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“Beautiful, serene, nature loving vacation” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Guanacaste

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Hotel Riu Guanacaste
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Level Contributor
25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Beautiful, serene, nature loving vacation”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

As soon as we arrived on the hotel we knew we were at the right place for our honeymoon. The design and decoration welcoming the beauty of it's surrounding nature made us relax, and realize we were at the right place.
Our room was beautiful, oceanfront with an amazing view!
Service in all restaurants was fantastic as well as the delicious food and amenities.
We will definitely recommend Riu Guanacaste to anyone.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rose R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,782)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Portuguese first
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

This was my second time in Costa Rica - first time staying at an all-inclusive there as our first trip was done travelling around staying in B&B's.

The pool was enormous, the beach was incredible, the shows were a lot of fun and the food was pretty good. What stood out at this hotel above other all-inclusive's I've been to was the number of food options.

FOOD: The Italian Restaurant (first come, first serve) was hands-down my favourite. The Steak House and "Gourmet" Restaurant were both on reservation only. I wasn't blown away by the Steak House but the Gourmet Restaurant is definitely worth a try. The buffet is above average as far as buffets go. The Asian Restaurant "Furama" was my least favourite but not bad.

ROOMS: If you're looking to go to bed very early and not have too much noise, make sure your room is not facing in to the quad. The stage performances go on until 11:30pm and are very loud. You hear them even with the door shut and the fan/AC on.

The staff are friendly and helpful - all with the exception of the bartenders who are grumpy and stingy with the alcohol.
HEADS UP: If you order a drink that doesn't explicitly say it has alcohol in it, they won't include it. When you ask for alcohol in one of those drinks they grumble and give you as little as possible. My recommendation is if you're looking to have a big drinking night - drink in your room.

The Discoteque is NOT INCLUDED. You have to pay for drinks, so again I would say drink in your room. Unless you're getting beer they're stingy on alcohol here too.

The Scuba Diving was great, the instructors were awesome and the sites were amazing. We saw 5 White Tip Sharks, a turtle, an octopus, and a spotted eagle ray all in very close proximity.

Pura Vida

Room Tip: ROOMS: If you're looking to go to bed very early and not have too much noise, make sure your roo...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jenn I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kyle, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2014

I've stayed at many all inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Cabo. They all were a much better experience then this place, but to its credit it was slightly cheaper.

Goods,

-I loved the location. This resort is right next to its partner the Palace but thats it. I enjoyed the nearly desolate beaches, great snorkeling(on far left side of beach near rock head if your looking at the ocean) and the relatively calm waters due to the natural harbor the hotel is located in.

-Lots of bars without watered down liquor. It was easy to get a drink anytime without waiting.

-Excursions through Alex on the Beach could not have been more fun. Their staff was extremely nice, honest and relatable. We went on the zip-line/ volcano/ waterfall tour as well as the sailing catamaran booze cruise and snorkel trip. They truly made the trip worth while even though the resort was far below par.


Bads

-Worst service I have ever received at any hotel ever. Despite tipping and being all around nice to all the service staff most looked at me like I'm a complete idiot when asking any questions. When we arrived we were excited to change and get to the pool/beach to start relaxing. We were told our luggage would be brought straight to our rooms, after waiting 45 minutes I finally went down and took my unattended baggage up(even though a staff worker yelled at me for doing so). I could go on for a while with examples about the rude staff, but just know you will never be greeted with a smile or get basically anything you ask for in a timely manner if its not a drink.

-Rooms were HOT! We only slept in them but who wants to be uncomfortably hot on a vacation. Super lame.

-Faucet water literally smelt like poo.

-Locals flood the hotel on weekends and down times at cheaper rates. They were all much nicer than the staff but with everyone there things became overly crowded. It was nearly impossible to schedule the formal meals unless you were waiting early in line to sign up.

-Food sucked! No room service to order up, limited availability for formal meals and very limited time windows to get fresh food.

Conclusion

-Costa Rica was a wonderful country I'm already planning to visit again but you will never find me at another Riu resort.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Scott S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
97 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2014

Had an awesome trip to Costa Rica - This hotel was all about us and service - Had a fantastic time .

