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“Know what you're paying for”

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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Fajardo
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Lexington, KY
13
Reviewed June 29, 2004

My mother and I stayed in the Wyndham El Conquistador for the first leg of our two week vacation in Puerto Rico in June. I, like many, read numerous reviews of the hotel and was feeling very skeptical of my hotel choice. My only advice ... know what you are paying for!

The rooms (at least in Las Brisas) were old, outdated and musty and the food was entirely too expensive. The funicular (similar to a cable car that transports guests to parts of the hotel at the bottom of the cliff) can be inconvenient and crowded.

But ... the views are breathtaking. And Palimino Island is a MUST SEE! It is like having your own secluded beach. The water is crystal clear with varying shades of turquoise and blue that linger off into the distance. Be aware, there is a large reef/rock that surrounds much of the island (at least by the beach), therefore, there is not much room to do any swimming. But the hotel provides comfortable beach chairs, many of which are situated under grass roofed huts or swaying palm trees.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys an emmaculate hotel room and feel you would dislike the inconvenince of traveling on the funicular or catching the ferry to Palimino Island, then this resort is not for you.

But, if you are adventurous and enjoy beautiful grounds and are attracted by the idea of having your own secluded beach then you can't miss with the Wyndham El Conquistador. If you choose to stay at this hotel, I would recomend renting a car rather than taking the shuttle to the hotel. We were able to go out and pick up snacks and drinks to save on expenses. We also tried to take a travel size cooler to Palimino, but were told that coolers were not allowed. Quick fix - put all of your drinks in a bag or backpack and when you get to the island ask for a bucket of ice at the bar. They commonly hand these buckets out to guests that are buying bottles of beer.

One last thing ... which left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth ... be aware that the resort tacks on additional tax and tariff charges. We ended up paying $40 extra per night in addition to our room rate. That sucked!!

All this resort needs is a few extra dollars spent on remodeling the outdated hotel rooms and it would be close to perfect. I would defintely recomend this hotel to others.

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7,003 - 7,009 of 7,744 reviews

Reviewed June 28, 2004

We vacationed at the Wydham El Conquistador Resort for four days. My biggest and only complaint is that we didn't book a longer stay. I almost cried when I left, which expresses how much I absolutely enjoyed everything. To start, we were greeted and bags were taken from us during check in. The woman who checked us in was very helpful, positive, and cheery. We felt very welcomed and appreciated.

The room was neat and clean, not like some of the reviews stated as being old and could use upholstering. The only problem was that we received a room that wasn't to our likings. First off, the room was overlooking the marina, which could present a problem because of the noise from the boats, and secondly, the TV was not working properly. The repairman, who was already in our room trying to fix the problem made every attempt to accomodate us. He assured that he'd do everything possible to correct the problem at hand. Still all in all, we felt we needed to know what our options were. He referred us to specific rooms that not only were quieter but also more spacious with better views. When the front desk called our room to check on satisfaction, we told them of our dilemma at hand and they directed us to return to the front desk and all would be rectified. We asked for a room change, and the changes were made with no hassles or extra charges. The room that was referred to us by the repairman was situated at the far left end of the first marina area with huge terrace, view of pool, and oceanview directly to Palomino Island, and to our satisfaction no loud boats.

Housekeeping changed our linens and supplies as requested everyday, unlike some of the reviews aforementioned. They also checked on us in the evening to see if we needed extra towels and supplies. Now if that isn't service, I don't know what is.

We've both traveled to a few places together and separately as well, and we both agree that this was our best vacation. From the breathtaking views of the property, to the polite and knowlegeable staff, to the welcome basket of Merlot wine and platter of fruits and cheeses, we can say we were treated as royalty. If we both had time and money, we'd book another trip for next month. We need a minimum at best of six whole days to enjoy this place.

We must admit, it does help to become a member of the Wyhndham by Request Preferred Member. After experiencing this majestic place for ourselves, we've concluded that some people just have to complain about everything or just in need of attention. Either they may be bored at home, or bitter about something because there is no need to have anything negative to utter about this resort. Its a 4-5 star hotel, you'd expect to pay a little more for food and the extras. Its a massive establishment, you'd expect to take elevators, funiculars, escalators, and long walks from your room to the lobby. Its location is in a country where the native tongue is Spanish, you'd expect for some to not understand everything you are saying.

