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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fajardo
Certificate of Excellence
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing time”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2014 via mobile

Hotel was amazing. Service was exceptional although we felt there was not enough staff. There are a few items in la casitas that needs to be addressed but the amazing part is we addressed them and they were fixed. Be prepared to spend a lot on food and drinks but well worth it. Food and service in restaurants were top notch. Highly recommend the Italian restaurant.

The private island was very nice. A bit of a drag getting there and back. Especially when you are used to in other resorts bouncing from pool to beach and back and forth.

Great resort for families.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Berrios10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7,324 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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north dakota
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2014 via mobile

We were here for my husbands work conference. They are a large group and it's hard to find conference halls that can accommodate their large group. This place is in need of a major update to say the least. It is a very large sprawled out place. It's huge. Not hard to find a bar !! The rooms are very dirty outdated and so gross. The shower is so disgusting. This is the kinda place you don't like to even walk of the carpet :-(
We did go over to the island on our last day there. It's ok but not the greatest. The beach is not nice the water is ok the sand in the ocean is were rough and cuts your feet. If you go closer to where the ferry parks it's better
So all in all this place is in need if a serious update. It's a shame to cause its in a great location. Good luck to anyone staying here. Pack you sanitizer :-/

Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
Helpful?
4 Thank 19amiller73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, United States
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2014

Our second stay in two years for spring break. The size of the facility and number of services and hotels is amazing. The staff is generally superb, the private island and boat are excellent and the restaurants are solid but are a bit pricey. Facility is beginning to show a little age but still they are well kept as are the grounds. Everything you need is on premises and lends itself to a safe, fun family resort.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Waldorf Astoria

Helpful?
Thank Timothy Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

The reviews for El Con are a bit all over the board, and I think I can see why. There are many aspects to this resort, and some are very good, while others are about average. I'll try to sort out what's what to help you judge whether this is right for you. Hint, the Very Good far outweighs the Average... The scenery: Spectacular. You'll stop in your tracks over and over again from atop the cliff on which the resort sits - gorgeous views of the ocean and islands, pretty flowers, bright pools. The pools and pool areas: Very Good. The pools and hot tubs are clean and clear and not overly-chlorinated. The areas around the pools may be where some reviewers are saying needs a bit of upkeep - but not much. Some of the cement and tile needs repair, but it's not really noticeable unless you're trying to find what people were complaining about in other reviews. The rooms: ours was a garden view. Pretty simple. Truthfully, the room was comparable to what you'd find at a newer Americinn or Hilton Garden Inn. Clean, but the bath fixtures were a little dated, and yes, the couch was "musty" as others have pointed out. The thing is, if you travel in the Caribbean or Florida much, you've noticed this before. It's humid there. Nothing ever completely dries out. Then you have people sitting on couches in wet swimsuits... pretty hard to keep it perfect. The restaurants: you have several options. The poolside/outdoor restaurants are exactly what you'd expect poolside/outside. The food there is pretty good. We also ate at the nice Italian one (indoors). The food there was very good. The service at all the restaurants was excellent. The prices were high everywhere. Plan to spend a lot of money eating, as you'll be pretty much captive at the resort. Unless you're pretty adventurous, that's where you'll do most of your eating (make an exception and go to KasaVista though - see my review on that elsewhere). Palomino Island: Very Good. Really convenient water taxi out to the island. Lots to do, including just relaxing. A very mellow vibe. The Waterpark: go after 4:00 when the price drops. It has 3 slides and a lazy river - good for a couple of hours at best. The staff: very very friendly. I can't review the golf course nor the tennis courts, except that the tennis courts appeared to be in good condition. Overall: we went in the first week of April, which appears to have been a good time. We never had to wait for anything (restaurants, funicular, ferry, etc.), and yet there were still enough people around to make it vibrant. Overall, our family of 4 (2 teens) really enjoyed our stay here. If you're going to Puerto Rico, I think El Con is a very good choice. We would definitely stay again.

