I travelled to Costa Rica on a family holiday at the very end of 2019 for my Dad’s birthday. A holiday, that for once I had nothing to do with it’s planning or booking, it was all in the hands of my travel guru Mum! We’d be going on a Tui Holiday to the Rui Palace Costa Rica for an all inclusive week trip away.

We’d never been to Costa Rica before, and it had been years since our previous all-inclusive. Nick and I had been put off all-inclusive holidays after our horrendous Egypt incident. Thankfully, we’ve finally gotten over that horrific ordeal, and were ready for this 5 stars all-inclusive Rui Palace Costa Rica with my family. It was my Dad’s 70th birthday so as a family treat, we’d all be going away together for the first time since our 2008 to Australia. This time we had my husband and niece with us, along with Mum, Dad, brother, sister and me.

Whilst Costa Rica sounded like a great place, it’d never been on my radar to visit in the near future, but the more I read about it, the more this location appealed. I’m norturiously all about embracing local culture and eating local cuisine when on my travels, so all-inclusives aren’t my go-to on a package holiday. I like to head out, explore, and stumble upon hidden gems. I felt all-inclusive were simply a token to overeat. However for this trip I’d somehow had a change of heart and was up for it!

Hotel Location

The Rui Palace Costa Rica is located in an area called, Guanacaste, close to the beautiful beach of Matapalo. You’ll be able to walk to the beach everyday in 5 minutes and I did most days to watch the sunrise.

Tui Long Haul Flight

Flying out from Gatwick to Liberia, we were taking a Tui Long Haul flight. As someone who has extensive air travel, this was actually the first time doing a package holiday long haul flight. I was a touch nervous about what it might entail – to my delight it was great. Food, service and entertainment was everything you could have asked for. Check out my flight video review below.

Rui Palace Costa Rica arrival

If going on this trip with Tui holidays you’ll arrive at the hotel via coach. That does mean you’ll have to do some drops at the other hotels, but it’s approximately 20 minutes altogether. On arrival you get checked in and have a glass of bubbly. This where you will pick up your all-inclusive wrist band and be told all the locations you’ll forget in 5 minutes! It’s all very simple.

The room

We were going to be staying in one of their standard rooms, which overlooked the hills and greenery. A spacious open plan room complete with bath tub in the middle. It was a very light, bright space and perfect for the holiday. There was a walk in shower complete with products for usage, two sinks with mirrors, the aforementioned bathtub and single toilet. Beyond this you’ll find a double wardrobe that has an ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities and an umbrella for rainy season.

The bed is vast and faces a flat screen TV and mini bar. You’ll also find a handy drinks dispenser here with a variety of spirits, and in the mini bar there is soft drinks and water for you to use. This got topped up daily, and don’t be afraid to ask for more bottled water.

*Tip – if you like a good morning coffee, head down to the lobby around 8am as there is some great coffee facilities available. I would get one of these and go and sit on the beach

The food

An all-inclusive is only successful if the food is good! Rest assured at the Rui Palace Costa Rica, you’ll have plenty of options. There are 5 pre-book restaurants which you can visit straight after breakfast to book in advanced, or queue from 6pm. We pre-booked where possible – I’d strongly suggest this. You have a breakfast buffet – which is vast! There is literally everything you can think of and more. Fresh fruit, fish, eggs made to order, cereals, hot breakfast items. Literally everything you could want, alongside unlimited tea and coffee. You can also dine here at this area for dinner should you prefer this instead of restaurant style. There is a lunch time buffet over at the evening Steak House restaurant and a snack bar around the pool.

There pre-book restaurants in the Rui Palace Costa are as follows;

  • casual restaurant
  • Japanese
  • Italian restaurant
  • Steakhouse

Hotel Entertainment

As an all-inclusive holiday like this has children to adults there is live entertainment in the evenings. Initially the start things off with the kids show (there is also a kids club), which includes games. The is ideal for the little ones as it’s at a good time in the evening for them. It then moved onto the big entertainment, we had a musical numbers show which was essentially like lip sync battle. Hilarious! Finally, it tends to be a band for the final part of the evening entertainment. It’s always in the large staged area with two bars close by.

We visited for New Years eve and there was a huge party with fireworks – it was incredible and the entire family enjoyed it!

The staff

Incredibly attentive, eager to help and so friendly. I was very impressed with the A-Star customer service from each of the team. From waiting staff, to hotel floor staff to house keeping, everyone was friendly and smiling.

The pool areas

The pools are vast in this hotel, you have a pool for all your games and aqua aerobics, one designed for Volleyball, then two others one which is sort of like an infinity pool. This last pool is the one I preferred, I found it was a little quieter than the rest as it’s away from the pool bar, the entertainment and the snack bar. You will never need worry about sun loungers, there are so many available. It’s really important for me to say that these are constantly looked after. Every morning on my walk down to the beach there are dozens of staff cleaning the pool areas and looking after all the gardens.

I’ve always been a big fan of a swim up pool bar, called the Coconut Bar. At the Rui Palace you have the option to spend time drinking cocktails in their designated chilled area. We loved have a slight change of location later on in the day.

The water sports

Water sport activities available as part of your all-inclusive package deal. Do go get that sorted rather swiftly as these do get booked up. You can do a number of activities but it’s great for SUP and kayaking, and some of the places you can explore are beautiful!

Splash Water World

This is amazing to have this on your doorstep, simply head out the hotel entrance, trot down the hill to the waterpark. You will find your stores which you can pick up holiday gifts and where you can look at the photos taken by the hotel staff. The black and white photo was one of the photos they took which we purchased.

The waterpark has flumes for adults, and a great set of flumes for children in a designated area. You can have so much fun here! You will also find drinks available too, so regardless of being out of the main hotel your free all-inclusive soft drinks are here.

Fitness and beyond

You don’t need to sit by the pool all day or just visit the beach, there are other extra activities happening. One of which I wanted to do but never got the chance was painting classes. There is your aqua aerobics etc and yoga, which I had a go at too. Word of advice, do the early classes as it can get super hot otherwise!

The beach

You can locate the beach as you walk beyond the Coconut bar. I loved heading down to the beach for a morning walk and some sunrise meditation. It’s extremely calming here and it wasn’t actually ridiculously busy. The waters are spectacular and it’s all very clean and well kept. Please take note of the flags on the way out from the hotel as these will indicated whether it is safe to swim. Also there is no lifeguard, so very much a case of swim at your own risk.

Sea Turtles Costa Rica

Further down the beach you will spot a little hut which for sea turtle conservation! Each week they do a sea turtle release which hotel guests can go and watch. I managed in pure fluke to see one! I’d strolled down to the beach to get some photos and spotted a crowd. I ran over and caught the first turtle getting back into the ocean. Seriously incredible! Take a look at the release in my video above.

Rui Palace Costa Rice highlights

  • All Inclusive 24 hours
  • Free WiFi throughout hotel
  • Directly on Matapalo beach, next to the Riu Guanacaste
  • Awarded GOLD certification for the Travelife Sustainability System
  • Room service 24 hours a day
  • 4 swimming pools, one with swim-up bar
  • Main and theme restaurants
  • “Renova Spa” with a variety of treatments
  • Water park “Splash Water World”


I was really impressed with everything! The food, the staff, the drinks, the entertainment, and the beautiful surroundings. The hotel is very well kept, the grounds are stunning, especially with Iguanas running about freely and birds swooping in and out. A big tip we learnt from a regular holiday maker was going straight to the water sports centre to get the equipment you want booked out during your stay. It does get booked up – so make that a priority.