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“VERY GOOD BUT I HAVE SEEN BETTER BEACHES”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“VERY GOOD BUT I HAVE SEEN BETTER BEACHES”
Reviewed 23 July 2014

This is a great hotel, but I did not think the beach was that nice. I would not go to costa rica for its beaches. The mountain area is very nice. We went to Arenal area from Liberia, it is much nicer over there.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JC1614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2014

My family and some family friends visited the RIU Palace 6/20-6/28/14. This was my first stay at a RIU and overall it was a good experience. We had 4 rooms and had requested that we be placed close to each other when we made the reservations but we were placed on opposite sides of the hotel. The hotel is basically in the middle of nowhere so it was a pretty secluded environment. The hotel is BIG, but very clean and everyone was very friendly and accommodating. The lobby and Steakhouse are ‘open air’ and very hot/humid so dress accordingly (no tank tops and they are very strict about this). The rooms were very modern (nice big shower and comfortable bed) and the cleaning crew likes to come EARLY so if you are sleeping in, hang your ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. The Casino and Discotheque were pretty boring. The food in ALL the restaurants was very good (including the buffet) and some required reservations and dressing up. The food in the 24x7 sports bar was terrible most of the time but the drinks were free and we got to watch a few World Cup games with a bunch of rowdy fans from all over the world including Costa Rica (pretty cool). There are a lot of swimming pools and a poolside bar along with poolside service. It was great as were the noon lunch buffets by the pool! Do NOT lose your towel card or they will charge you $20 American. They have a different entertainment show each night outside (for free) and most were pretty good. The staff at the resort are friendly and helpful. They don’t request tips but they do appreciate them.

We did several excursions (Zip Line, Horseback Riding, Waterfall, Mud Bath, Hot Springs, Waterslide, Volcano/Rainforest, White Water Rafting, Half-day Fishing Trip) and used ‘Alex on the Beach’ for all of them as they were a lot more reasonable than the exact same excursions the Hotel offered in the Lobby. Also, since we had a party of eight we got our own private tour van (no large crowds on a tour bus). ‘Alex on the Beach’ can be located at the nearby ‘Monkey Bar’ which is a short 10 minute walk up the beach. Our tour guide was awesome as he was very knowledgeable and accommodating. Also, the massages on the beach are very reasonable.

Two things that didn’t sit well with me were, 1) the RIU Palace hotel staff at the checkout counter tried to charge both myself and the other family for ‘local calls’ that we never made. They said we made several local calls from our room which was untrue. Either it’s a scam to make additional $$$ or the maids are making calls while in the rooms as most of them stay onsite to work a week at a time and then off a week at a time. Either way, it was irritating but they agreed to drop the charges when I refused to pay them. 2) Do not plan on eating at the airport unless you want to spend a LOT of money. Our friends ate at the Players Club and ordered two burgers, mac & cheese, a sandwich and drinks and it was $104. This is ‘Economics 101’ (Supply and Demand) at its finest. Also...There is an exit fee of $29.00 per person in order to leave Costa Rica and you can't check into your airline until this fee is paid. Not sure what happens if you don’t have the exit fee.

Room Tip: Definitely worth the price to get an Ocean View room.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank WallStreet_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014 via mobile

My husband and I visited the RIU Palace 7/7-7/15. This is my third stay at a RIU and this by far is the best...only a few mishaps. First the good...The hotel is clean (seems like the workers are always maintaining the grounds, cleaning the bathrooms, picking up cups, etc. The room decor is modern, not a cozy feel (probably because there's no carpet in the rooms). The food is good...I prefer Arsenal over the others, and not big on buffets but I liked this one. We ate at the Japanese restaurant, it was okay...food came kinda slow...reservation required. The Italian restaurant was good...no need for reservations. Then there was the Steak House (it was meh)...plus I had a dead fly on my plate. I was done after that...headed to the buffet. The pools are nice and there are plenty of chairs! There wasn't a lot of people at the resort so chairs and proximity to the pool wasn't a problem. We thought it was supposed to be the rainy season but it only rained for a minute, one afternoon. ..The entire time! The nightly entertainment was pretty good...we enjoyed the shows. The staff at the resort are friendly and helpful...tip them! Give a waiter/waitress a couple of dollars and they remember you and take EXTRA care of your needs. Same with the Bartenders! Look for Carlos...He was our favorite. The noon lunch at the pool is a MUST...food is awesome and fresh! Drinks were plentiful. We had a couples massage and I had a pedicure...very nice (a bit pricey).

The bad (or inconvenient)...There doesn't seem to be any air in the lobby or elevators...it gets hot In both. You have to leave your room key in the slot for the electricity to work. It's not a bad thing but they don't always remember to tell you how this works...One night we about baked because we didn't know the sliding door was cracked open. If that door is open, the air doesn't work. We figured out after a long, hot night. Beware of the No tank top policy (for men)...it's at almost every resturant (except for breakfast at Arsenal). My poor husband was turned away twice. My problem with this is that women can come in some restaurants with a towel on but a man can't wear a tank top...In a hot climate (weird). The restaurant closest to the beach (can't remember the name) is infested with bees and flies! You can't reach into the drink dispenser area without the fear of being stung. Flies were on all the food...but it is outside. Speaking of bees...If you have an allergy to bees, carry your epipen. The bees are all around the pool, especially the pool bar...it is bad. The towel card is the worst. You have to give a card for a pool towel. If you lose the card/towel it cost like $20. Well, someone took our towel off our chair. We told the towel guy and he said we had to do a report with the front desk. Luckily, the front desk lady just gave us another card...others may not be so lucky. Last, the pillow cases, towels, table linens, bedding, etc can use a better cleaning or discard the stained ones. I came across a few things, in different areas that shouldn't be given to guest.

