I first stayed at this resort almost 20 years ago. At that time, it was owned by another company. On each subsequent visit, I started to notice that the property and service were declining and, finally, we decided to visit other resorts and other islands instead. It had been 8 years since we were last guests at Las Casitas Village and I convinced my husband that we should give it another try since it is now a Waldorf Astoria property. Before this stay, I even spoke to Mr. Bonnamain, Director of Operations to inquire about some of the problems that we had encountered on our last visit. Mr Bonnamain actually called me at home to reassure me of his confidence that the hotel had improved since it became a Waldorf Astoria.
Upon arrival we saw that the resort was as beautiful as ever. The rooms and the views were never the problem at this resort! We stayed in a lovely 1 bedroom ocean view casita and were very happy with our room. There was a nice bottle of wine, cheese and fruit in our room to welcome us back to Las Casitas. Also, our butler brought us a complimentary case of water which was replenished throughout our stay. There are 2 poolside restaurants at Las Casitas, but because it was low season, one was not open at all during our stay and the other only had limited hours. This isn't a problem though because the casitas have full kitchens and we always stock up with food and drinks from the local grocery store. Also, it is just a short walk to the El Conquistador. There, you can find little cafes, restaurants, shops and even a Starbucks now.
There are several nice restaurants at The El Conquistador, but there are many really great options right in the town of Fajardo at the bottom of the hillside. It is even possible to walk into Fajardo just by walking through the gate of the marina of the El Conquistador. In Fajardo, I highly recommend La Estacion and also Kasavista for tasty, fresh seafood. There are lots of great things to do in the area. I highly recommend an evening tour of the bioluminescent bay. We used BioIsland (which uses electric boats not kayaks) and were very pleased with our trip with Captain Jeff. It's very educational and interesting to learn about this bay and what causes the blue glow. My kids loved it. I recommend renting a car to explore El Yunque Rainforest. There are numerous hiking trails to explore and it is quite easy to get to El Yunque from Las Casitas.
Palomino Island is the resort's tropical beach. But to get there, you must walk to The El Conquistador and take a funicular down to the marina and then wait for the boat which, in low season, seems to run every hour. This is a bit annoying because if you arrive just as a boat is leaving you will have to sit and wait for the next boat and, with children, this can be quite an inconvenience. The main problem was that there did not seem to be an exact schedule as to when the boats would be leaving. However, once you arrive at Palomino Island it is a beautiful, tropical island with lots of chairs, water sports, a restaurant and a souvenir shop. My husband and my daughter enjoyed riding jet skis on our visit. It brought back fond memories of me teaching my husband to ride a jet ski on Palomino Island on one of our first visits there back in the 1990's. Kayaking and snorkeling are also very popular there. My Mom, daughter and myself hiked to the top of Palomino Island and we encountered lots of wildlife including iguanas, hermit crabs, frogs and birds. There are absolutely stunning views of the surrounding areas from the summit of Palomino Island. We ate lunch at the outdoor, beach side restaurant which has typical beach food and drinks ( a little on the expensive side for what it is, but there are no other options on the island and you are not permitted to bring your own food/drinks to the island).
I have seen some reviews saying that Las Casitas/El Conquistador is run down and I will say that it is an aging property. But it is an esthetically pleasing, tropical village by the sea. It is still the best choice of a resort if you are visiting Puerto Rico and want a tropical experience away from the San Juan area. The villas are being updated and they are very lovely and comfortable inside. I have stayed at many resorts on Puerto Rico and there are some other nice ones, but in terms of location, views and tropical experience, Las Casitas Village wins.
- 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