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Hotel Riu Guanacaste
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Reviews (6,971)
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5,884 - 5,889 of 6,971 reviews
Reviewed January 17, 2010

For anyone who has been worried about previous reviews, as I was, ignore them! I think some people are on this earth to find fault and complain!
This vacation included warm, friendly and gracious Costa Rican people, both in general and working at the resort. The staff work VERY long hours and always with a smile! The hotel is grand and I've never seen a cleaner resort. I felt very safe, all the time. The rooms are luxurious and clean, clean, clean! The food is plentiful, very tasty and varied daily. The water from the taps is very safe, clean and tastes great! The bartenders and all staff are just wonderful. The roads were fine. Some were little bumpy on off roads, not unlike those found in Ontario cottage country.
This hotel is best suited for couples and families. The entertainment every evening was very good. I did not go to the casino or disco. If you are looking for all night party places, you won't find that here.
The tours and nature were fabulous! Ziptreking and frolicking with the animals, especially with the monkeys were once in a lifetime opportunities and did not disappoint. I received a minor bite from a monkey with which I was playing because I did not have my hand with the sunflower seeds open! Not his fault. NO CHARGE for the doctor's visit and I'm home now with a great story!
Poor reception for cell phones..... you are on vacation in a remote hotel. I called home with their phone. Keep it short!
Some staff can't speak English..... We are guests in THEIR country. We should be trying our Spanish
If you really want facecloths...... bring your own
Beaches are dark.... So what! Volcanic region
Shopping at the resort is very good and prices are reasonable.
Massage at spa.... devine
I would go back there in a moment. I would bring my little laptop, though.
If you are going to Riu Guanacaste, you will have a wonderful holiday..... I heard not one negative comment!
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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5  Thank StillLooking4Sun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2010

Several people provided negative reviews weeks ago which prompted me to be concerned about our vacation. My husband and I were delighted with this property...it is, as advertised!! Yes, removed from other areas, yes a bumpty road to get there (a factor of the country's economy). However what you should know is that the staff is friendly, pleasant, helpful and very attentive. The entertainment amongst the best I've seen at any resort. The hotel facilities, clean, spacious and well appointed. The food, varied & plentiful. One can always find negatives if that's the way you see life....I encourage you to enjoy what this hotel and its people offer so that Costa Rica & the Riu provide you with enjoyable memories.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank oktravel_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2010

It was my first ‘all-inclusive’ experience so all of my feedback is a new perspective…

I can hardly agree with any of the 'complaint' posts on TripAdvisor, granted we don't have anything to compare it to... but we spoke with other guests to gain insight and there were few complaints...
My friend and I made several suggestions to the resort, may of which were implimented within 2 days. (obviously big changes will take much longer)
They had managers walking around the pool approaching guests, asking how everything was going and looking for suggestions and feedback. I felt this was very proactive, and like i said... I know they are sincerly interested in making it the best hotel it can be by listening to their clients.

I would expect this resort to be at a COMPLETE 5 star level within 6 months... and i look forward to going back.

The Rooms: 4/5
- Beautiful: spacious – granite & dark wood/modern décor
- Flat screen tv – many western tv programs & movies
- Huge balcony (we didn’t have ocean view)
- Full stocked mini bar & fridge
- Only shampoo, body wash & soap provided (bring your own conditioner)
- Hair dryer, American & British plug-ins
- Housekeeping very good – respectful when ‘do not disturb’ on door
- No room service – no coffee pot in room

