We stayed at El Conquistador from April 8 - April 13 with our two kids, ages 5 and 8. We have been countless times to Puerto Rico but this was our first stay here. We had never taken a chance due to the mixed reviews. I'm glad I decided to give it a try. Everyone had a great time and we will be back! I mean, what is there not to like? There's a gorgeous private island offshore that they schlep you to, there's a water park with great slides for the kids and ocean views, there's a beautiful pool area with great ocean views, the employees were friendly and helpful, the breakfast buffet at Brisas has delicious (do NOT miss the Puertorican pastries section!), there's a marina with again, great ocean views. Did I mention the ocean views? And, there was so much to do! The kids must have gone down the sides over 100 times, we went snorkeling in Palominos, we lounged on a huge couch in Palominos, we sipped frozen drinks, 8-year old tried paddleboarding (with help), we went around the property looking for the "ScoutAbout" bands, etc.
Our experience with the staff was always very positive. I booked a partial ocean view room, and - with the Gold Hhonors status, combined with a hotel that was well-below full occupancy (post-Easter/Spring break and pre-summer) - we were given a beautiful ocean view room in Las Brisas. And we were very close to the breakfast restaurant and the funicular. We didn't have any special requests, but simple questions were well addressed (i.e., employee led us to the restroom when asked where it was or fetched the ping-pong ball when I asked where I could check one out, etc.).
I think they did a disservice to name it a "Waldorf Astoria" resort. I think this brings up a certain level of expectations and the bottom line is that while this is a GREAT family resort, this is not a true luxury property. And it shouldn't be. It's too large to be a true luxury property. It's got too many meeting rooms to be a true luxury property. The decor is not what would be expected of a luxury property (I'm still trying to figure out why there was no decor/furniture except for a couple sad sofas in the large lobby, near the check-in area). It's maintenance also falls short of a luxury property (they. must. clean. the. windows, doors and carpets. of. the. Brisas. hallway!). And it's prices are well-below a luxury property. Let me repeat that, because many reviews here seem to indicate the prices were outrageous. Well, the 3 luxury properties in Puerto Rico that I also looked into seemed to want to charge us anywhere from twice to four times the price per night that we paid for El Conquistador. So, if I don't pay luxury prices ($500-1200/night), I don't expect a luxury property. We had purchased a package and our bill was 100% accurate at check-out, but it sounds like the hotel needs to do a better job at not assessing nickel-and-dime additional charges and fees. Just charge a higher rate and be done with it. The one area that I am glad is a separate fee is the water park. It's not large enough to accomodate all guests and the fee structure helps keep things sane there.
OK, since everyone is talking about the food, I will say this. I wish there was more variety. We rented a car at the airport and had dinner outside the resort on 3 nights. But the two nights that we stayed and ate at the resort, we found the food to be quite good. We ate at Stingray Cafe, which was pricey but delicious, and we also ate at Cafe Bella Vista (by the lobby/main pool) and it was quite good and not expensive. I also wish there was more waitress service. They had one waitress at the Coqui waterpark and none at the main pool. They also need to provide free water. This is the first resort of this caliber where there isn't someone handing out cool water to keep guests hydrated. So, yes, there are improvements to be done, but it is still a great resort, with great views, on a great location. As I said earlier, we WILL be back.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.