Room Tip: Garden view is just fine - ours had a nice porch; some of the ocean views didn't have one.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DBalestri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matt L, Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, April 7, 2014
I really appreciate your well-thought and written review of the resort and your most recent stay. You have shared some very valid points and we appreciate you taking the time to do so. You are so right that the views experienced at El Conquistador are breathtaking and memorable. So glad you were able to take advantage of the resort dining and amenities while you were here and hope that you and your family will visit again in the near future. Thank you!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
147 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

Upon first entering the grounds of this hotel, we were awestruck by its splendor and beauty. There's a private roadway lined with palm trees, spectacular flowers and a manicured golf course which you drive through before pulling up to the hotel. Parking is down the road a block or so from the entry so my husband unloaded our belongings and dropped us off. There is golf cart shuttle service provided in and around the property, which we used just once. One thing to know is that for anyone who wishes to walk from the hotel into town, it is a very, very long hike.

The lobby area is massive. Check in was not particulary welcoming as we had to wait five or ten minutes before one of several nearby employees decided to help us. It was quite a jaunt from the lobby to our room, due to its location, but it was a walk through very attractive surroundings which we admired along the way.

What made this place super wonderful for us was our room. We rented a spacious two bedroom suite in the Las Brisas section of the hotel, and although pricey, it was worth it. We had two large bathrooms, a dining area and living room (with a sofa bed), a bar area with a sink and tiny fridge (although no kitchen or utensils), two bedrooms, and three separate balconies, each with EXTRAORDINARY views of the ocean and marina. There were floor to ceiling views of sparkling water and blue skies which is just what we needed! I believe we had a total of three flat screen televisions, too, although we spent hardly any time watching TV. The rooms were very clean with nice furnishings, although our bedroom had a slightly musty smell from the carpeting.

We had dinner one night at one of the resort's restaurants and ate breakfast on premises another day but for the most part we ventured into nearby towns or over to San Juan for any meals. Our hotel based dinner was at Cafe Caribe which is a very casual place and the food was good. The breakfast which we had on site was at Las Brisas, a very open and airy restaurant. Buffet contained a good selection of foods but was expensive. A Starbucks near the lobby was a good place to grab coffee one or two mornings. We hung out in the lounge late one evening where we listened to music and played pool.

From our research before the trip, we knew that the hotel is not fronted by a beach so we were prepared for the ferry ride over to Palomino Island, which worked for us splendidly. To catch the ferry, we had to take the funicular down the hillside to the marina where the boat was waiting in the harbor. The funicular is a type of tram and it's an unusual method of transport at a resort (or anywhere else!), but actually makes sense for the layout of this property. Our room happened to be very near the top "station" of the tram so the trip to the boat took us no more than five minutes.

We spent one day on Palomino Island (which we understand is leased by the hotel for exclusive use by guests) and took the ferry boat over, which was a fifteen minute ride. The island is surrounded by turquoise water and beautiful sand, and there were plenty of activities, most for an extra price, My husband and daughter rented paddleboards and used them to get to Palmonita Island, a tinier island next to Palomino. Other options were kayaks, volleyball, jet skiis, horseback riding, etc. There are a couple of places to eat on the island, one of which seemed to house a large rooster which was strutting about amidst the outdoor tables. We also encountered two very large iguanas (each over a foot long) when they walked across the pathway in front of us before lumbering up into one of the trees.

Service at the hotel was spotty. Some members of the staff were very helpful and friendly and others were indifferent or worse. For a five star rating, consistently excellent service should be provided.

Overall our stay at El Conquistador was a great experience. It's a beautiful property with many unique aspects including the cliffside views of the ocean, the funicular, and the privately operated island.