When we were there - all the mountains and hill were on fire for 3 days - But - The locals didn't really take notice - So I guess it was normal - We saw many monkeys just walking down to the beach - The food was excellent - Couldn't ask for anything better!

The day trips out of here were awesome! To the rain forest as well!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Ron P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Franklin
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2014 via mobile

Riu has a gorgeous hotel, beautiful grounds. My kids had a great time. We stayed there 6/25 through 6/27. We had 5 rooms.

Check in was slow and inefficient. They have real keys that if you lose them cost $20.

Pool was great with the exception of bugs and bees. Beach was clean and we had a great time there.

Restaurants had good food. However, during today's breakfast "pinto" was bad. I went and told the chef expecting them to remove it and replace it. 20 minutes later my nephew sat next to me with the same bad pinto. I was so upset that I told them and they did nothing about it. Hopefully Riu reads this! It's unacceptable to put people's health at risk.

My brother ordered a bed that he never received. He had a tub that didn't drain. Then ordered a pillow that came 8 hours later. Bed size was small. It was 2 single beds.

Management are incompetent, unfriendly and rude. However, bar tenders, waiters, entertainers are friendly and hardworking.

The sports center was horrible, only 1 person working no one helping. We went snorkeling but the service wasn't friendly. The activity in itself was enjoyable. I went with my daughter and her friend and they loved it.

In summary, I would go back but hope they upgrade their service for next time. I have worked in hotels in the past and know what good service looks like.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank FranklinMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

It was my first time in Costa Rica and I could have not picked a better location. The hotel grounds were beautiful and well kept, the service was exceptional, and the value was reasonable. Being an all inclusive I was pretty skeptical about the food. I assumed everything would taste bland and the choices would be limited, but I was wrong. I found the food pretty good and flavorful, and they have an array of choices. The staff was friendly and attentive, they were very accommodating if we asked or needed anything. We found most of the Costa Rican people very friendly, no complaints on that note. The rooms are fully stocked with liquor and beer and they fill it back up once it ran low. Yes, there is no top shelf but if thats a problem for you they have beer and wine. The room was big and spacious and the bed was comfortable enough that we didn't complain.

We rented a car so it was easy for us to explore the town. The parking was occasionally an issue but we made our own parking if needed. Although, Riu's beach isn't anything spectacular, you can take a short shuttle or drive to Tamarindo Beach. It's a surfers town, but it truly feel authentic and what I imagined Costa Rica to look and feel like. The "pura vida" vibe definitely resonates there. Worth a trip!!

The hotel had great entertainment, enough to keep us occupied at night. They had a daily night show which my fiancé and I really enjoyed. The night club played good music and if you get bored you can go gamble at the casino next door, which I happen to win at. The pool was also one of my favorite aspects of this hotel. It was big and had a swim up bar that was there to get you nice and tipsy, if thats what you wanted. The guys at the bar were attentive and very helpful in telling us what to do and where to explore.

Overall, the hotel left a great impression on us and we would consider going back. Explore the neighboring towns because that is what truly made the trip so spectacular.

Side note: On the way to Tamarindo Beach is an amazing ceviche spot on the side of the road. It's locally ran, which makes it that much better. I think I made a daily trip to this spot. Cheap and delicious, can't go wrong.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
14 Thank CynthiaB511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lubbock
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 June 2014

This was our first time at a RIU. There were 17 in our group, ages 12-51, so we were very diverse. We all had a wonderful time! Several in our group dove with the dive shop on the grounds. Some of the BEST diving ever. Visibility was not the greatest, but saw LOTS of animals.
The food was tremendous! the entertainment was not the best, but what do you expect? We were there in June 2014. The food was FABULOUS for an AI!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cdewbrern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Guanacaste

Property: Hotel Riu Guanacaste
Address: | Playa Matapalo, Sardinal 50503, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sardinal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Guanacaste 4*
Number of rooms: 701
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opening winter 2009/10. Situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste. Located on Playa de Matapalo beach. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 6-storey main building. Surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens. Closest village: Nuevo Colon. 13 km / 8.1 miles from various shops. 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica

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