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“First timer - business & pleasure” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   1000 El Conquistador Avenue, Fajardo 00738, Puerto Rico   |  
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Special Rate
$189 (USD)
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fajardo
Rocky Hill, Connecticut, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“First timer - business & pleasure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

This was our first time at the El Conquistador Resort. We stayed for 4 days for a business conference and 4 days for pleasure. The first 4 nights we stayed in the upper hotel section which worked out well by not having to use the “funicula” to get to the conference center meeting rooms. The last 4 days we moved to the marina rooms with a nice view of the marina and much quieter. The rooms in the marina were much more up to date than those in the upper hotel area.

Although a little pricey for the food and beverage, all of our meals were excellent and the service was outstanding! The Stingray Café and La Piccola Fontana were particularly exceptional and would highly recommend.

The front desk staff was very helpful and accommodating, although they could use more personnel during the busy check-in and check-out times.

Overall, we would go back and had a wonderful time.

Room Tip: Stay in the marina.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
Larry,

Thank you for sharing your review of the resort. We appreciate you extending your stay at El Conquistador after your business trip. I am happy to see that you and your family enjoyed your accommodations in La Marina Village as well as your dinners at La Piccola Fontana and Stingray Cafe.

We hope to welcome your family back as our guests in the near future.
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4,867 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,129)
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San Juan, Puerto Rico
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

I just came back from a short one night stay at El Conquistador Resort and being a Hilton Honors member that has traveled to many Hilton properties I must say I was really disappointed considering this hotel carries the Waldorf Astoria distinction. Having said this, enclosed my feedback on the stay:

-Front Desk: They had a separate desk for Hilton Honors members and although the line was long, they assigned front desk personnel from the regular line to try to move the line closer. Upon check in they advised I had been upgraded to a better room with partial view of the ocean. So far, I was pleased.

-Room: On my way to the room, located on Las Vistas Section, I noticed that the property needs more maintenance. Floors looked really worn out as well as the painting. The room was okay yet I do not consider it a Waldorf Astoria Quality: Sheets very very cheap quality (they feel rough to the skin), pillows were super uncomfortable and there were no bathrobes as you would expect in a four star Waldorf Astoria Resort. The only luxury item I saw was that the bath amenities were Salvatore Ferragamo.

-Palomino Island: Probably my biggest disappointment. I will be very objective here, if you are looking for rest and relaxation, do not visit during the summer long holiday weekends because you will definitively not find it. Upon arrival to the island, the first thing you could hear was a mixture of very loud music coming from anchored boats that were visiting the island and a DJ station in the island. One one side you had reggae ton music (Caribbean Version of Rap Music) and on the other Bachata…although personal preferences in music vary, I was definitively seeking something much more relaxing. However, if you are seeking for a party scene, this may very well suit you. As an additional observation (and this says as much about guests as for hotel maintenance), there was a lot of trash next to the beach chairs. I honestly thought for a minute about turning back and going to the room. Nevertheless after 4pm when people started to leave the island, the atmosphere felt a bit better. Again, if you are coming here to relax don't come during the summer weekends…you won't find it.

-Access to and from Marina: In order to go to Palomino you must reach the Marina. If you are in the upper side rooms of the hotel you will need to do so through a 'funicular'. Now, the tricky part is that on the Marina side you also have the Coqui watermark. So again, on a Holiday weekend, if you plan to return any time after 5pm please be advise that you will hit the 'traffic' of passengers that are coming back from Palomino and from the Water Park, and with only two 'funiculars' with limited passenger space and no other form of access, you can be standing in line for a long time. What's even worse, some of the locals figured out that by taking an elevator to the 2nd floor they could access the 'funicular' without having to wait in line, so many 'smarties' cut in line until this was notified to security and they allowed for those that were already there to cut in front and then started restraining this only to the Marina Guests...

-Food: I ate in two casual restaurants: Iguana Grill on Palomino and the Caribe one for breakfast. On Iguana Grill please note the name does it justice…it's filled with big green iguanas who have gotten used to people feeding them so while you are eating you will see the 'cute' creature staring at you waiting for you to fetch them some food…while I'm eco friendly, I really wasn't looking forward to this while eating. Quality of food was ok, basically what you would expect in an island where there are no other food options. On the Caribe breakfast, quality again was average, not great.

I was fortunately there for a very short stay and used Hilton Honors points to book the room. However, if I had been charged the $229 rate published in the Hilton's website, I would have been really upset to pay more than $105.00 for this stay. It's really a pity that being in such wonderful grounds, the experience does not meet the standards of a Waldorf Astoria property. They have a long way to go here.