The Food: 4.5/5
- Breakfast – only buffet (HUGE) – smoothies, create your own omlette, seafood & all other standard breakfast things
- Snacks & Lunch – only by the pool (beachwear allowed) smaller buffet – always burgers, hotdogs, pizza, 2 other meats, rice/pasta or risotto, nachos & cheese, salad bar, guacamole, fruits & desserts
- Dinner – 3 specialty restaurants (we only went to the Asian one) Also steakhouse and Italian. We heard the Steakhouse and Asian were the best.
Also Dinner buffet – (HUGE) – this was our favorite… almost anything you could imagine. Good variety or western and ethnic food.
Dinner ends at 9:30pm. After that the only food available is in the sports bar. (open 24hrs) Hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos & cheese, fruit. This is what drops it to a 4.5/5 We were tired of burgers from lunch, and if you want to eat after 9:30 that is all there was. We started to make a plate at the dinner buffet, take it to the fridge in our room… then take it down at night to the microwave in the sports bar! (no room service)

The Service: 4.5/5
- Bartenders & Entertainment Staff AMAZING
- Had trouble finding matches… front desk sent me on a goose chase the first day, but when I made the suggestion to have them readily available… 2 days later everywhere had them.
- For excellent English speak to Entertainment staff (red shirts) – they are all fluent
- Most bartenders understand English very well
- There is no official poolside service ie: no waiters. Just clean up staff (cups, ashtrays etc)
- We made a suggestion for it, but I think there was limited staff for it… however they did start carrying around trays if assorted drinks and offer them to guests at poolside.
- Everyone was SOOO friendly, always felt safe and comfortable. We took pretty high precations based on the other reviews and i felt it was really unnecessary. We never had or heard of any issues while there. We travelled around the resort and on the beach until 4 am and never had a problem. Other guest told us they felt much safer there than other resorts. (other countries)

The Pool: 5/5
- BEAUTIFUL! The ‘beds’ in the pool were our favorite. There were always pool activities (volleyball/water polo) also crazy games and tropical dancing lead by the entertainment staff.
- Only one bar & one swim up bar – but we never found it to be an issue
- TONS of lounge chairs by at pool and beach/ocean

Disco/Spa/Casino: 3/5
- Never went to spa or casino
- Disco was ALWAYS super quiet. It was usually just us and the entertainment staff. They only really played western music when we requested it.
- You have to PAY for drinks at the disco (stupid… we would drink at the resort, walk down the ‘resort’ street and go to the disco) – we complained about this

Excursions/Travelling outside resort: 4.5/5
- We booked a tour thru Swiss Travel – the tour provider at the hotel. They were the ones that picked us up/dropped us off at the airport.
- There is a 20 minute gravel road between the resort and Liberia airport - we were a bit motion sick, so if someone is very sensitive, I would recommend having Graval.
- The excursion we took cost $120 and was well worth it. We drove about 1 1/2hr and we were in a group of 4. Full day with a canopy zip line, Tarzan swing, free fall drop into canyon, rock wall climbing, horseback riding, and waterfall swimming… it also included lunch. They had many tour options ranging from $30 - $250

Entertainment: 4.5/5
- The evening show is every night at 9:30. There is a singer before and after for dancing. The shows DO repeat themselves, but only weekly. So we never saw the same show twice. They were AMAZING dancers. We found it to be very entertaining, despite Trip Advisor reviews.
- They did a Micheal Jackson show… amazing. Also Las Vegas, Spanish, Mama Mia etc. For being such a new resort I was impressed.
- As stated earlier, the Entertainment staff (red shirts) did an excellent job or keeping everything fun, and everyone laughing. Sometimes it was hard to understand them on the microphone, despite their good English… (because of their accent) – we commented on this.
- I was disappointed that they didn’t have Trivia nights or Movie nights (they have screen projector by the stage) – we suggested this
- The mostly have day time activities by the pool… BINGO etc.
- Internet avail. in Sports Bar 24hrs $5.00 for 30 minutes. No cell phone reception at all.

