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“Beautiful Resort; Friendly People” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Dallas, TX
Level Contributor
26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 201 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort; Friendly People”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2014

First thing you should know; this resort is not close to anything within walking distance also the sand is neither white, golden or completely black.

I have stayed at several Riu's and always have a good experience.

Check in: 4* Front desk agents are very friendly. The check in process is kind of slow especially if you are paying for your stay upon check in.

Rooms: 4.5* The rooms start at Junior Suites therefore being very spacious. The rooms are very modern with sleek lines; neutral walls with pop of purple. The rooms do not have a "traditional" bathroom. The bathroom is not in a private room; the components are in the open. The shower does have a frosted privacy door; the double vanity is in the open. The rooms do have a jacuzzi tub but it is in the open separating the "bathroom" from the rest of the room. The toilet is in a private room with a door. The beds are large and comfy. The closet has the standard safe; iron/ironing board, wooden hangers and extra pillows. The rooms also have separate sitting area with a small couch and coffe table; across from that a table with 2 chairs. The balcony is spacious with only 2 chairs, a towel rack to hang wet clothes. Overall the rooms are very nice.

Food: 5* I'm keeping the short and sweet. WOW!!!! OMG!!!! THE FOOD HERE IS SO DELICIOUS.

Beach: 2.5* Not my fave. The sand is not beautiful (I recognize the resort has nothing to do with this; however part of the experience) Also the spoiled part of me did not appreciate dragging my beach lounger to the beach. This is not previously set up.

Pools: 4* The pools have plenty of seating in and out of the water; a wonderful swim up bar and great music. Bonus every chair does have shade.

Overall the the resort is a great resort with awesome food.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank dantravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,067)
Date | Rating
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English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014

Great customer service they will go out of their way to make you happy. Food is great but there were bugs everywhere. Make sure you have bug spray. Rooms are nice. Expeditions are far but is better to stay here. They have great shows and entertainment at night

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sepstef123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California, United States
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014

This place is unbelievable! I would recommend Costa Rica to anyone! We were a short tour guided drive away from the Zipline/Waterslide/Horseback ride & volcanic mud bath tour also known as the "Mega Combo" I recommend this one if you plan on doing any excursions. Junior was our private tour guide for this excursion, he was also who picked us up from the airport and brought us to the RIU Palace. He was very personable and told so much about his beautiful country you can tell he loves what he does! Now to the Hotel its self, this place is awesome! Such great food and atmosphere. I will start off with our wonder waitress Gina Mora, we sat in her section every morning for breakfast and sometimes for the buffet dinner! We absolutely all loved her, so be sure to say hi to Gina! Next was the guys at the Coconut Swim up Bar, these guys were a great time, Julio and Eduardo especially, two great guys they made sure we were happy and full of delicious shots! This place puts more alcohol in their beverages so be careful, if you have stayed at a RIU before my experience was that these drinks are a lot stronger which isn't a bad thing, they just sneak up on ya! If your a surfer go check out the town of Tamarindo! This place is rad, I place on going back and I might not come back! The locals of Costa Rica are very friendly and love to share the knowledge the have about their country. If you have every heard any bad things about Costa Rica forget them, this place is safe and full of beauty! There is a saying everyone uses in Costa Rica be sure to learn it they will say it to you, its apart of their culture and also their way to say hi and thank you! So when a local says "PURA VIDA" say it back! It means "Pure Life" or as a local what it means they will be happy to share the story of its meaning with you. Oh ya and they have a beer called Imperial its made in Costa Rica with natural spring water and all natural ingredients. Its real good and refreshing! Still trying to find it in the states, its that good! Most of all get out there and enjoy every bit of Costa Rica.
PURA VIDA

Room Tip: I don't think there is a bad view of any room at this place you either get rainforest covered mo...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank kimbo_slce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014 via mobile

This was my first visit to Costa Rica and first all-inclusive experience. I tried to keep my expectations in check as the staff has to handle a big group of people all the time. They even had a poolside buffet every day at noon. The staff at this resort are GREAT! Especially, Gina Mora at the Arenal and Princess at the spa. Gina took good care of us and we made sure we sat in here section when she was working. Princess was so welcoming and because of her, we tried out the spa.

My only pet peeves. The beds were NOT comfortable at all. We had to ask for blankets to make them softer. They were super firm. Light food service should be available poolside. With all the drinks they offer, so light food makes sense.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
4 Thank Shalanda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

Its a beautiful and tranquil place.The food at the Japanese restaurant was ok, the fried ice cream was awesome. I tried my bf's mango ice cream and it was pretty good too. I enjoyed the surf and turf at the steakhouse we didn't stay for my Alaskan ice cream desert because we didn't want to miss the 9pm show. The nightly shows were entertaining. What i enjoyed most was the BBQ from 12pm to 1pm. Lots of pools you get access to the next door Riu Guancaste where there were way more younger folks but hard to get serviced. We went ATV riding which was fun. Overall the trip was a B+, coming from a 30 year old.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Melissa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

I just returned from a GLORIOUS stay at this property (Aug 6-11, 2014). It was literally THE BEST vacation I have ever had! I'll give you the short, then the long.
THE SHORT:
ALL INCLUSIVE INCLUDING PREMIUM LIQUOR
Hotel/resort: As gorgeous as the pictures.
Beautiful grounds. Sprawling property.

