Riu Guanacaste Reviews

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Riu Guanacaste  

Playa Matapalo - Sardinal | Carrillo - Guanacaste, Santa Cruz, Costa Rica

Posted by: J on Feb 11, 2014
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Riu Guanacaste Reviews
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Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica Costa Rica

of 28 Hotels in Costa Rica

User rating 3.5

Based on 18 reviews

Riu Guanacaste Information

This new 5-star resort is located on the seafront in the beautiful region of Guanacaste, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. As well as a superb range of leisure possibilities, the hotel offers five modern, fully-equipped conference rooms, and fine restaurants.

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Riu Guanacaste Reviews

Riu Guanacaste Review: 3.5 of 5 18 reviews
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"I initially felt quite safe at the hotel"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Chris - Toronto  on Jan 8, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
453 people found this review helpful

Riu Guanacaste- The good , the bad and the really bad-long

Just returned from a week at this new hotel (myself and my teenage daughter). We are very seasoned travelers (several trips yearly) and usually stay at 5 star resorts although have stayed in lesser places as well. I research all vacations very thoroughly – this new resort was having an opening special that was very reasonable- we paid $200 per night for the two of us all inclusive. At that price it is hard to find fault with anything however, in reading this review keep in mind that the pricing for this hotel is going to be considerably above what we paid and some of the problems that it is easy to laugh off at $200 per night will be harder to ignore if paying $400-$600 per night! Overall, I would say that this hotel gives the appearance of being a 5 star (and I am very well aware that there is a different expectation for 5 star in the Caribbean/ Latin America vs North America or Europe) , but if you look below the surface I would say that this is actually a 3 or per! haps 4 star hotel at best. I used reviews on this site extensively and felt it would be helpful to summarize some of the things that would have been helpful to me in making a decision about whether to stay here.

The Good:
- The hotel really is quite beautiful. It sits on a very picturesque beach with hills surrounding it and is quite majestic looking. The lobby area is quite attractive as is the pool area. The vegetation is new but will be quite beautiful when grown in
- The rooms are attractive but small. Bathroom a very decent size. Large balcony. We stayed in a basic room and it was fine- actually preferable to us as it did not front on to the evening entertainment and we still had a nice bit of ocean view.
- The hotel is spotlessly clean- there was always someone cleaning every public area. The public bathrooms were also spotless
- There was an abundance of lounge chairs around the pool and beach areas. We never had difficulty getting a chair at any time of the day. There were approximately 1500 people staying at the hotel, so not full capacity, but I was impressed with the availability as lack of availability of pool chairs is one problem many all inclusive seem to have.
- Pool bar- great service and selection. Although no pool or beach bar service
- Pools- very nice and never felt crowded
- Staff- most of the staff at restaurants and bars were wonderful . Many had limited English but they were very attentive. The management is another story (see below)
- Wifi- this was a good thing while it lasted! Free wifi in the lobby but after 2 days it was not working. We were told it would be up the next day and were told this for 3 days straight- finally one of the front desk staff admitted that it was not going to be fixed at all. This meant that for any type of communication you had to use the hotel telephones or pay to use their internet (not bad at $5 for 30 minutes but machines often not working) There is absolutely no cell service anywhere near the hotel.
- The boat ride to Coco beach was fun (although a little bit difficult getting in and out of the baot from the beach given the waves). Prepare to potentially get very wet! This ride was supposed to be $10 but after the weekend (coincidentally the same time as a large number of Canadians arrived) the price went up to $15. This is also true of the hotel snorkeling trip- arbitrarily increased mid-stay from $15 to $25. By the way the snorkel trip is not really worthwhile- not a great reef and very little to see
- The beach- long and very nice although be careful of the intensity of the surf and undertow. A few people did get injured

