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Reviewed April 25, 2013

Great hotel for a trip with family or friends to Fajardo. The hotel's private island Palomino is an absolute blast, complete with plenty of towels and chairs, private coves, and outdoor sports and water activities. The catamaran ride to the island is fun but not for those who get sea sick easily! There are lots of pools, but when its windy debris from nearby flowers and plants tends to get into the pool. Nearby is El Yunque, the Bio Bay, and several great authentic restaurants. There's also conveniently a Walmart about 15 mins away which is good for stocking up on snacks and drinks. I would recommend renting a car and doing self-parking here if you are a tourist from out of PR. This will help you save a lot! Like others have mentioned, it's not the fanciest hotel or a quintessential "Waldorf"experience. However, that being said the staff is extremely friendly, the property is beautiful, and it reflects the laid back Latin culture well. Try getting an ocean view if you can! The beautiful views off the cliffs are unbeatable.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with Waldorf Astoria
1  Thank Sarah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Summary review after two visits: April 2012, April 2013

View: amazing, breathtaking and beautiful from all angles! 5 stars

Check in/registration- 1 star (ok that might be generous)- both years we experienced significant difficulty in getitng our room upon arrival. In 2012 it took us almost 2 hours to get our room, and this was after they asked us to go have lunch and come back around 4:30. The 2 hours ordeal started then. The amount of time the front desk spends 'behind the wall' is unbelievable!! It's like they go back there and disappear for 10-15 minutes at a time while you wait patiently for them to return. 2013: Similiar experience. Except this time we arrived at 10:30 pm they didn't have a room available! Seriously, they had our reservation noting the request for two queen beds as we are a family of 4. I'm pretty easy going but finally lost my cool after the extended trips to the 'secret room behind the wall' when they came back to tell us they had ONE room available for our family of 4 with a king size bed... but they could give us an air mattress for the night. For the rate I'm paying over Spring Break, that is not an acceptable option! Oh, and you did notice this is a WALDORF ASTORIA, right? I travel extensively for work staying in everything from Courtyards to St. Regis and Four Seasons and everything in between. This hotel is certainly no where near the standard of a Waldorf- in all categories- service, food quality, room furnishings and cleanliness, etc... If you know that and have a realistic expectation, then you may not be as frustrated as we were yet for the $$ you spend, you certainly expect much more.

Food- average at best, always expensive
Room- musty, didn't ever 'feel' clean, torn carpet, cracked tile, housekeeping didn't wipe down the bathroom sink or tub the entire week we were there

Here is my closing comment: When we left in 2012, I recommended this as a decent option, setting realistic expectations for friends I spoke to. Leaving in 2013, I went back and told those same people that I retract my recommendation based on our second visit. It's too expensive for below average service, average food and tired, dirty, outdated rooms.

I still give the hotel a 3 star overall because the property itself is nice. The island is great, the waterpark is fun (but you have to pay to get in each day which adds up quickly). Pools are nice. Majority of towels are worn and thread bare. We didn't use the spa or golf course either visit but both looked nice. Casino converted into game room is fun for the kids.... but you have to pay to use everything (air hockey tables, billards, etc....).

I'm writing Hilton as well to share my thoughts on why calling this resort a Waldorf Astoria is extremely misleading.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Jennifer R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

The experience was horrible. The hotel is 32 miles away from San Juan where we flew in. The shuttle cost 80 dollars per person to take, so we chose to rent three cars. Deductibles were 500 $ per car, and 15 dollars per day for insurance. The drive from San Juan to Fajardo takes an hour and a half to go 32 miles. Upon arrival we parked up front to check in. We came out 5 minutes later to a 50 dollar parking ticket. The parking area is a mile away which forces you to valet your car every time because parking is fifteen dollars per day, yet to valet is only 20. The next day we tried to board the ferry to palomino island but could not because we didnt have a " white card" with us. Note, that this " white card " is essential to your survival at the el conquistador, yet no staff member will inform you of this. When we actually got to go to the island, each activity (snorkling, souviner shop, restaurant, etc) takes a different payment form( credit card, cash, white card). None of which is ever explained to the guess. You are not allowed to bring liquor to the island or coolers.

