My sister and I recently stayed here for 4 nights.
We had some initial difficulty in that we e-mailed the hotel in advance to confirm that our ocean-view room had 2 beds; however, the check-in staff could not find any e-mail and gave us a room with a king bed despite us telling him we needed 2 beds. There also seemed to be a bit of a language problem. Lovely room, but it did not work for us because of the single bed. We then were moved into room #2 with double beds; however, after returning from dinner that evening our floor was sopping wet due to an air conditioning leak. The service from the maintenance staff was incredible (much better than the front desk service!), their visit to our room was timely, and the staff actually asked the front desk to move us to a different room as they would be unable to fix the problem until the next day. Room 3 was a winner (although the front desk forget to give us an updated hotel card, which required a return trip). I certainly would not classify it as a 5 star room, but its location perched high on the cliff and looking down at Palomino Island and the marina could not be beat.
What made the property special for us, however, was Palomino Island and the tree frog (coquis) at night. Having previously stayed in San Juan, Condado and the Isla Verde area, Palomino Island & its powdery white sands was just wonderful and the highlight of the trip. A ferry (with no additional fee, imagine that--just show your hotel card) whisked one to the island at specified times during the day. The island provided towels and beach loungers. Water activities, food and drinks and horseback riding were available for a fee.
The hotel property is lovely; however, other than a stroll pass the Marina apartments to neaby Las Croabas, the grounds are not really condusive to strolling. I so wished I could walk the golf course paths!!! For those who dislike walking, be forewarned that it is a long walk to a very poorly marked parking lot for hotel guests and visitors. While there was golf car shuttle transporation between the lobby and the parking lot, it was unscheduled and was not offered by the person manning the ticket booth when we arrived. In retrospect, it would have been better to drive to the lobby first, if for no other reason to know where the hotel lobby was located.
Our breakfast buffet was included (excellent made-to-order omelets and eggs, good selection of cereals & cold cuts, and mediocre selection fo fresh fruits) and while the food and service were good the experience of checking in & showing your hotel card, waiting to be seated (despite an uncrowded restaurant), showing your card (again!!!) when the bill came and having a 15% gratuity automatically added for the $25 buffet was very off-putting. The later in the morning the more apparent the problems became...there has to be a better way. Were the breakfast not included in the room rate, I probably would have dined elsehwere.
I highly recommend a car, despite the $15 self-parking fee and the aggravation of having to stop at a parking desk in the lobby to show your hotel card and have your parking ticket validated each and every time you leave. While the hotel is somewhat difficult to find because of poorly marked streets and several required turns, it was a godsend in terms of off-site dinners at some of the best local restaurants I've ever found. Having a car also allowed us to drive into San Juan once or twice during the trip and to drive to El Yunque.
We booked our room at a very favorable rate, so overall our experience (for the price we paid) was great. However, if I had paid the "rack rate" of $500+ for our room I would have been very disappointed. The rooms had been recently redecorated, but there was peeling paint, discolored grout, worn carpeting, etc. in our room and in the public areas. There also was no coffee maker in the room, although one was provided when we requested it. I also could see where one could be very unhappy if their room was not in the main building up-top and requireda funicular up and down. While the funicular itself was fun to ride, I would not have enjoyed it as the only way of getting to my hotel room. It also runs 24 hours a day and it somewhat noisy. On the other hand, the rooms at the marina and at Las Olas appeared to be much quieter than those in the main building.
If there was one major deficit to this property, however, is that there needs to be a better way to identify guests other than a paper hotel card...perhaps a wrist bracelet, etc. Cards for the towels also would be a welcome addition. Since there is no accountability for towels, towels were everywhere. Guests on their way to the ferry back to the hotel would leave their towels strewn on their beach chairs! Pool guests would leave their towels at one pool and then wander to another pool and collect a fresh set of towels.
Also, having stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village shortly after our stay at El Conquistador, I would say there is no comparison in the level of service and friendliness (the HHV wins hand-down).
- Also Known As:
- El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Fajardo
- El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel
- Waldorf Astoria Fajardo
- El Conquistador Hotel Puerto Rico
- El Conquistador Resort
- Conquistador Hotel Puerto Rico
- El Conquistador Puerto Rico
- The Waldorf Astoria Collection
- El Conquistador
- El Conquistador Resort Golden Door Spa
- El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Puerto Rico/Fajardo
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Award-winning oceanfront resort perched atop cliff, overlooking Caribbean Sea on one side & Atlantic Ocean on the other. Check out the dramatic views, the private island or the brand new water park - it's all part of this Caribbean paradise. ... more less
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