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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Fajardo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 23, 2004

i really liked the resort and the island area. but the food stinks. i would recommend eating off the resort if possible. the 10 dollar parking fee is a rip also.

Thank jjstone75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,985 - 6,991 of 7,753 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Hiawassee, Georgia
Reviewed August 23, 2004

Just returned from our trip from San Juan. Before I went to this resort I read reviews for at least 6 months and was very torn before I left. I decided to write this review because of the mixed reviews.

We arrived in San Juan on Thursday August 12, 2004. Our wedding was to be held on August 15, 2004. Upon arrival (around 7:30 pm) we were able to check in. There were no long lines at this time and the staff was GREAT!!! Our room was in the Marina Village. It was GREAT!!! not a 5 star but at least a 4 star room. The views were also great!

On Friday, the hotel had arragned for a driver to take us to the appropriate places for the different things we needed for our wedding. It took about 2 hours and then we met our wedding corridinator. She was great!! She made sure everything went off without a hitch!

After all this, we went over to Palimino Island. Beautiful!! The ride over was nice, it took about 15 min. Not too crowded. The food there was expensive. Hamburger $14.00 Chicken Strips $14.00 drinks were $8.00. Coke $3.00 per 6 oz cup. But the island was great.

We ate dinner at Blossoms. Great food but very expensive. Dinner for two for the cheapest on the menu no drinks, just coke and tea $88.00.

The next morning we at the breakfast buffet. Yes the birds were flying around, but your in the Carribean, it's all about the atmosphere. We loved it. The breakfast buffet every morning cost us $42.00. The food is good, but way over priced.

Our wedding was wonderful, the priest had the most romantic cerimony I have ever heard. The photographer was also great!! and not expensive.

After the wedding our wedding party ate at Isabellas. Lovely restuarant as far as atmosphere. Very formal and elegant. VERY EXPENSIVE!!! Dinner for two with no drinks again tea and coke $165.00. Since it was our wedding, that's ok for a special occasion. Food good, but not that good.

Over all, this was a beautiful resort with a friendly staff and great rooms (at least where we were).

Would I go back? Probably not, just because of the food expense. When we go to a resort we want to just chill out, not leave and relax. This place was that good, but the food was tooooo expensive for that. We'll stick with all inclusive. But for our wedding this place was perfect as far as location and views.

On Sunday, we headed off to the Carnival Destiny for our Honeymoon!! Great Time.

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A TripAdvisor Member
Chestnut Ridge, NY
Reviewed August 20, 2004

Just got back from our vacation at El Conquistador, Fajardo (Aug. 15 to Aug. 19th). Overall, I would say it was a very good experience. The hotel is absolutely beautiful, the vistas are spectacular, the service was excellent, the room was better than we expected. The only negitives I encountered were; 1) everything at the hotel was excessively expensive 2) Very difficult to see any sights because of its remote location. I would highly recommend renting a car if you want to do any sight seeing and eat in restaurants outside of the hotel. Other than that, everything else was excellent. You definitely get the feeling that you are staying at a quality resort. I would return again, but next time I'm renting a car and bringing my own water (they charge $3 to $4 a bottle)

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A TripAdvisor Member
New York, NY
Reviewed August 14, 2004

I stayed at the El Conquistador the first week of August 2004. I booked my room through Wyndham's web site after signing up for "Wyndham by Request."

The first thing to know is that El Conquistador is far away from San Juan airport. I called Wyndham the morning before my scheduled arrival to see if I could catch their shuttle and was told by an unhelpful operator that I needed to make a reservation 3 full days in advance. So I ended up paying $80 for a taxi.

After driving for an hour through some seemingly impoverished neighborhoods, we turned a corner and the resort stood out like an oasis. We drove through the beautiful golf course greens to the main building of the hotel, with its aesthetically pleasing Spanish-style architecture. Check-in was quick and efficient, and the walk to the room was pleasant, as the courtyard featured a lush rainforest of sorts, complete with singing coquis and unusual sculptures. A happy moment was in store when I walked in to my room to find a comfortable balcony with an ocean view only partially obstructed by palm trees in a beautifully landscaped area of the hotel overlooking the ocean. The room itself was quite spacious, tastefully decorated and comfortable, with a large bathroom and a few uncommon amenities such as a ceiling plan and DVD player. My main criticism of the room was that the bathroom was a bit musty--I am sure that the management could easily address this by devoting the proper resources.

