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Reviewed 13 September 2016 via mobile

This resort was one of the most beautiful and friendly resorts I've ever been to.

The room was immaculate everything was clean and modern. The showers were really cool with the purple glass blocks. The bed was very comfortable and big. The ocean view was absolutely gorgeous with the mountains on the side next to the water. The view behind us of the jungle was beautiful to.

The pools were a lot of fun. We enjoyed the swim up bar a lot and like the chairs and tables that were in it. The volleyball pool connected to the infinity pool was always busy and full. Beside pool was nice and quiet for people who wanted to relax.

The beach was different the sand was volcanic sand which I really liked. I also like the different trees that were close to the ocean. We took a lot of great photos and of climbing them.

The food was excellent no matter which restaurant you ate at! I really liked that there was no reservations required. We were able to eat at a restaurant every night if wanted.

We also got married on the beach. They had it set up on time and beautifully. The flowers were gorgeous and loved that they serve champagne after we said our " I dos". I couldn't have dreamed of a more beautiful wedding. Everyone catered to us and made it the best experience I've ever could ask for.

The staff was amazing, friendly, and courteous the whole time. They felt like family.

Stayed: September 2016
1  Thank Knelson00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2016 via mobile

We loved our stay at Riu Palace! When dining in the Arenal cafetería, we were sure to seat ourselves in Gina's and Dania's sections. They consistently went above and beyond, making our whole family feel welcome, happy, and taken care of.
Gina and Dania are fantastic, and we are very appreciative of their attentiveness and welcoming natures.

Stayed: September 2016
Thank Tara C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2016

I recently stayed at the Riu Palace for a wedding and overall this is a pretty bad hotel and I had to struggle to find any positives; this is easily the worst hotel I’ve stayed at in recent memory. I definitely would not recommend this hotel and if you’re looking for a decent all-inclusive in Guanacaste, go with the Westin instead.

Cons:
The displeasure begins at the front desk with incredibly slow service, long lines, no option for early check-in, an archaic system involving envelopes stuffed with printouts, and a very incoherent, impersonal, and unimaginative staff.

Our room was incredibly musty and had the strong, unpleasant odor of your grandparents’ moldy basement after a storm. We returned to the front desk to ask for another room (a request the front desk staff was not happy to accommodate) and heard other guests (multiple groups) at the front desk complaining of items being stolen from their rooms and safe combinations being changed. When we did get a second room it was nearly as smelly as the first and our safe was already locked. The blow dryer in our room was also inoperable. We did not have our room cleaned a single time during our stay, and neither did some of the other guests in the wedding party, to avoid having items stolen from our room. Both of our rooms had spotty linens and bed skirts, which is quite disgusting, and the furnishings are minimal and cheap. We also couldn’t dial out from our room to check with our airport shuttle and the front desk initially wanted to charge us to place the phone call from the lobby even though our phone was not working correctly.

The food here is atrocious. Papagayo has the closest thing to edible food on the property. Arenal would be subpar for a high school cafeteria and L'Anfora was flat out gross; I ordered something being passed off as “Cod” and couldn’t get through 3 bites of it, I’m not even sure it was actually fish let alone Cod.

WiFi is property wide but is only useable in the lobby; in-room it is barely useful. The fitness center has some seriously outdated equipment.

Pros:
Very nice location and the grounds are well kept. There are plenty of activities at the beach and plenty of room for all at the pools.

Room Tip: Do not stay near the center of the property unless you plan on listening to shows all night.
  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank TyLocke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RiuHotelsandResorts, Online Reputation Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, responded to this reviewResponded 14 September 2016

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback and for expressing your concerns. We regret that your stay at our hotel did not fulfill your conception in general. Our policy is to make every attempt to please and keep our guests content.

Regarding the rooms, humidity is something very typical of a tropical climate. Our internal system is created to mitigate this. We are sorry to hear that we could not find a solution that could help you to enjoy your time at our hotel.

We also consulted our Hygiene department. All our hotels fulfill the international hygienic norms. For example, the bed cloth and towels are washed and dried according to the correct temperature limits as set out by general hygiene instructions.

In order to fulfill every guest expectations regarding food, our main buffet and specialty restaurants offer a great range of food options. We were concerned to note that we failed to live up to your expectations. But we can assure you that we strive to improve our service daily in order to offer all our guests in house and future clients a pleasant stay.

We hope you will choose to visit us again, and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of guest service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,
Riu Palace Costa Rica
Online Reputation Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2016 via mobile

