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.
- 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