by Christine Koubek
Las Casitas is a small village comprised of lush gardens, three pools, a manor house and 157 pastel-colored one- to three-bedroom private casitas (cottages). The property is set on a 300-foot bluff that overlooks the convergence of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, where the waters form an ever-changing rainbow of turquoise and blues.
The resort is located on the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico, near El Yunque Na-tional Forest, four miles from downtown Fajardo and Las Croabas (home to popular Bioluminescent Bay tours). There is so much to experience onsite at this resort — a water park, kids program, family-friendly golf and tennis and an infinity pool — that you’ll want to budget your time away from it wisely.
As of 2016, Las Casitas Village has an all-inclusive package that includes three meals each day, select alcoholic beverages, and admission to the onsite water park.
While El Conquistador Resort has been open almost consistently since 1962 — when it first debuted as a small, elegant 84-room resort — Las Casitas Village was built in two phases, the first opening in 1994 and the second in 2004. The property received some additional updates as part of the extensive $120-million El Conquistador renovation project that was completed in 2008. Minor updates to the property have been made since then, and both El Conquistador and Las Casitas became part of Hilton Worldwide under the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resort flag in 2009.
Our Editor Loves
- Villas with large balconies
- Access to all El Conquistador amenities
- All-inclusive package available
- All Inclusive Rates
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Las Casitas villas range in size from one to three bedrooms and all have full kitchens complete with a full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, counter seating, dining room area seating and a living room with a sofa bed.
All villas feature tile floors throughout, granite counters and an elegant tropical decor. In addition, you'll find a bathrobe, slippers, on-demand movies, a roomy safe, complimentary internet access, a microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer and bathroom tubs with jets. Bed rails, high chairs, cribs and inflatable beds are all available free of charge.
One-bedroom villas have a king or two double beds, two TV's and one full bathroom that splits in two with a half sink and toilet on one side and a full bath and shower with an additional sink on the other, a nice perk for families.
Two-bedroom villas have one king bed and two double beds, plus an additional bathroom.
Three-bedroom villas have one king, one queen and two double beds and each bedroom has its own bathroom and TV.
In addition, there are some studio size guestrooms with one king bed or two double beds, but without a kitchen. Units that are ADA compliant are also available.
Note: There are a few things to note about villa locations. You must climb a tall staircase to reach second floor villas, so request a first floor unit if you want easy in and out stroller access. While requests cannot be guaranteed, ask for a casita in the north section for the shortest walk to El Conquistador restaurants and amenities; south village casitas are the farthest from the hullabaloo.
Unfortunately I am unable to change the date range, but I stayed at Las Casitas Village in May of 2017 with my son, and we had an amazing time. The grounds and views were breath taking and although it was a quick walk to the main hotel for the extra amenities having a personalized butler to take us back and fourth on a golf cart was a great perk! I hope to stay here again in the near future. I would have booked again this year, but it wasn’t reopened yet after the hurricane.
I give it 5 star and hotel was wonderful love the private island Palomino were the beach was beautiful and the water was so clean the beach had so many things to do lots of kids activities on the island and the food was delicious
The best part about Las Casitas is you can have a spacious home-away-from-home for low key family fun and still take advantage of all of the amenities at El Conquistador. Las Casitas has three pools of its own that are never crowded. Pool depths range from 3.5 to 4 feet. None have lifeguards or gradual entry, but they do have wide stairs for wading. Kids love the infinity pool, both swimming in it and the illusion of swimming to the edge of it -- it looks like it's spilling into the massive sea below. Don't miss the infinity hot tub tucked away up a side staircase and overlooking the sea.
Guests at Las Casitas can also use all of El Conquistador's pools (it doesn't work both ways). Conquistador's main pool complex features three pools, including a lap pool, and one for pool basketball and volleyball.
The Las Olas Village section of El Conquistador has a swimming pool, too, though there is rust on adjacent buildings and it looks like the area hasn't been renovated in some time.
Coqui Water Park
For more water-oriented thrills, visit the 2.4-acre Coqui Water Park. The park is in the Marina Village area of El Conquistador. This well-maintained park has high-speed flume slides (for those 38 inches or taller), a lazy river, Oasis Bar & Grill snack bar, lockers, a 1-foot deep kiddie section with plenty of sprays and several relaxing and shady seating areas. Full-day admission is about $20 for adults and $15 for children age 3 to 12, and half-day admission is about $13 for adults and $9 for children age 3 to 12.
Las Casitas and El Conquistador's children's program, Camp Coqui, is for chil-dren ages 4 to 12. It offers numerous recreational and educational activities, from kayaking over coral reefs and snorkeling, to sand sculpting, scavenger hunts and more. Half days ($45 per child), full days ($75 per child and includes lunch) and night sessions are available. Children must be potty-trained.
