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“Housekeeping not at the forefront of priorities” 3 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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$149 (USD)
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fajardo
Boston, MA
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Housekeeping not at the forefront of priorities”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2006

Stayed at the El Conquistador for business and have to agree with the other reviews on the cleanliness of the rooms.
It is one thing to be an older hotel in need of an update but it is entirely something different to be old and dirty on top of that.
There was hair in my shower and on the floor.
The bed spread was so old and worn down it was paper thin and that made me not want to sit down on it or touch anything.

They are undergoing a much needed face lift in the rooms and other than that I have no other complaints about the facility.
The spa was truly something special and the views are breathtaking.

I have to disgree with some of the reviews regarding the restaurants, I thought they were all terrific and actually ate at Stingrays twice and had the exact same dish (Chilean Sea Bass) both times.

Hope this helps!

  • Liked — The views and the spa
  • Disliked — cleanliness of the rooms
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
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New Jersey
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2006

My husband and I found a good deal online for combined airfare and hotel accomodations through Travelocity for this hotel. I think it was about $1500 combined. We were in need of a 4day/3night get-away without our 3 young children for some relaxed down-time and sunshine and this fit the bill with a direct flight to San Juan. We normally stay at much smaller, more exclusive resorts and have been spoiled by those (Cap Juluca on Anguilla, renting a house on Anguilla, Las Ventanas in Cabo San Lucas, Caneel Bay on St. John). We read all the reviews and while a little nervous about what we were to find upon arrival, we ended up having a great time and the resort pretty much to ourselves due to this still being the "off"-season. I'm sure it would have been a very different experience in "high season" if the resort had been chock full of people, chaises in demand, elbow-to-elbow on the island, and full rates for average accomodations...would not have liked it with those factors.

The positives of the "off season" is that we got the peace and quiet we were looking for...no problem getting your choice of chaises by any of the pools and on the island. We didn't have to wait in line for anything and nothing was crowded. We were upgraded to a full ocean view room on the 4th floor of the Vista wing. We were overlooking the maze green garden out to the ocean, so had no problem with privacy or noise from the pool/lobby as another reviewer mentioned. We were closer to the Golden Door Spa than the lobby. We were the only ones playing tennis on their courts. ($10 fee to borrow a raquet, $6 for can of balls and $35 for an hour on the court) The negative to the "off" season and renovation that's underway is that more than a few of the restaurants were closed for renovation. We ended up eating dinner at the asian restaurant in the hotel for 2 of the nights...one night at the yakatori/Benihana-type grill in the restaurant which was good and the other night in the Chinese part of the restaurant and had delicious peking duck (pricey, but tasty). Dinner out the other night was just down the road from the hotel at Pasion...a local spot...we were craving "real" authentic puerto rican cuisine and this was a nice change of pace. THe concierge recommended Pasion and it was easy to get to. Overall, food prices were on the high side, but that's what you generally expect at a resort. Although, breakfast was quite reasonable at the Cafe Caribe...about $8.95 for an entree. We liked the menu for lunch/drinks down by the marina the best...the bar along the water. Also, spent a couple of hours one morning in some chaises on the lawn by the water in front of Las Olas village...peaceful and away from the big resort.

The views from the hotel are quite beautiful. It's set up high on a cliff and you feel as if you're in a plane...looking out onto Palomina Island, Vieques, Culebra and St. Thomas in the distance. The golf course, gardens and grounds are all well-kept. We enjoyed the boat ride out to the hotel's island...a nice change from the pool experience...to sit in a chaise and listen to the waves lap against the beach. To be picky about the island...it needed a good raking to clean up the seaweed and garbage that naturally floats ashore (plastic bottles,etc) and the menu could have been upgraded at the one and only cafe.

Our room was fine...we were prepared for the worst based on some of the reviews that we read...and we called ahead to see what they could do about a room because we had read such horrible reviews. They upgraded us and while the tiles were chipped, the bathroom was in need of new grout and a fresh paint job, the furniture was tired...we were okay with what we ended up with. If we had to pay full season rates, it would have been another story! Luxury it is not, but it was perfectly fine considering what we were paying and the fact that we were "away." It was clean and the maid service seemed more on the ball in our room than in some of the other reviewer's rooms.

Service was very friendly and welcoming.

Again, we're not big resort kind of people, but it worked for us for this quick get-away and El Conquistador served its purpose.
Call for an upgraded room before you go...I just saw some photos of the room a recent reviewer ended up in and it looked horrible (mold, etc)! My review would have been very different if we had not been in a decent room.

