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Reviewed January 7, 2013

My family and I spent a week at the Las Casitas Village at the El Conquistador Resort. We arrived on December 30th and stayed through January 5. All of our reservations (for dinner as well as other activities) were in place and we had no problems at all. The staff was great. My kids (17, 15, 10) were busy all the time and had a great time. As noted by many others, the food at the resort restaurants was not great, though we did have a very good meal at the Strip House on New Year's Eve. The breakfasts were decent but the service was slow or non-existent. The New Year's Eve fireworks and celebration were a blast...the hotel obviously was a magnet for the local area so it gave the place a lot of life. Some people complained that the Casino is no longer in place but that was not of any interest to us, so we didn't mind. All in all, this was a great trip to a beautiful location. I would definitely return.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Garrett K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I know this is long, but I wish I had gotten some of these tips ahead of time....This was our 2nd time in PR, but the first at El Con. There is so so much to do at the resort - pools, beach (complete w/ many activities, most of which are free!), water park, golf, tennis, game rooms, spa and million dollar views! Traveled with my family - myself, husband and 4 boys ages 11-20 and there was plenty for all of us to enjoy. The staff is overwhelmingly kind and helpful. However, the resort needs a serious facelift and the food needs a major upgrade. The pool and beach lounge chairs are old and pretty nasty looking as are the seats on the boat going to the beach on Palomino Island. As expected, the shops on the property are all pricey. If you have a car, or taxi driver who is willing to make the stop, shop at the Walmart on your way in to the resort and stock up on water, soda, snacks, maybe some lunch food, and even Bacardi ($10.27 a fifth when we were there), beer and wine. Overall, food at the resort is average and highly overpriced. Service, however, is very good and fast, and the salads were always fresh regardless of the restaurant at which we ate them. One reasonably priced place to grab breakfast or lunch is Sweet Heaven which is located just before you get onto the funicular to go down to the marina level. Huge freshly baked muffins for $2.95, egg, ham and cheese sandwich on large croissant or bagel for $5.95, Puerto Rican coffee from $1 - $3 depending on size, and lunch specials including sandwich, drink and chips for $8.99. Best (and possibly, only) bargain at the resort and all very tasty! A few tables to eat-in are available. Bella Vista just outside the lobby has a great Cubano sandwich and fantastic flat bread pizzas at reasonable prices. Monster-sized, and delicious, burgers at Ballyhoo Bar down at the marina. Avoid dinner at Caribe Cafe - way below average food and just a tired looking place. Also, the only place where the wait staff seemed highly indifferent. Breakfast specials were reasonably priced though, but we never ate breakfast there. We stayed in the main building just across from the lobby and received a full upgrade to adjoining oceanfront rooms without even asking. This was also surprising since I had named my own PRICE on a popular on LINE travel site so was expecting garden view. I essentially got the 2 oceanfront rooms for the price of one!! We also received a double-sized air mattress for our youngest at no charge. Bed and pillows were super, super comfy and plan on looking into the brands! Slept great! Carpeting is filthy though. Needs serious steam cleaning at minimum, or replacing. Mildew is everywhere in the bathrooms, including the closet which is located in there. No ventilation so that's probably why there's a mildew issue. Lots of dust and small bits of trash in corners and crevices and along the rooms' perimeters. Each room has a mini fridge, but if you want anything to stay cold, fill your ice bucket once a day and put it in there without the lid on. My husband and oldest son thoroughly enjoyed the golf course. It's challenging and a beauty too, with fantastic views! As for off property, we went to a restaurant called La Tasca Ole Lelolai twice. A gem! I will write a separate review for that. Lastly, do not miss the Bio Bay! Book ahead with one of the kayak tour companies or the boats (only 2 of those that go out and they only hold about 10 people each). If you don't book ahead, don't let the concierge at El Conquistador discourage you and put you on a wait list! After 2 days of trying that route, I took matters into my own hands and called directly at 3 in the afternoon to book a boat tour that night, our last night there. Only 4 of us went, so I may have gotten lucky, but we got to see this not-to-be-missed wonder. Truly awesome! If you have a car, the concierge will give you directions and it's very easy and quick to get to the marina. If not, take the funicular down to the resort's marina, walk through the gate (I was told by another guest that it's always open) to the left and keep walking until you get to the adjacent marina where all the kayaks and boats depart from. We did not go this time since we had been before, but El Yunque rainforest is a close drive away as well. Also not to be missed!

