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“Nice Property”

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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fajardo
Certificate of Excellence
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Nice Property”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

We stayed at this property for four nights. The property is beautiful and sits on top of a mountain looking over the sea. There is no beach on the property but you can take a 15 minute ferry over to Palomino island which is owned by the hotel. The island is beautiful and has a restaurant, bar and water activities. As for our room it was spacious but needed to be updated. It appears the hotel is short staff so in the mornings you can see wet towels around the pool areas. Overall this hotel is great for its value. The hotel is rated a four star so if you are expecting a five star resort don't stay here.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lee M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7,320 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Level Contributor
70 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

From the El Conquistador website - "When you arrive at a Waldorf Astoria Hotel or Resort you can expect exceptional restaurants, luxurious spas, and unparalleled service". They are right, that's what we did expect, that's not what they delivered. This property is tired, broken down, worn down and dirty. What a huge dissapointment. Every where you look, it's either broken, tattered and always dirty.

We were here with our company on a awards trip. When the elevator opened to our floor (1) we were greeted with the dirtiest, filthiest, most worn out carpet any of us (all seasoned travellers) had ever seen. It literally made your skin crawl. I've never seen anything like this at a major hotel. We were all sickened by the filth. When we got to our room, it was clean, so did not mirror the filthy, disgusting, hallway, but it was tired. Dirty white sofa, broken towel rack in the bathroom, funky tub with multilple caulking attempts, etc. Simply tired with a great ocean, marina view.

We complained to the front desk and our corporate travel coordinator about the filth in the hallway and they sent a cleaning crew the next day, and the next day, and the next day. It was as if they were trying to make up for the year or so that they hadn't cleaned it once. Cleaning the carpet did help but it's beyond saving. Patches everywhere, stains, and bleach spots.

It's obvious that maintanance is being deferred all over this property. Every where you look something is patched, tattered and dirty. So either they're just about to renovate (which still doesn't excuse the general condition) or they don't have the money. Either way this is a 2 star property, only for the views and location.

The private island, Palamino Island, is very nice, probably the highlight of this property. The staff are very friendly and a always ready to help, with a smile.

This propery is 1.5 hours from Old San Juan, so once you're here, you're probably not just popping over to the old city.

Strip Steakhouse is a bust, mediocre food with a premium price tag. The Stingray restaurant by the marina was very nice with good food.

The casino has been removed and replaced with a wierd assortment of games, now called the Ultra Lounge, this place looks like an arcade threw up and the Ultra Lounge is the result. Another haphazard effort in this broke down palace.

If you get the right rate and want to take a vacation with the family and don't mind the general condition, the El Conquistador will work. If you're looking for a first class experience at a world class resort, look elsewhere. They need to spend millions here and should not be associating this property with the Waldorf name or re-position the brand along side La Quinta and Holiday Inn.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Scott P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

Just got back from 4 days at El Conquistador/Waldorf Astoria at Fajardo, Puerto Rico. I was a little bit apprehensive about going there (after reading some of the negative comments) but we went anyway and I certainly am glad I didn't heed those overdramatized reviews. I've worked in the tourist industry,and my husband is a Cuban-born naturalized American citizen, and so I think we're both pretty qualified to objectively judge Caribbean hotel amenities. El Conquistador more than fulfilled our expectations and we plan to return.

We could not have been happier with the entire experience. There was something breathtakingly beautiful to see and photograph each and every day, something interesting and unique to experience, something delicious to eat, and we were never bored. Everything was as good as we could have hoped for...the food, the service, and the property which is just awesome. The front desk staff, especially Marilyn, was helpful and very nice. Jessica at the Concierge desk was nice and made sure we got where we needed to go. William in Guest Services, Alexander at Cafe Caribe, Angel in Ground Transportation and Jose in Hotel Transportation...all of them were really good to us.

We stayed in room 4321 which is at the top of the hotel overlooking the plaza. The view from the sliders is nothing short of magnificent, and I do mean postcard-type perfection. Two nights while we were there the hotel was hosting a business convention which meant music and partying on the plaza until about 10 PM. We put the TV on mute, opened the sliders, and just listened to the Caribbean music and experienced strong evening tropical breezes. The only reason we were watching TV at night in the first place was that some stormy weather was coming our way and we wanted to be on top of what was happening regarding our flight back home. We did close the sliders at nght and turn on the AC just because we don't like humidity when we sleep.