The Bad I:
- Food: This is a difficult thing to characterize as everyone has different expectations when it comes to food. The food is certainly plentiful and well presented generally. I will say that my general bias is against buffets and try to stay at hotels that offer sit down meals so this may influence my take on the food. Both myself and my daughter are quite adventurous in terms of trying new things and we eat out at restaurants extensively ( one of the best meals we had on this vacation was on one of our excursions when we were taken to a small local restaurant and served authentic Costa Rican home cooking- nothing fancy but absolutely delicious and far better than anything served at the hotel!)
- The breakfasts at the buffet were very good although after a week it did get a bit monotonous as every day was exactly the same. Although there was considerable choice available. The lunches were the weakest offering- lunch was only available at the poolside buffet restaurant. Although we always found something to eat, and you will never starve here, this is not 5 star food. Much of it was bland and overly sauced or over cooked. Yes there always was fish available and some of it was good but seeing the same things day after day was monotonous- especially when the lunch offerings were often recycled from dinner the night before
- Dinners were hit and miss. I was not overly impressed by the dinner buffets- again, lots of food available and considerable variety but nothing really great. There were 3 restaurants available- of the 3 the steakhouse was not good at all ( and I was trying to be generous in my assessment as it was nice to not have to go to the buffet). The Italian restaurant was much better and the Asian restaurant was pretty good. However these restaurants did not change their menus so to eat there meant eating from the same menu each time.
- The process of reserving the restaurants was tedious- stand in line to get a reservation in the morning (although could reserve up to 2 nights at a time). This is not what I want to spend my time doing on vacation- also there were 2 meal times- 6pm and 8:15 pm so felt very cruise ship-like (although many cruise lines have moved away from this rigidity)

The Bad II:
- In the rooms the shampoo was supplied in 1-use foil packets- this is NOT environmentally friendly as another reviewer suggested and is really just designed to save the hotel money. For 2 of us this meant throwing out 4 foil packets daily ( 2 of shampoo and 2 of shower gel). A small bottle of shampoo and shower gel would be preferred. There was also no hair conditioner or Body lotion ( a necessity after long days in the sun and standard everywhere I have stayed) supplied.
- Restocking of the mini bar was hit and miss- in the week we were there ours was restocked once as opposed to every other day as was supposed to occur. This in spite of polite requests and a generous tip on the first and only day it was restocked
- This brings us to the management. There was a sense that the front desk had been told to agree politely to any request and then promptly forget about it! A number of people we met seemed to feel that any small request (ie please restock mini bar, repair a/c, etc) was agreed to and then nothing done about it. The upper management seemed to have an almost arrogant attitude towards the guests (see the really bad section below)
- Beds- the beds were VERY hard. Not comfortable at all- we were told that a foam bad could be supplied but then this never happened. Our sheets were not changed once during a 1 week stay- I know this because I spilled some diet coke on the sheet one day and the stain was there the full week! The beds were remade daily with the same sheets- this is environmental friendliness to the extreme!
- The hotel rooms were not very sound proof . Could hear conversations and movements from surrounding rooms and especially from hallways. One morning at 4:30 am the hotel staff decided to have the surrounding areas fumigated. Everyone on the south side of the hotel was awoken to the sounds of loud machinery from 4:30-5am-front desk staff laughed- more evidence of the attitude of the hotel towards its guests

The Bad III:
- On the day we left to go to the airport (a Saturday) the hotel decided to pave the road leading to the hotel (this was done by the hotel, not the government). This resulted in taxis and vans being delayed 45 minutes to and from the hotel- we had allowed 3 ½ hours to get to the airport but were almost late because of this decision on the part of the hotel. Our cab driver , along with many other that were literally parked on the road for an hour trying to get out to the airport, said the workers told them that the hotel was supposed to notify all guests checking out so they could leave more time but this was never conveyed to any of the guests I spoke with
- Towel service- you were given 1 towel card per person. This is fine if a bit of a hassle- the problem was that the towel service staff would not allow you to exchange your wet towel for a dry one! Given the extreme heat we spent a lot of time in the pool but had to return to a wet towel! They took “one towel per person per day “ quite literally and pointed to this sign when we asked to exchange for a dry towel. I can understand one towel at a time per person but have NEVER been required to use a wet towel all day at any other resort. We asked on 2 separate days to exchange our towels and were told no each time
- This hotel is very isolated. This is OK for a few days but many people were feeling a bit stir-crazy after a week! There is entertainment in the evening starting at 10 pm but not much to do in the evenings between dinner and the show. (although we did not go to the casino)