Service: Unparalleled gracious and knowledgeable staff. They live to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. Very humble people who care about their jobs

Room: We had a 4th floor ocean view room which included a view of the ocean, pool area, grounds, mountains, and the sister property next door which is also gorgeous. The semi-circle shape of the hotel optimizes the view. Large balcony for sipping that great rich Costa Rican coffee in the morning. Super clean, comfy bed, huge shower (yes for two), Sitting area, fully stocked mini fridge.

Food: 5 on site restaurants. Buffet is unbelievable. Several upscale options. All delicious. All inclusive. Do yourself a favor and lose 5lbs before you go. Seriously.

Spa: beautiful free standing building, luxurious inside, exceptional staff. We opted for a combo massage in the couples room (50 minutes). They offer massages in a cute curtained cabana out by the pool, nice option but Costa Rica is not only hot but very humid. Don't sleep on the experience of the darkened room, candles, relaxing spa music and that wonderful spa aroma. Ahhh...I got you now don't I?

Pool area: FABULOUS. you could hang out here daily and not take one excursion/tour and be completely happy. 5 pools/swim up bar/under water bar tables & stools. Activities...more on that later.

Location: please note this resort is remote. This is NOT a con. The closest city, Liberia, is 45 min away. Most excursions/tours are a 3 hr drive away (rainforest, volcanoes, etc). So staying less than 5 days is not recommended (my personal recommendation). I met people who were there for 3 days and they said they were having a fabulous time though.

Unique features:
1. All inclusive, including premium liquor. Full sized liquor bottles mounted upside down in a glass case on the wall in your room, with nozzles. Just stick your glass under. Seriously.
2. Nightly Vegas style shows, excellent talent, don't skip them
3. The buffet.....again the buffet!!!!
4. Daily noontime party at the pool, the chefs grill fresh meats, fruits, veggies right out by the pool. The activities staff is conducting salsa/merengue/Cumbia lessons to a live band, there are water aerobics, water basketball and water volley tourneys. But it's not overly busy to where you can't enjoy the pool. There is a ton of time to just chill and sip the freshest and best piña coladas I have ever had.

Excursion: shout out to Cat Tours!!! Take the Catamaran Tour. Marina is 20 min away. Sail out to sea on a huge catamaran, anchors for an hour to allow you to explore an cave, snorkle and paddle board. The ride back - they serve you a nice lunch and crank up the jams, party on deck. We spotted whales, dolphins, Tortuga tortoises and the most beautiful scenery ever!!!!

Shout out to AAA Travel in Houston/Justine. I was not comfortable booking international travel (beyond the Caribbean) online. She handled everything, it was simple and painless and she was knowledgable.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean view room on the 4th or 5th floor. Spring for ocean, the difference for us, for the...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank KimLW W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NorCal
Level Contributor
142 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

I had looked into booking one of the RIU properties before leaving the States & they both were full. Luckily, by the time we arrived at the local Hilton? Things had opened up! We selected the Junior Suite with an Ocean view - transferred Hotels & felt like we'd stepped into the lap of luxury compared to the other location! The room was comfortable & clean - very modern - although, felt NOTHING like you're in Costa Rica. And, the walls are very thin - people would be moving about making so much noise as they came in from partying at 2am - - or departing for Excursions at 6am - - and it made sleeping difficult. The doors also SLAM closed - there's no way to do it quietly. We wandered thru the vast Shopping (yay!) over to the neighbor property & the Lobby looks much more 'Tropical' there. Not sure what the rooms are like - but, the pool was a MADHOUSE compared to the Palace. Our little one jumped right in - but, I felt like we were stepping into a giant bathtub with tons of strangers - many of which (we're told) are locals. There was garbage everywhere in the Pool - very sad. The Pools at the Palace were much calmer & cleaner - although, a worker did tell us the Palace will be transitioning to "Adult Only" soon. The Buffets at the Palace were nothing like we've ever seen. EVERY type of food you could ever dream of - and, the quality was amazing - not the pre-made, packaged stuff we've seen in Vegas or on Ships. Top-notch! Our little one decided she wanted to stay up to watch the "Las Vegas" production - which was totally inappropriate for children - although, the dancers worked their booties off & were entertaining. Overall - - I will DEFINITELY be looking at RIU properties as we Travel - but, I do need to say - it was very 'Cruise Ship' feeling - - an overabundance of food + pool time + cheesy shows + a huge mix of people bused in for their 'Package Adventures'. Location is just about 40 mins from the Airport & very convenient. LOVED our time here!!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank facosmo
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, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach 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 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica 4*
Number of rooms: 538
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste

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