Speaking of service, we ate at Bella Casa. I had a chicken salad in which a fly landed on one of the leaves in my salad. Were there any problems in taking that off the bill? No problems no drama!!!! It was removed from the bill and our table with apologies. When our drinks were finished, there were always refills without even needing to signal the waiters/waitresses.

Ultimately, we had to take the time to write this because if you are planning to make your vacation stay at this resort, you've made an excellent vacation choice and will enjoy yourselves as we did. We are confident of that.

6  Thank ANTIRED2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2004

I just want to say that I went to the Conquistador last year in July, I had read alot of reviews, some good and some bad and then I was hesitant to go, I called the hotel and expressed my concerns and they were very nice and made me feel good and like they explain that it would be easier for me to see for myself and let me tell you, I walked in there with my husband and I could not believe the hotel was more than I anticipated. We had such a wonderful time and the service was excellent and the room was clean and the staff was friendly. I loved it so much that when it was time to leave I cried. But, I am so excited because we will be going out to Puerto Rico and we are staying in the conquistador in August 31st. I CAN'T WAIT TO GET OUT THERE. I JUST LOVE THE HOTEL. SEE YA ALL SOON!!!!!!!!! So see sometimes it is better to see for yourself before you judge. Thank you so much.

3  Thank soniam1027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Palo Alto, CA
34
Reviewed June 16, 2004

At the start of our vacation we stayed at the Wyndham Old San Juan Hotel and spent the final three days at the Wyndahm El Conquistador. The staff at the Old San Juan Hotel were much friendlier then the staff at the Conquistador. Our room was spactious and had a great view, but the room showed its age and was in need of refurbishing. The facilities were gorgeous. The restaurants were overpriced and the food was not particularly great. I don't think I would stay here again.

  • Stayed: June 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
Trabuco Canyon, California
426
Reviewed June 15, 2004

My husband and I stayed at the Wyndham El Conquistador Resort on May 21 – 25. We decided that it would be worth our $$$ to stay at a Quality resort, boy was I totally wrong picking this place. Overall we were very dissatisfied with this place. First day there we arrived about 1:30pm to check in and they told us our room would not be ready till 4:00pm. I had also provided them with my membership card for “Wyndham by Request” card, for early check in but it seem to do nothing for us. I would check every hour and our room was still not ready so we just hung around and explored the place. We used their main Jacuzzi and it was very dirty. I could feel sand at the bottom of the Jacuzzi floor and things were floating around the top, pretty gross! After being there three hours we finally went up again to the lobby to see if our room was ready and it finally was, but by this time it was way over 4pm. We headed for our room down in the Marina section. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk there and to get there you need to take a couple elevators and the funicular. It is a ways there. Once we got to our room it was like a mini suite, large high ceilings, a mini living room, a wet bar and a large master bathroom with a closet and a safe. There was also a nice balcony overlooking the marina with French doors (The window pane of the French door had a major crack in it). I loved the CD/stereo with large speakers. Overall a nice room. The bad thing was that Wyndham by Request had asked me for my favorite drinks and snacks before hand and I didn’t see anything remotely close to what I had requested. It was as they totally ignored my request. Another bad thing about the rooms is that the walls are very thin and you could hear your neighbors next door. The resort is enormous and the only way to get to the main part of the hotel is by taking the funicular which can be a pain. Especially since one evening we were all dressed up to go to dinner and the funicular broke down on our way there. We were stuck in it for 30 minutes, which made us late for dinner. We had made reservations at Otello’s. Word of caution, DON’T order the steaks there, we had to take ours back twice because the steak was full of bristles and fat and for such an expensive piece of meat ($34 a plate) you would think they would have a decent cut. The service was good but the food was terrible! We were so upset by the bad food we walked out and the waiter chased us down to the concierge’s desk. The waiter ended up comp-ing us for our food which was nice thing he did for us. Also if you go to Palomino Island and if you plan to take your own food or drinks hide it all or they will stop you from taking it with you. We were unfortunate to find that out. We knew the food and drinks would be way over priced ($7) for a drink, so we took our own little cooler with water sodas and snacks. As we were getting ready to go on the ferry they stopped us and told us no coolers allowed on the island. Our little cooler looked like a regular bag, but of course they want you to spend on their expensive food and drinks since you are held captive on that island. Also the coffee in the room is awful, so one morning we went to their little café bakery place grab a regular cup of coffee on a Styrofoam cup which is only about 4 oz or coffee and they wanted $3.00 for that! We decided to rent a car for the most part another bad thing is that they charge you $10 to park your car in their parking lots even if you stay there you still have to pay for parking. Anyway, we would go to the local small marina town close to the hotel and we would have a wonderful full breakfast with coffee and all and even with orange juice and it would be under $6.00 for the both of us. That place was awesome, and you get to be with the real people of Puerto Rico. The place is called “Marina Bakery” they also serve lunch there and it’s next to a liquor store. That liquor store has happy hour after the locals get off of work. It’s a blast. Very interesting for I have never seen a liquor store doing a happy hour. Only in Puerto Rico! The casino is okay, not very big and the tables really get packed on a weekend night. The tables are very expensive to play on. Most start at $10 and up. Only one night did I see $5 black jack tables and I believe that was on a Monday night. The shops are okay to look at but everything is so inflated. I seen a pair of flip flop sandals that I liked and they wanted $49 for them and I had seen the exact pair out here in the states for $19.99. Also their bikinis suits are insane. They wanted $40 for the bottom and $40 for the top. If you have that kind of money to blow then by all means. Overall the place is way overpriced and is sort of outdated. All the different building areas of the hotel were so different, nothing matched which led me to believe that at one time there were different hotels and the Wyndham bought them all out and just kept them the way they are. It’s such a shame that they have outdone themselves in the quantity of the place but lost out in the “Quality” department. If you are expecting QUALITY at this place, you will sorely be disappointed. It just looks awesome when you first arrive but once your living there you realize that your were better off staying at a Motel 6, because you will get the same quality but for a lot less $$$$. Like they say never judge the book by its cover, read the book first!

