Attention Threehearts!

Old Jan 8th, 2005, 06:46 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 149
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Attention Threehearts!

Hey there
I am heading to El Conquistador in a few weeks. I read that you recently returned. Can you please share some tips? I noticed you took the taxi rather than the bus. How did you get the taxi with A/C from the airport? I've read other posts with horror stories about un-airconditioned taxis... any other tips about the resort are appreciated. Thanks!!
Thonglori is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2005, 03:59 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi there Thonglori! We booked a 5 day package via Priceline vacations to the very full El Conquistador over the Christmas break. We were traveling with 2 small children and are seasoned Priceline users. The reason that we chose Priceline is that flights and hotel prices to PR were extremely high for the 2 weeks prior to travel when we decided to go. Considering the room that we got, we were definitely "money in the bank".
Tips- 1) I knew that we would be assigned a run of the house room which can be extremely dismal at this hotel but was hoping for 2 beds as we had the kids. I emailed the Wyndham by Request desk and made this request and they responded as expected for a third party booking- "We can honor no requests from a Priceline reservation." This is where I have had good luck in the past and this was no exception. I emailed the person back and thanked her very much for her attention to my request and told her that of course I understood that we would receive no special treatment due to the booking with a consolidator. I was very polite and really did mean what I said. Upon our arrival to the hotel we were massively upgraded to a deluxe oceanfront room in the Las Brisas section and the views from the balcony were just gorgeous. I immediatly put $50 in a thank you card and sent this off to the room assigner whose name I had marked down.

2) I don't know if you have booked throught the conventional Wyndham site or not but room location is critical in this hotel in my opinion. On the way to my room, there were several people returning to the front desk with their luggage because they were unhappy with their rooms. The valet told us that this is a common occurence. The Las Olas section is the most troubling in that it is in the middle of the cliff and you must depend on the funicular to go anywhere. The marina rooms are also an even longer trek to the main hotel at the top but you have a little more charm, close proximity to the boat to Palomino island and a nice pool and restaurant. That said, I met a woman who said that she moved her family up to the main hotel hotel after one night because it was so inconvenient to take a funicular up to the top just to get her kids a drink. I forget the name of the other hotel section attached to the main hotel(besides Las Brisas) but it is the area near the Golden Door Spa, tennis etc.. I did not get a good look at these rooms but did notice that some do not have balconies which we love. Bottom line- Put in a gracious request if you want to be where the action is(restaurants, coffee shop etc. at the main hotel).
3) We were heard nightmare stories about the cost of food at this resort and we did not have a car. What we did- There was a mini-fridge in our room but the temp could not be adjusted and it did keep anything cold. The fridge is empty and under the BR sink. We instead stored our things in the mini-bar which worked out well. I brought drinks with me that were purchased at Charlotte airport and this was a huge savings. I purchased Starbuck's coffee packages for the mini-coffeemaker in the room(6 to a pkg) and we had wonderful coffee each morning. I went down to the main hotel to David's Cookies at about 8am and picked up morning pastries. After 8:30, all the good stuff is sold out. ***This is also where you will find the NY Times digest on the counter. The US papers arrive in the WH Smith gift shop at 10am and sell out immediatly, if that is important to you. We ate in many of the restaurants and most do not have children's menus but will recite what children can get at reduced prices. All places offered half orders for the kids. I cannot remember the names of all of the places but I will recommend- a)The marina bar/cafe. Great atmosphere and good light fare. The expensive restaurant here was where we had NYE dinner and although the quality was good, they forgot much of our order and what they did bring was not what we asked for. A lot of $ for a lot of mix-ups. b)The Italian restaurant was excellent, albeit a little pricey. c)The Japanese restaurant was excellent in every way. The Teppanyaki area sells out weeks ahead of time so make arrangements now. d)The outdoor cafe at Palomino island was not very good but good enough for what we found to be the most reliably decent food there- chicken finger meals and salads.
Drinks of all kinds were very expensive and should you have the idea of bringing "virgin" drinks back to your room to add your newly purchased rum to, you will realize that non-alcoholic and the same drink with alcohol is exactly the same price.

Bottom line to the meal situation- Prepurchase drinks and snacks to bring with you, eat basic food in the many casual restaurants, expect typical resort prices for nicer meals and check all bills for whether they have already added the service charge.

4)Palomino Island- This was unbelievably beautiful. Tips- Bring sand shoes(w/rubber soles). We did see sea urchins and much broken coral but it really is a lovely, groomed beach. Get on the ferry by 10 am if you want a palapa. We always got one and they provide much more shade than the umbrellas(which the guys will set up for a fee). The ferries to the island leave on time so plan your trip to the dock with time to spare. On the way to the island, the people sitting on the left side of the boat will get wet. Long trip to be soaked and in the wind. Have one person ask for 2 towels and then the next of your party walk to the towel hut and ask for 2 more so you have extras. Coolers are not allowed on the island so pack yours in your beach bag as everyone did. We rented a catamaran for an hour and had a terrific sail to the empty island across from Palomino. We dragged the boat up onto the sand and had the place to ourselves. It was fabulous.

