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“Beautiful hotel with awful service”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful hotel with awful service”
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Stayed at this hotel for 7 nights with my family of four. Let me start by saying this hotel is very clean and impeccable. I saw workers day and night keeping the hotel grounds clean. The hotel rooms are pretty spacious but the furniture is very flimsy and cheap. The beds are very uncomfortable and the bed sheets are super thin and old. We had two rooms next to each other for myself and my husband and the other for my teenage kids. My kids room had a leak on the ceiling and had a mildew smell. There fridge also leaked. We had to put towels next to the fridge so that we didn't slip and fall. Our rooms were cleaned every day but the maids would not fill our shampoo dispenser half the time. We ate at the steakhouse one night and another at the Italian restaurant. The food was awful on both. We decided to eat at Arenal buffet for the rest of our stay and loved it. They're menu changes every night and have a variety of cuts, organic juices and wonderful desserts. The pools are beautiful but good luck getting a drink. We had to constantly flag the pool waiters for drinks. They do not come to you and forget about getting a drink on the beach. You will not see a single waiter there. I loved Costa Rica. It's a beautiful country but I would not stay at this hotel again. I payed several thousand dollars to stay here for a family of four and it was not worth it. I will go back to Costa Rica one day and will stay else where. I would also like to add that the front desk workers need manners and personality. They are rude and unfriendly. Special thanks to waiter Gina Mora at Arenal. She was wonderful. Also Luisa at entertainment. She always had a smile.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Angie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,253)
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English first
San Jose, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

We have stayed in RIU Palace from August 1st though August 7th. We suppose to stay in RIU Guanacaste, but it was overbooked and we were upgraded to RIU Palace. We have stayed in many all-inclusive resorts in Mexico ( Barcelo Palace, RIU Ucatan and a few others). By far the service in RIU Palace was outstanding. Especially, we have enjoyed the Arenal Buffet: super selection of the great quality and varaiety. The fruits were clearly one of the best ones we ever had. The most enjoyable experience in Areanal Buffet was enhanced by our wonderful waiter: Gina Mora. Gina was always ready to help: our eight year old son wanted special drinks and she always put extra effort to find for him whatever he needed. Just in one day, Gina new our names, preferances in drinks and etc. We are very happy with great time and experiences we had at RIU Palace.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Anna A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bronx, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 August 2014

This was our first time to Costa Rica. The resort was amazing. The room was beautiful and beds very comfortable. We asked for extra bed which was provided at no charge. The free Wifi was definitely a plus. I was able to go online throughout the entire property (even the beach). The staff is very friendly. In particular, Luis Andrey Davila. He is a waiter at the Buffett. Very attentive and courteous. The food is amazing here. We tried the steakhouse restaurant "Papagayo" which was amazing. We all ordered Surf n Turf. The lobster was excellent! The only thing I thought needed improvement was the entertainment team. They weren't very lively. One last thing, our room had a jacuzzi tub......

Will definitely return.

Room Tip: Corner suites have balcony jacuzzi
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Cherry996
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

The hotel is new, but hallway and stairs have bad smelling. We came early and front desk is nice to let us check in at 12:30 and upgrade the room without extra charge.
The room is spacious with the bathtub in middle of room. Robe and slippers are not provided as other 5 stars resorts. Only two channels: CNN and sports are in English, the rest are in Spanish.
Wifi is free and have good reception in room.
There are 4 restaurants that we must take reservation from 10-2 for next day. The food is not good at Tokyo restaurant where they serve Chinese food, not Japanese as it says. Men must wear pants to Crystal restaurant. Food is either salty or too sweet here. The lamb is OK at this restaurant. The Steak House is next to the beach. food is better. We have lobster and steak here. The manager is very nice. he brought as much as you request. At one diner, he brought us (2 people) 6 lobster tails and 2 big steaks. The buffet is the last choice if we don't want to make reservation. We have 5 diners here but they don't change the menu even they post it as international. Mexican, gala or Asian. The food here are always well done.
They have plenty drinks. Only the bartender in the lobby can make good coffee (cappuccino palace) We can order drinks from the beach or pools.
The beach is OK, with dark sand. There is a little shade under the trees. The sand is very hot we must wear sandal to walk on the beach. The water is OK, but not clear as in Cancun.
There are a lot of bees on the beach or around the pool areas. You can walk to the Monkey bar. The best time to see monkeys is early morning on the trees at the end of the beach.
There are 5 big pools in the resort, The pools are closed at 6PM. There are activities at the pool with the bar,
The activities is good every night from 9-10. The casino is very small, that have only a few computer slot machines.
We took 2 tours with Alex on the beach: one combination of zip line, horse riding, 2 hidden waterfalls, mud bath...The tour of wild rafting is also good.

Room Tip: Room facing ocean and pools has better view but noisy.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bien5529
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2014 via mobile

My husband and I are in Costa Rica for our honeymoon. We are staying at a house at the wonderful Four Seasons. We have visited Costa Rica many times before and decided to do something different today. We wanted to go to Riu to check out their beaches, casino, and dining options. We arrived at the gate only to be greeted by a guard who was not really helpful. He said we need to call the reception. We spoke to the receptionist and the guard stated we wanted to BUY day passes and spend money at the various places they have as well as go to the casino. He stated, we are booked and you cannot come on the property. Also, the casino opens at 6PM. Mind you, it was about 1 PM at the time. We drove an hour to this resort and checked online prior to leaving our resort to see if there were any times mentioned or restrictions and NONE were listed. We were rather bothered because we were not asking to stay the night on the resort but instead spend our money on their amenities. We have been to plenty of 4 and 5 star all-inclusive resorts and they always offer an option for a day pass no matter what the capacity of the hotel is at. The guard asked us to make a u-turn and leave. We pulled
for a second and asked another guard if there is another hotel nearby we can visit so we didn't drive an hour for nothing. He spoke no English and my Spanish is enough to get by, but not conversational. He called for the other guard in the guard house and that guard responded, NO. He asked him again to come because we has a question and again the guard said NO because he didn't want to get up from his seat. The first guard then had to finish what he was actually doing to come answer our question. He did assist us some, but what an awful first impression. Now I understand why the Four Seasons is so much nicer of a resort. Nothing but kindness to all who arrive. Riu should learn a thing or two....people who want to spend money on their honeymoon should be welcomed with open arms.

Stayed August 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Esahunnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
61 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
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
New York
Level Contributor
75 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
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
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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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