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“Beyond expectation!!!! Loved COSTA RICA”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 3, 2013

My wife and I just came back from Costa Rica,we were there from Feb18-28 for 10 days,first leg of our trip were at time share unit at Playa Del Coco area and the last 5 days we enjoyed at Riu palace.All we can say is DO NOT READ NEGATIVE REVIEWS.You need to go there or anywhere in the world where its safe to travel and experience the trip for yourself.LOVED COSTA RICA !!!!!! will go back there again.Just read the review that was posted by SloPitch recently CANT GO WRONG!!! every penny is worth it.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank TONYR69422
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 3, 2013

My wife and I just finished a week's vacation at Riu Palace in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We were part of a 100 person group. Everything went perfectly. The particulars were:
a. Costa Rica has many outdoors/ eco-tour opportunities. If you're just interested in the pool/beach, then the place is great but not distinguishable from other high end resorts. There are many eco tour companies in the lobby presenting tour opportunities. Rain forest tours, boat down jungle rivers, zip lining, white water rafting. Take advantage of these
b. There were three large pools, large enough to do uninterrupted lap swimming any time of day, using salt water instead of chlorinated water. The salt water was perfectly clean, I don't know how they pull that off, but it was refreshing. Also a swim up bar fourth pool.
c. The food was excellent. There are several specialty restaurants and one "all comers, no reservation needed" buffet restaurant. To our pleasant surprise, the buffet food was every bit as good as the specialty restaurants, and the variety was amazing.
d. The place was clean all the time, staff was pleasant.
e. Despite the remote location, it's only about 15 miles, 20 minutes ( the roads are paved) from Liberia airport. The airport has direct flights from Miami, Dallas and Toronto.
f. Room was big and comfortable. Great bay view.
Overall, terriffic.
Three notes:
1. There's an adjacent Riu, a couple years older. Hard to tell the difference between the two, but I think the Palace is higher end by a tad over the older Riu.
2. Beach has small waves, good for swimming. Surfers should go elsewhere. The are horses to ride stationed near the beach , which is good, but their "fecal release" does disturb one's sense of a pristine beach.
3. Costa Rica has a $ 29 departure tax . We paid at the hotel, but you can pay at the airport.

Room Tip: They all have bay views. Closer to center possibly better
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank TomBBaltimore_Md
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

My husband and I were at the Riu Palace Feb. 3-13 and had an amazing time.
We are truly puzzled by the negative reviews...... Do you not check into things before booking a resort ???????? Do you not see pictures of the decor? The decor is not traditional Spanish, but for us we knew this going into this resort. Change is not a bad thing.
Now for us, we had an amazing experience and trip to Riu Palace.
We had an ocean view on the fourth floor and the view was beautiful. What more could you ask for while drinking your coffee and sitting on your balcony every morning with beautiful views of the resort and ocean. (tip: if you prefer stronger coffee, simply call room service and they will bring you a fresh pot)
We travel each year to get away from our wonderful Cdn. winters so we treasure being in tropical temperatures.
We found the food excellent each and everyday.
I guess we were lucky as we did not wait in line once to reserve(but we also didn't go right away either...maybe that is the key) and had no problems what so ever. We really enjoyed the Italian Restaurant which did not require reservations.
The staff were amazing, very friendly and accommodating at all times. Perhaps those who had problems with Costa Ricans should be reminded that people will treat you as you treat them.
It is very hot there ...which we love .The beach sand was hot , but nothing a pair of sandals didn't address .
We found the resort very clean and loved the various animals that Costa Rica has to offer. Just Amazing!!!!
We did our tours privately, as my husband and I like to just do our own thing when we want to learn the culture of other countries. Alex on the Beach provided us with tours tailored to our liking and schedules . He and his team were wonderful and we were able to do everything we wanted to. We would highly recommend these folks. One of the drivers on our tour had lived in Canada for 3yrs. so it gave us lots to talk about and he was very knowledgeable of his country.
We did the River tour, went to the falls, and a day to Arenal (Volcano)
We also went to Baldi HotSpring & Spa, very nice place.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country and we would recommend a getaway to this wonderful country for anyone. We will be back!

