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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 April 2013

We stayed at the Riu Palace for 8 nights. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The rooms were cleaned well and clean towels were provided when the room was cleaned in the morning and sometimes again at night. The majority of the staff that dealt directly with the public were fluent in Spanish and English. Staff is constantly mopping down the halls and cleaning the glass.

The food in the main restaurant, Arenal, was very good. It was buffet style with something for even the pickiest eater. We ate at the Italian restaurant one night, but it was average at best. We heard good things about the steak house, but they are very strict about their reservation system and we did not eat there. There is a lounge that is open 24 hours with very basic food, but there is a soda fountain, coffee maker and beer on tap. The ice cream/pastry shoppe was a big hit with the kids, especially the milk shakes. Every evening in the bar there was live instrumental music.

We stayed at a very busy time - from Good Friday until the following weekend. The resort was very busy, but they handled it well. There were many people from Central America, Canadians and Americans. The resort provides sea kayaks, paddle boats & snorkeling equipment free of charge. Jet skis and scuba diving trips can be purchased. There are 5 pools, including one with a volleyball net set up. The activities coordinators do their best to get people involved in games, dancing and competitions.

There are several local companies on the beach trying to sell excursions. We did one through a company in the hotel lobby and one with a beach company. I was much more impressed with the one we booked on the beach(Alexonthebeach.com). We were given much more information and it was more flexible since it was a group of 8 instead of 60.

The beach is volcanic sand, so it is black and gets hot very quickly, so don't forget your flip flops. We did see some turtle hatchlings making their way to the ocean. On one occasion we saw monkeys just off the beach and there were many exotic birds.

There is plenty to do in Costa Rica. The Riu is a good place to stay. There is a Westin with a golf course not far away, but it would have been $3500 more to stay there and did not include any food. I read many complaints about the Riu before we left, but found them to be largely unfounded. I believe some of the people just enjoy complaining.

Room Tip: We were on the garden side, but spent little time in the room, so it was not worth it to pay for oce...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank Jane D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,306 - 3,312 of 4,125 reviews

Reviewed 8 April 2013

My cousin and I just returned from our stay at the Riu Palace (3/31/13 to 4/5/13). The resort, rooms and restaurants are very nice and well maintained. The staff is EXCELLENT!! We had an ocean-view room with a balcony. I would have given the resort a 5-rating, however, I was suprised that the rooms do not offer any privacy for bathing/shower. The bathtub is between the vanity sinks and the beds.The shower itself is enclosed, but when you step out there is no privacy. Who came up with that design?? The buffets offer a wide variety of foods, desserts, fruit and cheese. The sit-down restaurants are also very nice. My favorite is Krystal. The evening shows are entertaining. You will not want to miss the Michael Jackson tribute show. I also enjoyed the morning and afternoon water aerobics classes at the pool. We booked our tours with Falcon Tours located on the beach (reputable and professional). Ask for Caesar. He will take good care of you. Our favorite tour was the river boat tour through the Palo Verde National Park. A must do if you want to see monkeys, crocs, herons, parrots and iguanas in their natural habitat. We also went on a day trip to Monte Verde. It was nice, but would not do that again. 3.5 hours from the resort (roads are extremely bad; VERY bumpy ride) and you really don't see many exotic animals. All in all, this was a trip to remember!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank JaniceE441
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2013

Overall a great experience. We went with another family and had a total of 4 adults and 4 kids. Everyone had a blast. The food is awesome and the specialty restaurants are wonderful. We ate at one almost every night. The food is the best I have had at an all inclusive and we have been to many. It was not unusual at all to see duck, veal, shrimp and the best steak on each menu and at the buffet. The coffee bar is great and our kids drank a ton of milkshakes there daily. Staff is very good and we encountered only a couple of grumpy ones everyone else was fantastic, friendly and helpful.

Rooms are nice but have a modern flair. We did experience one day of sewer smell but then it went away and all was good. Hall noise and doors are a pest but such is life at a family resort. We went during the busiest time of the year and the hotel was at capacity and it did not feel overcrowded. We never fought for a pool lounger or beach location. Drinks are good but find a good bartender and tip and they will get better.

Some minor improvements suggested:

Check in can be confusing, no cocktail provided and it appeared to be overcrowded and unwelcoming at first.

An orientation at check in that is more substantial would be helpful. Little to no info is given on how to use the pager system for the restaurants or how things work around the resort. We visited customer service and they helped us get the lay of the land really well. Many guests walk around confused for days until they figure it out.

