from Poole, United Kingdom
Submitted on 28-05-2016
Sorry a long review but worth a read to make your mind up about coming here.
On arrival after a 2hr delay and 11 and half hr flight the doors opened to the riu palace Costa Rica I was expecting nice cool air con, but nope nothing, very disappointing, go to check in desk, not offered any drink, not offered our cases to be taken to the room, first impressions now have really put in a mood, arrive at room to find it smells of damp and I mean very bad musty damp smell, we look out on balcony and fi...
Sorry a long review but worth a read to make your mind up about coming here.
On arrival after a 2hr delay and 11 and half hr flight the doors opened to the riu palace Costa Rica I was expecting nice cool air con, but nope nothing, very disappointing, go to check in desk, not offered any drink, not offered our cases to be taken to the room, first impressions now have really put in a mood, arrive at room to find it smells of damp and I mean very bad musty damp smell, we look out on balcony and find we are facing the jungle, I was surprised at this as Thomson says you either have junior suite or junior suite with sea view, so we thought getting junior suite with a pool view, anyhow we showered and went to look around, very tired so was not taking too much in, we had something to eat in the Arunel buffet and then went back to our room, when we opened the door the room now smelt of not only damp but sewerage. After being to other Riu Palaces I was now upset as cost a lot of money and not what I expected. Next day was the welcome meeting with Kirsty so we arrive we give our surname and she has no record of us being there, I'm now beginning to wonder if someone is playing a joke on me, she asks if everything ok and I say about the room and she says come back at 10am to talk to her about it, we are jetlagged and on our first day just want to relax but we are having to walk all over the place just to get things done, and the walking from where we were sat at the pool to go up to the lobby is a fair distance and in heat over 40C is tiring when not used to that heat. time passes and we see Kirsty who tries to say because the room has been unoccupied and no air con that's why the smell, I'm sorry this is not a good reason, ive travelled to a lot of places over the world and not had this, also doesn't explain the sewerage problem, she asked if we wanted to move to which we said yes, she came back and said no rooms left only upgrade rooms which we may have to pay extra for, I'm not happy as this is not my fault and Ive already heard a lot of Americans being upgraded free so seeing as our room stunk it should have been done with no question, all they said they would do is clean the room and if problem after an hr go and see her again, I'm now fed up walking back and forth don't want to relax to have to do the walk again to our room to find it smells and then have to pay extra to be moved. Not a good start to our holiday. The room at times was really bad with damp smell and its that bad that all our items we took when we unpacked stink of the smell, items that cannot be washed like shoes I have had to febreeze them to try and get rid of the smell, back packs and cases ive had in the garden airing, be warned do not stay in room 3108.
The maid did a good job in cleaning and making toys on the bed etc so couldn't fault that it was just the smell. After two days of being there I noticed there had been no turndown service so I went to reception and asked why and they said this was Thomson error as they put on their website but the hotel does not do this and if I look on Riu website under the hotel it wont be on there, I looked and yes it says riu palace costa rica turndown service, I asked them again and they had no answer and then tried to act as though they didn't understand what I was saying.
Pools are dirty, they have pool attendents with nets getting scum of water but it just moves it along, also the pool we were sat at by the only toilets had a ramp which was so dirty it was gross and it was cleaned once in the two weeks we were there. there are 4 or 5 pools and 1 lot of toilets which is in papagayo lunch restaurant and in the ladies there are 5 toilets so at times a queue as these are the only toilets near by, this place needs more toilets near the pools.
The food in the lunch place papagayo was ok but had a fly problem and at times you looked at the burgers and there were 6 flies on them where food not covered, the cold salad items were great as they had lid containers so kept cool and bug free, one day in my chips was a fried bug so I stuck to cold stuff in the end, the service at lunch to get a drink is a waste of time, its quicker to get your own, they seem only interested in soon as you put your cutlery down clearing your plate and getting you out. again other palaces we stayted at there service is top notch. food in the arenal buffet the variation of food is fantastic and a choice of something for everyone but the food was only luke warm which is why I think for 6 days of our holiday my husband had bad stomach problems. The a la carte are ok, the nicest is crystal, nice and air con and food good, the steak house which is the restaurant you use at lunch is very hot and humid and the steaks are very salty so I tried to ask for mine to be cooked with no salt but still came salty, to be honest the steaks in the buffet are better than here, we didn't use the Japanese.
Night time the shows are outside with 2 outside bars, the waiters do a good job serving everyone, but again where its outside its very hot and humid and at times I couldn't wait until the show had finished so we could go back to our rooms to be in air con, they do have ceiling fans but all this does is move the hot air around. There is a 24hr snack/sports bar which if fully air con which is lovely and you help yourself to drinks, a lot of people ended up here at night as its the only place with air con, the coffee shop was nice with nice teas and coffees and then the daquri bar but none of this is air con so you sit and sweat until after about a week and you have got used to weather conditions. this was a big gripe of mine as I like to have a nice drink and relax and not be bothered by mozzies but this was not the case in this hotel, I think as British people have only just started going there they haven't realised our temperature is 30c difference, they are used to the amercians who are used to heat and humidity. There is a lot of walking involved in this hotel and when you leave the buffet at night you can either use the lifts or go up I think I counted 39 steps, not ideal when just eaten a meal.
The reception and bar area were very clean and the toilets, there was always cleaners cleaning, they need to show the pool attendents how to clean.
Jorge from the pool the waiter is the only one who stood out for me, he worked bloody hard in very hot weather and always had a smile and was always asking how we were etc, great barman, so different to service at breakfast, again sometimes quicker to get your own tea bags and hot water than wait, it wasn't always because they were busy, they would just walk passed you and that was it.
going back to the room it was nice being the jungle side and we saw lots of monkeys from our balcony but again when I asked about our room Kirsty said we had paid for a garden view, no where in the Thomson brochure or online does it mention garden view, so be warned if you book this place.
the pool at times is very noisy with americans drinking so the entertainment team turn the music up even louder and there is no where on this complex you could sit by a pool and have peace, you just got used to the noise.
all the gardens are kept nice and the beach area is ok, but its black sand and very rocky in the water so walk a bit further and its not to bad, we did the monkey trail walk which was nice, we did the water taxi to coco beach which is good, but the shops are your usual souvenier old looking items, and we did the catamaran hibiscus trip which was brilliant,, I would not say to do any trips through Thomson as you are at least over 3 hrs away to get anywhere, our friends did a trip and were told they would be back by 7.30pm and they got back at 10.15pm and all the restaurants had closed and there coach journey to get anywhere was over 4hrs, so if I were you I would go to Eric who stands with a scuba board and he has many trips which are better priced as well.
Coming home coach came and not enough room for everyone and when the operator got on he said some are going to have to come by taxi as we did not expect this many cases so they will not fit on the coach, I was amazed he said this as I'm pretty sure most people have one suitcase per person as you are not allowed to bring 2 suitcases, this was said I think to cover up there error in not ordering enough coaches, so sat on the coach for 45 mins before leaving hotel, and be warned the first bit in the aiport is not air con either so very hot, so travel in light clothes and pack warmer clothes to change on plane.
To sum up this hotel I would put at a 3* no way is it 5* palace, the weather was amazing over 40c everyday, there are plenty of sunloungers but can be lack of shade as the parasols cannot be moved as cemented in the ground (yes odd) you do have the bits where you can sit under and pull a canvas roof over but depending on where the sun is this may not shade you at all. This hotel need to learn from the Riu Palace Macao in Dominican Republic which is an outstanding palace, I would not recommend anyone going to this hotel and I would stay elsewhere when or if I visit Costa Rica again