The Really Bad:
- My biggest concern about the hotel was its absolute refusal to allow outside tour operators on site. I travel extensively and always arrange my own tours as I prefer a smaller, more personalized excursion. I had pre-booked airport transfers, a Palo Verde tour and a sailing tour from home after extensive research. This hotel refused to allow my tour guide/driver to enter the premises. I spoke with the PR manager of the hotel who told me that this was a new hotel policy (apparently new that week) but she agreed with me initially that it was not really fair to guests and that she would speak with her boss and get back to me. I thought the problem was solved until she got back to me the next day and told me that the driver would not be allowed onto the grounds but I could walk to the exit (a 10-15 minute walk in blistering heat) and meet him there. This was even going to be true for my airport transfer (ie walk to the exit with my daughter and our suitcases!) I spoke with the hotel manager, Ricardo, who confirmed that my tour operator could not pick me up for excursions and that this was for my own good and my safety (ridiculous as all the other hotels in the area allowed private tours in for their guests- this was more to do with the commissions of the onsite tour operators I am sure). However Ricardo told me he would do me a favour (??) and allow my driver in to pick me up for a transfer back to the airport. His attitude was very arrogant and condescending and others at the hotel felt the same way about their interactions with him. This policy would be enough to prevent me from ever staying at this hotel again
- Theft- this became a big problem while we were there. I initially felt quite safe at the hotel with my items locked in the in-room safe. I also don’t take anything of significant value down to the pool or leave it unattended. However, we began to hear about numerous items being stolen from around the pool- particularly cameras and cash and very little concern by hotel management. We then heard of people having items stolen from their safe (and the safe code being reset so they could no longer open it). One couple had all their money stolen from the safe and the hotel would not even assist them in getting a ride to town to go to a bank! On our last few days items went missing from our safe as well- not sure how they did this- I set the code and every day counted my cash and each day felt a bit was missing but shrugged it off as a counting mistake on my part. On the last 2 days however I counted and wrote down the amount of money in the safe and $10 was gone each e! vening. On the last night we left the TV on and the Do Not Disturb sign on the door to deter anyone from entering the room- when we got back to the room at 11 pm the TV had been turned off and money was again missing! My daughter did not want to stay in the room any longer- luckily we were checking out the next day Overall, I feel we got our money's worth at $200 daily all inclusive for 2 people. However, once the hotel is charging full price I would certainly stay elsewhere. I also feel that even at $200 per night we would have preferred to pay more and stay at a better run hotel (in spite of the beauty of this one). Would we go back to Costa Rica- most definitely. Would we stay at this hotel again- most definitely not and I , like many people we met, would not stay at a RIU hotel again.

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"Absolutely fabulous vacation"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  Anna  on Feb 17, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
376 people found this review helpful

Best vacation I have ever had. Let me start by saying I have travelled to a number of the Caribbean Islands over the years. This was the nicest resort I have ever stayed in.

Your Arrival:
Our arrival at the airport was handled very efficiently and we were on our way within fifteen to twenty minutes. Check-in was very painless and again we were in our room within ten minutes after arrival.

When we entered the room, I was in awe - it was stunning. The room was beautifully presented with its decor and furnishings. It was immaculate and my own (very minor) issue was that there was no coffeemaker. That is a personal preference - I enjoy coffee in the morning on the balcony. Certainly not the end of the world, however.

Our maid service was fine - the room was made up within a reasonable amount of time after we left in the morning and I have no complaints on how it was cleaned at all. In fact, we didn't insist that the towels be changed every day but they still were. I have read a number of the reviews on this hotel and have to laugh at the fact that people found the beds too hard. This is a brand new hotel. I should think that one saving grace is that the beds are still firm because 5,000 other people haven't already slept on them. Anyway, we certainly had no problem with respect to anything in the room. There was two maintenance issue, one with the faucet that I had to report one day and one with the fan in the fridge another. I went to the front desk and they were repaired very expeditiously.

Management couldn't have been more helpful or pleasant when I was dealing with them. They even called to ensure that everything was to my liking later in the evening.

Restaurants and Bars:
The first night we landed at the hotel around 9 p.m. We certainly didn't expect the buffet to still have a full array of food. We were shocked at the display. Absolutely fabulous, hot and with so many different choices. You certainly couldn't have left hungry from that spread of food. The next day we did the breakfast and had marvelous service.

We did the buffet again on the Sunday and that would reflect the comments made above. Monday we tried the steak restaurant. Plenty of food and steak was done to perfection. Tuesday we the Italian restaurant. My main meal was excellent - I had the salmon. Choices were limited and I was hoping for more of a pasta base but that is just a personal preference. The food was good. On the Thursday we tried the Asian. I am a lover of sushi and the presentation and food was very good indeed.

I can't say enough about the staff and service at the restaurants and bars. Melvin and Luis were terrific bartenders and Wendy Vanessa was a fabulous waitress. But accolades should be given to the rest of the staff, both bartending and in the restaurants. They were all very willing to do anything at all to make your stay pleasant and seemed very happy in their jobs.

