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“Excellent upscale resort with unbelievable service!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Newton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
56 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Excellent upscale resort with unbelievable service!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2014

We stayed here 8 days. The service was outstanding...Walter the waiter by the pool was efficient, friendly and warm. Jose and especially Johann were unbelievable entertainers and kept the pool area hopping! We were not bothered by the the bees or any insect life at the resort...since after all CR is all organic and probably a lot of pesticide isn't used. We did not like the Japanese restaurant/same menu every night (someone in my group got sick from the tempura). The Krystali was blah... the food was below average, mediocre and had the same menu every night The Italian restaurant was just okay (better than the other two). The service, however, was top notch (everywhere you went!). We never went to the steak house. We ended up eating at the Arenal, the food was great and different every day and we particularly looked for William, who was GREAT! We like the Papagayo where the buffet which was also great but the difference between this one and the Arenal is that the Papagayo is not air conditioned since it is all outdoor seating and the Arenal has both indoor (air-conditioned) and out door seating. Costa Rica has the world's classiest servers! The shows were okay - the dancing was great most of the time. But, we went every day because we loved the atmosphere. At the reservation desk the price goes to Noela... who was warm, intelligent, knowledgeable, friendly and I can go on and on. The rooms were cleaned from ceiling to floor every day (the doors are kept open while the maid service cleans). Thank you Costa Rica for a memorable trip among a very wholesome people/country! PURA VIDA

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TRAVELFREAKONE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,212)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York
Level Contributor
75 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2014

My two girlfriends and I just got back from a 4 night stay at the Palace. Overall the place was great. I've stayed at Riu's in Cancun and Puerto Plata and loved them. This one was OK.

The hotel is beautiful. It's a little too modern for me because I don't get the feel I'm looking for on vacation, but very clean and well kept. The bar in the lobby actually reminded me of a bar I could find here in NYC. One person to note was Adriana at the lobby bar. She was fantastic and so nice. Always had something nice to say and was very quick with the drinks and checking in on us.

The pool area was nice, but I didn't stay there more than 10 minutes at a time because of the bee infestation. The beach is nice. It is a black sand beach and the water isn't crystal clear, but it was warm and not too rough. One downfall about staying at the beach is that we always had to drag heavy beach chairs through the sand because there were never enough set up except for under the trees. They should also have a beach bar and bathrooms, so you dodn't have to wait for waiters or walk far to the restrooms. The one waiter I did see at the beach was Dennis and he was fantastic. He knew our names right away and would always bring us exactly what we wanted when we we needed a refill. There were bees at the beach also, but not as many.

The food was OK. We ate at the italian restaurant the first night and it was my favorite meal. We ate at the buffet for all other meals and they were good, but not great. The buffet also closes way too early. We would stay at the beach until about 6:30 and then by the time we got ready and got downstairs, we needed to rush to eat before we had to leave. It shoud be extended from 9:30pm until at least 10pm.

The rooms were really nice. They weren't fully stocked though. We had shampoo and lotion, but no soap. We also had two towels when we arrived even though there were three of us in the room. It also didn't seem like they swept or washed the floors because they were always sandy and we would rinse off at the showers prior to going back to the room.

Overall we had a great stay, but not sure I would stay there again. It's hard to relax and close your eyes at the beach or pool because you're afraid you may be stung by a bee.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DRBKLYN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014

We stayed at RIU Palace from July 27 through August 2, 2014. This was our 4th all inclusive between Mexico and Costa Rica and was by far the best all inclusive we have stayed at. Before we booked, we read many reviews of other all inclusive resorts in Guanacaste and Papagayo. We made the right choice by taking advice from other reviews we read by staying at RIU Palace. I agree with other reviews, if you can afford a little more, stay at RIU Palace instead of RIU Guanacaste (which is next door). The Palace is spacious less crowded, more pools, more restaurants. Unlimited brand name liquor from dispensers (if you inbib) in the room. We didn't drink a drop. The fridge is stocked with Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta Orange, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, club soda, and plain bottled water.

The two resorts share the beach, non motorized water sports equipment, casino, spa, and disco. They have separate entertainment venues. The resort has nightly shows and live music after the show.

Tips on rooms - the beach front view rooms are above the night entertainment stages (which goes from 9-11 PM) so it could be noisy for anyone who goes to bed before 11 PM. The best rooms I think are courtyard view rooms (also can see ocean without paying ocean view price) that are on opposite side of where the night entertainment stages are. We stayed in garden view rooms on 3rd floor and it was quite nice. The center section of the bldg is 5 stories, other sections of the property are 4 stories. If you do book a garden view room, avoid rooms that face the RIU Guanacaste. The two buildings are close enough that you can see people inside.

Overall food at the resort was wonderful. We especially enjoyed the breakfast and dinner buffet at Arenal restaurant. The service was attentive and efficient at all restaurants. Staff are constantly clearing dishes, filling water glasses and other drinks. Poolside BBQ was also delicious, except it is only served between 12-1 PM.