As an additional comment, upon returning back I noticed I got two additional charges made after checkout. I called the hotel and seems someone posted charges to my room from Palomino Island after I had checked out - I was informed they would look into it and call me…hopefully I won't have to be behind their back to get this resolved…

All in all, this is probably a good place if you're traveling with kids or do not mind an average hotel experience, but if you're looking for a relaxing retreat, don't bother.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share a detailed review of your recent stay with us. I apologize that we did not exceed your expectations while staying with us. The resort is currently working on a variety of enhancements including new corridor carpeting in guestroom hallways and lobby furniture.

Your candid feedback has been shared with our management team as it allows us to identify areas of opportunity to further enhance our offerings.

Thank you again for your feedback.
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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

We had the most wonderful stay at El Conquistador Resort. Our ocean view room had the most breath taking views, huge walk-in closet, walk-in bathroom, large terrace, just massive huge space for the two of us. This place was so serene, peaceful, beautiful and wonderful. MAGICAL!!!!!!!!!

We didn't want to leave our room but the hotel has a ferry taking us to the hotel's own private island and it was just as incredible. The private island called Palomino which is a 15 minute boat ride away that leaves from the marina every 30 mins. This place was heaven in paradise. You feel all alone on a stranded island. You could kayak, jet ski, horseback ride, or just relax and drink some mojito while staring at beautiful clear blue water. We even had a baby shark swim right by us. Not to worry, it was so small, it couldn't hurt a human. We kayak to the smaller island which was even more beautiful. No words can describe the beauty of this hidden gem.

I want to be there.........NOW

Room Tip: Pay more for the ocean view - you're worth it!
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matt L, Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Thank you for sharing your raving review of the resort. We sincerely appreciate you choosing t stay at El Conquistador and glad that to hear of your intent to return soon. I was happy to hear that you were able to take advantage of some peace and tranquility at Palomino Island. It certainly is paradise. Please come back and visit us again soon.
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San Jose, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

My travel agent and my good friend had suggested that I stay at El Conquistador for my vacation in PR June 24-29th, but the reviews were simply horrible, so I kept declining. I wanted to stay in a former convent in Old San Juan, but they both pointed out to me that Fajardo is a more centralized location for the activities I wanted to do (Culebra, El Yunque, Luquillo), so I caved. I had such a great time that I'm totally coming back!!! The views were absolutely stunning! I stayed in the Marina at an Ocean View room, so while most people were trying to access the funicular to get to Palomino Island or the water park, I was already there. I essentially missed the crowds for everything I wanted to do (even when one of the funiculars broke down for a couple of hours) and I wouldn't want to stay in another section. This hotel could use an update (please, please fix the treadmills in the gym and stop playing the same twenty-year-old ditty on repeat in the funiculars!), but it has so much potential and beauty due to its location. My room was immaculate at all times and my bed was comfortable. I found the food to be expensive and not in local taste, yet delicious (Las Brisas, Ballyhoo, Chop) and there was even Blue Bell ice cream for us West Coasters that never get it! Enterprise car rental is located within the hotel so I could go off the resort to retrieve amenities, visit places like Old San Juan, and enjoy the local cuisine like Pasión por el Fogón. All of the staff was very friendly towards me, so I had great conversations and I felt safe and comfortable. It is a resort and you are constantly reminded of that when you have to show your white resort card for everything, but I would say book an Ocean View room or maybe something at Las Casitas, make sure to rent a car, and enjoy your vacation!

Room Tip: Marina Ocean View
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 9, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us. We are delighted to see that you had a wonderful experience during your recent stay with us and that you plan to return to the resort in the near future. The resort is currently working on enhancements including the fitness center on the Promenade level as our fitness facilities were recently completely renovated.

Thank you for acknowledging the friendliness of our team members. We look forward to your next stay at our resort.
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Stockton, New Jersey
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

