Waldorf's El Conquistador, Puerto Rico
The El Conquistador is on a lovely property, but you cannot think Waldorf when staying here or you will be sorely disappointed. I don't want to go back. We picked Puerto Rico because of the direct flight offered. (TravelMan & I love a direct flight.) There were issues with our hotel check-in which were resolved but not a good start to the vacation. We had an ocean view room. The room had a decent size bath area, a safe, mini-fridge and sofa. Yet, the room was outdated and in need of renovation.
Hummingbird outside our hotel room
The pool area is nice. However, it was so full everyday that we couldn't find chairs, and the pool water was very dirty. I'm not sure what the hotel could do about this. But it was a downer for sure. In fact, if the hotel didn't have the Coqui Water Park (which cost extra) then I don't know what we would have done during the day. The waterpark was our saving grace. The hotel has its own island, which is were the beach is. To get to the beach, you need to take a 10 minute boat ride. Problem was that the line to get on the boat was over an hour. Now, we won't wait in line at an amusement park for a ride for an hour. And we live 20 minutes from the beach. So waiting in line for 60+ minutes to get on the boat to go to the island just made for another bump in the vacation. Once on the island there are beaches, hiking trails, a restaurant, iguanas, and horses! However, I didn't think the beach was that great compared to many others I have visited.
We stayed at the higher part of the property. To get down to the marina and water park you had to take the funicular. This is sort of like a cable car. I didn't like it merely because it seemed old and dangerous. LOL! I am sure it was fine, but I didn't like the ride.
View from the top of the funicular
I believe the Coqui Water Park was an additional $20 per day/per person to get in. In some ways I was thankful as it wasn't as crowded as the main pool. Yet, in other ways I felt it should be included in the high costs we were paying to stay at the hotel. We didn't want to wait in line for 60+ minutes to go to a beach that wasn't terrific. And the main pool was so crowded, it wasn't relaxing. So the water park was one of our only choices. The water park isn't very large. I believe it had 3 nice slides, a lazy river, and an infinity pool. The boys did have a blast there.
B on the water slide
The boys with the Coqui frog
At night the coqui frogs “sing” all night long. It is loud and the first night took some getting used to. But then we adjusted. This “chorus” is so vibrant; the boys knew there had to be a zillion frogs. They were determinded to catch one. It took a LONG TIME and LOTS of patience. But they finally did it!
The food at the hotel was awful...every.single.time. So we tried to go off property. Still we didn't find great food on that area of the island. However, Pasion and Le Station were two restaurants nearby. They were filled with a mix of locals and tourist. I certainly welcomed the break from the hotel.
If you go, I would recommend renting a car. Cabs are extremely expensive. And it was nice to get off property at meal time. The last day we couldn't handle the food or crowded pool any more. We checked out early and went into San Juan for awhile. We flew a kite at the fort. Then we headed to the Ritz for some lunch. Ah, the Ritz Carlton – this is where we should have stayed.
TravelMan & M flying a kite in the grassy field by the fort
TravelLady: The El Conquistador didn't do it for me. This is not a property I would recommend to others.