Loved the pools and grounds! Everything was always immaculate. Pools were terrific in how they were designed, always plenty of chairs. Groundskeepers were continually working and their hard work was evidenced with beautiful lush gardens. Maintaining those in 95 degree weather without having rain for months must have been extremely tedious to say the least.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The entertainment staff were headed up by Alex. So very talented they certainly surpassed any entertainment I have ever seen at any other resort. Mama Mia, Grease, Las Vegas Night, a comedy revue, Folklore Night, A Tribute to Michael Jackson and a street party were all of the events we attended and they were unbelievable. Incredibly orchestrated and organized to the hilt. Fabulous displays of talent and to be commended highly for those talents!!

The activities away from the hotel - I did ziplining and loved it - it was only ten minutes from the hotel. The other trip was the boat trip down the Timpeske River where we saw iguanas, monkeys galore, crocodiles, bats and many different birds. Our guide Dennis was very well schooled in the flora and fauna and spoke non-stop of the animals and their habits and habitat. Hacienta was the driver who also was extremely accommodating and pleasant.

There were so many tours to chose from but given my limited stay there I didn't want to spend that much time in a bus going to and from the hotel. That is strictly a personal preference of wanting to be more rooted, so to speak.

Other Comments:
All in all, I think what made this my favourite vacation - the people at the hotel. Not one person ever made it difficult for me and they couldn't have been a friendlier group. I loved it and would return at the drop of a hat!

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"Perfect Weather - Will Go Back Again"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  Mary  on Feb 15, 2010  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
361 people found this review helpful

My husband and I returned on January 31 after a week stay at the Riu Guanacaste and would go back in a heartbeat.
We’d been twice to the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica (both occasions for 2 weeks) and when we were there three years ago, it was rumoured that Riu would be building down the coast. We knew at that time that once Riu was opened we would be there. I had read the reviews on Tripadvisor and Debbie’s Caribbean Resort Reviews, but knowing Riu’s reputation and having stayed at the Riu’s in Puerto Vallarts, Punta Cana, Playa del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas and Ocho Rios, we felt confident that we had made a good choice.

Your Arrival:
Our Skyservice flight from Toronto was delayed 3 hours and we finally arrived at approximately 11:00 p.m. After the usual custom clearances and baggage pickup, we were met by Swiss Travel which is Sunquest’s agent in Costa Rica. We arrived at the hotel around midnight and were greeted with a welcoming drink. The check in process was effortless and we were in our room within 20 minutes of arriving at the hotel.

Our room was clean, quiet and on the top floor with an ocean view and overlooking the pool. There was never a problem with bugs or other insects. (The hotel is trying hard to keep the outdoor area insect free and succeeded during our stay.) The bed was firmer that we are accustomed to but we didn’t have any problem sleeping. Be reasonable folks with your expectations of receiving towel sculptures every day. Yes, it is a nice added touch, but you are on vacation after all. We tipped our maid every day and received 3 towel sculptures one of which had a flower in the middle of it. We usually leave a tip with a note in the fridge indicating that we would like the beer and/or soft drinks to be replenished daily, but did not do so this time around. Regardless, our fridge was replenished every two days. Besides if you run out of beer late at night, just slip down to the sports bar with or without your insulated cup and have a drink there or bring it back to the room.

Restaurants and Bars:
Booking of the specialty restaurants was not a problem. We were told the desk was open from 9 a.m. to 2p.m. daily but found it open most days until 4:30 p.m. The wait was no more than 5 minutes. Book for the current day and one day ahead – you are allowed to book 3 times in 4 days – if you try to book more in that time period, the reservations computer will not accept the booking with the given room number. That being said, we had heard that some people got around it by either checking at the door of the specialty restaurant during seating time and if there were any cancellations, got in or if they were travelling with another couple, each couple would book days with their room number. We ate at the steak house twice. The rib eye steak was thinner than what we are accustomed to but done to perfection. The ribs and chicken were also good. The quality of the meals is really special at the Italian Restaurant. We did not eat at the Asian and therefore cannot comment on the restaurant. The two buffet restaurants are very similar to other Riu hotels – lots of selection and the items changed every day – look over the selection and then get what appeals to you most.

