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Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo, Sardinal Costa Rica
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Travel safe during COVID-19
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What you can expect during your stay
  • All linens sanitised in high-temperature wash
  • Face masks required for guests in public areas
  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Floors marked for social distancing
  • Hand sanitiser available to guests & staff
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
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Updated 20-06-18 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
A note from Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Updated 20-06-18 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.


#1 of 2 hotels in Sardinal
Travellers' Choice
The 24-hour all-inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica opens all year round and is located directly on the beautiful Matapalo beach. Our guests may use the facilities in the sister Hotel Riu Guanacaste, except dinner meal. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Daniel Oduber Airport LIR (33 km) and Playas del Coco (18 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 538 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa, or get in shape at the fitness center. 4 outdoor pools, 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment, as well as our Pacha Discotheque. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main restaurant, Japanese, Italian, Fusion restaurant and Steakhouse, as well as 6 bars and our Cappuccino patisserie & ice cream parlor.
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Room & Suite (1,010)1,010
Full view
Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room
Bar / lounge
Casino and Gambling
Pool / beach towels
Infinity pool
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Fitness classes
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
Kid-friendly buffet
Swimup bar
Poolside bar
Entertainment staff
Evening entertainment
Table tennis
Nightclub / DJ
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Kids club
Airport transportation
Car hire
Taxi service
Business Centre with Internet Access
Conference facilities
Banquet room
Meeting rooms
Couples massage
Facial treatments
Foot massage
Full body massage
Head massage
24-hour security
Baggage storage
Currency exchange
Gift shop
Sun loungers / beach chairs
Sun terrace
Sun umbrellas
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning
Laundry service
Ironing service
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Room features
Private balcony
Room service
VIP room facilities
Laptop safe
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Ocean view
Good to know
Great View
Languages Spoken
Hotel links
Special Offer:Receive 500 free points
5950Reviews1837Q+A100Room tips
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Popular mentions
eeeeee wrote a review Yesterday
27 contributions4 helpful votes
The location of the resort was perfect to really experience Costa Rica as it was not in a row of other resorts. The staff work very hard- all of them from the cleaning staff to the groundskeepers to the entertainment staff The waiters were great, John Paul, Victor, Barillo just to name a few. You need to order strong or extra to actually get a buzz- but that is with a lot of resorts. If you ask them for suggestions, they will find something you like. It was weird to not have a menu like other resorts but we still found plenty to drink. There are plenty of activities all day to keep people busy. Adriana, Leda & Johan were a lot of fun and even got our teenager to join the activities! There was soooo much food to choose from so if you can't find something you like you are being too picky. You have to remember you are not in the US so the food will taste different but it was still really good. It was frustrating to have to be in line for the specialty restaurants to get in at 6:00 but was not a big deal and we got in each night. They make authentic lunches grilled right by the pool and they were great as well as different drinks. Our room was on the 4th floor with an ocean view and it was extremely loud every night with the entertainment so that was annoying. The rooms are weird with the bathtub right out in the open (that most people probably never even use) and yes they could use an upgrade but imagine how much work it would be to get the necessary supplies to the area. We really only slept and showered in the room anyway so it was ok. The coffee shop did not open until 10 AM (Riu- you may want to rethink that!) There was a coffee machine that made specialty coffee but it was broken most of our stay. I was very excited to experience coffee in Costa Rica and sadly did not get a lot as by 10 AM we were on an excursion or drinking on the beach. The beach has a beautiful view and the vendors will hound you to buy but if you nicely say no they will leave you alone. We did get some jewelry that was hand made on the beach by Ruth with the pink hat (ask for her!) She was very sweet and gave us a great deal. I also fed a monkey on the beach which was fun! We did an excursion with Esteban and it was AMAZING! You can find him on the beach in a black shirt as well. Costa Rican people are so nice and we had a great vacation. When reading reviews you need to remember vacation is what you make it and no place is exactly perfect. Traveling during Covid was not bad. no 24 hour room service but they have a snack bar with plenty of great options for everyone. They are doing their best to keep covid out. We had an antigen test at it was free so that was great too! The entertainment was subpar but I assume some of that is from covid as well. It was still nice to have a show to watch each night. I would recommend this resort- it has enough for everyone!
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Date of stay: June 2021
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: If you want an ocean view ask for one away from the stage if you want to sleep early or have...