The rooms are very ancient, almost prehistoric. The chair cushions are ripped, no foot stool in our room, different televisions in every room, different iPod stations in every rooms( if they actually work). All the clocks have different times and you cannot change them if you would like to set an alarm. The bathroom door handle is falling off, and my daughter started crying because she thought she was locked in the bathroom. The carpet is from the 80's and the fridge is set for 70 degrees so my beer was room temp.

Furthermore, our room key did not work on the third day, so we went to the front desk to be told that we need our " white card", which we didnt have because it was locked in our room. He could not help us unless we have a "white card". So my wife, infant, and myself were locked out. After an extensive conversation, we were finally re-issued a white card. By then I had lost my mind and was irate.

I would not reccomend this place to any person who has ACTUALLY traveled to multiple destinations across the globe. Do not be fooled by the beautiful landscaping and clear waters. I have only been to Puerto Rico once and will never return based solely on this disheartening experience.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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3  Thank Leahluxem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013 via mobile

We spent a week with our 2 teens at El Conquestidor. We stayed in a junior suite between marina and water park. Large deck with furniture opened to beautiful view of the sea and Palomino island. Very large room and bathroom with separated kitchen area - two refrigerators, sink, coffee maker and large counter and shelving- and walk in closet with a built in dresser. King sized bed and queen sized sofa sleeper were both very very comfortable. There was another dresser, desk, chair, sofa table and flat screen TV with cable and DVD player. The bathroom was very large with a stand up shower, jetted tub, sink with large counter with lots of storage and shelves and a separate toilet room and 2 windows. Perfect location on the property! The room was awesome per my teens and husband and I.
Coqui water park and Palomino island were awesome. Be prepared to pay to go to water park. After 4 pm it's only $5!
Our only complaint is that the hotel restaurant food (except for restaurant on Palomino island) tastes terrible and is overpriced. The Blue Bell ice cream is good on the lobby level as is Starbucks' drinks and sandwiches. There is a market on sight where you can purchased drinks, snacks, fruit for the room. Additional shops on Libby and ground levels sold reasonably priced souvenirs, shoes, clothing. Staff are nice and helpful. A funicular takes you from sea level to the main lobby/hotel/pool.
Rent a car and venture out to the wonderful restaurants nearby that are reasonably priced. Taxis are pricey and a rental car is the way to go. There is a grocery store, Walmart, and many chain restaurants nearby too. Stock up on water, etc. You can bring your own drinks to the island and water park despite the signs not to. Great place! Close to rain forest and Bio Bay.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank ETravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

I was extremely disappointed with the overall quality of this hotel.

The building is extremely dated and poorly maintained, the pool area is inadequate and old fashioned, the building itself is like a concrete maze from which one can derive little pleasure, in addition there is no direct access to the beach and this can only be reached with a Ferry.

The beach is in a private island and as this belongs to the hotel, prices for food, drink, and activities are extortionate. There are no other hotels or businesses in the area and you are forced to eat and drink in the resort at ridiculous prices. Moreover, they charge you for everything; if you want to use one of their “rusty” cabanas you pay, if you want to use the golf course you pay, if you want to access the waterpark (which consists of a slide in a pool) you pay, these are all services that should be included on a 4* rate.

When it comes to the services they offer, forget about hiring a bike, exploring the neighbour areas or anything of the kind, this is a resort for you to enter and not leave until the end of your holiday…

I also had a number of problems with the service:

1 – Our room was located by the Noisy Ice Machine and the elevators, despite a number of complaints the hotel staff failed to resolve this problem and we were left to suffer the noise in the same room for 8 nights.
2 – Poor housekeeping as they failed to clean our room on one of the days.
3 – Cleanliness, the carpets are dirty and you cannot walk bare foot. The duvet was dirty, and overall the room didn’t feel clean.
4 – Bed linen was old and felt old and used.
5 – Food, the breakfast had a poor choice of unhealthy foods, and both the Steak and Italian restaurants were overpriced and could not be referred to as fine dining. After a couple of days you are desperate to eat good food, or go to a supermarket and buy something healthy… but again, this is impossible at El Conquistador.
6 – Serviced by the pool took over 1:15 hrs when I had just ordered a pizza.

I would never recommend this hotel to anyone and I feel sorry that my holiday was spoiled by staying there. This is a stain the Woldorf Astoria name.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank wassLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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