I booked the El Conquistador Resort Hotel for 13,500 American Airlines miles. The hotel was going for $199+ taxes and a resort fee which is 16% of your room rate. A $199 rate can easily turn into a $270+ rate. I decided to use miles because I was getting more than 2 cents worth with no added resort fee. I rented a car from Sixt and took the non-toll roads on HWY 3 to the El Conquistador Resort which is a Waldorf Astoria property in the Hilton hotels portfolio. The entire journey took me an hour and ten minutes from SJU Airport to Fajardo.
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Self-parking is $15 and a free shuttle arrives to pick you up from the parking lot to the hotel. You can also walk to the resort from the parking lot, but why would you?
There was a long wait to check-in at 4pm and no one was staffed at the Hilton HHonors desk, so I waited in line. 30 minutes went by and I voiced my displeasure to the front desk agent about the long line and how there was no one in the Elite desk. I asked the front desk agent if there were any better rooms available. He told me yes and he would make it up to me for the long wait. Initially I was reserved a garden view room, but was upgraded to a partial ocean view before arrival due to my Hilton Gold status (I added it before checking it). I was surprised he upgraded me to a Las Brisas Full Ocean View Balcony room in the newer Las Brisas wing.
As a Gold member, I was given a voucher two free welcome drinks and two complimentary bottles of water.
I took a look at the amazing pools around the property before going to my room.
The Las Brisas room was spacious and contained a King sized bed, work desk, and an L-shaped couch.
The bathroom was fairly large and was fully stocked with washcloths, hand towels, and towels. There was also a mini fridge in the restroom along with a coffee maker.
The best part about the room was the sweeping balcony views of the ocean.
I would highly recommend this hotel if you’re looking to stay on the property. The resort has a Marina village with a water park and also free ferry rides to Palomino Island. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try out Palomino Island because the last ferry is at 3pm (I checked in at 4pm). The earliest ferry to Palomino Island leaves at 9am (I had a flight at 1pm) and didn’t work with my schedule. The funicular runs 24 hours from the resort to the Marina village where there are shops and restaurants. The hotel does not have a casino anymore and was replaced by a game room which features air hockey, arcade games, and foosball.