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Reviewed May 19, 2010

Please listen- This place is so over rated. The food situation at this hotel is a joke. We were there for 5 nights and were only able to eat at the a la carte one night. They take reservations only 2 days in advace and they pretty much tell you they are booked two days in advace by 9am every morning. Then if you go to one of the a la cartes and 615 or 815 you will see only 5 talbes being used and fifty emply ones every night. They will not let you enter and force you to eat at the crappy buffet again. By the way the lunch buffet is outdoors so expect no break from the heat or bugs durring the day when you eat.

Date of stay: May 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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5  Thank jay2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2010

The road to the hotel is absolutely horrible. There are 2 small sections that are paved including the last 5k to the resort but the rest is rock….not lose gravel but packed rock. We heard 3 different stories as to why the road has not been paved. The road it approximately 13k long and takes approx 20 min to go down it.
We arrived at the hotel at 1pm and were told check-in is at 3pm and to leave our luggage in the lobby and come back at 3:00. At 3:00 we checked in. Our luggage was no longer in the lobby. We went to the room assuming it would be there but it was not. We went to the front desk and were told it was in the storage area and it would be delivered within 10-15 minutes. When we called 30 minutes later we were told that they were very busy and to be patient for 10-15 minutes. The next time we called they said 10-15 minutes again. We called again 10 minutes after that the person was very rude so I asked to speak to the manager but was told that none was available and received an apology and the luggage showed up in about 5 minutes with the wheel busted.
There is no cell tower nearby. Those of you with AT&T will not have service at all. Seems those with Verizon could catch a signal here & there. The free public Wi-Fi in the lobby was down the majority of our stay but they did have Wi-Fi for sale in the sports bar that worked great, very convenient.
They put (2) 2 liter water bottles in your room every other day. I found that odd considering they tell you to not drink their water. However, we also heard conflicting stories regarding the safety of the water. We had to constantly go to the front desk and ask for bottled water because we ran out.
There are two restaurants that have buffets. The Buffet near the pool (Ocotal) is open for breakfast (continental) and lunch only. Since there are no walls, the bees have invaded the soda machines. For someone like me who is afraid of bees, it was impossible to get a drink. Unlike other Riu Hotels, they do not have servers bringing you drinks. All I saw the servers doing was picking up dirty plates. The other buffet restaurant is enclosed (Liberia) and it is only open for breakfast and dinner. They do not seat you or bring you anything but water. I’d say the most popular dinner spot was Liberia. Two nights during our stay they closed Liberia. We believe it was because the hotel was only at 30% capacity. Considering I paid all-inclusive prices I was rather annoyed. We then had to go to the 2 restaurants that required long pants and reservations. In my opinion, they should have provided less food and less staff but kept the buffet open.
There is a dark sand beach that was extremely hot and there were bugs flying around. We stayed at the pool most of the time. The other beach annoyance was the people trying to sell you tours…or listening to them stop every person that walked by and try to sell them a tour.
There are a LOT of bugs at the hotel…mostly moths and mosquitoes. You definitely need a good bug repellent. One thing that I found to be a poor design was the light that is right outside your room door. The doors are in a little hallway and the light attracts millions of flying bugs. So it was always a race to unlock the door and run inside without letting any bugs in. One evening we spilled water on our bedding and had to have it replaced. When housekeeping came, they propped the door open and left it opened while they changed the bedding. Unfortunately this let many bugs in our room. We saw the house keeping staff doing the same thing which explains how we found mosquitoes in our room every night. The bed and pillows were rather lumpy..definitely not very comfortable.
We also had 2 items go missing in our room that unfortunately were not locked in the safe. One was a charger for an iphone/ipod and the other was a Victoria Secret bra. Yes, a bra.
All around, the staff isn’t very friendly. There were a lot of children during the time we were there who’s parents did not watch them. It would be nice if they designated a pool for adults only.
Scuba diving was interesting. This hotel has Scuba Caribe on the premises. The staff is extremely unprofessional and spent a lot of time punching and fighting with each other. This includes the 40 year old camera man who acted like a teenager. The dive masters looked to be about 20 years old did not have a very strong personality. The boat we took out was a small outboard with bench seats. It had room for about 10 plus gear. There were 3-4 foot swells which made getting in the boat interesting. Like a sucker I bought the picture disk from the photographer. It was a commercial disk with only two pictures of me and about 20 magazine grade pictures that were obviously not take on this trip.
Unlike Caribbean resorts, there is not booze cruise or boat rides that we saw or were offered to us. You could probably find these at Playa del Coco which is 20 minutes and $15 away.
On the good side, the hotel and grounds are gorgeous. The food/drinks were decent…lots of variety.
Considering the hotel has been open now for 6 months....are they just going through some growing pains???