Room Tip: Recommend staying in the Las Brisas section of the hotel. We had an extraordinary oceanfront view f...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TallBlonde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
158 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2014

Hilton should be the brand this is under. The resort is showing it's age. Rates are pretty pricey. Our room had mold by the sliding door that didn't properly shut. When brought to the attention of the front desk, she replied, "close the door all the way" when it was the fixed door was the one that didn't close. There are ants in the room (we were on the 6th floor). Some of the pools were dirty and don't receive daily cleaning and there was a huge pile of hair, etc. by the filter for a couple of days. Two of the hot tubs were so hot you couldn't get in them. Saturday night appeared to be employee's family night and two families who had coolers and other things a traveler wouldn't have set up shop by the pool and were drinking, smoking, and making a lot of noise.

We didn't eat on the property. So many excellent restaurants near the hotel within a few minutes' drive. Ole-Lelolai is the best one and the concierge didn't even recommend it to people. Many people we spoke with were told to be weary of going off property so they ate at the hotel restaurants and were very disappointed, especially when they found out how excellent the restaurants are and it IS safe to travel.

The kids did enjoy the scavanger hunt for the bands. Neat idea. Palamino Island isn't the greatest for snorkeling anymore. The coral is mostly dead, however, lots of sea urchins live in the rocks. Not advisable to walk out there unless you have a mask on. We saw a guy who stepped on one--extremely painful. We did see a sting ray while snorkeling--very cool. You can swim the the small island that looks like a sandbar. Very nice over there, but on weekends, many boaters tie up there. Sunday night on Palamino is party central for private boats and the locals. Didn't feel safe there Sunday night, but any other time was terrific. Restaurant Iguana's is now a hotel restaurant, no more homemade salsa or fried plantains they had four years ago, unfortunately. Very disappointed in Iguanas. They only allowed one towel per person but the boaters were taking ten towels per person as soon as the towel attendant left to help tie up the taxi.

The view at the hotel is spectacular.

Self-parking process is ridiculous. Why would you have to have the parking slip validated by the attendant? Silly, silly process that just wastes time. When you park on the second or third tier, the shuttle does not come get you or wait when you are parking. Instead they leave as soon as you get out of the car, then you have to walk to the first level and wait. It was quicker to walk rather than wait for the shuttle.

The casino is unfortunately closed! Arcade games there instead. How does a casino close? Disappointing.

Wish the curtains were light blocking as the hotel faces sun rise. I like to sleep in, but couldn't due to all the light flooding the room each morning.

I would recommend the hotel upgrade the far fitness center. I am glad my tetnas shots are up-to-date as the equipment is rusty. The gym at the spa is very nice, but not many folks know about it as there were 10 people using the far facility and 1 (me) using the spa gym. It is located on the second floor of the spa.

Housekeeping could be improved. Sunday was a different lady as she didn't leave toilet paper or towels. She left two towels for four people. She should have noticed the ants and had them taken care of, too, but didn't.

Diamond members expect to receive an upgrade, but be warned, you will be at this resort, even when the rooms are empty. Disappointing. Customer service is what will bring people back and make for good reviews. You receive a three star only because of the location.

Room Tip: Room with a baloncy. Not all have chairs. Look for ants--don't keep any open food out, especia...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 4recreationist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Needham, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2014

After seeing some of the negative reviews I had some doubts about our stay at the enormous El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, but it surpassed my expectations and I had a great time.

What's best: it's in a great setting, is extremely clean, great staff, really fun "funicular" (like a roller coaster) that takes you up and down the hill, pools are gorgeous, lots to do, and the ferry that takes you out to the hotel's beach at Palomino Island is stupendous. They upgraded my husband and my room when we got there, from "garden view" to ocean view - and that made a huge difference I think. We were near a terrific restaurant that made delicious mojitos. We enjoyed quite a few.

Downside: food is 'fine' but nothing to write home about. And it's expensive. And it's not easy to get away to other restaurants, because you're pretty isolated there.

But the pluses FAR outweigh the minuses, and I heartily recommend this - whether you're honeymooning, visiting with your kids, or just getting away for a long weekend. It really is stunningly beautiful and comfortable. Just rent a car for a day and buy yourselves some mojito fixings so you can sit on the balcony at the end of the day and make yourselves at home!

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the water are great. Las Casitas was also cute - but far from most of the activity...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kat22446
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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