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Hotel Riu Guanacaste
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Reviews (6,971)
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5,735 - 5,740 of 6,971 reviews
Reviewed April 23, 2010

Pros:
1. Great Pool (water temp was a little too warm) but, big and beautiful. Not too crowded
2. Rooms and Hotel were clean.
3. Beer taps available to you w/out having to bother staff.
4. Pool entertainment staff was cheerful and goofy.

Cons:

1. Maids have safe's master code and will steal from you. My son had his IPOD stolen. Management denies responsibility. You are down and out!
2. Bees swarm the bars. My son got stung.
3. Food is not available 24 hours. unless you count old sandwiches and stale nachos in the sports bar.
4. They make you wait until 7am for breakfast and COFFEE. Some of us like to eat earlier and get our days started. Sports bar has some coffee, served in a drinking glass.
5. Terrible long road to get to resort.
6. $32 aloe at their shops if you get a burn. Bring your own or don't get a burn.
7. Beds are HARD and the maids do not change the sheets so you sleep in beach sand from the first night. I guess it does exfoliate as you sleep (maybe a pro:-)
8. only two restrooms (besides the ones in your rooms). One in hotel shared by 3 restaurants and 2 bars. one restroom by pool and both never work!
9. Besides the entertainment staff, nobody smiles or makes you feel welcomed. Angry cranky bitter culture!
10. Bar staff makes you feel guilty for ordering drinks and sometimes ignores you.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank NewEnglander999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2010

Both my husband and I found this resort to meet all of our needs and then some. Before departing we had read some of the other reviews and I was worried, however we went in with open eyes and minds and enjoyed every minute! I am not one for tropical places I much prefer Europe however I enjoyed Costa RIca immensely. As for the people complaining about the bumpy roads, come on its a third world country.... seriously people! I find the roads in Edmonton rough, full of potholes and especially horrible in the winter. Yes it does take a long time to get places in Costa RIca however it takes me an hour to get to Ikea... it certainly doesn't have nearly the scenery as does the drives in Costa Rica but I still go because it somewhere I want to go. The staff were extremely polite, hard working individuals and worked a lot harder then half the people in the service industry that I have encountered. Of course most of the staff aren't going to speak english this is a spanish speaking country! The people that you absolutely have to deal with speak plenty enough english to go around. The food was fantastic and there was plenty of variety, I have severe allergies and I never once had any issues with an attack or getting sick. I think that if you want everything to be perfect and exactly the way YOU want them to be STAY HOME!!!
I have nothing but positive things to say about this resort and would go back in a heart beat! The one negative thing I did find useful was that I had read was that they don't have wash clothes so I brought some from home.
PS Be sure to go and meet "Rocky The Squirrel" down at the scuba hut on the beach and bring fruit!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank clarktj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2010

I just got back this morning from Costa Rica...we stayed @ the Riu for 3nights. The hotel is beautiful (i mean it is brand new) we had a nice ocean view suite very spacious room. The view was GREAT But the hotel is deserted as hell! I mean there is absolutely nothing around for miles and miles and miles! One of the biggest downfalls because i like to be able to walk to other places but this is where my BF wanted to stay but next time we will try someplace else.
..... I loved the free drinking part although after the 1st night or 2 i was ready for some cognac which they dont have in stock lol
The food if you made reservations @ the Asian or Italian place was great but those other 2 restaurants for breakfast and lunch was not great @ all oh and if you go to Ocotal thats the one by the pool and beach there are dead flies and bees galor by the fruit and you have to fight with the bees to get a some juice or soda because they stayed right under the spout.
......I HATED the internet situation. Whenever you needed to get online you had to go to the lobby to use your computer! this was the worst! i wanted to be able to chill in the room on the balcony esp when it got late but no i had to go all the way down to lobby to use. they need to get this situation fixed like asap! Even though i wasn't on the computer all day but the few times i did it was a total pain!
...The boat trips to Coco Beach was reduced to one time a day because boats were broke WTF so we had to get on the one 9am boat ride that was offered...although i didnt enjoy get;n up early i did enjoy the ride and shopping over there (btw those ppl run a hard bargain no to much negotiation going on with them LOL)
....The Pools are lovely and warm and they tried to have a little entertainment which was nice but the pool closes @ 10pm which i thought was too early
....Overal Beautiful hotel but when i go back i want to stay someplace a little less deserted

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank chocolatelala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2010