Date of stay: May 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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4  Thank WorldTravelers00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2010

I just returned from a week vacation at the Riu Guanacaste and I had an amazing time. I first want to talk about the tours. I read many reviews on this site before I went and many people spoke of a tour company called Costa Rica For Everyone. I decided to check out the website (costaricaforeveryone.com) and look up the tours. My boyfriend and I contacted Roy, the owner of the tour company to ask questions. He emailed us back right away telling us all about the tours and answered all of our questions. We decided to schedule the tours with him the week before we got there and he let us know what time he would arrive at the hotel. I have to say that we absolutely LOVED Roy! He made our trip so special because he is such a kind person and knows absolutley everything about Costa Rica. We did the White Water Rafting Tour and the Rincon full day tour, both were so much fun! Instead of going with the big tour companies where you are in a big bus we 30 other people, Roy picks you up in his air conditioned jeep with beverages in a cooler waiting and customizes your tour for you. He will stop for souvenir shopping, to take pictures etc. and it is all included in the price of the tour. Lunch was also included in the tours we did and the food was incredible! If you are going to book any tours which I really recommend because they are soooooo much fun, book with Costa Rica For Everyone because you will not be dissapointed!!

The hotel was absolutely gorgeous. The staff were friendly and very accomodating, they were always cleaning and grooming the grounds and always had a big smile and a hello everytime we passed by. We had a standard room, facing the mountain. It was a nice size, comfortable and clean. The beds were hard as others noted but it wasn't a big deal for us. The food was great! There are 3 restaurants plus the buffet and we got reservations at all of them. The Italian was the very best so make sure to book a reso there, the steak restaurant was my least favourite of the 3. The food in the buffet was great as well, big variety, alot of options to choose from if you are a picky eater. The pool was beautiful, plenty of chairs in the shade or the sun. The shows at night were good, especially the Michael Jackson show. The massages on the beach were amazing as well, we paid $20 and got over an hour massage....it was fantastic!

I had an amazing time but there are always things that can be improved so I will let you know what to expect:
-No room service
-No huts on the beach so the only shade is under trees
-Do not expect white sand and clear ocean- the sand is very hot so you must wear your sandals- the pool area is very hot as well so you must wear your sandals to walk from your chair to the pool- not a big deal, we still loved walking down the beach
-Alot of bees around the bars and buffet- Also alot of mosquitos at night- Bring bug spray and use it every night then you should be fine
-Bring water shoes for the tours

Overall, my boyfriend and I had an absolutely amazing vacation. We relaxed at the pool some days and then did the adventures on other days and it was a great way to spend the week. You must visit Coco Beach, great souvenir shops! We would definitely go back to the Riu and would book more tours with Costa Rica For Everyone because it made our trip so special.

Date of stay: May 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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9  Thank VacayloverToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2010

My girlfriends and I chose the Riu Guanacaste after one of us had stayed at another Riu resort in Cancun. The idea of a new resort in an exotic location was especially appealing. We visited in the last weeks of the dry season. The landscaping and beaches were beautiful. Rooms were nice; we had a family room overlooking the courtyard and beach. I agree with other postings about the hard bed, average food, and VERY LOUD (and terribly bad) nighttime music. The reservation process for the “specialty” restaurants was absurd; you cannot eat at the restaurant without a reservation (despite what the concierge says), and these must be made two days earlier. For the most part, this was an adventure vacation, so we really didn’t spend that much time at the hotel.

I’d like to thank others for posting great reviews for excursions. I set up everything with Roy Jara at www.costaricaforeveryone.com prior to our departure (you cannot access his site from the hotel, so book in advance to secure your trip). He and his associates were exceptional. Our three excursions with him were PHENOMENAL! We did the Miravalles Volcano, Palo Verde National Park, and Nicaragua tour options. We had so much fun that we invited him to deep sea fish with us our last full day in Costa Rica. Roy really made this trip my best vacation ever! I would definitely return to see the other parts of this beautiful country with Roy as our guide. COSTA RICA IS FOR EVERYONE!

Date of stay: April 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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20  Thank MStraveler1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2010

This is a beautiful hotel & kept very clean. Our room was a on the water front, bottom floor so we had lots of bugs/critters (a scorpian among other things) in our bathroom. Be prepared for poor hard liquor drinks & the locals coming in on the weekends (lots of kids) using the pools & controlling the buffet lines. No business center (but free wifi in lobby) & front desk staff not very helpful. Room ammenties limited & although we left tips in our room each day we were shorted face cloths most days & received no special treatment. Smoke alarm with low battery chirped all night & the person they sent to check it stole one of our small flashlights. If you need something from the little grocery/gift store it will cost you. This area is not lush & tropical & the main access road is under construction from Liberia so be patient. On beach massages are the best! We may go back to Costa Rica some time but won't return to the Riu.

Date of stay: April 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MikeNGinny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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