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randyr2988 wrote a review Jun. 10
Irvington6 contributions20 helpful votes
Nice place to stay, food selection isn’t the greatest. The drinks are decent but limited in a sense (meaning a lot of drinks they either don’t have available or don’t know how to make them) the rooms are decent. Very clean. Not enough ac throughout the facility if you ask me. For as hot as it gets outside it should be much more ventilation in my opinion
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Date of stay: June 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1 Helpful vote
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded today
Dear randyr2988, Thank you very much for choosing us and for sharing your review. From your comments we understand that you weren’t completely satisfied with your stay, which we regret to hear. Your words will be taken into account as we understand that there is always room for improvement. We sincerely hope that you would still consider staying with us in the future and give us a chance to deliver a more enjoyable experience. Have a lovely day, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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scandell wrote a review Jun. 9
new york12 contributions14 helpful votes
Had a good time at this hotel. As with any thing there were some pros and cons. My biggest con was the ocean view room. Room had a musty and raw sewage smell (someone in my travel group who had the same raw sewage smell in their room recommended that I keep toilet room door closed and that did help some. Others in my group didn't have the raw sewage smell at first but as trip wore on they began to experience it). I am very sensitive to smells, so my first night the combination of both smells kept me awake, and I had to put on some Vicks to overpower it so I could sleep, had to do that every night. When we checked in, the room was only surface clean, floor looked like it needed to be swept and mopped. The surfaces did look freshly wiped down and an inspection of bed linens showed they were clean and fresh. The furniture was modernish but dated, looks like the maintain it by painting it regularly. The shower stall is glass blocks and many of the shower blocks were cracked. The piece de resistance was the dead bug on the ceiling directly over my bed. I was tempted to attempt to take it down, but wasn't worth the risk of trying to jump up to get it, so did my best to avert looking it every night and hopedit didn't fall on me. I guess looking up is not part of the cleaning protocols. Bugs were a regular feature in my room. They weren't too big or annoying so didn't bother me too much, but if you don't like bugs, beware. Depending on the side of the hotel you are on, the ocean view room can be directly over the entertainment area. My room was over the entertainment area and the evening entertainment would be very loud, but usually ended around 10:30. So between the smells and loud entertainment, sleep was very difficult. Again, my room was biggest disappoint of my stay. The grounds of the hotel are immaculately kept perfectly. Clearly that is where they decided to focus, but the rooms are in need of a refurbish. Second con, was that many food options were salty. Whether it was the buffet or the specialty restaurants we encountered several over salted dishes. In the buffet, we would just stop eating the item and go get something else and hope it was less salty, was able to food other less salty options. Overall the dining experience was good. Restaurants offered a good variety and I didn't go hungry. The most unpleasant dining experience was Papagayo for dinner. For lunch it is a good buffet option. But for dinner, it's a steakhouse. Went one night for dinner. There's no menu on display nor printed menus. They seat you, offer beverages, then you wait. Eventually they bring you a caesar salad (beware the caesar salad offered every where at the resort comes with bacon, I don't eat bacon). I then had to wait for them to bring me a salad without bacon. Eventually someone comes and tells you the menu options. The night we went they weren't very busy, but we did a lot of waiting. As soon as we finished entrees we left to go have coffee and dessert at the buffet. The biggest pro was the service. From the moment we checked in until we checked out never had a bad interaction with anyone that worked there. Everyone was pleasant and friendly. Someone was right there to help with our bags and pointed out that room keys were needed to operate room lights. At the pool side they were very attentive and made sure we always had a beverage. Shout out to Jose and Olger at the pool for being beyond excellent. Covid protocols were enforced 99% of the time. All staff wore masks at all times, hand sanitizer was required before entering restaurants and they required guests to put on masks before being serviced. The 1% of the time was at the pool bar. I noticed that they would request most people to put on a mask before being serviced, but they were several times when they were inconsistent with enforcing that policy. Would I go back or recommend, yes. But I wouldn't go back or recommend you go unless it's at great rate.
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Date of stay: June 2021
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: Some ocean view rooms overlook entertainment area, so after booking contact them to determine...
