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“Excellent service in Guanacaste”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Calgary, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent service in Guanacaste”
Reviewed 12 July 2014

We spent 11 nights at the RIU Palace in Guanacaste. It was fantastic the food was outstanding and the customer service was also outstanding. We need to mention a server that made our stay even more enjoyable. This lady's name is Gina she works in the buffet restaurant. Seek her out she will make helpful suggestions and take the best of care when serving you in the restaurant. Gina Mora was one of our first encounters of a Costa Rican she is an excellent ambassador for Costa Rica and the RIU. Thanks Gina our family will miss seeing you best wishes always :)

Room Tip: We stayed in the Presidential Suite it is a huge room with a king bed we have 2 children so ordered...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lori F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Jacksonville, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2014

I've travelled all over the world and was led to believe this was a top notch resort. I realize other countries don't always do things the way we do in America, but this was just bad. From the moment we checked in, our troubles began. We booked to junior suites (1 for my husband and I and one for our two children who are 22 (girl)and 19(boy). When we got to our rooms (which were next to each other), our children's room only had 1 bed. We specifically had requested 2 beds, as my children Will NOT sleep in the same bed! When I called the desk they really didn't seem to care and stated that they were completely booked. They offered to bring a cot to the room. After I went to the desk and explained that would not work, they finally gave us another room on a different floor. Better, but not super convenient (being that far apart). The food was a big problem all week. I actually lost weight after the week. The 2 restaurants that you needed reservations for had 2 seatings (6:15 and 8:15). Reservations could only be made between 9-2 at a the desk AND you couldn't reserve more than 2 days in advance. Ridiculous! The food there was ok at best. The rest of the food was all buffets. You couldn't order any food at the pool. You could order drinks, but the service was very slow and then drinks weren't good half the time (2 strong or too weak). I guess when you're serving unlimited drinks to mass quantities of people.......The toilet in our room would shoot water at you when you flushed it, so we had to make sure we put the lid down before flushing, so we didn't get DIRTY water splashed on us.

On the positive side, we were there June 29-July 5th, which is rainy season and the weather was beautiful. No rain at all. The excursions were great (jet ski tour, catamaran, zip lining, etc...).

There are so many more things I could tell you about the hotel, but I think you should get the picture. It was terrible and I DON'T recommend it!

Room Tip: Don't Stay Here!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
5 Thank Michy08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2014

okay....need to try to catch your attention before going to any hotel in the Guanacaste area; I am sure all will be a good time....

need to divert to the EXTREME RIPOFF at the PLAYERS CLUB at the AIRPORT......

go to the trip advisor web site and type in the "players club bar and grill" (or restaurant) and read their reviews before you even step foot on any hotel in the area because if you go to this place when leaving the Beautiful Country of Costa Rica, its people, and the great vacations they provide, you will forever have a sour taste in your mouth......this RIPOFF made me sick to my stomach and if you read other peoples' reviews, unfortunately you will find it appears EVERYBODY gets RIPPED OFF by this SHAMELESS act of greed.....

Room Tip: stay on the garden side for best chance of quiet nights; on the pool side if you like noise and acti...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank brian e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ozone Park, New York
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2014 via mobile

My husband and I stayed at the RIU Palace in Guanacaste during the week of July 6. We are a young couple..late 20s. I was worried about booking in July because it's suppose to be their "winter/rainy season" but the weather was mint everyday that we were there. We were lucky because it never rained and it had 90 degree days.
The airport is roughly 30 min from the hotel. Check-in was easy and super quick. Our room was on the 3rd fl and a bit far out but it was fine. The room faced the ocean and pool area.. No need to purchase ocean view. There is a jetted tub in every room which was nice.
Food- we weren't crazy about the al la carte restaurants.. They have either 6:15 or 8:15 reservations available. If I had to pick I would say the Italian and Japanese were good. However, we really enjoyed the buffet. Every night they had a different theme..Mexican, oriental..etc.
Drinks- we tipped the bartender on our first day by the pool and we never waited on line for a drink! Ppl think that just because it's all inclusive you don't have to tip. They appreciate tipping and will remember you and take care of you. TIP!
**The bees by the pool bar are out of control! I didn't get stung but a couple of ppl did**Bring bug spray.
Entertainment-the entertainment crew are very friendly and we enjoyed watching their shows every night after dinner.
Excursions-We did the mega tour which included zip lining, horse back riding, mud bath, and hot springs and we loved it.
-We also rode ATVs for 2 hrs and stopped at the canopy to visit the monkeys. We were able to actually hold them..that was pretty awesome.
-MASSAGES by the beach were AMAZING ..$60 for one hour for both of us and your facing the ocean and listening to the waves! If your looking for "white towel service" they have massages in the hotel spa for $300 and up.
So many ppl complain about the beach...we thought it was fine.. It's a black sand beach but it's clean and just as nice.
We loved the RIU so glad we stayed here and would definitely return!
Almost forgot to mention... FYI they charge $29.00 per person at the airport to leave the country. That was a nice little surprise we got when we were leaving. I had no clue.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank stephanie a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Royal Palm Beach, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2014