The service at the restaurants and bars is outstanding. We did not see an unfriendly waiter or bartender. The lobby bar was our main hangout between sunset and dinner. After the first day of drinking the cheap rum and then asking for Bacardi (light), our favorite bartender, Melvin (aka Mel Gibson), when he saw us approaching the Lobby Bar and when he was working at the Pura Vida bar, he would have our Bacardi (light) and coke and Imperial beer ready for us. The bartenders at La Plaza were equally as attentive.

The beach is not the best we’ve been to in the Liberia area. Like the other two resorts we were at previously, the beach is dark volcanic sand, but unlike the other two resorts, the water line was a little rocky. Because the volcanic sand is very hot, wear water shoes. The only drawback with the beach is that there is no bar service available and it is a fairly long walk from the beach to the closest bar at the pool. If you brought an insulated mug, fill your mug from the room and when you need to move around a bit, head for the nearest bar at the pool and get a refill.

The pools are beautiful and plenty of loungers, both at the beach and the pool and there never was a problem finding a good lounger if you wanted to move from sun to shade and vice versa. There is no need to get up at 6 am to reserve a lounger, unless there is some spot that is really to your liking. We were able to exchange our towels during the day for dry towels. The swim-up bar was great. This is the first Riu we’ve been to that next to the bar and throughout the pool area, there were tables with stools and it kept the bar area from getting overly crowded. Most days around the pool there was a bbq set up – a different fare each day - paella, tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers etc. The entertainment around the pool was good, water volleyball, bingo etc.

The entire hotel was immaculate, spotless, well manicured and clean – the staff were constantly cleaning everywhere and anything. As the resort has only been opened since the end of October 2009, the landscaping is fairly new and not that lush.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We were aware of the activities offered daily. We did not participate and we were not hassled to do so. Because we spent most of our evenings in either the Lobby Bar, Pura Vida Bar or the La Plaza Bar, we cannot comment on the shows.

Prior to our trip, we had booked a sunset sail cruise through Papagaya-Vargas Tours. We’ve used this tour company on our prior two trips to Costa Rica. We did not have the problem that others had complained about, of walking the 8 minutes to the front gate of the hotel. We were picked up at the front lobby and driven to Coco Beach where we were to board the sailboat. Dolphins were seen along the cruise and we watched the sunset from a location not far from the Riu. We were dropped off by boat at the Riu.

Other Comments:
This is the dry season and as a result there was not a drop of rain. The weather was hot and great for tanning. Unless you want to ruin a perfectly good vacation by getting sunburned, bring lots of sunscreen.

If you are lucky enough to find that one illusive spot at the south end of beach that has a signal for cell phone reception, you will not hear any cell phones ringing. If you absolutely must use your cell phone, take a trip to Coco Beach, where you can purchase your souvenirs as well, via the water taxi service or the land taxi. Both means of transportation costs only $15 – the water taxi takes 15 minutes and the land taxi, 40 minutes.

The resort is isolated and off the beaten path, nestled in a valley between green hills that frame the resort with trees and the occasional palms. The road leading to the Riu is not in the best of shape – some parts are paved and other parts are washboard gravel – and it can add an extra 20 – 30 minutes onto your trips. Riu paved the stretch leading to the resort. The reason behind the rather unpleasant roads is that Costa Rica, being in the forefront for their “eco” is trying to slow down the development of new hotels.

While you are at the Riu Guanacaste, visit the resort’s spa at the Spa and Wellness Centre. This was a real treat – I had an 80-minute combo treatment and it was really relaxing.

If you check out the trees between the bar area and the Ocotal Restaurant, you will see monkeys. There are iguanas and lizards around the pool area and sea turtles climb up onto the beach at night to lay eggs at t his time of year.

We would highly recommend the Riu to anyone thinking of seeing Costa Rica.

Photos: http://travel.webshots.com/album/576679807BmTFeo

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"Great experience at the RIU!"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  Robert  on Mar 9, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
366 people found this review helpful

Costa Rica is a beautiful place to visit. This was our first time and it won't be the last in Costa Rica and at the RIU.

Your Arrival:
The RIU is isolated but it is a great experience to travel to this location. Check in was seemless and everyone on hand was so friendly and helpful. It was only minutes from the time our bus dropped us off until we got into our room.

Very spacious, spotless and appealing. I saw that some people thought the beds were too hard but ours were great. Room was spotless every day even when we brought half the beach sand back with us. Bar fridge stocked every 2 days as promised and we had some special requests that were eagerly met. We had asked for extra pillows and towels and within minutes they arrived at our door. As always we had brought our own shampoo and conditioners but packets were provided.

