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“Very nice hotel on spectacular landscape”

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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fajardo
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Very nice hotel on spectacular landscape”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2014

I had read many of the previous reviews for this resort and therefore had some expectations (and skepticism) prior to my visit. That being said, the resort was very nice, our room was very comfortable and had great views of the pools and ocean. The setting and landscape (basically on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean) was beautiful. The resort is large and my friends and I did what we could to ensure that our rooms were close to one another. It would have been inconvienient for some of us to be in a room down by the marina and some to be up by the main lobby and pool area. The pools and pool area was nice, but not at the level of quality that one might expect in a 5-star/Waldorf resort.
I was there during the second week of January (2014) and the resort seemed noticably empty. Some of the resort employees commented that it was slower than expected, even considering the natural slowdown after the New Year, when travel is closer to its peak time.
I reserved a partial-ocean view room and the room was located in building #4, which was adjacent to the building with the main lobby, close to the main entrance. Again, the room was nice, generally clean and had a balcony (sliding glass) door that opened up to the pool (no balcony, just a balcony ledge).
The trip to Palomino Island was relatively easy. The tram, or funicular as it is called takes you down to the Marina, where there is a ferry from the mainland to the island every 30 minutes. The island was not actually "private", but had many activities including basketball, volleyball, golf putting and other beach activities and rentals (kayaks, jetskis, etc.).
The restaurant and beach bar serve typical style food and beverage. Food and drink prices are on the higher end of what you might expect, but not outside of the range that I've come to expect at resorts like this. Aside from a martini/cocktail lounge upstairs and the main Bar 21 and gameroom (formerly the Casino), there wasn't much nightlife at the resort, but it seems to cater to families with younger kids.
I had received what I think are very favorable rates on the room, which were a base of $230 (plus tax and resort fee of $50-60) per night. There was also a $50 resort credit for any other expenses each day (as part of the Best of Waldorf rate special).
Overall, I was pleased with the visit. I was somewhat skeptical based on some of the poor reviews previously posted, but I didn't experience many of the complaints that others have reported. The staff and front desk support was helpful in making it a very enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank justinb914
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, 17 January 2014
We really do appreciate you taking the time to write such a thorough review of your most recent stay. We are continually focusing on service and service delivery and are happy to hear that your expectations were met during the stay. We invite you to stay come back and visit us again if you travel back to Puerto Rico in the near future.
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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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Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
273 reviews
118 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

OK, I have stayed regularly at other Waldorf Astoria properties (I guess only two others in the year I've been writing reviews on trip advisor) . . . and at Hiltons that were nicer than this property, so I agree with other posters that this property may not be deserving of the Waldorf Astoria name.
Having said that, the property is very nice. Definitely the best of the half dozen plus properties I have stayed at in Puerto Rico. I got a rate here that was about $50/night less than I had been paying at the Caribe HIlton - this was definitely a more relaxing property.
I found the service very good - albeit with forced cheerfulness at times - everywhere other than the waterpark snack bar where service was brusk at best.
I recommend renting a car if you stay at this property - rental cars are fairly inexpensive in Puerto Rico (even minivans if you rent in advance - we rented one for 7 days for less than $500 during a peak vacation week, and then after part of our crew left we traded it in for a smaller car for much less per day). Having a car avoids the need to book the shuttles to/from the hotel (and reschedule if flights change), and also gives one flexibility to leave to property for more "authentic" food as well as runs to Walgreens etc for snacks/beverages, or go on excursions. An 8 oz Pelligrino was $3.50 and the standard 750 ml bottle was $6.99, at the hotel for example -- much cheaper offsite. I recommend valet parking -- the parking is a hike, the valet was taken in a golf cart to pick up the car, and I think the self-parking was an equal if not further distance away. Valet parking is only about $5/day more than self-parking, plus tips, of course.
If you stay at this property, I would definitely recommend an ocean view room -- we knew people in other rooms and their views were of the golf course or courtyards -- our view in the ams and eves was priceless. The ocean view is one of the selling points of this property and should not be missed. We stayed in Las Brisas building 3 and had an ocean view and full balcony. The room was spacious, with a king bed, two sofas making an L shape, foot rest, bench at the end of the bed, two nightstands, dresser, desk. There was a large walk in closet with a dresser off the bathroom, the bathroom was large with seated vanity area and sunken tub. There were a few of the tiniest ants I have ever seen around the desk, but no big deal.
The ferry to the private island beach leaves every 30 min during peak weeks and every hour during non-peak. I would suggest bringing water shoes as there are some rocky sections, life preservers and beach toys for small children, and snorkels/masks for elementary and older children (you can see some interesting things without going too far). WIth a few preparations, it is very easy to go to the private island after breakfast and stay til the last boat back at 5:30.
The pools are nice, although one of the hot tubs had no hot water when we were there.
I highly recommend the property during non-peak weeks -- would not go during peak weeks when lines seem to make getting down the tram, on the ferry, or on a lounge chair, impossible. There are many rooms in this hotel, but the infrastructure is, in my opinion, insufficient to support all of the guests when the hotel is full.
The water park has a nice lazy river, a couple slides, and a pool area - good for a couple hours, but not more.
As for the restaurants - there are some decent options -- eating a meal or two on the resort is fine - but I would definitely rent a car to preserve other options.
Breakfast was a nice buffet with many fruit options, cheeses, a variety of breads, eggs cooked to order, and varity of pastries and hot items. Nice variety of juice options only.

