We booked a 3 bedroom villa with ocean view for four nights. Yes, it is quite expensive, but we were able to share one residence for extended family (including in-laws). Each bedroom has its own full bath. All the rooms are very spacious. Lots of windows in back overlooking the coast, ocean, and islands down below (about 250 to 300 ft down the cliffs), with peaceful porch that includes table and chairs and reclining chairs. The property is beautiful and very well maintained. Although we did not play golf, the golf course looks fabulous and in great condition (with very little play), although probably very challenging (hills, narrow fairways, etc.). Casitas has three of its own pools, and we had one with two hot tubs right outside our door - - very convenient. I jumped in hot tub after arising, a great way to start the day. The cliff pool with wall overlooking the ocean gives a feeling of great luxury and tranquility, overlooking the ocean and islands. We had heard others complain about the service, but for most part, the employees were extremely responsive, friendly, and looking to help.
Before getting into more details, let's get to the peeves. Although this is rated as a luxury level resort, and is priced as such, and the villas are very nice, the villas inside are furnished fairly sparsely - - nothing too fancy, despite all the space. The living room and dining furniture are quite basic. The bedrooms have closets, but no chests of drawers to store clothes. The air conditioning is set-up so that each room has its own controls, and they seemed to work well, but the unit had a unique odor that stayed with our clothes through the rest of the trip and the trip home. It was not necessarily a bad odor, but not a good odor either. It was more like a like a cleansing or disinfecting agent odor. They advertise that the room comes with butler service, but we had basic maid service and nothing more (although we did not ask for anything more). We arrived prior to 4PM check-in at about 3PM, but our room was not ready. The desk said they would call us when the room was ready, so we wondered the property and took a ride over to the Conquistador hotel to explore while waiting. One would have thought they would call by 4PM for our room, but I had to call sometime around 4:40 to determine status. They said our room did not yet have all its amenities, but that we could get in (we had dinner reservations for 6PM, so anxious to get 6 people refreshed at Casitas and back to Conquistador for dinner). One amenity is supposed to be a stock of drinking water, but we did not have any in the room. My wife had to call the next day and inquire, and the hotel delivered a case of bottled water. For a 5 star resort paying a large nightly fee, one would have expected this to be taken care of by the hotel, and that the room would have been ready on time. Then, the hotel offered us nothing for the late room (we would have been happy if they said you can check out an our later, because we were late getting you checked in - - but nothing offered).
The villas have a kitchenette, but we did not buy and food and use the kitchen. We purchased the meal plan, because we had a combination of tween/teen kids and senior citizens. It would have been more time to get the entire crowd motivated and ready to drive off the property for meals, and I wanted to give everyone a break from cooking. The meal plan is expensive, but so is eating out anywhere nice in PR. I think we actually saved some money using the meal plan, assuming each person would have ordered the same thing off the menu for each meal. The breakfast buffet at Las Brisas restaurant at Conquistador hotel each morning was just OK - - nothing too extravagant. It was typical scrambled eggs, pancakes, potatoes, bacon, and sausage, as well as breads, fruits, and cereals - - but nothing more than that. We arose late each day, filled up on a late breakfast, and then typically waited till dinner, except for the kids, who often got some type of snack or food in between at the resort. We rotated to each of the four main dinner restaurants - - Strip House (steak), Blossoms (Japanese hibachi grill), Sting Ray (seafood), and the Italian restaurant. The meal plan entitles you to a three course meal, which would run easily over $50/person for food and soft drink if buying off the menu. In general, we each ordered different appetizers, meals, and desserts, and then shared as desired, so we could enjoy the variety. Service at all the restaurants was excellent, and the food at the dinner restaurants was quite good. We paid up, but we enjoyed it, and thought it was worthwhile if you want convenience (no need to drive off the resort), and very nice dinners. If you could buy just a dinner meal plan, I would consider that option, and leave the other meals to more of an ala carte approach using the variety of choices at the resort - - or buy food to use in the villa.
Other than the pools, we did not use many of the amenities, such as the spa, but did visit the private island one day, and me and either one or two of my kids used the water park on two days. The private island reminds me of Castaway Cay for Disney cruise. They have a nice beach, with ability to take horseback riding, or rent jet skis, etc., all for additional costs. We took the ferry ride out to the island on the first full day, because the weather was cloudy, just to see it. We ended up having some lunch at one of the two open air bar and grills, and hung out on the beach for awhile. The water park was clean and not crowded, but kind of expensive if you go before they cut the price in afternoon. The water park has a lazy river and three slides (one tube ride, one vertical speed body slide, and one winding body slide). The slides are not extreme, but still quite good. Without big crowds, we were able to go up and down with little to no waiting - - which meant walking many steps, but my daughter and I had had a blast there.
The one other amenity that we used was the work-out facilities. My daughter is a competitive gymnast, and must do strength and conditioning even when on vacation. We tried to use the workout facilities at the spa at Casitas, but even though I pleaded my case (my daughter is iin upper levels of USA Gymnastics, and needs mats to stretch and do pushups, and a bar to do chinups, but no use of machines, etc.), they would not let my daughter in the larger and nicer gym in the spa at Casitas. Instead, we had to use the gym facilities at Conquistador, which given the size of Conquistador, are not large and modern. They did not have any mats and they did not have a chinup bar (we had to use the Smythe machine bar). I have been maintaining a workout program for many years, and let's just say I was not impressed with the workout facilities at what is billed as a top notch resort.
Would I return to Casitas / Conquistador? Based on the cost relative to the facilities and the overall experience, despite the beauty of the view, I might want to first try another resort or two, before deciding if I want to return to Casitas and Conquistador, if booking a resort in PR.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Las Casitas Village is an enclave of private villas that enjoy sweeping ocean views, fully equipped kitchens, personal concierges and butler service. Among many pleasures, enjoy an expansive waterpark, scuba dive, ride horseback, golf or choose from a renowned menu of soothing treatments at the Waldorf Astoria Spa. Las Casitas Village has long been known as the jewel of the Caribbean and has accumulated a list of prestigious awards and accolades including a 4-diamond rating by AAA. Welcome to Las Casitas Village, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Las Casitas Village, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Fajardo
- Waldorf Astoria Fajardo
- Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Puerto Rico/Fajardo