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“Mostly A Disappointment”

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El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Fajardo
Certificate of Excellence
Kensington, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Mostly A Disappointment”
Reviewed 11 July 2014

Everything at this resort was a hassle and super crowded. Tons of families stay here and there aren't any "adult only" areas which would have been nice-especially around the pool. They have no beach on site so you have to take the ferry to the private island. That sounds nice and luxurious but it sucked. Takes anywhere between 10-20 minutes to get down to the marina (because you have to ride the elevator/gondola) and then wait with 100+ other people to get on the ferry. Even the 4:00pm ferry out to the beach was surprisingly crowded (since the last ferry back to the hotel is at 5:30 from the island). Weird. The beach on the "private island" sucked too. I mean the sand was nice and we found some chairs. Took us awhile to get towels. But what really sucked was the swimming area in the water. There was maybe 75 ft. between the sand and the buoy line for swimming. In that area the water was all tossed up with sand because the waves were breaking right there. It's also fairly coral-ly and going barefoot was not comfortable. Boats are also very disrespectful, they would moor right up to the buoy line and then blast their terrible music for the whole beach to hear. Since boats were coming right up to the buoy line, you didn't dare cross it. I never saw a place were you could snorkel. No waiters ever came by our chairs to see if wanted drinks or food. We only ate at the Starbucks here.....for obvious reasons, because we knew we could get some quick breakfast sandwiches with coffee that tasted good without it being another $50 expense. Our room felted dated as well but was mostly comfortable and clean. Check-out time was a nightmare. Tons of people trying to check out at the same time and it TOOK FOREVER for each one. My husband thinks it's because everyone was arguing about their incidental bills (drinks & food put on the room). At $10-12 per drink, I can only imagine was their bills must have looked like after a week for a family of 4. They had an honors member window for check-in/-out but there was never anyone at the desk, so your status didn't mean crap when you're trying to check out with 100 other guests. We didn't visit the water park....am I the only one that thinks it's weird that they charge guests a fee to access the waterpark? A lot of people on here also mentioned the golf course. We didn't play it, but it looked awful. The grass was mostly brown and patchy at best, not the lush well-manicured greens and fairways you would expect at a Waldorf-Astoria resort. I suppose if we had 2 or 3 brats it would have been a good place for a family albeit an expensive place for a family. I will never stay somewhere again though where I have to take a ferry to the beach just because it's a huge inconvenience. I also won't ever stay at a resort this size ever again, just too many people without adequately sized beaches and pools.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Sara W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
Sara,

Thank you for choosing El Conquistador Resort as your vacation destination. We appreciate the detailed feedback you provided regarding your experiences while staying with us as it allows us to identify areas of opportunity. I would like to apologize for not exceeding your expectations during your vacation. Your comments have been reviewed by senior management and will be shared with the staff to ensure we can enhance out guests' experiences in the future.
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San Juan, Puerto Rico
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 10 July 2014

I am a local Puerto Rico resident, and was looking for a place to go with my young kids (7 & 3). El Conquistador is a nice resort with wonderful ammenities. The Coqui Water Park is great fun for the whole family and the food at the Oasis Bar and Grill at park is perfect for hot days: beer, burgers, salads, wraps, frapees, etc. The hotel pools are big and have areas for all. Very relaxed. Their private Island of Palominos is just 15-20 min away by ferry and it's a great beach. The resort itself does not have a beach. The rooms are big, some are better looking than others, we stayed at the hotel. We got the older ones because we used a discounted rate from Gustazos, which is much like Groupon and other services. there is algo Las Casitas, which is amazing and very chic. The rooms at La Marina are also nicer. I have to say that being a local I would not pay full price, but I admit that prices are reasonable.
As for food, Cafe Caribe is my lear favorite becasue the food is not fresh and servioce was just OK. Cafe Bella Vista was our favorite, food is nice, it's outdoors and prices are reasonable. We did not go to the Fine Dinning restaurants biut I know they are good and the chefs are well known. There is great breakfast place and not expensive right before the tram ride to the marina. It used to be David's Cookies, but it has new name. Good, affordable breakfast every morning, a bit slow I would say, but is made to order. The Cozy's Gourmet Market is a grab and go place, and has a small ice cream counter.
In 7 months we went twice, and when another offer comes along we'll grab one. The kids had a great time at the pool and water slides, it's pretty clean, service is good, not great, but better that expected.
Over all, prices at the restaurants and market were nogt as high as I expected. A weekend for 4 was about $600 total, considering that we did not splurge on expensive food. It was a great weekend! Very relaxed, had a great time!
PS: It's in Fajardo, you can get a ferry to Culebra and Vieques, both beautiful island municipalities. Close el Yunque National Forest, only rainforest is the USA. Rent a car if you want to vist Old San Juan.
Come to PR, enjoy my beautiful island.

Room Tip: La Marina can be noisy. Las Casitas is expensive but extravagant and classy. The rooms closer to lo...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ms_Torres_28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
Ms. Torres,

Thank you for sharing your review of the resort. We appreciate you choosing to stay at El Conquistador for the second time in two months. We are happy to see you plan to return again soon and that your family had such a great time at Palomino Island and Coqui Water Park!

