After our brutal winter last year, I knew that I needed an extra special getaway this winter vacation. We wanted a destination that was warm, with beautiful beaches, but didn’t want to travel too far from home. We ended up booking a five-night vacation to Puerto Rico – just a four hour direct flight from Boston’s Logan Airport – and stayed at the El Conquistador – A Waldorf Astoria Resort.
Disclosure: At least some of this trip was either comped or provided at a media rate. Post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are our own.
El Conquistador Resort Puerto Rico Review
Thanks to the sub-zero temps in Boston on our departure day, our flight was several hours late. We took the shuttle bus from the San Juan Airport (additional fee applies, and reservations are required), and an hour later, we checked in to our ocean-view room. We arrived too late to explore the hotel or see the view, but we went to sleep and woke up refreshed and ready for our vacation.
Our room was located on the top floor of the main building overlooking the Caribbean. The room offered a full balcony, two queen beds, a desk, a refrigerator, a walk-in closet, a tub/shower, a flat-screen television with DVD player, and complimentary WiFi. The hotel was busy for President’s Day week, but the room itself was nice and quiet. Room service was done early, which is always a big positive in my opinion. I never like returning to a room at the end of a long day and finding out that it hadn’t yet been cleaned.
We loved the room, but didn’t spend too much time in it because there was so much to do at the resort.
Things to Do at the El Conquistador Resort
The El Conquistador Resort Puerto Rico offers so many different things for families to do. The highlight of the resort is Palomino Island, a private island accessible only via boat. From our room, we had to take an elevator to a Funicular down to the marina, where we were able to catch a boat. It may sound a bit complicated, but we found that it was easy to do. The boat ride over to the island took about 15 minutes, and was a great ride. The kids loved sitting on the top of the boat.
The island itself offers so much to do. There’s a beach, rum bar, and restaurant, along with float and motor craft rentals. In addition, there is horse rides on small horses, mini golf, basketball, life-sized chess, and a large Connect-4 game, along with other activities. We spend most of our first day on the island, and could easily have spend every day there.
Here’s a Periscope I did with a small island tour of Palomino Island.
You don’t have to travel over to Palomino Island to enjoy the water, however. The resort offers several pools and jacuzzis, all surrounded by beach chairs so you can relax. My kids spend a lot of time at the pools, and my husband and I went in the pools and relaxed on the lounge chairs. The pools also have bar and food service, so I definitely enjoyed several mojitos during our stay.
For guests that want to enjoy even more water time, the resort offers a small water park – the Coqui Water Park – on the Marina Village level. Access is offered for an additional fee. The Coqui Water Park offers three water slides (plus a small kiddie slide), a large pool, and a lazy river. I easily could have spent hours in the lazy river – it was relaxing and fun. The water park also has a small snack bar, and floats are available for rent (use of regular inner tubes are complimentary). Guests of the water park receive a wrist band, and can go in and out of the water park throughout the day.
There are also plenty of things to do out of the sun. There’s a kids’ club, which is offered on a full or half-day basis, as well as several game rooms and other kids’ activities, like s’more making and outdoor movies. During the five days that we were there, there were several family shows offered (additional fee), including a mind reader performance.
Service at the El Conquistador – A Waldorf Astoria Resort
My experience with the El Conquistador staff started before I even arrived. I booked my shuttle through the concierge and also had a personal concierge reach out to see if I needed anything prior to my arrival. That service is offered to anyone who books directly on the El Conquistador website. Once we arrived, we continued to be impressed with the service. From the front desk staff that efficiently checked us in to the restaurant employees who were eager to recommend their favorite dishes, we encountered lots of helpful employees.
Food at the El Conquistador
With over 20 separate food and beverage outlets on property, there are so many options for food. I was thrilled to see the Starbucks in the lobby – we got a quick breakfast there each morning. Food options range from pool bar to fine dining, and during our stay, there was even a food truck on property. As I’d expect from a property like this, prices are generally a little high, but reasonable options are definitely offered. We chose to have two fine dining experiences, and had dinner at the Stingray Cafe and La Piccola Fontana. Both are kid friendly, and we enjoyed both meals.
Off Property at the El Conquistador
We didn’t rent a car at the airport, so generally spent most of our time at the resort. Excursions are offered through the tour desk – I’d recommend booking in advance. Guests can go to the El Yunque rainforest, the Bioluminescent Bay, or Old San Juan. We opted to rent at car from the on-site Enterprise desk, and spend our last afternoon in Old San Juan.
The El Conquistador – A Waldorf Astoria Resort also offers a golf course and a Waldorf spa. We aren’t golfers, so we just admired the beautiful course from a distance. If I ever return, I’ll definitely check out the spa.
To learn more about the El Conquistador, visit their website.