This hotel is beautiful, we have stayed at several RIU resorts and this was by far the nicest one! Everything from the décor to the pools to the bars and restaurants. The staff are all on their A game. Wasn't very crowded or at least it seemed that way. The buffets were excellent, food delicious and displayed beautifully. The entertainment staff were a blast. The shows well put together. And the fact that you have access to the sister RIU was an added bonus!

Room Tip: I suggest a junior suite with an ocean view. Not much more but plenty of room for a couple
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Wendy292014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2014

I stayed at the Riu Palace in Costa Rica for one week in the middle of June. I held my destination wedding here along with 50 guests that all flew in and out together on the same flights. We had a ceremony on the beach in the late afternoon. Dinner at the Italian restaurant and dancing at the coconut bar outside.The place was absolutely stunning the moment you drive up to it with the crisp white exterior and the true scale of a palace, this place was enormous! Photos don't do the resort justice, you just need to see it in person. My room was on the 5th floor with ocean view and very large balcony.
Pros:
-very modern and clean decor
-extremely well kept landscape
-very good food for an all inclusive resort (Arenal breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet was very good and Papagayo steakhouse lunch buffet was ok. I tried a la cart at Papagayo steakhouse-not impressed, Krystal fusion restaurant-amazing food and the italian restaurant-very good. Room service food was not good. Poolside lunch bbq was pretty good.)
-very friendly front desk staff
-plenty of poolside lounge chairs
-amazing drinks all week long...especially the pinacolada!!!!
-4 pools plus swim up bar so lots of choices, no crowding (though I went during low season)
-beach is close by with tonnes of tiny fish swimming close to shore
-extremely well organized right from arrival and orientation and to departure
-for the wedding we were provided more than what we expected (we booked a carnival group for entertainment which is some dancers and drummers dressed up in colourful outfits hyping up the crowd and we were told there would be 6 people but we ended up having 25 entertainers! We also received additional flowers to define the aisle walk from the edge of the hotel to the beach ceremony site.)
-great weather, 30-35 degrees daily with lots of sunshine, even though we went during rainy season it only rained half the days we were there and usually just for a few minutes in the late afternoon.
-gorgeous 4th floor terrace where we did our wedding photo shoot.
-top notch excursions booked through sunwing: riu perdido (ziplining and water tubing), sunset cruise and ATV tour.

Cons:
-can't really see the sunset as it hides behind the mountain
-not too many free activities
-no lobby elevators. so you would always have to walk around to the elevators. The lobby stairs that head out to the back of the resort are the worst when you are tired, drunk or in really high heels.
-they have towel keys that look just like room keys so you constantly grab the wrong key on the way out but the staff were nice enough to give me a new key MANY times
-the hotel shut down the papagayo steakhouse on certain nights because of low occupancy. I had booked that restaurant for our wedding reception dinner so they moved us to the italian restaurant (which in turn was much better anyways but I did not appreciate the switch a few days before the wedding)
-the shower and toilet are enclosed but the sinks and bath tub are exposed in the rooms (not bad for me and my husband but it was shocking for some of our guests who were friends sharing a room with the lack of privacy)
-moat excursions are a good distance from the resort, at least an hour away but there are a few that are close by and lots of fun too
-not enough shade at the beach area ...things like umbrellas or huts were sparse.


