In Puerto Rico, luxe for the little ones

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The 750-room property, known as El Con, consists of five villages spread out over 500 acres.
The 750-room property, known as El Con, consists of five villages spread out over 500 acres.

Luxury and family don't always go hand in hand, but at Waldorf Astoria's El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, it's a beautiful fit.

The 750-room El Conquistador Resort (or El Con as it's commonly called) consists of five villages, including Las Casitas Village, a 157-room luxury resort that shares the same grounds. Spread out over 500 acres, El Con is like a small town: areas for kids and family, beautiful spots for destination weddings and room categories for various budgets and needs.

Located about 45 minutes from San Juan Airport, the property sits atop a rugged cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea — it has great curbside (or, in this case, boatside) appeal.

The 2-acre Coqui Water Park at El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico features water slides, a lazy river and an 8,500-square-foot infinity pool.
The 2-acre Coqui Water Park at El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico features water slides, a lazy river and an 8,500-square-foot infinity pool.

Guests staying at Las Casitas get to enjoy all the amenities of El Con. Las Casitas Village is the quintessential resort-within-a-resort: smaller, quieter and with 24-hour butler service. There were many families at Las Casitas when I visited; the villas, ranging from one to three bedrooms, are great for longer stays or families who want a full kitchen and plenty of space to relax and spread out. 

Of course, El Con had families throughout the property, most notably at the Coqui Water Park; this 2-acre water park has water slides, a lazy river and an 8,500-square-foot infinity pool. There's also a boat shuttle to the resort's private island, Palomino; this 100-acre private beach offers a host of water sports (motorized and nonmotorized) as well as horseback riding.

El Conquistador Resort and Las Casitas Village combined offer over 20 restaurants, from the high-end Chops Steakhouse (which specializes in steaks and specialty cocktails) to the kid-friendly Casitas Cafe located by the pool. Of course, kids don't have all the fun: There's a 26,000-square-foot spa and an 18-hole, par-72 golf course on property.

Condado Plaza Hilton

For families looking for a more urban experience, the Condado Plaza Hilton is 15 minutes from the airport and five minutes from Old San Juan. The property overlooks both the Atlantic and the Condado lagoon, the latter being great for paddleboarding and kayaking.

The children’s activity area at Condado Plaza Hilton in Puerto Rico.
The children’s activity area at Condado Plaza Hilton in Puerto Rico.

If parents are into gaming, they'll be pleased to note that the property boasts the largest casino in Puerto Rico. With 571 rooms, the property has two towers, offering balcony views of the Atlantic on one side and the lagoon on the other. There are eight restaurants, from the upscale Pikayo to the casual Cafe Caribe. There are also three pools: one with a swim-up bar; one with a water slide and shallow area for toddlers and babies; and a saltwater pool.

Additionally, there's indigenous reef just outside the resort's beach, which makes for a nice variety of fish and coral for snorkelers.

The starting rate for El Conquistador is $229; for Las Casitas, $269; and for Condado, $179. Visit www.condadoplaza.com, www.elconresort.com and www.lascasitasvillage.com.

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