5)Taxis- All of the taxis that we saw were air-conditioned but you have to check in with the taxi dispatch desk to pay and get your receipt for the driver. This is where I would insist on an air-conditioned vehicle. I find that if you are considerate and polite to most people, they will do their best to accomodate you. On the way back, we had a huge air-conditioned van to ourselves. The person who took our luggage called his friend and he was there at exactly the requested time. We were a little worried but it worked out great.

We found EVERY employee friendly and gracious with a nice greeting when we passed by. We have never been to a resort this large where there was unfailing friendliness from the workers, especially during such a busy week.

I hope this helps and have a great trip! Threehearts
threehearts is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2005, 06:35 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 149
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Threehearts, Thank you so much!! This is very helpful.

Your situation is a bit different than mine- I am surprising my husband with this long weekend in honor of his 30th birthday. We have no children. So... it's just me and him! I can't even imagine how expensive it would be to feed a family of 4 at such a resort!!! YIkes!!

We are from NYC and are quite accustomed to expensive food and drinks... unfortunately LOL! I like your creative work-arounds like going to David's cookies, bring your own snacks, etc.

In terms of the room, I too will try emailing a request and see what happens. I know someone who stayed in the main hotel - would you say that is a good choice?

All in all, I think if you go with the knowledge that yes, it is going to be a little pricey, that there is no shock value. Well for me at least... your tips are very very helpful!! THANK YOU!!

Did you do the rainforest tour? Any "must see or do" at the hotel?
Thonglori is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2005, 05:19 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Again,
We didn't do the rainforest tour but was told that it was wonderful. We really just wanted a beach vacation and this fit the bill. We are also living in a large city and used to paying a lot for good food and drinks. I don't think you'll be bothered by the food/beverage charges if you're in NYC now.

I forgot to mention a big surprise to us that happened on the evening before checkout. I always check my bill the night before to clear up any mistakes. We were charged an 11% fee on top of the 11% that Priceline paid in taxes. When I spoke to the manager about this, she said it was mandatory and was for the use of the elevator etc.. Ridiculous!

Last but very important- On the day of checkout you can request a hospitality room for showering and changing. This is how to do it. Call or go down to concierge in the main lobby by 8am and request the time you will need the room(they don't know the room numbers until the day of checkout so you can't book ealier than this). The concierge will give you an exact time and you will show up appx. 10 minutes before the alloted time to get the room # and key and walk to the room. WHAT NOT TO DO(like our family)- Show up 10 minutes late and realize it's a 5 min. walk to the room at least and that no way can 4 people can cleaned up and out of the room in 15minutes. You have EXACTLY 30 minutes for the use of the hospitality room which I did not know but which makes sense. They did tell us that they would call the Golden Door and we could shower there but we just decided to forget the whole idea and showered off at the pool. Hope this helps. Threehearts
threehearts is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2005, 07:41 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 149
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes! I heard about the tax on the taxes... ridiculous!!

Thanks about the tip about the hospitality room. I dont think we'll need to make use of it though - we have a very early flight out the morning we leave -- like 8 AM!! Ouch....
Thonglori is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 04:26 PM
  #6  
paf
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We stayes at the El Conquistador with our family to celebrate my in-laws 50th - What a DISASTER!! Even though we are Wyndham by Request members and had booked a fairly large group at fairly high prices the trip was so miserable I did something I never do - I wrote to the parent company to complain. We had to move rooms 2x, we had meal plans that no one seemed to know what to do with, the beach when we were there was filthy, and no palapas/umbrellas were available on two of the days we were at the beach. the pool was even worse! I would recommend being very friendly and agreeeable, but VERY firm with the hotel management, or you will not be well treated. The staff, were very courteous and friendly, though. Hope your trip turns out better than did mine!!
paf is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Phyllis-
I wanted to add some thoughts after reading your comments. I believe that we were lucky on this trip to the El Conq.. I can imagine that it is a place where things could easily go wrong. It is very expensive and we did witness quite a few complaints from guests both at the front desk and at the concierge area. If you do not luck out with a good room like we did, I believe your whole trip has the potential to be very substandard. My final word would be this- If you really need to count on having a wonderful time(vs. being super flexible and have low value expectations) and you insist on superior accomodations, this may not be the place for you.
Thanks for your trip report as it's always good to hear a broad range of experiences. Threehearts
threehearts is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mamadadapaige
United States
31
Jul 31st, 2005 07:38 PM
dfinley
United States
7
Apr 13th, 2004 08:38 PM
atticus
United States
7
Jan 26th, 2004 05:43 AM
ezvalet
United States
8
Feb 7th, 2003 10:59 AM
lynette
United States
9
Nov 12th, 2002 02:06 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:41 AM.