As others have noted, the food prices at this resort are high, and in fact exorbitant at certain restaurants. I found the food to be of consistently good quality at the various restaurants, but the absence of native Puerto Rican cuisine was conspicuous. If you have a car, there are many restaurants in the area that serve native cuisine, including a cluster of them in the vicinity of the nearby Seven Seas Beach. I would warn potential patrons of the high prices at Isabela's restaurant, which features a somewhat ostentatious dining room but suffers from very slow service. I found the food at Blossom's, a Chinese/Japanese restaurant, to be very good and reasonably priced relative to Isabela's (the service was much better there as well). The breakfast buffet was also very good and a better choice than the a la carte Cafe Caribe.

The hotel owns a small island, Palomino Island, the most fun aspect of which is the ferry ride from El Conquistador to the island. The island itself offers a beach, horse riding venue and canteen, but the beach is not first rate because the water is shallow and water shoes are necessary due to the presence of underwater plants and many rocks. If you want a nice beach, try the famous Luquillo, which is a quick drive from the hotel, or better yet, go to the astoundingly beautiful Flamenco Beach in Culebra (which, though it sounds trite, truly offers powdery white sands and crystal clear waters--plus opportunities for snorkeling over coral to view tropical fish), which is accessible via ferry from Fajardo's pier, which is a short drive from the hotel.

The hotel also features a casino. Don't a expect Las Vegas-comparable facilility--the casino is suprisingly small (though the hotel definitely has ample space to expand it and should consider doing so) and is not well maintained--a number of the machines are out of order, on the blink or simply old.

The resort also offers a half dozen or so pools situated throughout the resort. There are a number of shops, including a couple that sell unique hand-painted articles that make good souvenirs.

El Conquistador is considered a premium property in Puerto Rico, and rightly so. My driver told me the hotel is frequented by the likes of Mariah Carey and that he has personally seen Donald Trump, George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Whitney Houston and other past or present celebrities there--though it could be better as my comments above reveal. I would definitely stay there again, more likely for a long weekend than for a full week, if only because the resort is a long way from San Juan and other areas of Puerto Rico that one would be interested in visiting.

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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 10, 2004

The Good:
Beautiful locaton and grounds.
Room we had was lovely, with a great view of the lower grounds and ocean, and a large terrace.
The staff, with one or two exceptions, were pleasant and helpful.

The Okay:
The V-shaped main hotel building we stayed at was a bit older and the hallways showed their age, though the rooms were nice.
The front dest customer service, while polite, took their time with requests to make a room change due to noise from next door.
Palomino Island was a nice option, but they really should install some showers for rinsing off after a swim.

The Not-So-Okay:
Charging hotel guests $10.00 for self parking is a travesty.
The lack of reasonably priced dining options (not to mention no Puerto Rican cuisine at the hotel...are they kidding??), made us have to eat pricey Mexican food our first night there at the Cantina, but to it's credit, the portions were very generous.
Echoing noises in the hall can be heard from inside the rooms. Perhaps the hallways should be carpeted.

All in all, we enjoyed our 3 days here, but since I know my way around the island, we went to different places to eat and sightsee. For someone who doesn't, they are not enjoying the true essence of Puerto Rico. It's kind of homogenized.
But the hotel is truly a lovely place to see. Especially the views. I would recommend it for a short stay or if you rent a car to see the rest of the island.

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A TripAdvisor Member
Indianapolis, IN
Reviewed August 10, 2004

This hotel matches the typical Wyndham property. The resort is magnificient but the service is horrible. The only way this resort could have received AAA 4 diamond award is only if they brought it. First, the valet parking charges an incredible $15 per night. When you pull up to the property, it takes an average of 3 minutes before a bell boy even hands you a number. In addition, you can not call for your car from your hotel room. The only way to get your car from the hotel is by going down stairs in person and requesting your car. Typically, make sure you request your car at LEAST 20 minutes prior to your desired departure time.
The meals at the resort are INCREDIBLY overpriced. For example, to order a stack of three pancakes off of the menu will cost you $14. To order a burrito from the on-site mexican restaurant, it will cost you a minimum of $20. A hot dog in Caribe Restaurant cost $7.95 .
In addition, if you don't mind sharing your meal with the birds on the island then eat your meal out doors. Finally, don't expect for the Wyndham employees to speak to you or open the door for you. I feel that my visit to the Wyndham was NOT worth the money. If you are looking for a great value then do NOT consider this property.

