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Reviews Views Date of last review
4 7126 Tue September 21, 2010
Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
75% of reviewers $1,500.00 7.0
Guanacaste.jpg


Description: RIU’s first Costa Rican establishment will be a 5-star hotel built by the firm itself and located on the oceanfront in the beautiful region of Guanacaste on the country’s Pacific coast. The hotel will also be close to the local airport in Liberia.
RIU’s expansion in Costa Rica is its main new undertaking in 2008, after almost two decades of presence on the American continent, where the chain has established itself as a reference point in luxury sun and sand resort hotels.


* Opening winter 2009/10
* Situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste
* Located on Playa de Matapalo beach
* Complimentary sun loungers on the beach
* 6-storey main building
* Surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens
* Closest village: Nuevo Colón
* 13 km / 8.1 miles from various shops
* 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport
* Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa


Rick427

Registered: November 2009
Posts: 5
Review Date: Mon November 16, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: New, Very freindly staff. Typicical Riu (excellent)
Cons: Beach sand is somewhat abrasive but not untollerable, just not sugar white like Cancun or Playa del Carmen

Arrived 11/13/2009 and was met at the Liberia airport by Swiss Travel which is Apple's agent in Costa Rica. Road in a nice new air-condtoned passenger van to the Riu. Got a complementary room upgrade from standard to ocean front, overloking the pool (probably due to low occupancy which was told was 48%). So far evrything is up to my expetations understanding that they just opened a few weeks ago. Some of their landscape vegetation is just freshly planted. Free wi-fi in lobby. Food is good, just dont't expect 5 star dining! Rooms are very well appointed. Resort is beautiful sets in a cove surrouded by mountains.

 
Smiles123
Riu Bambuer Benefactor

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 248
Review Date: Mon February 15, 2010 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent weather, great pools, wonderful staff
Cons: Beach is dark volcanic sand and the water line is a little rocky

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 Trip advisor and Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews, but knowing Riu's reputation and having stayed at the Riu's in Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Playa del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas and Ocho Rios, we felt confident that we had made a good choice.


ARRIVAL
Our Skyservice flight from Toronto was delay 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.


ROOMS
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 than 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 rund out of beer late at night, just slip down to the sports bar with our without your insulated cup and have drink thre 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 2 p.m. daily but found it open most days until 4:30 p.m. The wait is 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 book with the given room number. That being said, we had heard that some people go 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 at at the steak house twice. The ribeye 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 any 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.


BEACH, POOLS, GROUNDS
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 your 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 a.m. to serve 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. 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 is immaculate, spotless, well manicured and clean - the staff were constantly cleaning everywhere and anything. As the resort only opened at the end of October, the landscaping is not lush and fairly new.


ACTIVITIES ON AND OFF THE RESORT
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 either at 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 with respect to tour companies that aren´t affiliated with the guests tour operators, 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 the one illusive spot at the south end of the 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 cost 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 this time of year.


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

 
Reefer

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 19
Review Date: Fri June 11, 2010 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Thanks for the nice reports Rick & Smiles on this new resort. We have been interested in visiting Costa Rica & we may look into our first by staying at Riu...

 
cornette

Registered: September 2010
Posts: 1
Review Date: Tue September 21, 2010 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? No | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Well appointed public spaces. Nice swimming pool.
Cons: Resort in bad condition with moldy exterior walls and horrible paint job. Food and service were well below Riu par.

Large sections of the exterior walls of the resort are covered with mold and algae. The paint is failing and blistering in many area. The elevators are poorly maintained. And the resort is less than a year old!
The food and service were well below what we have experienced at other Riu Resorts.
The Guanacaste Region of Costa Rica is beautiful and we have visited many times, however, the Riu will not be our next choice.

 


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