Restaurants and Bars:
All excellent. Great selection and quality at the buffet and the a la carte restaurants provided a nice change. Food and service excellent. Great service at all the bars.

Pools and grounds are immaculate. Lots of room and always easy to find a lounge either in the sun or the shade. Everything very well kept and clean. The beach is good but the ocean is quite active so the first few feat into the water had a lot of small stones. We had our water shoes so it was not a problem at all. Also lots of lounges on the beach.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The hotel staff did a great job of keeping you active if you wanted to be. There was always lots to do from water activities to dancing by the pool or at the evening show. We went to relax and play in the ocean and no one bothered us to do anything more. There are lots of day trips available and we chose one day of zip-lineing through the trees, the horseback ride (none of us had any experience with horses) to the hot springs and mud bath. It was a great trip. We spent another day on the river cruise through the rainforest and saw a lot of birds, monkeys, alligators and lizards. They even stopped the bus so we could get a picture of a large snake on the road. Lunch was provided on both these tours and it was great.

Other Comments:
One can always find something wrong with a resort but we could not. It was a great trip and we are going back.

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"Pass on this one.........."

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Gail  on May 25, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
371 people found this review helpful

We recently stayed at this resort and found that hardly anyone speaks any English. Only reception and tour guides speak English so it is impossible to communicate with anyone. They also do not understand the concept of air conditioning and leave all the doors open on the few areas that are air-condtioned -- expect they will blow the air conditioning system soon. The place is isolated and they charge a lot of money for all of the tours. The food is not very good -- meat is overcooked and they leave cheeses and sliced meats out for hours before the meals. The rooms are nice but the furniture is not comfortable to sit in. The pool is too far from the main building and it is downhill from the main building so difficult for older people to walk back from. The pool is too hot and they turn off the filters all night.

Your Arrival:
We had no problem upon arrival but the bus trip takes too long because most of the trip is down dirt roads.

nice but furniture uncomfortable to sit in --- the liquour in the rooms is horrid stuff -- not drinkable

Restaurants and Bars:
nothing to write home about

pool is nice but too warm to be refreshing

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"Beautiful hotel but a few drawbacks"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Joy  on Mar 3, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
400 people found this review helpful

Room Number:
2075 & 2076

The trip from the airport and checking in was uneventful. All went well and speedy. THe roads were terrible but that is not the hotel's fault. THe first impression of the hotel was awesome. It is spacious, well decorated and very pleasing artistically to the eye. THe floors gleamed as did the whole resort.

The rooms were great, large and the bed was comfortable. We did have a problem with our ref. which was never fixed. We told the front desk about it everyday with the promise it would be handled. Our room did not get cleaned until late in the day however if we called down to the desk, someone was sent up to clean it. The little complementary products that are in most resorts were not provided here. A shampoo dispenser was provided in the shower. The towel service was great.

Restaurants and Bars:
We did not like the special restaurants because of the menu which is personal but the line for the reservations were too long. We tried the Asian one but it was buffet, not sit down service which we had experienced in many other resorts. The food in the main restaurant was just OK. You would never starve but nothing was outstanding. The variety was great and we always found foods we liked. Some things were over cooked and dried out because it had been sitting out without proper refrigeration.

The grounds are well groomed and cared for constantly. The pool was very nice and unusual with many little aresas set aside. The beach had black, fine sand which was so soft. We always found a place in the shade w/chairs provided. The view was spectacular.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The excurisions were too far to travel for us. Being so isolated, you were a captive audience. The great excurisions were all 2-3 hours away so it was a day for anything with many hours on the bus. There were little shops but quite expensive. The casino was great. We like to go into small towns to visit but could not do that here.

Other Comments:
The above comments are of a personal like and dislike nature. Some people find the isolation great and others found the food wonderful in the special rest. It is what we experienced and compared to other resorts. I would recommend you see for yourself if you disagree with any of the above comments. It was a good experience over all and might even consider going back.