We look forward to your next visit.
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Marietta, Georgia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2014 via mobile

I visited the El conquistador on July 7-11 in which I'm currently still here and I must say that I am very disappointed. The rooms are less than a stay at the holiday inn. Everything is old and outdated. The bed literally almost sits on the floor and is very uncomfortable. The bath is really old and wasn't the really clean upon checking in. There was hair in the shower and on the floor. Now the view is by far breathtaking. It seems as if they spend more time in the upkeep of the grounds than they do on the hotel itself. Then the food is very overpriced for the quality of food that they offer and serve. Service here isn't the best either. They seem to have a lot of conventions here and they seem to cater to the convention goers. There's a private island that you can go to that's probably a waste of time. You must and should wear shoes there because the rocks in the water will definitely hurt your feet. Plus there's not a lot of swimming area there being that it's the only place for you to swim besides the pools at the resort. It's best to stay in San Juan because it's crazy pricey just for you to leave the resort to do anything. A cab ride to and from San Juan is $200.00 round trip. There's nothing to do here besides drink mediocre drinks and eat less than mediocre food. It's a kid friendly resort because they have games and a water park but food wise for kids it is not. So if you think you're coming for a Waldorf Astoria experience or a Hilton experience you're sadly mistaken. Keep looking don't waste your time and money.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mightymouse80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fel93, Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share a detailed review with us. We appreciate you choosing the resort for your vacation and want to apologize for not exceeding your expectations during your stay.

The resort is working on a variety of enhancements for furniture in the lobby and new carpeting in the guestroom corridors to name a few. From a culinary standpoint we are continuing to add new menu items and provide different specials and happy hours throughout the year.

Your comments have been reviewed by senior management and have been shared with the staff to ensure improvements are made.
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Rocky Hill, Connecticut, United States
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 10 July 2014

This was our first time at the El Conquistador Resort. We stayed for 4 days for a business conference and 4 days for pleasure. The first 4 nights we stayed in the upper hotel section which worked out well by not having to use the “funicula” to get to the conference center meeting rooms. The last 4 days we moved to the marina rooms with a nice view of the marina and much quieter. The rooms in the marina were much more up to date than those in the upper hotel area.

Although a little pricey for the food and beverage, all of our meals were excellent and the service was outstanding! The Stingray Café and La Piccola Fontana were particularly exceptional and would highly recommend.

The front desk staff was very helpful and accommodating, although they could use more personnel during the busy check-in and check-out times.

Overall, we would go back and had a wonderful time.

Room Tip: Stay in the marina.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Larry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
Larry,

Thank you for sharing your review of the resort. We appreciate you extending your stay at El Conquistador after your business trip. I am happy to see that you and your family enjoyed your accommodations in La Marina Village as well as your dinners at La Piccola Fontana and Stingray Cafe.

We hope to welcome your family back as our guests in the near future.
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San Juan, Puerto Rico
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2014

I just came back from a short one night stay at El Conquistador Resort and being a Hilton Honors member that has traveled to many Hilton properties I must say I was really disappointed considering this hotel carries the Waldorf Astoria distinction. Having said this, enclosed my feedback on the stay:

-Front Desk: They had a separate desk for Hilton Honors members and although the line was long, they assigned front desk personnel from the regular line to try to move the line closer. Upon check in they advised I had been upgraded to a better room with partial view of the ocean. So far, I was pleased.

-Room: On my way to the room, located on Las Vistas Section, I noticed that the property needs more maintenance. Floors looked really worn out as well as the painting. The room was okay yet I do not consider it a Waldorf Astoria Quality: Sheets very very cheap quality (they feel rough to the skin), pillows were super uncomfortable and there were no bathrobes as you would expect in a four star Waldorf Astoria Resort. The only luxury item I saw was that the bath amenities were Salvatore Ferragamo.

-Palomino Island: Probably my biggest disappointment. I will be very objective here, if you are looking for rest and relaxation, do not visit during the summer long holiday weekends because you will definitively not find it. Upon arrival to the island, the first thing you could hear was a mixture of very loud music coming from anchored boats that were visiting the island and a DJ station in the island. One one side you had reggae ton music (Caribbean Version of Rap Music) and on the other Bachata…although personal preferences in music vary, I was definitively seeking something much more relaxing. However, if you are seeking for a party scene, this may very well suit you. As an additional observation (and this says as much about guests as for hotel maintenance), there was a lot of trash next to the beach chairs. I honestly thought for a minute about turning back and going to the room. Nevertheless after 4pm when people started to leave the island, the atmosphere felt a bit better. Again, if you are coming here to relax don't come during the summer weekends…you won't find it.

-Access to and from Marina: In order to go to Palomino you must reach the Marina. If you are in the upper side rooms of the hotel you will need to do so through a 'funicular'. Now, the tricky part is that on the Marina side you also have the Coqui watermark. So again, on a Holiday weekend, if you plan to return any time after 5pm please be advise that you will hit the 'traffic' of passengers that are coming back from Palomino and from the Water Park, and with only two 'funiculars' with limited passenger space and no other form of access, you can be standing in line for a long time. What's even worse, some of the locals figured out that by taking an elevator to the 2nd floor they could access the 'funicular' without having to wait in line, so many 'smarties' cut in line until this was notified to security and they allowed for those that were already there to cut in front and then started restraining this only to the Marina Guests...