Stayed November 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Temple Terrace, Florida
Top Contributor
230 reviews 230 reviews
84 hotel reviews
Reviews in 111 cities Reviews in 111 cities
152 helpful votes 152 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2006

We bought our stay at the hotel at a charity auction on a whim so we didn't check the ratings out until after the purchase was final. The ratings were so up and down that we didn't know what to expect. The reality for us was a wonderful stay. We were upgraded to an oceanview room and the view was indeed lovely. The room itself was fine. Yes, the furniture was a bit chipped, but the carpet and bedding were fresh, the mattress was very comfortable, and everything was perfectly clean. The bathroom vanity was granite and the bathroom had attractive tile. We saw one of the rooms that was being renovated and the new rooms will be very attractive, but there was nothing in our room that was unacceptable (and yes, we can be picky).
The staff at the hotel was friendly and helpful. The shuttle driver was full of helpful hints about the hotel and the area. If a staff member was asked for direction, he/she would walk you to show you the way. The concierge staff was wonderful.
The food at the hotel is expensive, but so is the food at every Caribbean island we've ever visited. We enjoyed eating at Otello's and found the service to be excellent. We followed the advice of other visitors and bought coffee and muffins at David's each morning and had a delightful breakfast picnic by the pool. We ate offsite at Las Vegas on the road to the rain forest and Pasion in Farjardo; both meals were excellent, but not cheap.
We enjoyed our stay at the beach at Palamino Island and did not experience delays with the boats or overcrowding, even though there were six weddings at the hotel during our stay. Destination weddings mean plenty of guests!
The highlight of our trip was an evening boat ride with Capt. Suarez at the bay. The concierge desk made the reservations for us and going by boat, rather than by kayak, was the way to do it for us. Since you don't have to focus on the work of kayaking, you sit back and enjoy the trees full of egrets and iguanas, Capt. Suarez's talk about the ecology and the area, and the magic of the lights. We swam in the warm dark water and made water snowangels as we moved. We watched the krill and sardines create abstract patterns as they jumped and swam. Since we had been at the Nature Preserve that afternoon (a bargain two hour tram tour for $7), we even knew the science of what was happening because our guide had explained it in detail. The English tour is at 2PM and the concierge made those reservations for us, too.

  • Liked — evening biobay trip with Capt. Suarez
  • Disliked — expensive food
  • Tips/Secrets — get a rental car and use valet parking
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2006

This resort is in desperate need of remodeling and a staff change. Their internet site looked great but the pictures are old. We stayed for 5 nights in a filthy room with terrible service from housekeeping and the restaurants. Our deluxe ocean view room, #2324, had mold on the ceiling, floors, and curtains. There were hair balls on the bathroom floor, terrible stains on the bedding, curtains, and furniture. The hotel policy is to reuse all of it's drinking glasses in the rooms. They do not change the glasses between guests either. As for the food, it was awful and overpriced with 1 exception, Othello's, the Italian restaurant upstairs. The regular family restaurants and pool restaurants charge $16-$18 for a hamburger, $9 for a hot dog, and $3.50 for a soda plus taxes and gratuity. The fanicular was broken 1/2 the time as was 1 of the elevators. We feel like we were robbed of our $2500.

  • Liked — Going home
  • Disliked — Everything except Othello's
  • Tips/Secrets — Go anywhere else
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2006

My wife and I stayed at the El Conquistador for our 1 year anniversary Oct 1st-6th. We read all the reviews prior to taking our trip so alot of it was expected. I think in general, all the reviews are accurate.

Weather - Near the end of Hurricane season, we were somewhat worried about the weather, but it was 85-90 each day partly cloudy. When the sun was out, it was hot, there was a breeze by the pool and also on the island.

Food - the food is expensive. $10-15 for a burger, $25-45 for a dinner entree. However, the food is good quality. Actually the breakfast at the Caribe Cafe was priced pretty well $6-9 for entrees, and the coffee shops had bagels, muffins that we priced ok. So you could start the day off with a good meal and a good price. We didn't do the buffett at Las Brisas, as it was closed (I think it was $20 a person anyhow).
We found the Ballyhoo Bar and Grill at the marina to have the best lunch menu and moderate prices. The burgers, sandwiches and quesadillas were all good. The main grill on Palomino was closed and the secondary grill was ok, but the prices were higher. Alot of people have said good things about the Pizza at the pool, but we didn't think it was too good.
Dinner at Otellos (italian) was very good. Dinner at Blossoms (Chinese) was ok. I think if they just lowered some of their prices $5-$10, they'd have no complaints.