Overall since we did go for a wedding I felt like we got some special treatment which was nice and with the large group size we really raked in on the excursion discounts. Gerry from sunwing organized all of our trips and we weren't dissappointed at all. There are plenty of other vendors to book with in the hotel and even independant people right on the beach but we chose to go with Gerry because he was very honest and realistic, we never felt like he was trying to sell us anything or push us to do something we weren't 100% on. On top of that he gave us some great prices. Gerry is amazing at what he does. has a great memory and really took care of my group.

Excursions were unforgettable (booked through sunwing).
-Sunsent Cruise picked us up at the beach of the hotel and took us to some nice waters for snorkeling were we got to touch an octopus and see other fish. We sailed the blue dolphin and the crew were very friendly and helpful. They provided a light dinner which was very tasty and we sailed back in time for a picturesque sunset on the ocean.
-ATV tour is loads of fun. We saw wild monkeys on the trip and if you rev the ATV the monkeys will growl back. The tour takes you to two beaches, one with a bar and another with pristine white sane and clear blue waters with ginormous waves depending on the tide hat day. We raced out ATVs with one another and kept getting in trouble from the guides but man was it fun!
-Riu Perdido ziplining and water tubing. We started off the day cliff jumping into the river and tubing down some tretchurous rocky river where almost everyone got a little scuffed up. The water was too rocky and shallow and the tubes didn't fit through many of the small crevices so the guides had to pull you through. Ziplining was insane as you go over the river canyon and climb up and up and up to the last line. 5 lines total with a tarzan swing and a pendulum swing and a hanging bridge. The guides don't prepare you mentally they just hook you up and push you off the platform and then pretend like they can't catch you on the other side. Scary as hell but very fun. This excursion isn't for the faint at heart and we even had 2 people bail out half way. The worst part for me was climbing the cliffs to get up to the next level. The tiniest metal bar screwed in to the side of the cliff with barely enough room to get half your foot on it is what you get to pull yourself up! after all the hard work and excitement we got a nice lunch, volcanic mud to rub on our selves and a dip in the hotspring river.
-horseback riding. I booked this through one of the independant people on the beach. I've never been on a horse before so it was terrifying at first but I got used to it. Unfortunately I got the laziest horse of the bunch, all it wanted to do was, eat, piss, poop and walk REALLY slow. Not the romantic gallop through the forest I was hoping for.

The hotel was better than I imagined, I wasn't sure if what I saw online was the real thing or not but it is! All my guests from every age (6 months to 75 years old) were all very well taken care of.

The wedding was phenominal! beautiful ceremony layout (we also did a butterfly release which was worth every penny). Dinner was very good and the cake looked fabulous. Dance reception was loads of fun. We hired the DJ through the hotel and they were AMAZING!!! The music was just what we asked for and more...we were expecting some poor quality discoteque music but we got a real DJ who knows how to spin and mix music the professional way! The carnival dancers were a huge hit with our guests and they really pumped everyone up. The bartender Walter even pulled out some bar tricks for us! You know its a good time when security comes by on a noise complaint and tells you to keep it down.

You really get what you pay for at the Riu Palace and then some. The resort was perfect for what we needed for this trip. I'm definately thinking to go back to Costa Rica but maybe next time explore more of the country and stay at a few different places.

Room Tip: ocean view all the way and the higher uo the better!
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank go3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
White Plains, New York
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2014

I stayed here with a girlfriend in May 2013 so the hotel was relatively new still. The one perk of staying here is that because it's the higher end RIU, you are allowed on the Riu Guanacaste property and you can use all of their facilities, drink at their bars and eat all of their food. Riu Guanacaste is more of a party resort than the Riu Palace.

The pool was my favorite place to spend the day. The best thing about the pool was the morning aerobics and the swim up bar.

We never spent time on the beach but we would take kayaks out to the ocean everyday around lunch. The food was good overall but I ate the sushi at the Japanese restaurant on our second night there and I got an upset stomach.

The room we had had 2 double beds, a balcony that faced a garden, a huge tub and a large shower. Sleeping soundly is a little difficult here since this hallways have hard flooring so if someone is walking with loud shoes or yelling it echoes. We didn't hear noise from any of the rooms next to us though.

The value for what you get is great. I would consider coming back to the Riu Palace but I wouldn't eat the sushi next time.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank newjorker
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): £££
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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