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Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded today
Dear scandell, Thank you very much for choosing us and for sharing your review about your last stay with us. While we are truly happy to see you enjoyed your overall stay with us and that you appreciated our staff members dedicated service, we are sorry to read that we did not meet up with your expectations on several points, especially regarding the room cleaning. We would have liked to have been informed about your inconveniences during your stay so our team member could have helped you to enjoy a more pleasant holiday. Please rest assured that we will communicate all of your valuable feedback with our management team for an appropriate follow up. Thank you again for your feedback and hope to host you someday again. Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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Tranquilo L wrote a review Jun. 8
Drake Bay, Costa Rica5 contributions1 helpful vote
The property is huge and on the beach. Offering several pools, plenty of entertainments and drinks. Rooms: Simple simple simple like in a motel almost but the beds are comfortable and there is hot water lol Bar: If you ask vodka orange juice you will mostly receive a drink which taste methanol and orange flavor. If you ask for a brand and tipped well your bartender you will receive what you have asked. Still recommend the lobby bar as it offers the best cocktails. Sure value, the Spanish wine and the beers. Pools: Lots of space at any hours (but we are still in Covid mode) Entertainment: Leida was great and succeeded to make us play in some of the generic games they offers around the pool..and we won..but the music is extremely loud and it is impossible to rest there... Night shows and bands are fun and great way to end the day Restaurants: Papagayo steak house at night is awful, they don't know how to cook steak, the salt is overdosed and the amiability is limit not nice Papagayo as a snack during the day is awful as well but the last morning where finally someone knew how to cook eggs. Arenal, buffet...awful food as well. Undercooked potato salad, overcooked pasta salad, good ceviche, bad sushi Japanese and Italian restaurant; Good food great service Snack in the lobby: delicious Overall food, they have a bad system for night reservations and they basically make you waste your time waiting on line for an available table when it would be so easier to have guests reserving at time of check in Overall, if you want to spend three nights drinking, watching good shows and not thinking about cost this is a great place but definitively I would choose another hotel if you want to rest or if you like good food
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Date of stay: May 2021
Room Tip: Not sure there is any..but noticed corner room with outdoor jaccuzi
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1 Helpful vote
Response from RIU Hotels and Resorts, Owner at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Responded 4 days ago
Dear guest, Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. First of all we are delighted to read that you appreciated our pools entertainment and comfortable beds. Nevertheless, we regret that we could not convince you in all areas. Since we consider gastronomy a very important aspect when you are on vacation, we are sorry to read your disappointment. It was a pleasure taking care of you and we sincerely hope to have a chance to do so again in the future! Kind regards, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Online Reputation Manager
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nursecox wrote a review Jun. 8
8 contributions1 helpful vote
The hotel and grounds are beautiful! The views of the water and mountains will take your breath away. The service was possibly better than I have experienced at other Riu resorts (which is amazing as well). I love lounging on the beach and chose this hotel because there was a bar and grill next to the beach. I was disappointed since the actual beach isn't part of the resort so it was full of people trying to sell us stuff and there were no lawn chairs. But that was just poor research and not on them. Plus the MANY pools more than made up for it! The water park is on the front of the property. It's a decent walk but worth it. Just dont expect to run back and forth from the pool to the slide. They had someone from a local lab taking covid swabs for our return flight back to the states and included in the price. The scheduling/registration process was a bit confusing and no one was really able to help. But I still figured it out, just be patient and read the instructions carefully. It was still very convenient and our results were emailed to us in less than 24 hours. The alcohol dispensers have been taken out of the rooms and everything closes around 10 so ask housekeeping for a bottle for your room if you like to stay up late. We were in bed early since the sun goes down around 630 all year. The only reason for 4 stars is the food was really disappointing. I expected with limited capacity and a year of loosing money from covid for things not to be at full swing, but it was all pretty bad. I'm sure it's like that everywhere in costa rica right now. I would still go back because the service, scenery, and pools beyond compensated.
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Date of stay: May 2021Trip type: Travelled with friends
Room Tip: Scheduling your covid test is WAY easier on a tablet than your phone.
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US$217 - US$483 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Costa RicaProvince of GuanacasteGulf of PapagayoSardinal
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Frequently Asked Questions about Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
Which popular attractions are close to Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Nearby attractions include Monkey's Bar & Restaurant (0.7 km), Playas del coco (6.2 km), and Playa Danta (6.6 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include a swimup bar, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Guests can enjoy a swimup bar, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Conveniently located restaurants include Sentido Norte Restaurant, Restaurante Mar Azul, and Toucanoos.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Yes, guests have access to a pool, a fitness centre, and fitness classes during their stay.
Does Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica have an airport shuttle?
Yes, Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica offers an airport shuttle for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Are any cleaning services offered at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica?
Yes, dry cleaning and laundry service are offered to guests.
Does Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica offer any business services?
Yes, it conveniently offers a business centre, meeting rooms, and a banquet room.
Does Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the ocean view available here.
Is Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access and facilities for disabled guests. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.