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“Riu Fun”

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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sardinal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 August 2014

Its a beautiful and tranquil place.The food at the Japanese restaurant was ok, the fried ice cream was awesome. I tried my bf's mango ice cream and it was pretty good too. I enjoyed the surf and turf at the steakhouse we didn't stay for my Alaskan ice cream desert because we didn't want to miss the 9pm show. The nightly shows were entertaining. What i enjoyed most was the BBQ from 12pm to 1pm. Lots of pools you get access to the next door Riu Guancaste where there were way more younger folks but hard to get serviced. We went ATV riding which was fun. Overall the trip was a B+, coming from a 30 year old.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Melissa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 August 2014

I just returned from a GLORIOUS stay at this property (Aug 6-11, 2014). It was literally THE BEST vacation I have ever had! I'll give you the short, then the long.
THE SHORT:
ALL INCLUSIVE INCLUDING PREMIUM LIQUOR
Hotel/resort: As gorgeous as the pictures.
Beautiful grounds. Sprawling property.

Service: Unparalleled gracious and knowledgeable staff. They live to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. Very humble people who care about their jobs

Room: We had a 4th floor ocean view room which included a view of the ocean, pool area, grounds, mountains, and the sister property next door which is also gorgeous. The semi-circle shape of the hotel optimizes the view. Large balcony for sipping that great rich Costa Rican coffee in the morning. Super clean, comfy bed, huge shower (yes for two), Sitting area, fully stocked mini fridge.

Food: 5 on site restaurants. Buffet is unbelievable. Several upscale options. All delicious. All inclusive. Do yourself a favor and lose 5lbs before you go. Seriously.

Spa: beautiful free standing building, luxurious inside, exceptional staff. We opted for a combo massage in the couples room (50 minutes). They offer massages in a cute curtained cabana out by the pool, nice option but Costa Rica is not only hot but very humid. Don't sleep on the experience of the darkened room, candles, relaxing spa music and that wonderful spa aroma. Ahhh...I got you now don't I?

Pool area: FABULOUS. you could hang out here daily and not take one excursion/tour and be completely happy. 5 pools/swim up bar/under water bar tables & stools. Activities...more on that later.

Location: please note this resort is remote. This is NOT a con. The closest city, Liberia, is 45 min away. Most excursions/tours are a 3 hr drive away (rainforest, volcanoes, etc). So staying less than 5 days is not recommended (my personal recommendation). I met people who were there for 3 days and they said they were having a fabulous time though.

Unique features:
1. All inclusive, including premium liquor. Full sized liquor bottles mounted upside down in a glass case on the wall in your room, with nozzles. Just stick your glass under. Seriously.
2. Nightly Vegas style shows, excellent talent, don't skip them
3. The buffet.....again the buffet!!!!
4. Daily noontime party at the pool, the chefs grill fresh meats, fruits, veggies right out by the pool. The activities staff is conducting salsa/merengue/Cumbia lessons to a live band, there are water aerobics, water basketball and water volley tourneys. But it's not overly busy to where you can't enjoy the pool. There is a ton of time to just chill and sip the freshest and best piña coladas I have ever had.

Excursion: shout out to Cat Tours!!! Take the Catamaran Tour. Marina is 20 min away. Sail out to sea on a huge catamaran, anchors for an hour to allow you to explore an cave, snorkle and paddle board. The ride back - they serve you a nice lunch and crank up the jams, party on deck. We spotted whales, dolphins, Tortuga tortoises and the most beautiful scenery ever!!!!

Shout out to AAA Travel in Houston/Justine. I was not comfortable booking international travel (beyond the Caribbean) online. She handled everything, it was simple and painless and she was knowledgable.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean view room on the 4th or 5th floor. Spring for ocean, the difference for us, for the...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
5  Thank KimLW W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2014