Hotel - As with others at this time, we were in the La Vistas section, we originally had a garden view, but they gave us a free upgrade to an ocean view, which overlooked the main pool/ocean and with a nice balcony. The sunrise comes up on this side. The room itself was in need of an upgrade. Just older stuff, it would be a nice room with renovations. They are doing major renovations to other parts of the hotel (Bristas wing) so I assume, they'll upgrade this one once the other is done. Renovations of rooms and a waterpark are said to be completed in 2006-2007. They are also updating their boats. In the offseason, it definately is a much more laid back hotel. It's like you have it to yourself, so it's quiet. Some of the restaurants are closed, since there aren't that many people but there are still plenty of choices. We spent a day by the main pool and that was nice, as we were close to our hotel room, and also close to the pool bar and servers. We also found the infinity pool in the Casitas, and that was a great view as well. I could see how these would be crowded in the main season.
I thought it was pretty easy to get around with the funicular (tram) to take you to the marina section and the boat to take you to Palomino Island. We enjoyed the boat ride. We spent a couple days out at Palomino Island. It's definately pretty cool to have your own island. We took the first 9AM ride out in the morning and along with a couple other people had the island to ourselves. THere are plenty of towels/chairs/umbrellas to use on the island. It's set up pretty well. The water does have coral in it, so at times the bottom is rocky. We did find a nice patch further out that became smooth sand again. So try to go past the 1st section. If it's hot and you want a breeze, go right when getting off the boat (best beach also). But if the wind picks up and it get's cloudy, stay on the left side or close to the dock (less wind).

Spa - My wife loved the spa. She said it was very worth the money. She got a 60 minute massage. She highly recommends the services there. She said the massage was great and the setting was perfect.

Golf - I guess on tues/thurs during the offseason they have discounted rates on golf after 1PM. So it was $70 to play 18. (they are in the processes of building a 9 hole course). The golf course is really nice and all the tee boxes are positioned high, so alot of your drives will go quite a bit further 100-150 yards. It's pretty interesting. The course was very well taken care of. The fairways are pretty straight and open, so it's an easy course to play. Lots of iguanas roaming the fairways which goes along with the views of the mountains.

All in all, this hotel is a good choice. I think once the renovations are completed, it may be a great hotel. In the offseason it's a good choice for relaxing and water sports. I would not recommend it for night life if that's what your looking for or for socializing, as there aren't many people there (I'm speaking about the offseason).
But for a getaway of sun, surf, pools, golf, spa and food, it's a good choice.

Also, the staff at the hotel was very friendly and attentive.
**ps, if you connect in NY at JFK for Jetblue, the San Juan connection is in terminal 4, you have to take a shuttle train which can take time**

  • Liked — Views, the friendly staff
  • Disliked — needed updating
  • Tips/Secrets — Infinity Pool in the Casistas, Bring a backpack cooler with drinks and snacks to Palomino
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2006

It was beautiful. With $89 round trip airfare from Jet Blue, and $107 a night from priceline, it was only $890 for air and hotel for two people for 5 days/4 nights. It is hurricaine season in Sept, but Puerto Rico, unlike other Caribbean islands, hasn't had a hurricane since 1998. The forecast said scattered thunder storms every day, it did not rain once. The hotel is amazing! The main hotel is 300 feet above sea level, with incredible views from everywhere! We stayed in the La Vista wing, which was off the main hotel. We had a garden view room, which was less expensive, but we had a view of the mountains and the ocean was still off in the distance. A huge plus was that we could watch a beautiful sunset from our back porch every night. The las castias village was also a beautiful part of the hotel, they seemed more like colorful Caribbean condos then hotel rooms. And that part had the most amazing infinity pool 300 feet above sea level. (we wern't supposed to go there since it was specifically for Las Castias, but in Sept. it is so quite that we were the only ones there most of the time. By far our favorite part of the hotel. To get to Las Olas village and the marina, you had to take a funicular, which is like a tram that goes up and down the cliff. It works like an elevator, and seems almost like a nice trolley car inside. The trip down is not even a hassle with the amazing views, but you have to go at the right time because even in the off season there could be a wait. Unfortunately there is no beach on the premises, but from the marina you can take a 20 minute boat ride (which they are now working on a faster ferry that will only take 8 minutes) to their private island which is worth going to. The only thing for the budget conscious is the food and beverage. A burger at the grill is $18.00, and if you go to a nice restaurant, an entree will run you $22-45 depending on where you go. Also, a beer is $6. But the food is wonderful, 5 stars no matter where you go. We solved the price issue by getting 2 muffins, 2 bananas, and 2 juices at the bakery (muffins were so good!) for $12. Then we would split a burger or sandwich with fries at the grill, and when we did that they would give us plenty of extra fries and it was more then enough. Then for dinner we would splurge, because quite honestly, we're on vacation! (and the food was worth it). As for booze, there is a liqueur store in the main hotel with six packs of beer, wine, and bottles of alcohol, so we would just get a couple six packs for the room. People treated us there like we had paid $500 a night (which is what you'd pay in winter months). It was 5 star service all around, great shopping, casino was fun, there's a sports bar for the guys with any game imaginable. I would highly recommend it to anyone and we are definitely going back.