I would give the trip an overall 4.5/5

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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6  Thank DoraTheExplorer2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2010

Very enjoyable. Excellent weather. Lots of well trained staff. Food was great (especially the guacamole, the papayas and the cantelope). I will say the dinner at the steak house (can't remember the name but the one by the pool) was not really up to standard - they really shouldn't offer steak to Canadians, they just cannot meet our standards) but the food at the Italian, Asian and buffet restaurants was excellent.
There were very few bugs! That was something we were prepared for but our fears were completely unfounded.
Beach was great.
Don't bother with the volcano, rainforest walk, hotsprings tour. The volcano is almost constantly foggedin this time of year and we saw more wildlife around the hotel then during the rainforest walk. And I've been to better hot springs in BC.
Do take the river boat ride. It was well worth it.
Buy your souveniers in Liberia. Ignore the tour guide's suggestion to wait until they take you to two "really good stores", they were crap, very little selection and what there was was overpriced.
Also the hotel is a little isolated, down an unpaved road and for reasons that completely escaped me most of our drivers seemed to consider any speed above 10 kmh on an unpaved road was a mortal sin. But if you are going for sun, beach, good food and relaxation you should leave satisfied.
Anyway all the above is only one man's experience. We left very satisfied, feeling that we had received excellent value for our dollars.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank pcb2x
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2010

Until now, we have never even considered writing a review after taking a vacation. We are only doing so because we feel Costa Rica, its people and the Riu Guanacaste are deserving of a fair and honest review; as well, we found it helpful to read other people’s reviews before going, keeping in mind that not everyone is going to have the same opinion.
We knew nothing about the country before our recent vacation there. Now, we are pleased to say that this is truly an amazing and diverse country. It was our first time there but it definitely won’t be the last. If you love nature, love animals or just need to get away and relax, then this is the place for you.
As far as the hotel is concerned, we were a little worried about staying at the Riu Guanacaste considering it is a brand new hotel and thought our stay there may be disrupted by construction, but this was not the case at all. The hotel and its amenities are up and running smoothly. We also read some reviews about theft at the hotel but we did not have any problems with this either and we did use the safety deposit boxes.
The food was fabulous and neither member of this vegetarian/carnivore couple ever had any problems finding plenty of delicious food to eat. Sure there were some dishes that were better than others, but we never felt denied of anything. We can’t give you a review of the Italian Restaurant or the Steak House but we did enjoy the Asian Restaurant one night. And booking dinner was not a problem; we booked in the morning for the same evening. We did not book any other dinners because we really loved the buffet. The breakfast was always great with loads of options to choose from like omelet’s made to order to beautiful fresh fruit and I could go on here, but to keep it short, there are tons of options to choose from and we always enjoyed the breakfast. If we weren’t out on an excursion at lunchtime, we enjoyed lunch at the Ocotal. And btw, if you are a cappuccino fan, go to the Sports Bar to get one. They make an amazing cappuccino there.
The staff was very courteous and friendly and always made us feel very welcome. They were truly genuine. Although we thought everyone was wonderful, there’s a few staff members that we feel are deserving of special credit. Firstly, Abril, Marco and Oscar at the Pool Bar were extremely attentive and accommodating and always addressed us by name (not that they knew our names because we were regulars there.  ) It’s one thing to take a vacation in a beautiful country but it’s the country’s beautiful people that welcome you with open arms that make you want to go back. Also, Henry at the outdoor bar by the nightly entertainment area was also extremely attentive and always welcomed us with a warm greeting and a big smile. At dinner time, chef Yorlene always greeted us with a cheerful smile and was extremely helpful with any questions we had about the food.
All in all, we had an amazing time on this vacation. Since this is supposed to be a review of the hotel, we won’t go on about the excursions, but they were all great fun too and we did a number of them, such as zip lining, ATVs, river boat tour, rain forest tour in Bijagua (not as far as some of the others and well worth it if you want to see lush tropical rain forest), safari jeep tour, and a trip to Tamarindo (nice place and good for surfing). We always booked our day trips at the hotel, but there are also guys on the beach you could book through; not sure about their service though since we did not use them. We also cannot stress enough how pleasant the Costa Ricans are; they work really hard and they deserve to be treated with the same respect that they give. If you decide to stay at the Riu Guanacaste, we hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did. Pura Vida!!!
Christine and Brent from Canada

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank CKaBD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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