I had looked into booking one of the RIU properties before leaving the States & they both were full. Luckily, by the time we arrived at the local Hilton? Things had opened up! We selected the Junior Suite with an Ocean view - transferred Hotels & felt like we'd stepped into the lap of luxury compared to the other location! The room was comfortable & clean - very modern - although, felt NOTHING like you're in Costa Rica. And, the walls are very thin - people would be moving about making so much noise as they came in from partying at 2am - - or departing for Excursions at 6am - - and it made sleeping difficult. The doors also SLAM closed - there's no way to do it quietly. We wandered thru the vast Shopping (yay!) over to the neighbor property & the Lobby looks much more 'Tropical' there. Not sure what the rooms are like - but, the pool was a MADHOUSE compared to the Palace. Our little one jumped right in - but, I felt like we were stepping into a giant bathtub with tons of strangers - many of which (we're told) are locals. There was garbage everywhere in the Pool - very sad. The Pools at the Palace were much calmer & cleaner - although, a worker did tell us the Palace will be transitioning to "Adult Only" soon. The Buffets at the Palace were nothing like we've ever seen. EVERY type of food you could ever dream of - and, the quality was amazing - not the pre-made, packaged stuff we've seen in Vegas or on Ships. Top-notch! Our little one decided she wanted to stay up to watch the "Las Vegas" production - which was totally inappropriate for children - although, the dancers worked their booties off & were entertaining. Overall - - I will DEFINITELY be looking at RIU properties as we Travel - but, I do need to say - it was very 'Cruise Ship' feeling - - an overabundance of food + pool time + cheesy shows + a huge mix of people bused in for their 'Package Adventures'. Location is just about 40 mins from the Airport & very convenient. LOVED our time here!!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank facosmo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2014

I took my family there to spend a week together, It was really very nice, from the rooms to the food. we had to make reservations which they only let you do a day in advance. The buffet was also excellent, actually the kids 19-22 preferred it. Rooms were very clean and maid service was good.
We book the zip line and quading through the hotel just to be safe, which turned out better because the guys on the beach would have given us quads that were not automatics.Something to think about when your family doesn't know how to drive them. My wife and kids did get a massage on the beach for half the price and were vey happy. I take my kids every year for the past 10 years to a nice vacation and this was there 3 favorite vacation so far.
Wifi in the hotel is really bad, it works but forget about Skype or another type of communication.
Oh no High end alcohol like Kettle one, Grey Goose etc...

Room Tip: Corner rooms have bigger balcony's overlooking the ocean.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Paul B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2014

Well situated near the beach although the waves were pretty high when we were there, but the three pools were great
Good food in the restaurants . Little far to travel to points of Interest but we did the zip lining close by and it was superb fun. We dud take the longer trip for the boat ride and saw the red macaws, as well as a lot of river wildlife.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
Thank WattGatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2014

Wonderful honeymoon experience. Amazing service, amazing amenities, and wonderful location. Pools were marvelous, the view from anywhere was beautiful, and the beach was splendid. Drink service available from the pool to the beach.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank popxel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2014

Just returned from a week's stay here. Impressive new. modern facility for Riu. Place was spotless. Staff was efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. Rooms were large, well-maintained. FANTASTIC WIFI throughout the resort--and free!

The large buffet restaurant was impressive with a wide selection of local and international choices. Excellent server staff, too. Was not so impressed with the themed restaurants although of the three (the Japanese, Krystal, and the Steak Place), the Steak Place had the best food selections. The Japanese restaurant's food was bland and small portions. Service there was terrible. The Krystal restaurant was only sllightly better.

Our tour rep handled our excursions and we did a number of them, white water rafting on the Tonorio River was exciting and fun. 1/2 day sport fishing, an all-day, exhausting excursion to the Arenal volcano for zip-lining and a visit to the hot springs. A great excursion to Tamarino Beach for surf lessons.

My oly suggestion for the resort (which is oddly located right next door to the Riu Guanacaste) is that there needs to be more restrooms available poolside. There was only one located in the Steak restaurant-which was a healthy walk from the farthest pool. Speaking of pools--all were well-maintained and inviting. Beach access was easy but all beaches in Costa Rica are public. That means as soon as you leave the Riu properties you are hounded by beach vendors. Not all the time but frequently. Beach was very buggy-bring bug lotion/spray.

Overall excellent resort.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the pools can be a bit loud with the outside entertainment bands going on til 11PM. Our...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank wivusich
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

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: £201 - £381 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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