Room Tip: If not offered, ask for an upgrade to oceanview or oceanfront. Spectacular views!
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank mpg64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

My family has been to the El Con twice since April of 2012 and we are returning next Sunday the 13th as a surprise Christmas present from my husband. I cannot tell you how excited we are to be returning. My kids, ages 7 and 5 love this place, as do my husband and myself. It has become our home away from home and our "happy place'". For a family with kids it is ideal. Our kids continually ask if we can go back, and when asked if they would rather go to Disney instead, the always say no. Yes, the place is older and the rooms could use some updating, but the place is huge and updating all the rooms will be a slow process. But they were always clean and we never saw any bugs or roaches as one of the other reviewers mentioned. That bejng said, the place is beautiful and the views are spectacular. They have us a free upgrade when we were there in July and gave us an ocean view room down at the marina which was wonderful.

Yes, the food is pricey as it is at any resort that is not an all inclusive. But we never had a bad meal and the hibachi (blossoms) and the steak house were excellent. Because the place is so big you can really cut costs on food by eating at some of the lower priced choices like the pool bar or down at the marina, both of which have beautiful ocean views. You can also go outside of the resort and eat locally. We got breakfast at Starbucks or the coffee shop down by the catamaran that took us over to Palomino island every day. Iguanas at Palomino island was also good and not as pricey either. Sometimes we would pack some snacks for the kids that we got at one of the gift shops for lunch instead, and that saved some money as well. Going over to palomino everyday was like an adventure for the kids, and we got the best of both worlds by having a relaxing ocean cruise and then spending the day on our own private island. On the island the kids loved to snorkel, kayak over to Palomonito island, jet ski and horseback ride. Renting snorkeling gear everyday can be expensive so you might want to bring your own like we did on our second visit. The ocean was gorgeous and clear, however some parts were rocky, so bringing water shoes for the kids to explore would be a good idea as well.

All of the staff were friendly, polite and helpful. In July on our second night there my son fell over a rope that roped off the walkway to the boat, and split the back of his head open, needing 6 stitches. The staff was right on top of this and sent an English speaking security guard with us to the hospital to translate. Thankfully this didn't dampen the rest of our stay, which was wonderful.

Coqui water park was fun, but we didn't spend more than half a day there as the kids really loved to go to Palomino. If you get to the water park later in the day, I believe 4:00, admission is half price and you really don't need to spend more than half a day there anyway.

We will be returning for many years to come.

  • Stayed: July 2012
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2  Thank devonNewJersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

We visited the el con using Hilton points the week after christmas in 2011 and just went back for the same week in 2012. This time we took our 27 year old daughter and her boyfriend. We had an absolute blast. Our rooms were at the marina area and not quite as nice as our room last year but we were still pleased. We spent 4 perfect days on palomino island and had awesome beach weather with a nice shady spot. We enjoyed occasional hikes around the island and lying on the beach. We ate all our meals at the resort and all were excellent. Our island food and bar drinks were exactly what we needed. We split lunch meals as the portions were big enough. We were all comped the buffet breakfast and the service and food were great. Omelets were made to order and there was plenty of fresh fruit and pastries. We were not charged a resort fee or fee for self parking. My husband is diamond status with Hilton. We all want to return next year and make it an annual event.

Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Travel2livewell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

The El Conquistador Resort is truely amazing! I spent a week there in December 2012 and loved every second of my stay! I spent a few days working during my time at the resort and the conference areas were great! The resort is very clean & well maintaned, the staff are wonderful...very friendly & helpful and the view from the resort is unreal! The food is wonderful all over the resort...even in the little bars. The beach is a short boat ride away (the only downside I'd pick if I really really had to pick one) but it is worth the ride! I would recommend this resort for sure! It is very pricy but I my option it is worth every penny!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled on business
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Thank NLTravelGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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