Water slide at el Conquistador

Connor Keenan is 11 and reports he went down the huge, steep water slide at El Conquistador Resort’s water park 11 times.


“The most fun thing here,” he reports. 


Connor is on vacation at “El Con” as the gargantuan resort is known (www.elconresort.com) with his parents and younger sister from Syracuse, NY and his dad reports they haven’t even left the resort—not with four pools, (three more at Las Casitas villas where they are staying) the water park with its lazy river and water slides,  and the resort’s private Palamino Island –100 acres a few miles off shore with snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing, mini golf, beach volley ball and basketball. 


Did I mention the 26,000 square foot Golden Door Spa (sign on for moonlight yoga), golf and tennis, complete with junior clinics and the Coqui kids club, should parents want to get a break. You won’t get bored eating here either—not with seven restaurants ranging from Teppanyaki and sushi to pizza, Italian, seafood and steaks. 



I feel like I’m on a cruise ship on land—in a good way. Make no mistake, this is a luxe resort—one of the Waldorf collection but in this economy there are good deals to be had.  And like a cruise ship (or a big resort) there are plenty of activities all day to keep your gang  busy–pool side arts and crafts and bingo, water volleyball tournaments, power walks and fitness classes, golf and tennis clinics…you won’t get bored but you might spend more than you expected. That’s why it’s wise to book a package that will include what your family needs whether water park tickets, breakfasts, resort credits you can use for golf and tennis. 



We are staying in The Casistas that is like a resort within the resort an enclave of 234 rooms in 157 villas with full kitchens, private pools –including a spectacular infinity pool overlooking the ocean—restaurants, and butler service. You could arrange to have a chef make you dinner that you could enjoy on your deck overlooking the sea; for $25 they will stock your kitchen with whatever you need—ideal for a girls getaway such as we’re enjoying or for families. The Keenans are staying in one and are certainly more comfortable than in one hotel room with two kids; You’d probably spend less than in two rooms and have plenty of room to spread out. 



This resort is so big, though, that you should figure out where you want to be before you book—near  the water park, the dive boats, the casinos or perhaps las casitas. With all there is to do in Puerto Rico, though, this is the kind of place where you want to leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the resort. You could spend an entire day on Palomino Island (this resort doesn’t have a beach otherwise) You take their boat over and have your pick- horseback riding, jet skiing, snorkeling, mini golf, beach volleyball or maybe just a book and a pina colada. 


You are close too if you want to take a ferry over to Vieques or Culebra to experience their beaches.  


 We enjoy  dinner at the resort’s signature restaurant The Strip House—steaks, rack of lamb, black truffle creamed spinach potatoes Romanoff  and  the biggest piece of chocolate cake I’ve ever seen for a desert. I shouldn’t eat for a week. And though this is a decidedly adult restaurant—with photographs from the burlesque era adorning the walls–they are welcoming to kids, complete with a kids menu with everything from pasta to a mini filet mignon.  


On our last morning, we stole 15 minutes after breakfast in the Infinity Pool with its breathtaking view of the ocean and small islands off the coast. AAH…I