  • Stayed: May 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
New York, NY
19
Reviewed June 15, 2004

My husband and I went to the Wyndham El Conquistador for our 10-year anniversary. We had a really wonderful time. I did so much research before hand, especially this website, which was so helpful. I hope my recap helps...

So... Everything you've written about this resort is true (good and bad).

- (bad) Unless you are situated in Las Vistas or Las Casitas, expect a musty outdated room. We joined Wyndham by Request before arriving, and thank goodness we were upgrated to a beautiful, fantastic room with an ocean view. No complaints from us, but you should have seen the facilities on the lower levels.

- (good) The spa was FANTASTIC! We went twice and had great experiences (massage, facial). They even gave us 20% off for messing up our reservation (worth the inconvenience of rescheduling since everthing at the spa is expensive).


- (bad) And speaking of lower levels, the funiculars (two) were often broken down. One night after raining (they break down more often in the rain), we turned around and decided not to chance it because one or both were often out of order.

- (good) The beach on Palomino Island is incredible. You feel like Gilligan himself. It is definitely worth the ferry ride! Do NOT miss the horseback ride. The views are spectacular, and the guides are super friendly (and knowledgable).

- (bad) The staff is a little confused. I asked the CONCIERGE if I could purchase wine to bring back to my room. I was told no, then walked about 100 yards and found wine being sold in the lobby store!

- (good) The shops were great. Don't miss the jewelery store on the way to the funicular. It just looks expensive. They have very reasonable items that make impressive gifts. Tell Robert Kelly from New York says hello! Great swimsuit stores, too, suits that you don't find in every department store. I wished I'd waited to swimsuit shop there (and comparably priced).

- (bad) The food. Although the food at the fancy restaurants is great, and you feel it's worth the money ($25+up entrees), you just cannot get an inexpensive meal. The $13 salad from the Iguana Cafe was one of the blandest plates of lettuce I've ever eaten. After reading TripAdvisor, I had the foresight to bring a box of granola bars and some snacks for midday, so we got off easier than if we had to eat 3 meals, but even a quick lunch was ridiculously expensive ($12 hamburgers poolside). I'm accustomed to paying a lot for food, living in NY, but I actually felt taken advantage of paying this kind of money.

- (good) Other than the staff being confused, they were all very, very nice and attentive. Any requests for service were met quickly (don't forget to tip).

- (bad/good) Happy Hour was the best value around. 1/2 price drinks poolside from 2-3! Great value. But I do have a complaint about the drinks. Okay, Pina Coladas were supposedly invented in Puerto Rico. Yet, the drinks were made from prepackaged mixes, made here in the states! I felt sort of gyped, like it wasn't really an authentic Pina Colada.

- (good) Great casino! The people could not be nicer, and they had plenty of $5 Blackjack tables.

- (good) The airport transports were a breeze, but a little slow. Figure about an hour in transit from the airport, but the bus waits until it's full, so it might take up to 2 hours to finally arrive.

Here's an extra tip: If you want an authentic Puerto Rican meal (you simply CANNOT find one at any of the restaurants at this resort!), here's what we did: On the day of our departure, we left early, checked into the airport about 4 hours before our flight, then took a 20 minute cabride to Old San Juan where we toured the forts and had a fantastic (authentic) lunch. We also had time to souvenior shop before jumping into a cab (lots available) back to the airport.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. Hope this helps.

Good luck and enjoy!




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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2004

My wife (age 28) and I (age 31) recently stayed at the Wyndham from April 2 to April 6, 2004. Before going, we read numerous reviews of the property on this site and others. As you will note, the reviews are incredibly inconsistent; either people greatly disliked it or loved it. Although the reviews were helpful, we did not feel they provided enough detail or hints to make our stay better. Therefore, we have spent the time to assemble this comprehensive review of the hotel, its restaurants, etc. and to provide help hints & advice.

To put this review in perspective, we have stayed at a number of the most common and highly rated resorts in the mainland US (e.g. Phoenician, Ritz Laguna Nigiel), Hawaii (e.g. Hyatt Kauai, Hilton Waikoloa, Ritz Kapalua) and the Caribbean (e.g. Peter Island, Hyatt Aruba, Westin Grand Cayman). So I think we are able to put the hotel in perspective; at least for couples without kids (but I will try to provide advice for families as well).

Flight & Transfers
We flew into PRU on NWA, non-stop from Detroit. Arrived at around 2:45pm, waited 1 hour for our bags, hailed a cab around 4:00pm. Typical beat up minivan cab. It was Friday and we hit rush hour, so it took a solid 1 hour 15 minutes to get to the hotel, if not longer. The road to the Wyndham is always crowded, since it is not a freeway, so plan for at least 1 hour. The one-way trip cost $82, without tip (I was surprised how expensive, hotel tells you it will cost $65 for a taxi (they were wrong)).

Advice: You should definitely factor in the taxi cost, when deciding whether to rent a car. We have been to PR many times, so we did not want to leave resort. But if you think you will use the car, then rent it. Savings on taxi will almost pay for it. (Note: Hotel charges self-park fee of $10 per day; unless you rent from Hotel Avis desk). Spoke to one lady who took Wyndham bus, since it was part of her package. Said it was normally $60 per person, round-trip. She said bus was old and bumby ride; but the buses we saw looked nice.

Package
We stayed on the four for free deal; paid $359 per night for a regular room, got the fourth night free. Nothing else was included. As an alternative (especially for families), the fifth night free deal sounded good b/c it included breakfast and transfers.

Note: All of the packages are for regular rooms only. Also, there is a 21% tax per night. They said at time of booking that they would charge you the tax even on the free night. They made a mistake and charged me for all four nights, told them on check-out and they quickly corrected it. I think I lucked out, b/c when they removed the fourth night charge, they also removed the fourth night tax.



Wyndham By Request
You absolutely should sign up for Wyndham by request. You can sign-up via Wyndham.com. There is no cost. By signing up, you get a free upgrade and free food & drink amenity. When we arrived, we received an upgraded room (see below); 4 bottles of Dasani water; and four pieces of whole fruit. The website let’s you choose from a variety of food and drink.

Advice: Go for the water, you can always drink that warm the next day (beer will do you no good warm), and you will always want water. Go for the whole fruit, especially if you have kids or if breakfast is not included in your package. They originally brought us two bottles of water and two cokes. I called and had the coke substituted.

Advice: We drank tab water at lunch and dinner. It was fine and tasted normal.

Villages and Wings
I could not believe the inconsistent reviews with respect to rooms. I dismissed it as different people’s taste and prior hotel experiences. But I have found out the truth, it depends upon which wing and which room you have. Below are comments about each area of the hotel, and we attempted to explore and peek into at least one room in each village of the hotel.