We read in reviews that some people buy excursions on the beach because they are cheaper. We believe they are cheaper because they do not pay required sales taxes. We felt if anything were to happened, there would be no recourse and no support from the local authorities . We decided to use TAM Tour Company, a licensed tour company inside RIU Palace. We used Melvin, who was knowledgeable, really helpful and pleasant to work with.

If you want to get a reasonable price on massages, go out to the beach and turn left. There are many masseuse under trees. It is $30 for one hour. Although I got 50 minute massage at the resort for $35 with resort coupon. It was really nice too.

You can also find ATV's and horseback riding on the beach by local people. Horse back riding is $30 for one hour.

I hope my review helps plan your trip. If you let the resort know that you are celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday, they will decorate your room for you.

Julia at the front desk is really friendly and helpful. She has nice smile.

Room Tip: Pay for court side rooms and you'll get ocean view as well. Garden view rooms are the least exp...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank loveourvacation2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014

I spent a week here at the end of July 2014 and thought it was great, no complaints. I'm vegan and had no trouble finding lots to eat at the buffets, food was spectacular. Lots of seating, I was by myself but felt no discomfort eating alone. The room was large and very comfortable, I guess the bed was more firm than soft but I'm fussy about beds and I was very pleased. The electronic safe was reliable and reassuring. The hotel and grounds were very well maintained and the staff were always pleasant and helpful. The whole place had a spacious feel to it. The beach is very nice, I like waves and would have liked if they were a bit bigger, but would rather have that than be nervous about swimming alone (as I have been at some other beaches in Costa Rica).
A couple of things perhaps worth noting. The toilet was in a separate little room (like a closet) and the shower was at one end of the room and had a frosted door, but the sinks and bathtub were right in the room (ie, not very private). I was alone, so not a problem, but might not work for some. Also, there are 2 different people who service the rooms - a maid and a mini-bar attendant. If you leave a tip by the mini-bar/coffee maker it will be taken by the mini-bar attendant. If you want to tip the maid, leave the tip on the bed or bureau. Maybe this is obvious to other people but it wasn't to me, fortunately I was in the room when the mini-bar attendant came and when I tipped him directly he kindly suggested I move the tip I had left for the maid (by the coffee maker) over to the bed so she would be sure it was meant for her.

I paid close to full price as well as the single supplement and still feel I got very good value for my money. I was looking for a relaxing, safe, problem-free week by the beach and was fully satisfied. I hope to go back.

Room Tip: I had a garden-view room, but had a fine view of the ocean, as would all garden-view rooms I would t...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Terry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Long island
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2014 via mobile

Awesome trip and hotel but if you don't like bee's.. Steer clear! They need to do something about the need at the pool area.. They were bad. But if you get drunk enough or swim a lot you don't care as much. The staff as really nice, especially Freddy the bartender at the main lobby bar - he was awesome and would come back to see him. Everything was kept very clean.. Would definitely go back again!! But recommended dec-April.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nessababe12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Caldwell, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2014

My husband and I went to Costa Rica. We had the best time. The hotel was beautiful, the service was great and the food was good. We loved Jose from the Capuchino bar! He was so nice to us each and every morning. He always greated us by name and made us the best coffee ever!! He was always smiling and happy. Also Lily from house keeping was great. She always went above and beyond to make our room look great.
Ania & Richard

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank aniam381
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2014

Just came back from one week all-inclusive.
- Service was great, very nice and helpful staff
- food at restaurants was nothing spectacular; better off eating at the buffet which was amazing..
- pools are amazing
- good amount of activities
- the beach is public, so there are tour operators that will try to sell you on their packages. I highly recommend Carlos Campos (guy on beach always wearing hat and yellow shirt)..we went through him for: 1) mega combo w/ extreme zip lining at Buena Vista which is around 1 hr 45 mins away - this was an amazing day which covered horseback riding, extreme zip lining (including tarzan swing!), hot springs/ mud bath, water slide;
2) horseback riding for 2 hours..such a good time, well worth it!
They are generally cheaper than what the tour operators offer inside the hotel. They are safe, provided good transportation and they do take care of you.

Disappointing things:
- casino sucks..worst casino i've ever seen...but maybe a good thing b/c it makes you not want to gamble
- lots of bees!! heard several guests getting stung so be careful if you're allergic to bees - they generally hang around the fruity drinks
- advertised as adults only...that was not the case as there were lots of kids there - not a big deal, but just don't represent yourself as an adults only hotel when you're not
- cups in the rooms were not washed...bf used one of the mugs as his ash tray for cigars and spit..the next day, he picked up one of the mugs that was supposedly cleaned and it turned out they only rinsed it quickly

Room Tip: Oceanview is a must
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank m2hung
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, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Sardinal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach 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
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste

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