My husband and I stayed at the Riu Palace Costa Rica in January 2013 for about a week. We had some really great experiences, and some not so great:
For the most part, the food was pretty tasty. We found that going to the buffets early (when they opened) ensured yummy hot food. Also, the main restaurant Arenal would often be cooking fresh food so you could just stand at the counter for a couple of minutes and get something fresh.
Cons: Booking at one of the speciality restaurants was a major PAIN! You had to show up at around 8:30am to get the booking line before all of the reservations were full. It was a crazy system and many people in line were complaining. First of all, on my vacation I want to be able to sleep until I wake up naturally and not set an alarm. Second, there were times I was in line and didn't even get a reservation because they were already full. Third, you had to book for the NEXT night, which was actually awkward because if were had an early tour that meant that we wouldn't be able to eat at a speciality restaurant the for two nights. We were only able to go to the Steakhouse and one other (can't remember the name) because of this.
Pros: We stayed in a Jacuzzi suite. It was huge and clean! The bed was very comfy.
Cons: Oh boy, where do I start?! We had our electricity (which means air conditioning too) go out at least 4 separate days, mostly between 9pm and 1am. And I mean like 20 times it would go out a night. Which meant on at least three occasions we had a maintenance guy in our room at midnight. They'd "fix" the problem only for it to come back the next night. None of them spoke english. I totally think it's great in supporting the local economy with local workers, but for something this important you NEED to be able to talk to the person about what the problem is and discuss the details that could help them find a solution. Finally, two days before our departure, I'd had enough and said we really needed a new room. We had early tours and being constantly up and down checking the breaker was not good. They did this without problems, but I wish they would have OFFERED it days ago.
Second: If you are booking a JACUZZI suite, DON'T expect any privacy. It is outside on the terrace in full view of anyone on the floors above. It was a crazy setup and that wasn't clear when we booked our room. That being said, we'd sit out there at night in our bathing suits and read, which we enjoyed. Definitely not romantic, though.
Third: This hotel is not quiet at night. Expect music from the shows until around midnight. The left side of the hotel (as you look out at the ocean from the hotel) is quieter. We were on both sides with our room change.
Pros: The beach was really nice, and the water was warm. We saw baby sea turtles and iguanas! There are a ton of people selling tours on the beach (not pushy though) and we did a couple of these and they were very professional and great tours. The Nicaragua tour was amazing. A little rushed, and a lot of time in the van, but if you want a cultural experience, GO FOR IT! It was the best thing about our vacation!
If you want to sit at a pool or beach all day, you'd probably like this place.
Cons: You have to travel usually 3-5 hours to really see anything, and if you want historical architecture and such there just isn't anything available. This isn't me saying it, we heard it from multiple Costa Ricans who said those things were unfortunately destroyed a many years ago.
But there is beautiful nature around!! And the Nicaragua tour helped us get some of that historical feel we wanted.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel lies directly on the beautiful, fine-sandy Matapalo beach, next to the hotel Riu Guanacaste. * The guest of Riu Palace Costa Rica may use the facilities in sister hotel Riu Guanacaste, except dinner meal * Main Building 6 floors 538 rooms * Next City Liberia 42.0 km approx. * Airport Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) 33.0 km approx. * Next ATM / Bank: 200 m * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste