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Hotel RIU Palace Questions

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Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Hi there

My wife, Donna & I are planning a visit the Hotel RIU Palace Costa Rica (we had originally picked RIU Guanacaste but have now changed our minds) & Costa Rica for the very first time & as we usually visit the other Caribbean islands for our holidays, we have finally given in and decided to give Costa Rica a try!!!

So, if you don’t mind, here are a few questions that I/we have & hopefully someone will be able to answer for us -

HOTEL/ROOMS - we will be booking a ‘Junior Suite’ at the hotel, so we were wondering if anyone could, in their honest opinion, tell us what these rooms are like (if you know of course!) & similarly what would be the best section to request for a quiet area room (if these can be allocated with our booking choice) close to the quieter area of the pool but not too close to any noisy areas especially at night?

Does anyone have reliable contact details for the hotel to ask them questions directly etc?

Can this hotel order items to be placed in the room upon arrival ie champagne etc as I like to book this for my wife every year on holiday?

Does anyone have a ‘site map’ available, that has room numbers & where the hotel facilities are, that you could send me of the hotel?

Are US dollars widely/easily accepted for payment for trips, souvenirs etc and are there exchange facilities available at the hotel?

ENTERTAINMENT – in your honest opinion again, what is the ‘day time’ entertainment like & more importantly what is the ‘evening’ entertainment like?

Does anyone have a copy of the daily/nightly entertainment that is available at this hotel (I’m aware that this will change but it’s just to get an idea really)?

RESTAURANTS AT THE HOTEL – Can anyone tell us what the restaurants/eating places are within the hotel are called & what type of menus do they serve ie Mexican, Italian etc?

Also can you advise which one(s) are a la carte, buffet etc

Also does anyone have copies of the restaurant menus available to pass onto us (again these will change by the time we get there but just to get an idea)?

Are we able to use the a la carte restaurants at the RIU Guanacaste in the evenings or can we only have breakfast/lunch there? In the same vein, are the RIU Guanacaste guests allowed to use the services/restaurants at the RIU Palace?

BOOKING A LA CARTE RESTAURANT – how easy is this to do, where/when do you do it & how often can you use these restaurants ie every night, once a week etc? Also is there a ‘dress code’ for these restaurants, if so for which ones (I don’t have any problems sticking to this personally)?

TRANSFER TO/FROM AIRPORT – we will be booking our usual ‘private transfers’ to & from the hotel – as we won’t have any local currency when we arrive, is it ok to tip the transfer driver in US dollars?

SHOPPING – what is the ‘duty free’ shopping like at the Liberia Airport? Or would it better/cheaper to do this at the stores within the hotel?

In particular, are there any good jewellers for my wife?

HOTEL/COSTA RICA IN GENERAL – we don’t know how many times you guys have been to Costa Rica or the Hotel RIU Palace Costa Rica before, so we are going on the presumption that some/most you have been several times & have been to several hotels in Costa Rica or even other RIU hotels, so going on that –

1 How do you rate the hotel to other hotels/RIU’s you have stayed in whilst in Costa Rica ie rooms, food, entertainment etc?

2 Apart from the obligatory days on the beach/by the pool, what places would you recommend for a fairly easy going, early forties, loves the culture of each island, loves to mingle with the locals, Scottish couple to visit/see?

Anyway I think I have bored you all enough with the above so I’ll let you all get on with more important stuff instead of reading this!!!!

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide


14 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions


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2. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Hi Paul

You seem to have an awful lot of questions there. Most of them (plus many more points) are covered in people's reviews which can be found here:


I would recommend spending some time reading through these and then perhaps come back to the forum with any questions that aren't answered in the reviews.

Good luck with your research!

Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
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3. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Like so many other regulars, I cringe when I read that somebody is 'giving Costa Rica a try' but then books the RIU. It's basically one of the worst hotels to pick IF one is interested in Costa Rica. It's also flat out the worst hotel to book if you have some kind of environmental conscience.

If you haven't booked yet, I'd urge you to look a little more so that you actually visit Costa Rica and not this unsustainable ecological atrocity.

Finally, you won't find this: ".... loves the culture of each island, loves to mingle with the locals,..." Costa Rica is not an island, the only "culture" you will find will be some artificially enacted entertainment for tourist, and the RIU basically ensures that the only locals you will meet will be there to replenish your booze in the swim-up bar.