Room Tip: Request an ocean view room with full balcony
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank 150nightsperyr
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, 17 January 2014
The time spent in writing your review of your stay is much appreciated. You certainly have given a good representation of a typical stay at the resort. El Conquistador offers a variety of options to all guests. Days can be spent swimming in the ocean or pools, golfing, playing in the water park, or spending a carefree day at Palomino Island. We do hope you can come visit us again soon.
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Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

It took us about an hour to get here from the airport (about $100 w/ cab). We got to the resort at around 5am, got early check-in with no problem. The room was very clean with fantastic view of the ocean. Bed, bathroom, closet, balcony.. everything was clean and nicely decorated. They had decent restaurants, but I thought they were bit over-priced for it's quality. I loved the fact that I didn't have to bring my towel around the property. The Polimino Island was very nice, but it gets kind of crowded at times. We had to explore the island to find a quiet spot, which wasn't that bad. I definitely recommend taking the tour sessions they offer. Biobay kayaking is a MUST GO, also the rain forest was nice too. I would definitely comeback to this place!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank js3047
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, 27 January 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review your stay at the El Conquistador Resort. We agree that some of the activities that are available to our guests are simply amazing and "must dos". Both the rain forest and the bio bay are very unique experiences and we encourage you all to take advantage if time permits while you are visiting Puerto Rico. We hope you can come back and visit again soon.
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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

Everything was wonderful at El Conquistador. Must visit again and many more times. Every one was efficient and polite. The view and beauty is beyond belief. I felt I was in Casa Blanca. Can't wait to be there again. The water park is increadible and the hot tubs are out of this world.Will recomend it to more friends and family.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with Waldorf Astoria

Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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, 27 January 2014
Thank you for your raving review and for passing along your recommendations to your family and friends. The resort does have amazing views and many options for our guests to experience. We are eager to host you and your family again in the near future.
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San JUan, Puerto Rico
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

El Conquistador Hotel is a beautiful place to stay and relax. Palomino Island is unique and the pools and hot tubs are so much fun. The employees are friendly and attentive to your needs. Really a jewel in Puerto Rico.

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

Helpful?
Thank Isabel M
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, 31 January 2014
We are happy to hear that your stay with us was Excellent. We certainly strive for this same result for all of our guests. We are hopeful that you will share your experience with family and friends and that you can come back and visit us again very soon. Thank you!
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Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2014

With the Waldorf Astoria name attached to this resort, I expected so much more than what this place had to offer. Before the bad though, the good: Our room was very nice, with a gorgeous view of the ocean, and the property. The staff was fairly happy and attentive, for the most part.
The bad: I love food. I'm in the industry and I have no problem spending a lot of money on good food. The food at this restaurant was terrible, especially for the prices that you pay. Our first night, we went to dinner at Stingray Cafe. This place is probably the best restaurant on the property, but even so, our lobster was way overcooked, and nothing really had that "wow" factor. The waitstaff was friendly and attentive, and that also made for a nice dining experience.
Blossoms, the asian fusion restaurant, is equivalent to the worst Chinese restaurant I've had in Chicago. Spending $25 for an entree with poor quality meat, and overly salty sauces, felt like such a rip-off. We spent $90 on 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, and 2 drinks. At my favorite Chinese restaurant in Chicago, I could have had the same meal for $30, and much better quality. It's unsettling when you can clearly see that the chicken or the duck on your plate, looks like something served at a high school cafeteria. Our waiter was very odd too. We asked for a drink menu and he said that they don't have any, and then when I asked what kind of beers they have, he simply replied, "We have all beers." Not attentive, not friendly, looked at us like we didn't know what we were talking about, just plain rude!! The Italian restaurant in the resort is horrible as well. The fact that I paid so much for their version of gnocchi and osso bucco, absolutely frustrates me. The gnocchi was straight up dumplings, and again, looked like cafeteria food. I included pictures of this gnocchi. GROSS!
The best food we ended up having on our entire trip, was outside of the resort. If you plan to stay here, renting a car is definitely a recommended tip, so that you can venture outside of the resort and experience some real Puerto Rican food!!
We also had an ant problem, as well as finding a couple small lizards in our room too, which they didn't do anything about. They said they would send someone to take care of it, but it was never taken care of.
Overall this place was fine. Going to the private island, and laying by the pool, and even the spa were the highlights. But as for food and nightlife, it's not that great. Waldorf Astoria should not attach their name to this resort.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank smakak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fajardo
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2014 via mobile

We were placed all the way on the far end of hotel, have to walk across to get anywhere. Everything cost money besides the pool maybe?infiniti pool advertised is only for las casitas guests. Rooms are def not 5star and a fridge costs $20 per night. The grounds are beautiful but the hotel needs major updating. It may have been grand in the 80s.ocean view rooms are10 miles from the beach because the hotel is on a cliff! To get to the beach you must take a ferry which runs every hour and not even so accurate. Beach is windy and not Caribbean quality(no white sand clear water) staff give misinformation so you gotta research everything on your own. Rent a car! Don't pay the overpriced taxis which are $20 minimum for a 5 minute ride. This place is in middle of nowhere so don't expect to walk out the hotel into local town. At least 10 minutes by car. Overall I would not recommend el conquistador if you want a nice stress free vaca!!

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
10 Thank Tammy M
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
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Fajardo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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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