods and were quite good...even gourmet. We were able to eat in all the restaurants that required reservations but did not like the Pappagayo steakhouse (being from Nebraska we are pretty particular about beef). And they didn't have cocktail sauce for the crab legs or the lobster. Instead it was a sweet type of sauce that didn't appeal to us. The Japanese and the Krystal restaurants gave a different experience in cuisine and quite enjoyable. The entertainment was top notch, especially the Michael Jackson revue and the dancers every night were very talented. We stayed two weeks because we were looking for property to buy. It might have been too long a stay if we hadn't booked a tour every other day. I highly recommend the TAM tour service. Their agents sit in the bar area in the mornings. We had a great tour of Nicaragua which included an active volcano, lunch in Granada and a craft market, and a boat ride on the huge Lake Nicaragua where we fed wild monkeys. We also took a great catamaran sailboat sunset tour on the Marlin del Rey....lunch on board, stopping to snorkel and we saw a huge pod of whales blowing and diving. Don't book any other catamarans. I heard bad stories about having 80 drunks aboard with no place to sit down for 6 hours. The Marlin del Rey is very comfortable with a good sized area underneath to get out of the hot sun. We rode horses on the beach and in the forest, and took a ride on a hotel shuttle to Coco Beach which is a tourist area with a lot of shops and restaurants and on the beach. We also took a tour to the Pappagayo Forest. This was a boat ride in a river and we saw many crocodiles slide into the water as we went down the river, including iguanas, monkeys and many birds. These hotels are rather isolated, so you have to take a shuttle to get to a town. Coco Beach is the closest town 20 min. away. On the off days, we laid around the pool. They had man made shade which worked fine. It is 10 degrees north of the equator so you sunburn quite quickly. The poolside bar service was great and I didn't think the drinks were as watered down as some all-inclusive resorts. We walked to the Riu Guanacaste's beach and were able to see many baby turtles hatching and burrowing up to the service which a man was collecting in a tub to take elsewhere to release them. Advice...book a room away from the front of the hotel because the night entertainment is outside and might bother you if you retire early. Luckily we were on the ground floor in the back which had a walkway close by to the other hotel. There are a few shops on the street in front of the hotel, but don't forget your sunscreen. It is $38 a tube there. There is also a small casino and a discoteque there. Most everyone took American dollars, so exchanging for C.R. Colones is not necessary if you stay here, even in Nicaragua.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the entertainment noise because they perform outside.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
11 Thank NebraskaRedhead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Cloud, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Rui Palace Costa Rica
Beautiful facility, exceptional staff and delicious food.

LAR transportation and tours
The best day we had in Costa Rica was the day my husband and I hired a private car with LAR and our friendly and helpful driver,Tony who personally escorted us to our destination. He went in with us to each of our stops to make sure we were acquainted with the facility and our tour guide. Tony was very knowledgable and answered all of our questions and introduced us to his country. I found this to be wonderful experience as this was our first visit to Costa Rica.

Borinquen Mountain Resort &Spa
Tony brought us to this beautiful resort and left us in the capable hands of Harry our mountain trail horseback and hiking tour guide. My husband is an experienced rider, being a rancher in real life, but I was quite nervous and Harry kept the pace comfortable for me. After riding for a good while, Harry took us on a hike to see two waterfalls. Along the way he helped us identify theflora and fauna, including a toucan, and a howler monkey. Then we were provided a delicious lunch which included soup, appetizer and you choice of platter. Tony (remember our driver and guide) ate with us and gave a brief explanation of the food and fresh cheese, made and smoked right on site. Next Tony took us to the volcanic mud and hot spring portion of our tour. He explained that first you enter the sauna (a room built over a thermal vent) to open your pores then slather on the mud, let it dry, rinse and soak in the pool (hot, warm or cold). Having never done this before, my husband and I were very grateful for Tony's guidance.

Papagayo Sport Fishing
We booked a half day trip for inshore fishing. Our Captain, Arnaldo and his mate made the very rough waters enjoyable with drinks and fresh pineapple and plenty of fish catching. The most spectacular catch of the day was the 80 pound Rooster fish we got out of the water long enough for a photo session.

Room Tip: The are no bad rooms really. There are some that have no ocean view and some that have a great view...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Bonnie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seaford, New York
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

I use Tripadvisor alot before i travel and KNOW to take all the reviews w a grain of salt. However, after reading what seemed like EVERY review as being bad i was a little nervous. But, upon arrival to this beautiful NEW resort i was quickly made aware that yet again the reviews were all wrong!
The reception area where we checked in was perfectly air conditioned w a drink upon arrival. My wife and i were travelling w another couple and asked to have rooms close to each other on a higher floor and were granted that quite quick. Our room was delightful. Perfect size for 2 people for sure. The Bed was real comfy and the views spectacular. The bottles in the room werent that great but who cares they had plenty of TOP SHELF liquors at all the bars. I was so nervous about this that i took 6 btls of booze from home to drink there and i never had to even open any of them :)
The food at breakfast was fresh and hot mostly. I had egg white omlettes that were delicious almost every day. The lunch was better than fare. Nice selections and some great healthy alternatives too. Beers and sodas and juices for everyone too. Dinner at the ITalian restaurant we did twice. Once w just 4 people and another time w 9 people both times we waited less than 10 mins for a table. Once seated we LOVED the buffet for salads and antipasti. Main course for me was Monkfish perfectly cooked and amazing. Second time was the chicken cutlet thing they offered and was almost as good as my Momn's!!!!!
Had dinner at asian place and it was just ok. But we had a blast there anyway. We ate out at other restaurants other nights and the food off the resort was very good too. In fact one night at "Ginger" it was AMAZING...
Bar staff was really good!!! Very attentive and always smiling and not looking for tips which is good when you are swimming w no wallet.
All in all a truly GREAT time was had by all!!!

Room Tip: Ask for a higher floor
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank MikeeGoGo
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

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Address: Playa Matapalo | Sardinal Carrillo - Guanacaste, Sardinal, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access 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 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica 4*
Number of rooms: 538
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

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