Stayed September 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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Severna Park, Maryland
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2006

The trip to the El Conquistador Resort was both enjoyable and relaxing. My husband and I just returned from an 8 day stay (9/21-9/28). The resort sits perched atop a cliff with expansive ocean views from almost every location within the resort. The grounds are absolutely stunning. Once you turn into the resort you feel like you have entered an ocean paradise!

We got a great Travel Zoo rate of $90 a night for a garden view room with a $100 resort credit with a 3+ night stay. I booked this directly on the El Con website. Just click on specials/promos at the bottom of the reservation page. When we checked in they upgraded us to an ocean view room in the La Vista wing at no charge.

Yes, they are in the process of renovating the resort. When you approach the main entrance you see some construction. This is the new conference center and ballroom. All other current improvements are hidden from the guests. Currently the Las Brisas wing is closed for renovations. They have plans of the renovations posted in the lobby. The new rooms are modern and luxurious.

It is currently low season and we felt like we had the resort to ourselves. The pools were not crowded, the private island/beach was almost deserted, and the staff could not have been more helpful or friendly.

Yes the food is pricey but not overly outrageous. The pricing is consistent with other islands in the Caribbean. FYI, all of the restaurants are not currently open. Isabella’s is being renovated into a new steakhouse. Stingray Cafe down in the Marina was open. The food there was fabulous. The veal medallions, sea bass, and tuna were all excellent. You must try the chocolate soufflé. Otellos, the Italian restaurant was exquisite. The food was absolutely wonderful and full of flavor. The veal chop, lamb shank, beef filet, swordfish, and lamb chops were all out of this world. The Tiramisu and chocolate mousse in the hazelnut basket were both worth the calories. We also ate dinner at Blossoms the Japanese/Chinese/Sushi restaurant. The Chinese food was good and reasonable. The Bella Vista Café overlooking the pool and ocean has great pizza that can be shared by two. This made for a very reasonable lunch. For breakfast we ate at the Las Brisas buffet next to the pool or at Dave’s cookies across from the casino. We went to the local supermarket for snacks and drinks. They do have these available on site if you do not want to venture off.

If you want to venture off site I suggest renting a car at the airport and driving to the resort. It will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the resort. I highly recommend the Eco-Tour kayak trip to the bioluminescent bay and the Castillo catamaran snorkel tour. Both are a 5-10 minute drive from the resort. We also ventured off on our own to the rainforest. Having the car saved a considerable amount of money on hotel transfers/cab fare. You have the freedom to explore at your own pace. Yes the resort does charge $15 for self parking or $20 for valet parking. I suggest the valet since the self park lot is a distance from the main entrance and you need to take a shuttle to/from your car.

My husband and I both enjoyed massages at the Golden Door Spa. The facility is beautiful and the staff is top notch.

If you are looking for the nightlife and excitement of San Juan this hotel is not for you. If you want a laid back relaxing vacation far away from the hustle and bustle of town this is the resort you are looking for. A trip to the Casitas Village infinity pool is a must. This pool is for the private use of the Casitas guests but with the low resort attendance you will not be stopped.

We will definitely go back to the El Conquistador once all the renovations have been completed.

  • Liked — The views!
  • Disliked — Distance to beach.
  • Tips/Secrets — Go to the Casitas infinity pool.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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