Las Olas (Bad): Half way down the funicular (see below for description of funicular), couple stories tall. The only way to reach this level is via the funicular. Not many rooms, area is isolated and quiet, but do not accept a room in this village. The whole area is old and rusty. Granted, we did not look into a room, but I don’t care what the room looked like b/c the outside areas were similar to an old Holiday Inn.

Las Brisas (Bad): This is on the upper level (main level). It is the East Wing of the hotel. I swear, this used to be a college dorm. It is old, paint outside exteriors is falling off in chunks. Had a dorm feel and smell. Don’t accept a room in this wing/village. Granted, this is probably the best location in the hotel to have a room. Right near the funicular, in the middle of everything you want. It also has a very nice garden/courtyard area. But it is worth the walk to stay somewhere else.

Marina (Good): This is the lower level, in the marina area. There is about a 20 slip, active marina; this is where the boat to palomino island leaves from. The only way to reach this village is via the funicular. This area was very nice, colored-updated buildings. Rooms seemed nicely appointed and second best to Las Casitas (similar quality to Las Vista).

Advice: If you get this wing, try to get a room as far inward from the Marina as you can. The ferry boats to Palomino havee very loud diesel engines.

Las Casitas: Private wing of the hotel; on the main level; to the far West of the Lobby. Can get multiple bed room villas, expensive. This is of course the quietest and nicest area of the resort. I would say the interiors did not look appreciably better than Marina and Las Vistas, but somewhat better.

Advice: Unlike the other villages, you can book yourself into the Casitas and guarantee yourself that you get into this village. But it is pricey. To me, it is not worth it unless you have a family or multiple families, and need the space and want more of a small condo feel. But if money is not an issue, of course you should stay here. They say John Travolta and other stars have stayed here, wow, I doubt it. Very nice, but not five stars.

La Vista: On the main level. This is the West Wing of the hotel, off the Lobby. We stayed in a deluxe ocean view room, #4226, on the pool side. Basically, this wing either overlooks the ocean/pool or golf course. The package gave us a golf course view, and the Wyndham By Request gave us an upgrade to a ocean view. Deluxe doesn’t mean anything, it is a regular room.

Advice: I emailed the By Request office at the hotel 3 days before arrival. I asked them to put me in an updated, quiet section of the hotel. They put me in La Vista. Based upon several people’s comments, La Vista was the most recently renovated wing.

Advice: The main pool is VERY LOUD; party because door wall has no sound insulation. I would not want one of the ocean/pool view rooms anywhere close to the main pool. We had an ocean/pool view room, but far to the West, near the entrance to Las Casitas. Even then, we could hear the kids at the pool. If they put you near the pool, ask for a downgrade to a golf course view, on other side of La Vista away from pool.

Advice: This wing has a great garden/courtyard area. One of the best I have ever seen. But with the beauty comes coqui frogs. They make loud sounds all night long; hundreds of them. If you have problems sleeping with noise, do not get the La Vista wing (I think Las Brisas has the same issue). We slept fine, but wanted to note it, b/c it can get annoying.

Rooms
The room we had in the La Vista wing was a 3.5 to 4 star type room (using AAA’s system as my baseline). The quality and cleanliness of the room was below all of the resorts I listed at the intro, but those are 4.5 to 5 star resorts and rooms. It was similar to a general room we had at Hilton Hawaiian village or other Hilton and older Marriott resorts. The good thing was the carpet and furnishings looked very new. But the bathroom was dated and somewhat dirty. Obviously what they did, and it is common in the hotel industry, is they redid the room without ripping anything out but the carpet. So they replaced carpet, furniture and paint, but did not change tub, tiles, sink, lighting fixtures, etc.

The Marina rooms looked comparable but a better setting outside. The Las Casitas rooms looked the best, but still, I think they were a solid 4 star room, still not a Ritz, Four Seasons or a new Westin/Hyatt resort type room.

Keep in mind that it is tough to keep the rooms looking sparkling clean in the Caribbean due to the humidity and high family use.

All rooms had high speed internet access for $14.95 a day. It worked great. Also, all had coffee pots for morning coffee; never used it though. They also all have a VCR and radio system with tape deck (did not see CD player). TV has all major US channels and a movie rental systems with 50 plus movies; extensive choices for $12.95 per movie. Plenty of sitting room includes desk, two chairs and a love seat. Two chairs and table on balcony. All have balconies.