We traveled with a group of 18 to celebrate milestone birthdays. I was a bit nervous after reading other reviews that the food might not be up to snuff and that the staff would not be friendly or helpful. We experienced the opposite. All of the food was terrific. A scrumptious breakfast buffet was set each morning and we always topped it off with fresh fruit. The sliced mango and mellons were a real treat. We were never hungry or thirsty since there was always a buffet or bar close by. Evening meals were booked at the steakhouse, Italian and Asian restaurants. All were good as well as the standard buffet. We had fun by the pool...hot sun, volley ball, drinks etc. The crazy games that kicked off every afternoon were a little hokey, but fun. We read reviews that suggested bringing Bubba Kegs for our drinks....GREAT recommendation. They kept or drinks cold even in the hot sun. The staff was very friendly and hooked us up with extra beverages. It helps to leave a couple of bucks for the maid and fridge stocker. Beds were neat and clean and always made up duirng the day (other reviews stated beds were not made or were sandy). We booked an excursion for canopy tours, water slide, horseback rining and hot springs. Well worth the price and the trip. Lots of monkeys, birds, lizards etc. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to the Guanacaste region.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank M00ey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2010

I think it's important to have perspective on the larger picture here. This is a third world country. The Pan American Highway, which runs across the entire continent, is only a two lane road through this section of Costa Rica. Of course the roads to the hotel are bad. Of course the internet is spotty. Yes, our At&T phones didn't really work. But this hotel is gorgeous, clean, and has a beautiful setting, the service people work very hard, and the food, while simpler than you might expect at a major all-inclusive, was fresh and delicious. We all had a wonderful time here on our visit March 26 through April 2.

The hotel is brand-new, and the rooms are spotless. My teenage boys did have a room with a strong cigarette smell, so be wary of this. They refused to request a switch, but I certainly would have. The air conditioning in the rooms worked very well. The beds are very firm, but I consider that a good thing. The lobby is cavernous, and pleasantly breezy, and the wifi is decent there if you are patient. The staff works constantly to keep everything clean. The bathrooms by the pool were literally continually serviced by a woman, and she worked hard. We did wish we had brought some DVDs to play on our laptops at night. The night shows are standard all-inclusive fare, meaning they get a little repetive, and there are lots of TV channels, but naturally most are in Spanish.

As mentioned in other reviews, the noise from the night-time shows can clearly be a problem if you have a room on the inner section. The hotel is shaped like a large U, with the pool sitting at the top of the open end. If quiet is important, insist on a room on the outer sides of the U, but not directly facing the ocean. We had a room on the fifth floor on the right-hand side of the U, and we never heard a peep at night. Plus, on that side, the black-faced monkeys (not howlers, as people keep saying) become active in the trees, and you can get some marvelous photographs.

We thought the food was great. We live in DC and are used to sophisticated food. This food was simple (no nouvelle cuisine here), but we loved it because it was all so fresh. We ate home-made guacamole 3 meals a day (yes, even breakfast sometimes -- it was that good), and they did a marvelous job cooking their several varieties of fresh fish. The breakfasts include very nice pastries and cakes, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, yogurt, granola, cereals, as well as the European style breakfast -- cold meats and cheeses, and grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. They do have Costa Rican food available every day, but it was certainly a minority offering. Don't miss the candied bananas, though! We only ate at the Asian restaurant, but were disappointed with it. It is also buffet, but we have much better Asian food at home. We had other reservations, but gave them up because everyone was quite happy with the buffet.

The tours available in Costa Rica are fascinating, but I agree with others who encourage you to use services beyond the hotel. We used Costa Rica for Everyone (www.costaricaforeveryone.com), and were thrilled. We arranged the trip ahead of time via the website. We paid only about $20 more than we would have through the hotel, but the hotel operators take a large group on a tightly scheduled tour. We had a private air-conditioned van with guide and driver, water, soda and beer, and they would have taken us anywhere we wanted to go. We were able to add some shopping in Liberia to our day of zip-lining, delicious local lunch, horse-back riding to the rainforest, and volcanic mud bath. Our guide was Mario, and he was top-notch. Ask for him! The guides at the zip-lining knew how to work my camera better than I did, and they took wonderful photos and even video of us throughout the morning.

We did use the hotel shuttle service to go to Coco Beach for dinner one evening. You get about 3 hours in Coco Beach, which is plenty of time for souvenir shopping and dinner. We had hoped to go to Tamarindo, but it turns out the roads are so bad that the time involved was discouraging.

Not sure what to make of this, but we saw few young children during our stay. The facilities for day care seemed a bit small to me, so perhaps this is not the hotel's strength. At the same time, we did not have any outrageous partiers either. I think that kind of thing is luck of the draw at these large all-inclusives, and I guess we got a good week.

In summary, if you want the height of luxury, stay at the Four Seasons. But expect to pay dearly for it. We thought the Riu was a marvelous bargain for the price we paid. If you buy through a consolidator website like we did (bookit.com), do spring for the transportation add-on. It was a relief not to have to think about this aspect of things, and if the taxis were truly $50 like others have said, you'll be saving money too.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank wantottravel2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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