One of RIU’s newest properties is a palatial all-inclusive paradise that sprawls across Costa Rica’s northwest coast in Guanacaste Province. The seafront Riu Palace Costa Rica sits on the edge of Matapalo beach, a region known for its ecodiversity. Speaking of diversity, this LGBT-friendly resort supports marriage equality in the form of “Blessing Ceremonies” for same-sex couples. Although not legally recognized, a non-denominational minister will confer good things upon your heads and you’ll walk away with a “symbolic” marriage certificate and one hell of a honeymoon.
Guanacaste is a bit less humid and tropical than the rest of the country, and the soft sandy beaches offer exquisite sunsets and the requisite windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking in swimmer-friendly seas. The resort’s perpetually cheerful staff is hopelessly devoted to your comfort and enjoyment, and the property is meticulously clean and impeccably landscaped.
All 538 guest rooms are spacious. Each includes a huge balcony or terrace, and the baths are equipped with hydromassage tubs and dual sinks. Your minibar and liquor dispenser are perpetually restocked, and you will never lack for snacks, thanks to the 24-hour room service.
Spring for an ocean view junior suite — the expansive seascape from your terrace is worth every penny. But why not pull out all the stops and opt for one of the resort’s whirlpool bath suites? You’ll enjoy extra spreading-out-space with a lounge and sofa area, a king-sized bed, and a hot pool of whirling water right on your balcony. You may never leave your suite!
You will not want for much at the Hotel Riu Palace. Breakfast and lunch offer extensive hot and cold buffets with live cooking stations, and theme dinner buffets are staged several times a week.
Four à la carte dining options include sushi and tempura at the Tokio Japanese restaurant; pizza, pasta, and other Italian fare at L’Anfora; a poolside grill and steakhouse; and a funky fusion restaurant named Krystal.
Bars, too, are plentiful. Find Daiquiri in the lobby, Melody on the plaza, and Stars on the terrace. There’s a 24-hour sports bar, and the obligatory swim-up pool bar, Coconut. With unlimited, round-the-clock access to local and imported beverages, all you need to do is pull up a chaise by the pool or on the beach and be doted upon. You know you deserve it.
Four swimming pools, a hard surface tennis court, a gym, a discotheque, and a casino will keep you entertained. Did we mention live evening shows and bands?
The Renova Spa pampers and beautifies bodies in a gorgeous garden pavilion and reserves five double treatment rooms just for couples. Along with the customary facials, waxing, body wraps and scrubs, and mani-pedis, the spa offers multiple bodywork modalities, including hot stone, reflexology, lomi lomi and shiatsu. Best bet? Book the couples’ “Moonlight” relaxing aromatherapy massage in the outdoor garden house. Blessed bliss.