Funiculars
There is three levels to this hotel. Top, middle, bottom. Top includes (from West to East) Las Casitas, La Vista, Lobby (with most of the restaurants, shops and main pool), Las Brisas. Near Las Brisas, which is about a 7-10 minute walk from Las Casitas, you can board the funicular to take you down. Middle includes Las Olas, its pool and the Tex Mex Restaurant. Bottom includes Marina (Palomino island ferry), Marina Village rooms, some shops, Marina pool, Stingray restaurant and Ballyhoo bar.

I never found the funiculars to be a problem. We waited, one time, 5 minutes. Most other times, you wait 1-2 minutes. There is no schedule, and there are two of them. One stops in the middle at Las Olas, the other is express between Top and Bottom. I will note that we were told that the hotel was only 65-70% full.

Palomino Island and Ferry
Catch ferry at Marina. Takes a solid 20 minutes to get to island; leaves every half hour. Pretty much everything is to the right, as you get off Ferry. There is Iguana’s (lunch pavilion). Then about 500 hundred plus lounge chairs. This was impressive, there is always a chair. Also, they all have fancy cushions (looked like they were new); so they are very comfortable. The problem is that only a few have thatched huts to go with the chairs. If you want a thatched hut, you have to go early, probably on the 10am or earlier ferry. If you don’t get a thatched hut, you can sit in the sun or find shade under a tree.

Overall, this is a very nice island. But don’t be fooled, the main beach is almost not swimable. The beach is all coral formations. So cool for snorkeling, but not much for swimming. Also, beware of the snorkeling, because the water at times is only 1-2 foot deep. There are supposedly other beaches on the other side of the island, but you have to hike to them up a hill, we didn’t.

Advice: Definitely go to the Island at least once. It is a little bit of pain to worry about the ferry schedule, etc. But it is a very nice island. We kept walking till almost the end of the thatched huts. We thought it was a great spot, but almost all areas are 5-7 min. walk from restrooms (only ones are next to iguana’s).
They have extensive water sports rentals on the island.

Pools
Notes: All pools have lounge chairs with nice, new cushions. All pools have towel huts. You do not have to give your name, just tell them how many towels you want. Every pool also has a bar nearby. All pools lack umbrellas. I don’t know why, but they must think us Northerners can handle sitting in the sun all day. It was actually ridiculous the number of umbrellas they had. Maybe 1 umbrella for every 20-30 chairs.

There is a collection of 3-4 pools at the Main pool. One was an activity pool, one a lap pool, one with swim up bar. Also a Jacuzzi. Always pretty crowded and lots of kids. There was a small slide, mainly for kids. Pool is not heated and was a decent temperature but little cold. Air temp. was mid-80s, but it takes a lot of sun to heat a big pool.

There were individual pools at Marina, Las Olas and Las Casitas.

Advice: At the entrance to Las Casitas, it says only Las Casitas guests can enter the area. We ignored the sign. The Las Casitas pool is heated, like bath water. They also have a Jacuzzi (wasn’t very hot). The second day, they saw us coming from the La Vista wing and asked where we were staying, so we got booted. But they don’t typically do that, we just made it obvious. If you want to sit or try Las Casitas pool, simply don’t walk through the main entrance. Walk along the side a little, past the spa. Then turn into Las Casitas area and back-track to pool. Looks like you belong. They will not ask you at pool for room number or anything. Las Casitas pool does get a decent crowd of both adults and kids.

Advice: The best day we had was at the Marina pool. There was only 8 people there, all day. It is right on the ocean (not swimable ocean). Also, it is right next to a lawn with plenty of palm trees. So although the Marina pool has little or no umbrellas, we just took our chairs out onto the lawn under the trees. Also, you will notice an individual cabana on the lawn. We used it one day, and no one ever said anything. The cabanas by the main pool are obviously rent only, this one had no signs and the pool attendant clearly saw us in it and did not say anything.

Restaurants
We were very happy with the food overall. Clearly, the quality of the food did not match the price, but it never does at fancy resorts!! So just convince yourself that the value proposition is never going to be good, just hope for good food.

It was also very good service, at times outstanding. The staff is generally quite friendly and sometimes exceptional. For example, when you asked how to go somewhere or you looked lost, someone would walk with you and show you to your destination; even if it took 5 minutes.