Our family of 7 really enjoyed our week spent at the RIU. The grounds were very well kept-and we thought everything was kept clean and tidy. Guess some other people's feathers really get ruffled when they see insects of a bit of sand somewhere it shouldn't be-according to some of these ridiculous reviews I have read. It was never hard to find a chair with or without shade at any of the pools. The drinks are well made and the bartenders are quite wonderful whether at the lobby bar (Jean Carlo) or down at the pools (Anthony, Cesar, Moises, Alfonso) these guys bust their butts all day-and they keep the drinks coming and the pool areas clear of empty cups etc. the beach is very nice. Sorry, but I don't get hung up on white sand/black sand etc. the water was warm , the beach was clean and there's a ton of loungers. The massages on the beach are very good -and for $39 -the RIU can't hold a candle to that. Our room was always cleaned and we found the housekeeping staff to work extremely hard as well. Plenty of activities during the day down by the pool -activities staff was great. You can be as involved or as little involved as you want. I would say the nightly entertainment was pretty bad. We could hear it from our rooms ( be careful if you are in rooms to the right of the lobby as the noise is quite deafening at night). The food was just OK-but I wasn't expecting Michelin quality. Breakfast buffet was great-and Mayra-our waitress was always wonderful! dinner buffets were enjoyed more that the speciality restaurants. Steakhouse was terrible. Italian was not bad-stick to the antipasto buffet rather than ordering off the menu. RIU has changed their policy and done away with reservations for the restaurants. Men can wear shorts-just no tank tops. We didn't have an issue getting a seat in any of the speciality restaurants But the hotel was only 40-50% capacity. Not sure what it would be like during peak season as the restaurants are pretty small (75 ppl seating). The property is not near anything-so having a car or pre planned excursions is recommended. The hotel will charge you an arm and a leg for excursions-so do your research and book ahead. You can rent a car on property through Thrifty-comparable to what they are charging at the airport. Get a 4 wheel drive if you want to ride out to Flamingo or Tamarindo without having to go all the way around( will save about 2 hours each way!)
Lastly -PLEASE TIP your bartenders, waitstaff, housekeeping etc. this was one of the friendliest staff we have met-and they work very hard, very long hours. Just because it's all inclusive doesn't mean you shouldn't tip. Don't be 'those tourists' who expect to be waited on hand and foot without giving a little something back. God knows we saw plenty of them on our trip.
We probably would not return here as there are other parts of the country we'd like to see but we are glad to have chosen the RIU this time!

Stayed: September 2016, travelled with family
2  Thank alli419
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2016

We stayed at the RIU Palace for my dad's 60th birthday as a family in 4 separate rooms. There were many very good things about this resort, however, there were some things that certainly need to be changed/fixed.

First, the good:
We went during the "rainy season." The resort was not too crowded. Check in for the most part was quick and easy, and 2/4 rooms were ready (although given the resort wasn't at capacity and it was almost 3pm, the other 2 probably should have been ready as well). We had our pick of chairs and loungers under the canopies at the pool. The waiters came around with good frequency to take drink orders (shout out to Jeison!). Everything is very clean, and there are workers mopping, sweeping, cleaning constantly. All of the employees are very friendly. The front desk was prompt with our request for extra towels. Most days, although not all, there was a barbeque style lunch poolside with chicken, sausage, beef, seafood/fish, rice and beans, and a signature cocktail. This was by far the best lunch option.

One day, we took kayaks and SUPs out for a while. We had to sign some waivers, then we were on our way.

Our room, while very modern, was clean and comfortable. We requested an ocean view room on a higher floor, which we received. The mini-bar was restocked daily, and we always had 2 large bottles of water.

We were able to utilize he resort next door, except for dinner. We wandered over there one day.

We did not watch the shows, so I cannot comment on that.

We did participate in some of the poolside activities, and even won a few bottles of rum!

The staff provided a birthday cake and decorated one of the rooms (the wrong one) for the birthday celebration.

Gorgeous sunsets and views. I also had a massage on the beach by Hannia (you will not be disappointed!)...much cheaper than the spa at the hotel ($39 for 90 minutes)
The bad:
Other than the BBQ lunch, food was not allowed at the pool. If you wanted lunch, you had to dry off and dress for a bite to eat int he Italian restaurant in the lobby, or at least put a coverup on to hit the buffet at the restaurant near the pool. Overall, the food at the buffet for lunch (Papagayo) was plentiful, with many options to choose from. The quality was lacking however. There were some good items, but this was not consistent. I agree with some other reviewers who said the food temperature was not as it should be. That being said, I did not go hungry, as there was always a decent salad bar. Breakfast was the best meal of the day, at the Arenal buffet. Omelets to order, plentiful fruit and fruit juices, and the usual other breakfast items. Dinner was generally a disaster. One night, 3 of the 7 of us got sick (everyone had something different to eat, so not really sure what it was). At Papagayo, which turns into a steakhouse at night, the steaks were poorly cut and cooked. The antipasto bar at L'Anfora (Italian) was decent enough for a meal. The room service menu was limited and not that good. The cafe, with pastries and coffees was pretty decent.

The pool tiles were extremely hot, and we were unable to walk on them without shoes, even going from the lounge chairs to the pool.

Wi-fi is spotty. There is not much else to do near the resort, but we took a few excursions (see separate reviews).

All in all, I would definitely go back to Costa Rica, however, I would choose a different resort.

Room Tip: Choose ocean view rooms on a higher floor (rooms xx73 and above)
  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Terri L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RiuHotelsandResorts, Online Reputation Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2016

Dear guest,

Thank you very much for visiting our resort with your family for your father’s birthday. We are glad that you enjoyed your overall stay at our resorts.

Since gastronomy has always been very important to RIU we regret that we could not always meet your taste with the wide range of food options offered at the restaurants. Is important to remark that, for RIU, hygiene and quality control are taken seriously; we follow strict procedures while handling our food products in order to prevent and avoid any kind of alimentary risks or hazards. We would like to apologize for any inconveniences you had regarding stomach issues. Travelling to different countries with different clime etc. can lead to gastrointestinal problems which are not necessarily related to food.

However, we are glad that you highlighted our staff and described them as very friendly. Service is one of our key values and staff is constantly trained in order to maintain highest standards.

We hope to get the chance to welcome you again at one of our RIU hotels in order to deliver the high standards of guest service and quality which are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,

Riu Palace Costa Rica
Online Reputation Manager

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