I want to start off by saying what a beautiful location...amazing views and very nice pools. We booked our trip on a recommendation from a friend who went a few years back. We traveled in a group of 11 (three families) so that in itself can be a challenge. All that being said to start the rooms were ok at best...bathrooms old and carpets were wet on arrival from being shampooed. Desperately needs tlc in all aspects of the hotel. We went primarily for the beach. We all have pools so that was not our main attraction. Palomino island is amazing and beautiful after the 15min ferry ride it was nice to get off to such a lovely spot only to be treated horribly. The island manager Leo I believe only cares about putting in his time and nothing about customer service. I witnessed another employee Henry from the island yell at a women who wanted chairs brought to the "public" side of the beach....which btw is the best side unfortunately. The hotel side had chairs littered with berries and bird poop and the ferry docked every 1/2 hr feet from the calmest spot of the water. We happened apron dr. Kelly....amazing women who runs the horse stables. After my offer to move our own chairs to the public side was denied she made it happen. She had them brought to us by island staff who dumped dirty chairs at the gate(for shame)!!! The next few days she would keep them saved for us every day and we enjoyed a beautiful beach yet shared with locals. She truly has her heart in her work and should be commended not only for her work with the stables but her understanding of what a family vaca should be. William another lovely and very helpful man on the island was terrific as well. Dr. Kelly knows that if the hotel doesn't step up her stables will suffer and all the work she is doing is to make it a lovely home for them...which it was!!! The staff would allow locals to order from the bar..use the bathrooms and get towels every day!!!! Which would be fine if they treated the property with respect but they don't. The bathrooms got dirty...garbage thrown in the water...in fact a man got beat up the day we stayed at the pool by locals just because his son cut his foot on garbage and he said something. The pool was lovely...we rented cabanas which was great service. Omar was awesome!!! Truly a gem at that hotel!!! He even tried to make it even more special after our beach incidents. Ivan was another very helpful manager at the pool. Gracious in every way. My take on the vaca is that it should not be called a Waldorf hotel by any stretch. The most attractive part of the hotel (the beach) is ruined by lack of security and very poor management. We were going to search for another hotel on day one till we encountered dr.kelly. She made our beach days great...love her!!! Unfortunately it's not her job and chances of you hooking up with her like we did May be slim but if you decide to go...do it knowing that. We talked to many other guests who all had same reaction...it's a resort that caters to locals who are NOT paying what we do and it's all managed very poorly!!!! We went and we saw but we will never return...very sad for them!!!!

Room Tip: Stay in marina...they are the new sets and closest to ferry.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matt L, Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
I want to personally thank you and your family friends for choosing El Conquistador Resort as your vacation destination. I certainly appreciate the detailed feedback about your experiences while staying. I do want to apologize for the below standard service that was received during you stay. Your comments have been reviewed by upper management and will be shared with the staff to ensure improvements are made. I do want to invite you back to the resort although you have stated that you do not intend to return. Please feel free to contact me with any ore thoughts that you would like to share or for any other information you may need. thank you!

Matt Leavitt
mleavitt@luxuryresorts.com
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

I recently booked my 3rd stay at El Conquistador. The grounds are quiet, lovely and well kept, Palomino Island is absolutely stunning, and the water park has been a lot of fun for myself as well as other travel companions. The resort staff are very polite, and the rooms are clean and modern. The food, however, is another story - absolutely awful and overpriced. I recommend leaving the resort grounds and visiting the small town of Las Croabas (directly below the hotel), for authentic and reasonably priced meals. Las Croabas is also the place to go for kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay. Long story short: this place is lovely and I will never hesitate to go back, knowing that I can completely skip their restaurants for a more local and tasty experience.

Room Tip: The Full Ocean View rooms are stunning, and worth the extra charge.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matt L, Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write some thoughts about your most recent stay. We do appreciate the feedback and appreciate you returning to the resort a third time! Your comments about the dining experiences at the resort have been shared with the culinary team with the hopes of when you return again in the future that your expectations will be met. We hope to see you again soon at El Conquistador!
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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

Amazing and dissapointing that after just 15 years this resort has lost all it's former glory. Instead it has turned into a tacky, depressing, dull, old, and lacking in every aspect of service hotel. This hotel has such incredible potential due to it's prime location. Unfortunately poor management and service has dragged it down to an all time low. It has come time to close it and to remodel!
If and when new ACTION is taken to improve this resort...please pay attention to training the staff. SERVICE should be provided with PRIDE! Folks in the hotel industry need to learn that providing impeccable service it's at the very heart of the hotel industry. With excellent service, things like deteriorating decor aspects can be looked over. But when the fountains dont work, the pillows are stained and lacking in taste, when entertainment is non existant, when the food served at restaurants is less than mediocre, and then bad service'is added to the mix? Then disaster looms in the near future.
To the Waldorf Group...that name carries legacy...please DO SOMETHING...SAVE this hotel!

Room Tip: Go elsewhere...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matt L, Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
thank you for your candid feedback about your recent stay at El Conquistador Resort. Although I do not agree with your opinion that the resort should be closed, we do value your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for choosing to stay with us and know that we would love to have you stay again in the future if the opportunity arises. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or comments to share at mleavitt@luxuryresorts.com


Thank you!

Matt Leavitt
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Additional Information about El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Address: 1000 El Conquistador Avenue, Fajardo 00738, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Fajardo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fajardo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 918
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Award-winning oceanfront resort perched atop a cliff, overlooking Caribbean Sea on one side & Atlantic Ocean on the other. Check out the dramatic views, the private island, relaxing spa golf course or the water park - it's all part of this Caribbean paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Fajardo
Waldorf Astoria Fajardo
El Conquistador Hotel Puerto Rico
Conquistador Hotel Puerto Rico
El Conquistador Puerto Rico
El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Puerto Rico/Fajardo

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