Room Tip: Request higher floors with oceanview. You will not be disappointed.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank SloPitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

dont stay here a complete rip off, 5 star who gave them this rating, i had a Jr suite it was tiny i mean so small and cheap , oh yea if u take a shower the whole room can see u , no divider,smart!! food is terrible, but more than that the staff is so rude , i thought it was me but i asked and everyone agreed, no bathrooms by the pool , walk all the way back to the hotel to use the bathroom,Smart!!!, look im a world traveler, i travel 160 night a year and stayed in many hotels and resort , this place is a joke, yes its new but looks 5 years old , if u stay here u get what u deserve after reading this , save your money and go down the street. bugs all over the room, no tv channels, oh yea no beach umbrelllas so burn, burn baby u have a beach and no umbrella ,smart!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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10  Thank falconleasing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

The local workers at the hotel need training in how to deal with costumers, the best workers there are the ones from the RIU Hotels from Dominican Republic. If you visit RIU Palace Guanacaste ask for Susana at the desk, Ramon at the main restaurant, Emiliano public relations and Benny in charge of the bars. Thanks than we found these people and they made our vacation much nicer.

The hotel was opened in Nov 12, Need better food, better show, the beach needs to be clean and there are no palms trees at the beach.

Room Tip: Get room away from the swimming pool noise.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Reyes4330
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Our stay in January at the Riu was terrific. People were outstanding, service was great and the food was terrific. Costa Rica is a quality country with many places to see and experience. The hotel is very accommodating easy check in and checkout.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank John N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

Travelled in January on Sunwing. This is a beautiful property about 30 min from Liberia located on a beautiful cover beside its sister property that is a few years older and that you can visit for activities and bufffets. Went for an ocean view king suite. The layout of the room is unusual, with the foyer basically being in the bathroom, curtains dividing you from the room, and as others noted, an unusually pervasive odour in the loo. But it was colourful, cheery looking, bright and clean.

The resort itself is impeccable. The five pool areas are close together. For the days we spent on the resort we were unimpressed by the activities team (called Animation). The planned activities were very poorly attended, and when we started to get people going, we were stymied by the lack of interest or the early closure of Animation (they pack up the equipment by 4ish).

The beach is pretty. The volcanic ash is very different than I expected and gets burning hot in the sun. You have to wear footwear or you will burn your feet. There is a beach volleyball net that is great. The aquatics area let's you use boogie boards and kayaks for free. Jet skis are reasonably priced. Didn't do scuba. The beach is frequented by locals and they were super friendly. There were a couple of non aggressive touts who sell activity packages but they don't bother you and are quite pleasant to talk to.

The food is very good to excellent, but the manner of booking is a disaster. The a La carte restaurants can be booked same day or the day before but only in one line in the morning. After 45 minutes they were all booked up most days. We tried the Japanese and steakhouse restaurants. The former was excellent. The latter was poor. The Italian restaurant requires no reservations but is plain pasta.

The main buffet is superb. Excellent selections. The lunch buffet is quite good but smaller.

The staff for the most part is very friendly and accommodating. Some travellers tipped aggressively for better service especially at the restaurants. Consequently I felt that the staff was expecting tips as opposed to working for them. Only one individual was rude, in the Italian restaurant. Everyone else was pleasant and kind. The maids worked very hard.

For those who use Sunwing, the representative there, a fellow named Norman, is utterly useless in my opinion. I found him to be an entitled prat with little interest other than selling overpriced expeditions for his buddies and taking what I am certain was a sizeable kickback from them. I tired of him quickly and used private tours instead, notably an excellent agency called Maleku tours that I recommend highly. We had lovely visits to Buena Vista, Coco beach, Arenal and Tabacon at very reasonable prices.

Overall the positives outweigh the negatives and the place is a solid 4 of 5. Maybe even a 5 if Sunwing punts Norman out of there.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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6  Thank SugarSammy
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 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: $269 - $510 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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