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A TripAdvisor Member
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Reviewed August 9, 2004

My husband and I stayed at the Wyndham El Conquistador from July 29, 2004 through August 5, 2004. We picked that resort because there was a family wedding on July 31, and the bride and groom had picked that resort for their wedding ceremony and reception.

First of all, we rented a car and became lost while driving from the airport to the hotel. There were signs for a lot of other resorts in the area, but not one single sign for the El Conquistador. The directions in the Frommer's travel guide were useless since most of the streets in Puerto Rico are unmarked. We finally met a wonderful gentleman who did not speak English but led us right to the entrance of the resort!

When we finally reached the hotel and stopped our car in the front to drop off our luggage, the bell staff was hostile and immediately harassed us to move our car. There is a $10 parking charge per day at the resort, and the self-parking lot is a long walk from the hotel. If you opt to take the shuttle instead, you may have a long wait since they were unreliable. Every single time you leave the resort, you have to wait in line in your car for approximately five minutes to show your room ID and your parking ticket before they open the gate and permit you to exit! Therefore, just leaving the resort turns into a half-hour process!

We arrived at the hotel at 2:00 p.m., but our room was not ready. So we had lunch consisting of a small pizza and two soft drinks by the pool, which cost us over $25! Our room was FINALLY ready at 4:30. The resort is very beautiful, and our room was in the marina section - gorgeous room facing the marina and Palomino Island (where the beach is located). Our room was very clean and the king sized bed was extremely comfortable. The maid service was EXCELLENT! However, the A/C did not work properly - we had to keep the thermostat set at 50 degrees to get the room temp down to 72! The television had terrible reception and the doors on the television armoire were broken. We didn't bother complaining since we were hardly in the room anyway.

It took three days of complaints before we finally received our Wyndham By Request amenities. The service at the reception counter was extremely slow.

We went to the only resort beach, which is located on Palomino Island, the next day with all of our family members, which exceeded 20 people. The general consensus in our family was that the beach was terrible. . . . the water was full of seaweed and rocks (you definitely need to wear water shoes), and the water was too shallow for swimming as it never seemed to get any deeper than your waist. Family members that did swim out far enough for the water to be deep got caught in a riptide and experienced difficulty swimming back to the beach. There were no lifeguards at the beach or at the pools. One family member was badly stung by a jellyfish while on Palomino Island, and when she went to the First Aid station, she was told she would have to wait a half hour for a medic to arrive from the mainland.

The main pools at the top of the cliff were very crowded and by the end of the day they were dirty and had pieces of food floating in them. We all wound up hanging out at the Las Olas pool or the pool down in the marina section, as they were cleaner, less crowded, and more peaceful.

Don't even bother eating at any of the resort's restaurants - we thought the food is horrible and grossly overpriced! The first night at the resort we all ate dinner at Otello's, the resort's Italian restaurant. The food was mediocre and very salty. The next night we ate at the rehearsal dinner and the quality of the food was also mediocre to poor. The following night the hor doerves at the wedding cocktail hour were horrendous. For example, the empanadas had no filling - they were just empty pieces of dough! The resort did not provide enough entrees at the wedding reception dinner - even though they were provided with an accurate guest count several weeks prior to the wedding! The wedding dinner consisted of either filet mignon/lobster or chicken/sea bass with a mound of disgusting potatoes and overcooked veggies. The meals were basically inedible. The wedding cake was terrible - the icing was like a full sheet of cardboard - no one could eat it! The coffee was served cold at both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception. For the remainder of our stay, we ate outside the resort and had delicious food every time for a LOT LESS MONEY!

In order to reach the ferry to Palomino Island or the Las Olas and Las Marinas pools, you have to take a cable railway called a funicular to get up and down the cliff. There are two funiculars. Two days before we went home, the one funicular broke down and was out of service the rest of our stay. The other funicular happened to break down while we were in it (it was overcrowded since the other funicular was not operating) and halfway up the cliff and we were stuck in it for a while, which was a little unnerving to say the least! There is no other way to get up and down the cliff.

In summation, if you plan to stay at the Wyndham El Conquistador, definitely plan on (1) renting a car, (2) eating at restaurants outside the resort, (3) bringing water shoes for the beach, and (4) using the Las Olas or Las Marinas pools.

  • Stayed: July 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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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
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: $198 - $460 (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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