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4. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Great reply and honest. I have a friend getting married and staying there ---is there somewhere close to the RIU PALACE that I could book that you would recommend?

Hamilton, Canada
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5. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Sorry was logged in under my prior name. Thanks for your reply about comments on where to stay relatively close to RIU.

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6. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Oh dear, as you will have read from previous replies, you may not be getting the dream vacation that you are hoping for. We stayed in the Riu Palace in September and it was the worst holiday we have ever had. Please listen to some of the other posters who explain their displeasure about the Riu chain in Costa Rica.

But to answer a few of your questions..

The rooms are nearly all junior suites, but basically a large bedroom with seating at one end, bed in the middle along with the bath tub in the middle of the room. They have white walls and all the wooden furniture has been painted with white gloss paint.

The daytime entertainment began at aprox 10.00am with yoga or pilates and stretching, followed by aerobics.

There was then water polo and also aqua gym. Aprox 11.30 on some days there would be either darts, towel art where the maids would attempt to demonstrate how to make a novelty animal from a bath towel, or fruit carving.The swim up bar does get very busy and very noisy with some guests staying in there all day without a break for the rest room.... disgusting. However you would not wish to venture to the Guanacaste where the pool is full of drunken yobs, fighting, swearing and vomiting.

The evenings, guests from the Palace are permitted to visit the Riu Guanacaste but NOT vice versa, this is very strictly adhered to. The shows in the Palace are all in house, and dance reviews, ie "Broadway" , "Grease" :Michael Jackson Show" there is a house band which then plays until 11pm when the bars close. The cocktail bar in reception closes and puts out it's lights at 11pm sharp. You are able to go into the 24hour lounge to help yourself to drinks and rather unappetizing snacks.

So have a rethink and book a completely different hotel if you want to enjoy the country. We would love to return as Costa Rica is a lovely place but sadly staying at the Riu Palace you might as well stay in the departure lounge of your local airport, it would feel the same although the customer service at home would be far superior as I have to say it was the worst we have ever encountered world wide.Also as the other poster remarked , read about the effect on the eco effect on Costa Rica from the hotel, I only wish we had paid more attention to these comments, we should never have stayed there!

Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
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7. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

Wendy - so sorry to read about your troubles at the RIU. Most of the regulars here are quite aware what type of crowd the RIU attracts - vomiting and peeing in the pool do not come as surprises... We are also very much aware of the hotels' appalling environmental record.

For the most part, it's been called the most hated hotel in Costa Rica - and there is much to that label.

Personally, I would never advise anyone to stay there. There have been plenty of warnings about this hotel and, unfortunately, there are still people who are lured by low prices and/or a lack of sound ethics.

Wheatley, Canada
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8. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

If you are not pro Riu Resorts, where do you suggest vacationers stay in Costa Rica. As someone who has never been to the country, I am interested in your ideas.

9. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

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Destination Expert
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10. Re: Hotel RIU Palace Questions

jig - the possibilities are rather endless. One thing needs to be said, though: Costa Rica does not do AI very well. There are a few AI hotels that get good reviews, but for the most part, they tend to be rather on the expensive side (like The Westin, for example) and sit isolated in the middle of nowhere.

No need to worry, though, since Costa Rica is nicely equipped to handle just about any tourist's need while providing plenty of infrastructure and the required safety to travel about.

Where people go in Costa Rica is a matter of preference:

Some like the dry beaches in the northwest of the country (e.g., Tamarindo, Samara, Nosara, Coco, etc.), some like the lush interior (e.g., Monteverde), the volcanoes (Arenal is a favorite), the lush Caribbean side (e.g. Tortuguero), the wilder and less developed south (e.g. Osa peninsula), or the crowded beauty of Manuel Antonio.

In most of these locations, hotels run the gamut from simple to luxurious. However, before anyone can give you recommendations, you would need to narrow down where, exactly, you would want to go. Many people decide to combine several locations (for example, a beach in Guanacaste, a visit to Arenal, and perhaps a day or two in Monteverde or even Tortuguro). Doing so allows you to get a good feel for the country while keeping you entertained and exposed to the wide variety of experiences that can be had here.

Next, there is the question of your expectations. Do like it luxurious? Simple? Busy? Quiet? And so forth...

To give you an idea, here are some popular hotels in various areas of Costa Rica:






This list could go on and on and be adjusted in price up or down, depending on your needs.

Then there are a huge number of airbnb's that you could rent.... From $20 a night to $3000 or more per night...

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