Some people have complained about the fact that there is no beachfront right on the property. The ride over to Palomino Island is fun! Who would not want to pretend to be taking a daily boat ride over to "Gilligan's Island"? You get to take fantastic photos as the boat is coming up to the dock. So what if the boat rocks a little bit? Well, duh, it's a boat, on the ocean, and there are waves. Take some Dramamine. It was a blast.

My husband was born in Cuba but left while still fairly young and he had not been back to the Caribbean in over 50 years, even though he had many memories. So back around Christmas I decided I would plan a perfect Caribbean getaway for him as a surprise. I'm sure it helped our interactions with the staff that my husband is fluent in Spanish, with a Caribbean accent. But I also feel that we had the perfect time because we are not what anyone would typify as "ugly Americans". We truly appreciated everything that was done for us. As a matter of fact, the only unpleasantness we experienced on the entire trip were many of our fellow American tourists.

And yes, we did see plenty of "ugly Americans"......loud, rude American tourists and their equally rude and entitled kids, whining and complaining about the least little thing, expecting everything to be like it is back "home". We heard them complain about the food, the heat, there was nothing to do...etc., etc. On two occasions we had to leave the pools because their bratty teens threw footballs and hit people with them; I'm talking about in the beautiful infinity pool, not the big one at the plaza, but the one with the once-in-a-lifetime view where you go to have an hour of tranquility, supposedly. And we literally got stampeded and mashed against the rails in the funicular on two occasions when it was already full and we had waited our turn to get on. Some other people felt like they couldn't wait 90 seconds for the next car and just shoved on in. One fat guy had a cigar in his mouth as he shoved his fat self inside. Unbelievable. I remarked to my husband that it is no wonder people from other parts of the world hate Americans if this is the way most of them behave overseas. The fellow tourists were the only damper on what would have been an absolutely perfect experience.

Anyway, to sum it all up; if you're a perfectionist, and feel entitled, and are impatient and rude, you probably would find fault with El Con, as you probably would with anything else. But if you approach it with the attitude of being a visitor in a foreign land, eager to see and do new things, and eager to stretch outside your comfort zone, you'll love it. And don't be afraid to go off property to the little village right outside the employee parking lot, the park at Las Croabas, for some real Caribbean food, at half the hotel price, by the way! We did and we loved it.

Room Tip: If you want to see and hear lots of activity, get Building 4 and ask for an ocean view room. All th...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Icelandic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aldie, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

This is a family resort that attracts many families. The resort knows they can not accommodate all families with rooms having balconies and two queen size beds. However, they don’t want to lose business so they do not allow you to specify in your reservation if you want two queen beds or a room with a balcony. I have stayed at many hotels around the world and have never encountered this problem. Even though our reservations indicated we were traveling with 2 children and we needed two beds and a balcony. We checked in and this was not what we got. We were informed they had no rooms available of this type which was BS. Look at the reviews on tripadvisor this is the hotels scam to increase bookings since if most families knew they would encounter this problem they would stay elsewhere. The second day they did move us to the room we needed. However, I give no credit or thanks for a hotel moving us to a room we should have gotten in the first place. This made us so upset the first day that it put us in a bad mood for the first half of our trip. This was not a problem unique to me. Several families were going through the same ordeal at the same time. I think they try to screw all the families that prepay. This is clearly the hotels business model. Besides this, the hotel was amazing, the food was good and I would have given this hotel a 5 star review otherwise. But there is a reason you can not specify a room with two queen beds vs a king and why you can not specify an actual balcony vs a French balcony (door that opens to bars).These type of rooms are extremely limited. If you do not need a balcony or two beds this place is great. However, If you are a Family and do not want to pay top dollar for a room to have your kids sleep on an air mattress together for 8 nights, book at a hotel that will allow you to reserve a room with Two Queen beds. Besides this, the resort was beautiful, Food excellent and everything was amazing. But you do not want to start off a vacation with sort of BS.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank jamesh369369
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
73 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