For a day at the beach, hop on the resort catamaran (complimentary) for a short ride to Palomino Island, the resort's private island. On the island, you can go snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle-boarding, use wave-runners and sail boats, or play mini-golf, basketball, volleyball, horse shoes and corn toss. There is an oversized chess set and plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas, too. Note: The water's sandy bottom is full of rocks and shells, so water shoes or waterproof flip flops help.
In 2014, the island's Palomino Stables became a working rescue stable. The horses are brought to the island to receive care and once they return to health, they're trained to give rides to guests. There are currently 18 horses that range in age from 1 month to 26 years old. Even if you don't want to ride, it's worth visiting the stable for a tour. A 50-minute, 4.5-mile scenic trail ride travels up the mountain and across the top, then down to the beach. Children, teens and adults age 10 and up and under 210 pounds are $69 per person. You can also book a 50-minute Walker Trail Ride for ages 5 and up, in which a guide walks with and controls the horse for $30 per person. Twenty-minute guided pony rides are available for ages 10 and under and cost $25 per child. Reservations can be made through the concierge or by calling 787-208-6883.
The island's Iguana's CafÃ© serves basic burgers and pizza. Two shops offer beach supplies and souvenirs. Ferries run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the last ferry to the island typically at 3 p.m., and the last returning ferry departs at 5:30 p.m.
Both the water park and the private island ferry can be reached via the resorts' funicular, a cable car suspension system that transports guests from bluff-top to seaside. Leave plenty of time to catch the ferry.
Stop by the concierge desk to check the week's activity and movie schedules, which include pool game times and a listing of movies that are shown in the theatre, as well as poolside. Also, pick up a "Scout About" map which details 13 points of interest, from discovering Tamarind trees to finding a miniature horse. Collect a colored band to receive the "Hall of Fame" band and have your photo added to the "Scout About" Wall of Fame.
The Arthur Miller designed 18-hole golf course has views of the ocean and El Yunque National Forest in the distance. It's also kid-friendly, with three tees -- one for pros, one for regular folks and a junior tee for kids. The course also has something quite unique -- foot golf, in which you kick a soccer ball into soccer ball sized holes. Game times are typically 4 p.m. or later. Reserve a time in ad-vance to guarantee availability.
Tennis, including private lessons and kids clinics, is also available, on both clay and hard courts.
Game rooms (one located off the main lobby and the other across from Cafe Caribe) are open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Dining facilities are limited at Las Casitas Village to Casitas CafÃ©, an in-door/outdoor breakfast cafe that features an excellent spread of fruits (including berries and mangoes), yogurts, eggs, cereals, meats, cheeses, pastries and more. A la carte breakfast is also available at the cafÃ©, where you can order an omelet, brioche French toast or steak and eggs.
Breakfast is included if you book the Bed & Breakfast rate or a Kids-Eat Free plan. If not, the full buffet is $26, the continental is $18, and individual dishes, like an omelet, are around $12. The setting is beautiful, complete with a breakfast bar made from shimmering green tile, and tables with umbrellas overlooking the village north pool.
Ventana Del Caribe
Ventana Del Caribe, located near the resorts' infinity pool is a casual lunch restaurant with cliffside patio seating and a covered bar area.
There are no dinner options at Las Casitas -- only room service and cooking in your casita -- or you can book a chef to cook dinner in your casita. Prices vary based on selected meal and party size.
Guests also have access to more than 20 restaurants, bars and lounges, including two ice cream shops and a Starbucks, at the neighboring El Conquistador. The quality varies considerably.
Cafe Bella Vista
A favorite casual lunch and dinner place is Cafe Bella Vista. It's outdoors, has a circular low bar that you can sit at and watch a sporting event on TV, or you can snag a table on the terrace overlooking the pool. The service is always friendly and prompt. The menu includes pizzas, Paninis (huge!), burgers, fish tacos and Puerto Rican specialties like Carne Fritta, made from pork, rice and garbanzo beans. Meals on the kids menu are around $7. Choices include whole wheat grilled cheese, pasta and sauce and chicken tenders.
Chop's Steakhouse is one of the highest rated restaurants at the El Conquistador. The food, service, signature martinis and elegant art deco decor are all top notch. Menu items include an excellent lobster bisque for $12, seafood pasta with shrimp and mussels in a tomato cream sauce for $36, filet mignon from $38 to $44, and crab mac and cheese for $11. There are six different sauces offered, including bÃ©arnaise and Chop's signature barbecue. If you're a chocolate fan, be sure to save room for the decadent Molten Lava Chocolate Cake. It's big enough for four.
The waterfront Stingray Cafe is another excellent option for dinner. It serves fresh, tasty seafood, pasta and steak, including a garlic shrimp risotto, filet mignon and scallops. Dinner entree prices range from about $29 to $45. Stingray CafÃ© is best for mom and dad.
