Where to stay in Puerto Rico

Apr 29th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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Where to stay in Puerto Rico

...had to revise title...

We are looking at going to Puerto Rico in Mid-November and nice beach and ocean are our number 1 priority. Next is luxury, rooms and ammenities.

We've never been to PR so any help and advice is very much appricaiated.
I am looking at:
La Concha - but it's hard to find reviews
El Conquistador - it looks like a hassle to get to the beach
El Convento - looks really neat but is it on the beach?

Any recommendations would really be helpful.

I just noticed that El Conquistidor and Las Casitias Village are listed seperatley on Expedia but they appear to be the same property. Can someone explain the differences to me?

This property is very intriguing to me but the distance of the beach worries me.

mnekaw3 is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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We stayed at what is now the Wyndham Rio Mar (at the time it was a Westin) and found it quite nice. Had a nice beach, nice pools and ground, very close to El Yunque and about 40 minutes from San Juan. Lots of good places to eat just outside the resort grounds. El Conquistador is close by. We visited that resort and were not impressed. Seemed to be a bit run down and your idea about the beach is right on.
Reisender is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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El Convento is not on the beach at all--it's smack in the middle of Old San Juan. You'll have nice rooftop views of the bay and there's a *tiny* pool there--more like a plunge pool than a swimming pool--but that's as close as you'll get to the water there. That being said, it's really a fantastic place to stay and I'd urge you to consider spending one night in that area just to get an entirely different flavour of the island.

If you want to be closer to San Juan than the other resorts you're considering would put you, take a look at the Numero Uno Guesthouse. It's not luxe, but it's very pleasant and it's on a gorgeous, wide stretch of beach.
ejcrowe is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Not sure how much time you have but I would split my time. A few days in OSJ (El Convento) which will allow time for a rain forest visit as well. Then either head to Rincon or Vieques. www.rincon.org, www.vieques-island.com, www.prwow.com, www.rincon-pr.com, www.coconutpalmsinn.com.
Apr 30th, 2008, 05:03 AM
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It is hard to find reviews of La Concha because it only recently opened. From the pics I have seen, it looks pretty nice. It is smack in the middle of Condado, which is a busy area with a number of other hotels and restaurants nearby. The beach in that area is ok but maybe not what people expect from a Caribbean island, since it is a developed area.

El Conquistador - I haven't been there in a number or years so cannot comment on the current state of the rooms or grounds. However, the beach is actually on a private island and is a 10 minute ferry ride. Once on the island, there are beach chairs, towels, a place for food, and water activity rentals. It does lack the convenience of having a beach right at the resort but it is very nice. Also, regarding Las Casitas Villages is part of the same resort complex but these are one and two bedroom villas that have their own check-in, pool, private butler service, among other things and will be significantly more expensive than other rooms at El COnquistador.

El Convento - like another poster said, it is not on the beach. It's in Old San Juan.

The three properties you ask about are all very different from one another and would make for very different vacation experiences.
tom42 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2008, 05:12 AM
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Thanks for the advice, what Tom said about the beach by La Concha may have me steering clear of that. I definatly don't want a busy, well developed beach area.

Do you have any suggestions for a nicer beach resort in Puerto Rico, maybe on the Carribean side of the island?
mnekaw3 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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I am not sure if there are any resorts on the Caribbean side. El Conquistador is right between the Atlantic and Caribbean sides. Wyndham Rio Mar is on the Atlantic side, as is the Gran Melia. The Horned Dorset Primavera is in Rincon, on the island's west coast but I am not sure if it considered Atlantic or Caribbean.

Those are the only "resorts" outside of the San Juan area that I can think of.
tom42 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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We were in PR last in 2005 and beach was less important because we were going to St. John-Caneel afterwards. The Dorado Beach was lovely but a bit expensive. The El Conquistador is a high rise only 200 yards from Dorado and neither is near the beach. It is a family hotel unlike Dorado. We spent our honeymoon at La Concha in 1968, yes, and it was sort of "nice tacky" then. We went back to see it 3 or 4 times and it was a dump. What matters is who bought it,, do they own other resort hotels and which ones, and who is running it, Starwood, Rosewood, etc. The El Convento is very quaint with a lot of character but it is not a vacation hotel, in my opinion.
StanKase is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 04:39 AM
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I think Stan is confusing El Conquistador with some other hotel. El Conquistador is nowhere near Dorado. But speaking about Dorado, there is also the Hyatt Dorado (I don't know if this is what Stan is referring to) but again, that is on the Atlantic side. La Concha is now a Renaissance and does not bear any resemblence to the old La Concha (which became pretty run down before it closed in the 1990s).
tom42 is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 05:06 AM
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The Hyatt in Dorado is now just a timeshare resort, so you can't rent rooms there. That one is out.

If you are looking for "nice ocean" I'm very concerned that you won't find what you want in Puerto Rico. The water on the north coast is simply not beautiful and blue as it is in a lot of places in the Caribbean.

There are many lovely beaches in PR (and I'd probably recommend the Wyndham Rio Mar above all other places on the north coast), but they don't have powder soft sand. The only Anguilla-beautiful beaches in all of Puerto Rico are in Culebra and Vieques. Neither has a true luxury resort, and the forthcoming W on Vieques, which may be open by November, is on one of the most mediocre beaches in Vieques.
doug_stallings is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 07:12 AM
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I would say the private beach on Palomino Island at the El COnquistador does have more of that blue water, white sand look that people often associate with a Caribbean island. Again, though, you do have to take a ferry from the resort to get there.
tom42 is offline  
May 3rd, 2008, 11:34 AM
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We just returned from our 2nd trip to P.R. yesterday. Spent our last night at La Concha in Condado/San Juan. The room was very impressive - but not the beach, pool or ocean. We wanted to visit there for our last night and see that area before we left. We have pretty well drove the whole island on our 2 trips, except some of the southeast coast. If beaches and ocean are #1 priorities, I think you would be much happier elsewhere. There are soooo many islands in the caribbean that have beautiful water and beaches. We stayed at the Ponce Hilton on the Caribbean/South side also - but only stayed on the beach less than an hour, and I didn't even get in the water. It looked like very rough dingy Atlantic water and the beach was dark course sand with rocks everywhere. We have been to many caribbean islands because we love the white, soft sand and clear blue water. When going to P.R., we go to sight see and do other things. Whatever you decide, enjoy!
lovecarib is offline  
Jul 16th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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consider the Palmas Hotel in Humacao (which may now be under the Starwood chain) or The Embassy Suites which is in Dorado and has the option (as do many hotels in P.R. now) of a hotel or a timeshare on the same property. I have stayed at both and Palmas had a crescent shaped beach which was lovely to walk on with palm trees galore (property was a coconut plantation yrs. ago). Embassy was very pretty but not as many options as Palmas as far as rests. and i don't think the embassy had a casino but Palmas had a small one.
daisytcam is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:09 AM
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We just stayed at La Concha a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. The hotel is gorgeous, and most rooms have a great ocean view. That being said, I agree with what some others have posted, that if you're looking for pristine beaches, this is not the place to come. San Juan is large city... there's lots to see and do, but there's also lots of people and buildings. We did find the pool areas at La Concha to be beautiful and relaxing, but spent most of our time in SJ sightseeing.
msteacher is offline  
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