We decided to go to Puerto Rico on our Spring vacation. I chose the hotel because I saw it advertised as a prize on Wheel of Fortune. I figured it would be fabulous! After I booked the trip, I started reading the reviews on Trip Advisor and was very concerned about my decision. I feel if you disregard the fact that it is a Waldorf Astoria property, then your expectations will be a little lower and you will be fine with everything. We were met at baggage claim and the bus ride was pleasant, air conditioned,and cool drinks were provided. We were allowed to check in early. We asked for an upgrade from our garden view room. I do not know if we actually got an upgrade, but we did have a partial ocean view. Rooms did need some renovating. bathroom was not luxurious and TV screen was small. On the whole, the room was bright and cheerful.There are many restaurants at the hotel, some expensive and some less expensive. If you plan to go to local restaurants, make reservations the first night you are there because they are small and fill up fast.Taxi cabs are always outside the hotel waiting to pick up guests. There is a listing of the prices to the various restaurants. $15 to El Veradero and $20 to La Estacion and Las Vestas. Take the cab to Las Vestas and then you can walk back to the hotel by entering the back gate. You can see the hotel property from the restaurant. You enter the property through an employee parking lot at the marina. Definitely go to Las Vistas for breakfast or brunch. It is 5 stars. We found everyone at the hotel to be very pleasant and courteous. We ate at several restaurants at the property and found the service to be quick. Towels were provided everywhere, pool, beach, and waterpark. There is a kid's camp run by the hotel. We did not have small children, but it looked like the employees were very involved with the children and activities were planned for day and evening.The beach is beautiful, the singing frogs are amazing, and overall a wonderful place to spend a vacation. Lastly,check your bill halfway through the stay so if you have charged incorrectly then you have time to get it corrected.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jennie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midlothian, Virginia
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

I wrote a previous review of the Rio Mar and this is a follow up on a more positive note for the El Con. What a terrific hotel! The staff are super friendly and the facilitites and rooms are outstanding. This was the the second time my wife and I stayed with them and we loved it both times. When we checked in with Hilton Honors, we received a complimentary upgrade to the Marina and a larger room. Our room was oceanfront and it was outstanding! I can't say enough about the people at the hotel either. From the bell hops to the front desk to the bartendars at BallyHoo Bar and Grille..just terrific. We plan on taking our kids with us next year and going back every year as a tradition. From the grounds to Palamino Island, you can't ask for a better place to stay that has everything you need for you and the family.

The restuarants are good to very good, but expensive like all resorts. I'd highly recommend the Stingray Cafe. Food quality and service are great and the view of the marina is awesome. Blossoms, which is a Japanese Hibachi restaurant and Chinese restaurant combined is terrific too. The service was great and the food was too.

If you're looking to find a quieter part of the property, check out the Marina rooms or Las Casitas Villas. Both are very nice. But, they don't come cheap at anywhere from $380 to $500+ per night.

My wife and I both praise the El Con for saving our trip to PR! If we had to have stayed at the Rio Mar, it would have felt like a total waste of money. But, we left PR with great memories once again thanks to the fantastic stay at the El Con. And, if you're looking for great service, then look for Jesus at the front desk and Carlos at BallyHoo. Both were terrific!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank RickH860
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

We stayed over spring break at the El Con and had a terrific time. We came with the expectation that it would be a relaxing family vacation, but did not expect to be pampered. W also rented a car and ate most meals out or in the room, so I cannot comment too much on the hotel food, other than one lunch at Ballyhoo and lunches on Palimino island.

When we were there my daughter ran into 3 friends from her school, which may sounds like a terrible thing, but ended up being the best thing ever. The kids had a terrific time and the parents got family time and the opportunity to relax with happy kids.

W stayed in the Marina section on the second floor that looked over the dock and Ballyhoo. The back of the room was actually very close to where the funicular stop, when getting off on the opposite side of the crowd. We didn't hear any funicular noises and it was really convenient. The room was nice with a large balcony. Downsides were that everything was a little moist, though this is what happens when you are 20 feet from the water. Also, there isn't a pool on the marina level. However, the middle level pool we often had to ourselves or with just one or two other families. The pools are open 24/7 and the kids would meet after dinner and play pool volleyball, having the whole pool to themselves. The water park is $5 after 4 which is a good deal when there are three water slides. That said, we spent one full day at the watermark and had a good relaxing time. The water is really warm at he water park which meant my son could spend hours in the lazy river.

Room Tip: Room 1206 was on the 2nd floor overlooking the marina
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank mmm922
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

Property: El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Address: 1000 El Conquistador Avenue, Fajardo 00738-3711, Puerto Rico
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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