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"Not 5 star! Would never reccomend--worst RIU we've been to"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  A.T.  on Sep 5, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Aug, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
377 people found this review helpful

Our stay: August 20-27 2011
Well first off, when we asked if it was a Palace (which is what we have stayed at previously with the RIU's) we were told that it was not technically, but that it was the only RIU in Costa Rica so it was comparable to a Palace. It was not. ...We were also told that it was 5 star. It was not. It was more like 3 at the most. Our ceiling leaked. We had large puddles on our floor. We had ants in our room (AND IN OUR BED--which was a "king"--no, it was 2 full size beds pushed together that rooled apart when we tried to cuddle!). The fridge in the room at the others we have stayed at were stocked daily. There, they stocked every other day. They give you 2 bottles of water which we drank in 1 day. When we asked for extra water and no soda as we do not drink soda, we were told "no"!! The wait staff was terrible (actually, there wasn't really a wait staff. They only came around and grabbed your empties.) The bartenders were rude, no matter how much money you tipped them. There were only 3 restaraunts to choose from and they were all buffet style (at the others we stayed at there were at least 5, you got dressed up and got waited on. Here, there were people in gym shorts and tank tops. Again, buffet) Their best vodka was Smirnoff (no thanks!). They had 1 large pool but you had to get out of the water and walk to another entrance to get from one side to the other...made no sense. So, to get to the pool bar, you had to get out, walk to the pool bar entrance and get back in. I dont know, we paid alot of money for the vacation and expected alot more. We had a great time, but were dissapointed with the RIU...considering that it is only 2 years old. Our excursions were really fun. We did the 1/2 day ziplining which was a blast! We also did the national park riverboat tour, that was also really cool. If you booked knowing that it was 3 star (or less), then you shouldn't have any problems. We were going in with too high of expectations.

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"Fantastic Staff & Beautiful View"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Gene  on Jan 2, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Sep, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
660 people found this review helpful

Booked with American Airlines. Will never do that again! Trip booked non-stop, but they changed return via Miami (a Very Long Day). We were delayed
leaving Dallas because they overbooked. American had to unload & reload the plane.
We booked the trip months ahead with adjoing seats, but they put us in different rows. Thanks to another passenger, we sat together.
Before we left, we found that AA didn't book our RT van, and we had to pay extra!
When we got to our room, I found my suit-case zipper was destroyed. How was I
going to get back w/o a suit case? The nearest town is miles away & cab fare
is well over $100. From Sat. to Mon. I fretted, until the Manager Ricardo, and
his Assistant Rosa rescued us. Rosa gave us an old suit case of hers!
Only because of them, am I writing my 1st review.
As for American, avoid them! They were once a great arline.

Was quick & easy.

Everything was as expected. Good. The bacony view of the hills & ocean was
fantastic! I think all rooms were ocean-view.
You have to take pictures of the sun set (only a few minute window).

Restaurants and Bars:
Mixed. Some food was good, some so-so. My wife didn't like the Japanese.
But she said the Sushi & the Peiking duck was very good. I loved the duck.
Only one place open for lunch & it was packed. The lunch salad was not good,
and I had to mask it with salsa.

Sand is dark (but not coarce), thus no turcoise ocean. I prefer Punta Cana,DR
beaches. The water was nice & warm, and easy to get into.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
My wife was a happy camper, because of the kayaks.
There's zip-lining only minutes away.
The nite show sounded above average, but we couldn't find a table. It was
Costa Rica's National holiday,so it was crowded.

Other Comments:
Many guests were rude, or oblivous.
The Costa Rican guest were fine.
We were there during the rainy season. Mornings were clear to about 1 pm.
Rain come between 1 & 5 pm. Some time, only 15 min to several hours.
Suprised how comfortable the weather was, given how close we were to the
equator we were.

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Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Daniel  on Dec 19, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Dec, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
380 people found this review helpful

The first glance is great! The grounds and lobby are so very beautiful....
The service is very good and the people are warm and friendly.
The rooms are not good, certainly not 5 star. The air conditioning does not take the moisture out of the rooms nor does the musty smell dissipate.
The food is not very good in the buffets. You must visit the three specialty restaurants to enjoy any meals at all.

This is not worthy of a five star rating.
We do not plan to return.

Room Number:

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"Best time of my life"

Riu Guanacaste
User Rating:  Riu Guanacaste Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  Kristina  on Jan 21, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2012 | Wedding | With Group
646 people found this review helpful

Riu Guanacaste was amazing best time of my life. Everyone was so nice the entertainment was endless. Rooms were pretty good you don't spend that much time in them so that wasn't a huge deal to me. The food was great and the coffee was excellent. We spent a lot of our time at one bar at night by the main stage and the bartenders there were so amazing and we will have friends for life! Big shout out to Roque and Gerald best bartenders ever!!!! We will be coming back for sure!

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