Ballyhoo Bar & Grill
Dockside Ballyhoo Bar & Grill is a great spot for sitting outdoors and having a drink, but the food -- wraps, sandwiches, burgers and dogs -- is average at best, and pricey too, from $9 for a hot dog to $14 for a grilled chicken Caesar wrap with wilted lettuce.
For lunch, dine at the water park where prices range from $5 for a hot dog and $7 for a burger.
Some of the restaurants offer Wikki Stix for children to play with and Virgin Burger (by the main pool) has binoculars on the table for kids and parents to explore the views of the nearby Virgin Islands.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
A personal concierge contacts you prior to arrival and sends an extensive form in which you can use to book airport transfers, spa appointments, restaurant reservations, excursions, babysitting services, and even a particular type of pillow (think foam or feather). Some of the complimentary family amenities you can request include play yards, cribs, bed rails, car seats and high chairs.
In addition, you can pre-order necessities for delivery by 4:30 p.m. on the day of your arrival. This shopping service is also available after arrival and includes almost anything you might need, from eggs, milk, bread and deli meats, to drinks (including alcohol), breakfast cereals and assorted baby supplies. Place your order 24 hours in advance. To give you an idea on pricing, a gallon of milk is $8.75 and a box of Raisin Bran is $6.95.
Babysitting services can be set up through the form or once you arrive at the resort. A sitter can care for up to three children. The cost is $20 per hour for the first child and $4 per hour for each additional child with a three-hour minimum. There is an additional $10 per hour on holidays, and a cancellation penalty of $60 if not terminated more than four hours in advance.
Stop in the Manor House (main reception building) each morning for complimentary coffee. In the afternoon, the staff serves homemade Guava juice, and each pool has water jugs filled with fresh water and orange slices. Complimentary newspapers -- The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times -- can typically be found in the Manor House during the late morning.
Waldorf Astoria Spa
The Waldorf Astoria Spa is gorgeous and has a spacious fitness center to rival any at home, including TRX, treadmills, bikes, a weight area and a movement studio that is home to yoga classes and much more.
The Ki' Children's spa room at the El Conquistador Resort, for ages 14 and under, is done up in purples, pinks and lime greens down to the blankets and shag carpeting. Treatment options include a 25-minute head, neck and shoulder massage and a 25-minute coconut sugar scrub facial. Mommy and Me and Daddy and Me packages are available, too.
The fitness center is free if you've booked a spa service for that day, but will cost you $25 if not. Access to El Conquistador's fitness center is free, however, it's not much of a center. It's two very small worn-out looking rooms that have rusty equipment and dirty glass walls.
In addition, there are a handful of stores off of El Conquistador's long lobby, selling everything from snacks and personal items, to bathing suits, clothing, shoes, sunglasses and a nice variety of arts and crafts.
The Art of Smart Timing
Las Casitas's busiest season is mid-December through the end of April, when rates are highest. Travel mid-August through mid-October for lower rates. You may find a deal in October or November, too.
The hotel also offers year-round packages and specials, including an all-inclusive package introduced in 2016. Kids under 12 eat free, plus you receive a nightly resort credit with the Family Escape Package. The Coqui Water Park package includes daily breakfast for four at Las Brisas (located over at El Conquistador), four daily Coqui Water Park admissions and round-trip motor coach transportation for two adults and two kids.
In addition, the resort goes all out to celebrate holidays. For example, during Easter, you'll find egg decorating, photo ops with Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny and egg hunts, including a soaking egg hunt in the pool. Teens can partake in an evening egg hunt, speed-slide competition or have a Honey Bunny spa facial. A special Easter Sunday mass is held in the Grand Caribbean Ballroom and parents can make arrangements to have the Easter Bunny deliver baskets to kids.
All of the resort's facilities are open year-round. Puerto Rico's weather is fairly consistent with highs in the mid to upper 80's, and lows in the 70's. Dry season typically falls around early spring.
Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is approximately 55 miles, and an hour drive from the resort. Round-trip motor coach transportation is available for $74 per adult, $54 per child (12 and under). For private transportation, you can book a luxury van for $234 each way, or a sedan car (for up to three people with luggage) for $215 each way. Think through how often you'll want and need to leave the property and if you'll book excursions that include transportation when determining your rental car needs. Las Casitas Village guests are allowed one complimentary parking spot per villa as part of their stay. Additional vehicles and guests of El Conquistador have either self or valet parking available for a fee of $16.06 (self) or $21.40 (valet) per day, unless included as part of a package.
If you think you'll only need a car for one day, there is an Enterprise Rental Car facility on property. Note that Bioluminescent Bay tours, one of the most popular excursions in this area, are only a 10- to 15-minute walk from El Conquistador's back gate.
For Mom and Dad
For alone time, try the spa's Paradise for Two Package, which includes a full-day spa pass to the gym, as well as a 50-minute massage and beverages for sipping while you relax on the ocean-view terrace. In addition, dinner at Chop's Steakhouse and a long stroll through the beautifully landscaped grounds makes for a great date night.