Tex Mex (Las Olas): Inside and outside seating, bar inside. This would be a good place for happy hour (they serve free chips, cheese and salsa during happy hour); unlike US Mex restaurants, they do not give you free chips and salsa with your meal. We had a very good meal here. We ordered the nachos and 1 order of fajitas. When the nachos came out, we cancelled the main course order of fajitas. The nachos were huge, easily filling both my wife and I for the whole dinner. The nachos were excellent and only cost $10!! So we had a whole dinner for $10 plus drinks. Not gourmet, but it was nice to sit outside and each normal food.

Isabella’s: Only inside seating, 4 star AAA rating. Fancy steakhouse, nice atmosphere. Didn’t eat here this time, but did once before. We liked it, and it tends to get good reviews.

Otello’s: Only inside seating. Fancy Italian. Again, very good meal, maybe the best we had. We split Tortellini; it was fantastic! I had soup of the day (very good) and wife started with Caesar salad (normal; lightly dressed which was good). Good atmosphere and excellent service. This is one way to save fat grams and to save $, split b/c the portions are ample at all restaurants.

Blossoms: Only inside seating. This is two restaurants in one: Japanese tepenyaki (like BENIHAHA'S) and a Chinese restaurant. Also had sushi bar. We ate at Chinese restaurant and it was good and very similar to Americanized Chinese; one step up from your local Chinese restaurant, not as good as PF Changs. Good service. General Tao’s chicken and spring rolls were both good. Japanese restaurant looked crowded and since they seat in order at the tables, make a reservation.

Stingray’s (Marina): Inside and outside seating. Seafood mainly. Didn’t eat here.

Le Bistro (Las Casitas): Inside and outside seating. Upscale French, need reservation a couple days ahead, if for a weekend. Did not eat here.

Café Caribe: Inside seating. You can tell, this was newly renovated. It has a great atmosphere and a perfect menu for kids: burgers, chicken fingers, pizzas, ice cream, etc. For adults, it is the best ice cream place. Not only the take out area, but go sit on a bar stool and order a sundae; they are great. Chocolate chip ice cream was my favorite. Service is excellent.

Overall, I found the service to be quite good, as compared to other Caribbean destinations. Puerto Rico is laid back compared to mainland US, but not as laid back as rest of Caribbean.

Day Excursions
Did not take any, since we have been to PR before. But Old San Juan and the Fort tours are good; shopping is extensive downtown. If you have a car, drive through rain forest. Nice, but not as nice as Hawaii. If you want to drive somewhere for dinner, but don’t want to eat locally or drive all the way back to San Juan, try the restaurants at the Westin Rio Mar. Large resort about 25-30 mins away. Note: Walgreens and Fast Foods are within 10 minutes of resort.

Comparison to Hyatt and Westin
The 3 main high-end beach resorts on PR are the Hyatt Dorado, Westin Rio Mar and Wyndham. I do not consider the Ritz a resort; small beach and next to airport. Hyatt used to be two hotels in one (Cerromar plus Dorado), but they are converting the Cerromar into timeshares. I would say they all have their pros and cons, and are all solid four star resorts. The Westin rooms are probably the nicest, then Hyatt, then Wyndham. There is no comparison with respect to size, design, etc.; Wyndham is larger and more grand. But the Hyatt, which gives you access to two resorts in one and the Westin which has a hotel and a timeshare, are both large properties with good size water areas and a large number of restaurants. Neither the Hyatt or Westin have an island like Palomino, but they don’t need it b/c they are located on a swimable mainland beach. The Hyatt is probably the best for beach goers. They have two and three story structures about 30 yards for the beach. Full access right out your room. The Westin is more concentrated in one or two main structures, about 100 yards from the beach. Frankly, I have no clear favorite, but if I were going back to PR, I would probably choose the Westin. Nice rooms and relatively quiet; but my wife would choose the Hyatt b/c of the beach.

In summary, I am glad I went to the Wyndham, we had a very good time. As long as you know what to expect, big resort, not great rooms but fantastic array of activities, unbelievably designed hotel, you will have a good time. Even if you don’t stay at the Wyndham, try to visit it during the day. It must have been something very special when it was first built; what they need is not a $10 million renovation, they need to shutdown and do a $100 million face lift. But with that said, you can clearly tell they have spent money over the years; Las Casitas and Marina look very new, and certain restaurants are modern.

37  Thank RunnerJess9875
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

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 4 Hotels in Fajardo
Price Range: $239 - $487 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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