-Food: I ate in two casual restaurants: Iguana Grill on Palomino and the Caribe one for breakfast. On Iguana Grill please note the name does it justice…it's filled with big green iguanas who have gotten used to people feeding them so while you are eating you will see the 'cute' creature staring at you waiting for you to fetch them some food…while I'm eco friendly, I really wasn't looking forward to this while eating. Quality of food was ok, basically what you would expect in an island where there are no other food options. On the Caribe breakfast, quality again was average, not great.

I was fortunately there for a very short stay and used Hilton Honors points to book the room. However, if I had been charged the $229 rate published in the Hilton's website, I would have been really upset to pay more than $105.00 for this stay. It's really a pity that being in such wonderful grounds, the experience does not meet the standards of a Waldorf Astoria property. They have a long way to go here.

As an additional comment, upon returning back I noticed I got two additional charges made after checkout. I called the hotel and seems someone posted charges to my room from Palomino Island after I had checked out - I was informed they would look into it and call me…hopefully I won't have to be behind their back to get this resolved…

All in all, this is probably a good place if you're traveling with kids or do not mind an average hotel experience, but if you're looking for a relaxing retreat, don't bother.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Sofiaxyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share a detailed review of your recent stay with us. I apologize that we did not exceed your expectations while staying with us. The resort is currently working on a variety of enhancements including new corridor carpeting in guestroom hallways and lobby furniture.

Your candid feedback has been shared with our management team as it allows us to identify areas of opportunity to further enhance our offerings.

Thank you again for your feedback.
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New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2014

We had the most wonderful stay at El Conquistador Resort. Our ocean view room had the most breath taking views, huge walk-in closet, walk-in bathroom, large terrace, just massive huge space for the two of us. This place was so serene, peaceful, beautiful and wonderful. MAGICAL!!!!!!!!!

We didn't want to leave our room but the hotel has a ferry taking us to the hotel's own private island and it was just as incredible. The private island called Palomino which is a 15 minute boat ride away that leaves from the marina every 30 mins. This place was heaven in paradise. You feel all alone on a stranded island. You could kayak, jet ski, horseback ride, or just relax and drink some mojito while staring at beautiful clear blue water. We even had a baby shark swim right by us. Not to worry, it was so small, it couldn't hurt a human. We kayak to the smaller island which was even more beautiful. No words can describe the beauty of this hidden gem.

I want to be there.........NOW

Room Tip: Pay more for the ocean view - you're worth it!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sourivone
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, 10 July 2014
Thank you for sharing your raving review of the resort. We sincerely appreciate you choosing t stay at El Conquistador and glad that to hear of your intent to return soon. I was happy to hear that you were able to take advantage of some peace and tranquility at Palomino Island. It certainly is paradise. Please come back and visit us again soon.
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San Jose, California
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2014

My travel agent and my good friend had suggested that I stay at El Conquistador for my vacation in PR June 24-29th, but the reviews were simply horrible, so I kept declining. I wanted to stay in a former convent in Old San Juan, but they both pointed out to me that Fajardo is a more centralized location for the activities I wanted to do (Culebra, El Yunque, Luquillo), so I caved. I had such a great time that I'm totally coming back!!! The views were absolutely stunning! I stayed in the Marina at an Ocean View room, so while most people were trying to access the funicular to get to Palomino Island or the water park, I was already there. I essentially missed the crowds for everything I wanted to do (even when one of the funiculars broke down for a couple of hours) and I wouldn't want to stay in another section. This hotel could use an update (please, please fix the treadmills in the gym and stop playing the same twenty-year-old ditty on repeat in the funiculars!), but it has so much potential and beauty due to its location. My room was immaculate at all times and my bed was comfortable. I found the food to be expensive and not in local taste, yet delicious (Las Brisas, Ballyhoo, Chop) and there was even Blue Bell ice cream for us West Coasters that never get it! Enterprise car rental is located within the hotel so I could go off the resort to retrieve amenities, visit places like Old San Juan, and enjoy the local cuisine like Pasión por el Fogón. All of the staff was very friendly towards me, so I had great conversations and I felt safe and comfortable. It is a resort and you are constantly reminded of that when you have to show your white resort card for everything, but I would say book an Ocean View room or maybe something at Las Casitas, make sure to rent a car, and enjoy your vacation!

Room Tip: Marina Ocean View
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Shellsseacrets
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fel93, Guest Relations Manager at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this review, 9 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us. We are delighted to see that you had a wonderful experience during your recent stay with us and that you plan to return to the resort in the near future. The resort is currently working on enhancements including the fitness center on the Promenade level as our fitness facilities were recently completely renovated.

Thank you for acknowledging the friendliness of our team members. We look forward to your next stay at our resort.
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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 4 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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