We used Issy Tours for our excursions...they are more of a private tour, instead of large groups. We were able to join the excursions with larger groups but because we had a personal driver, so we could leave when we were done...stop along the way to take pictures, etc. We moved at our pace, not a group of 20-30 people. Loved it!

And in case you haven't heard...EAT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE AIRPORT!! I forgot this tidbit and my husband and I ate at the Players Club. We ordered two waters (they only have bottled), one ginger ale, a burger w/fries and burger minis w/fries....$73! That place is a ripoff...BEWARE! Also...There is an exit fee for you to leave Costa Rica. We didn't know until we got to the airport. It's $29 (I think) per person. You can't even check into your airline until this fee is paid.

Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Bebester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014

I and my wife along with 2 friends had a super time at the RIU Palace July 11-18, 2014.The hotel is very clean and the STAFF from the Bell hops to the Cleaning Ladies were so friendly and helpful it was amazing. The food was excellent and there was a great variety. My favorite was the Arenal buffet where Marrico Diaz and other staff, too bad I cannot name them all,seemed to anticipate our every need while dining! There was so many hotel activities, we now know we need at least 2 weeks to take advantage of everything! Only downside is although the shows were very well choreographed, and performed, the music was not loud and crisp enough to do true justice for the performers. We used LAR transporters for excursions and got a driver named Alexander Villalobos (Alex) who we can truly say is so knowledgeable, safe driver, and friendly that we hired him four days in a row! :) We wanted to see the good, bad and ugly of CR living and he came through above and beyond our expectations. So when you go to Costa Rica look up ALEX and tell him James, Pernell, Cynthia, and Warren sent you, you will not be disappointed! PURA VITA!!!!!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank James A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oceanside, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 July 2014 via mobile

I recently stayed with my family and some friends the week of July 12 at the Riu Palace. The resort is amazing! The staff was very attentive and the grounds of the resort are very well kept and the staff continually clean the grounds. I traveled with 4 teenagers who had the time of their life. The food at the buffet was excellent, as was the food at the Italian restaurunt and the steak house. All I can say is that I would highly recommend this resort for a fun filled family vacation

Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Thomas P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2014

We traveled to Costa Rica with our three children: 16, 13, & 10. The area is beautiful, the water is gorgeous, the weather was HOT (totally expected). The reviews you will read about the sand being hot are completely accurate, but was not a big deal, wear flip-flops. The staff are very nice. The property is clean and well manicured. We did several excursions (booked all in the lobby of Riu): zip-lining, ATV, and deep sea fishing. The Rio Perdido zip-lining and thermal bath is amazing. The area, equipment, and instructors were wonderful. The view is beyond words, and we felt completely safe. However, if you are the least bit prone to motion sickness the trip to get there is extremely rough. We were able to enjoy a thermal bath (volcanic) and a delicious lunch (best food of the trip), after zip-lining. The guys on the beach will negotiate prices for the two ATV excursions my boys took. They loved every second of this excursion. Deep sea fishing was gorgeous. It was a bit slow, but that's to be expected. We did end up catching several mahi-mahi, and blackfin tuna. We took the mahi back to the beachside grill and ate it for lunch. This was our best meal, by far at the resort. We were able to tell them how we wanted the fish prepared and the chef did a good job.
Rooms: We had two ocean view rooms. It was "bare-bones". There was nothing spectacular, tile floors, the shower did not drain. Beds were very comfortable, and a great (helpful) ceiling fan.
Food: UGH! This was by far the worst part of the vacation! Every single restaurant on the property was a disappointment. I realize "to each is own"; however, every person we struck up a conversation with held the same opinion. You do need to make reservations for dinner, except for the buffet. We ended up canceling our reservation for the "steak" restaurant because of all the horrible feedback we had heard. Our only "decent" night was at the Japanese restaurant. Virtually no flavor, greasy, or generic. We love to eat, and I actually dreaded it. Room service food was not any better.
The resort is very large, LOTS of people. We definitely decided this was not for us. LOVE Costa Rica, and the people. We would go back, but not to this resort.

Room Tip: Ask before booking an ocean view room. If it is close to the outdoor "stages", they do pe...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank threecmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 July 2014

I stayed in Riu Palace for 3 nights. I have to say it was the best experience I had. Food was excellent, from breaffast, dinner buffet and restaurants everything tasted DELISHHH (I think I gained like 20lbs, lol). Staff are so friendly, helpful and welcoming. Hotel is a very nice complex, excellent taste for decor, very clean, the entertainment shows are awesome. I think if you are looking for to relax, feel stress free, and do a little bit of adventurues excurssions on the side I think this is a good place to go to and stay at.. I truly had a great time and YES i would go back again :)

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tita12341
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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