We had a problem with adjoining rooms with the family we were traveling with. We had made the request months ago but something got lost in translation so we had to deal with that issue for the first two days. It did get sorted out but really should not have happened in the first place.

The dinner buffet is only so/so. The lunch and breakfast are wonderful but dinner not as good. We stuck with the specialty restaurants and had no trouble getting in once you figure out the pager. If you are willing to eat at 6pm you will always get in.

The kids club is basically not operating. It looked pretty lame and there is nothing going on for tweens or teens at all. It is really only good for very small kids and to be honest we never saw any kids in there. They need to get on par with Club Med or Beaches on this one.

Overall I would recommend the hotel we all had fun and relaxed. Just a few minor tweaks and it would be perfect.

Room Tip: If you want quiet chose the garden view and ask for the rooms that are closer to the beach.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank ourexpatlife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2013

Loved this resort! My husband and I just got back from a 1 week stay and we really wish we would have stayed 2 weeks. The hotel staff are very nice and go out of their way to please their guests. My biggest thing about hotels is cleanliness. Even though this is a new resort and should be clean, it was always exceptionally clean. The cleaning crew is always cleaning and the house keeping will clean your room at least twice a day and always gave fresh towels. The entertainment was pretty good and every night was a different show. We actaully looked forward to it every night. They also have entertainment and activities around the pools. We were there to relax so we stayed by the quiet pool but it really seemed like they had a good time at the other pools. The beach was nice. Every morning we walked the beach one way and walked back on the forest side and took in the wild life. The food was really good, they had something for everyone and the buffet had a different food theme every night. We actually ate in the restaurants for every dinner. They changed their policy and you no longer need reservations for the reataurants other than the Steak House and we were able to get in the steak house twice. We had no problems at all on getting in any of the restaurants and they were all good. I can see if your a picky eater you may have a harder time with the restaurants.
The hotel is not by any towns but you can schedule day trips and tours. We only did one all day trip because we liked the resort so much we wanted to stay and relax and take advantage of the resort and the beach.
Overall we really loved Riu Palace and plan on returning someday and stay for two weeks.

Room Tip: We Stayed in 4040 which was a pretty ocean view and also right above where the entertainment area wa...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank 699TammyC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2013

Riu palace never disappoints, was my 3rd time at a riu palace in 3 different destinations. You come here for its service, cleanness and buffet style food. 4 star is guaranteed here but not 5 because of the beach. You wouldn't come here for your beautiful view of Caribbean beach and white sand. But if you love fruits than you have to try the pineapple!

Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
4  Thank Tom M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2013

It was beautiful, the people were wonderful, the food was very good. Our room was lovely, but lacked privacy. We had room service for breakfast a couple of times. The beach is not one for long walks and the sand is hot. No incidences at all with it being a brand new hotel. It is rather quiet so just go next door for some real party people.One suggestion, a softer bed would be nice, but all Riu hotels tend to have very hard beds.Overall, it was a perfect vacation and we will stay at a Riu again.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank robinpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2013

We stayed at this all inclusive from 3/8/13 to 3/15/13. Since it was the "dry season" it was in the mid 90's & sunny everyday. The food was very good at the buffet, and the lunch served at the steak house building was the same...very good. I had some mixed feelings about the ale cart restaurants. The Italian restaurant in the main building was the best. The other ones I could pass on. This Riu just started taking walk-in patrons rather than requiring reservations, other than the steak house. That made things go better with our dinner arrangements.
The grounds were clean, still very new. The groundskeepers were working every day getting new growth started, and putting in a new sidewalk to the beach. Nothing they were working on had any effect on our day to day plans.
The location of this resort is a little bit away from the excursions they were selling on the resort. We did an excursion that was about a 45 minute van ride. It was a boat ride down the river. We saw many crocodiles, iguana, and different species of monkeys. We also rented some 4 wheelers off site from a company called Santana's. He took us on fantastic 2 hour journey. Up into the mountains, down along the beach, and a monkey refuse, where they did some Zip lining.
We were not to fond of the dark sand beach. Another issue is, why do parents let their children hang around the pool bar area. It is not a place for them to play ball. They had 3 other pools to use.

Room Tip: We were assigned room # 2092. It was in the West wing, and it had a garden view. We also had a view...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Chuckiepoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

Address: Playa Matapalo | Sardinal Carrillo - Guanacaste, Sardinal, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Price Range: £209 - £394 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica 4*
Number of rooms: 538
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

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