Prevue September-October 2017 - 69
State-of-the-art meetings amid a recreational wonderland
[ON LOCATION] VICKI ARKOFF
icture this: A corporate marketing team is pitted against
HQ's legal eagles in a game of tug-of-war and they're
all smiling for a change. Battling it out barefoot along
the turquoise Caribbean Sea both teams know they've
already won. Next thing you know, the CEO is waddling across the
beach in flippers to gather the troops for a "Penguin Race," while
other colleagues are strategizing for the "Beach Ball Relay," "Raft
Building" challenge and other creative team building activities held
in this idyllic outdoor meeting space.
This "Fantasy Island" scene-complete with beach butler
service-is a reality on Palomino Island, a 100-acre island paradise
uninhabited except for up to 1,400 daytime guests staying at
Puerto Rico's iconic El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
(the island's sole operator). It's the only Puerto Rico hotel with its
own private island and ferry system, and a 35-slip marina offers
deep-sea fishing charters, sailboats, catamarans, yachts and kayak
excursions to a rare bioluminescent bay.
We experienced all of this and more at the El Conquistador
Resort, which in itself spans 500 acres in Fajardo, "the water sports
capital of Puerto Rico, with everything from world-class fishing to
sailing and waverunners," according to Keyla Tarabochie, sales site
manager for El Conquistador and Las Casitas Village.
It took multiple tours-by foot, car, hillside funicular and ferry-to
see the entire property, which sprawls across a cliff overlooking
both the Caribbean and Atlantic. We explored the resort's five
distinct hotel "villages," each with access to a recreational
68 | prevuemeetings.com
wonderland: an Arthur Hills-designed golf course, a water park,
seven pools, horse and hiking trails, mini-golf, kayaking, snorkeling,
scuba diving and windsurfing. Exhausted from the choices, we
were revived by a visit to the 26,000-sf Waldorf Astoria spa for a
signature spa ritual massage and walk within a grass labyrinth at
the edge of a seaside cliff.
The exceptional Chops steakhouse marked the spot to
refill and recharge at the day's end, followed by cocktails at the
new Drake's Bacardi Rum Bar, which offers 30 different Bacardi
releases. Groups can drink and nosh on a variety of cuisine at El
Con's 23 restaurants, bars and lounges.
El Conquistador also knows how to get down to business
with more than 100,000 sf of meeting space, including the Grand
Atlantic Ballroom & Conference Center and its 21,000-sf Grand
Atlantic Ballroom-among Puerto Rico's largest-and the newly
remodeled Pablo Casals ballroom. Casual meeting spaces include
specialty suites in the Las Brisas wing where we stayed (and where
movie stars vacationed in the 1960s) and Las Casitas Village, a
luxury resort-within-a-resort offering colorful and spacious one- to
Once the meeting ends, groups can kayak through mystical
mangrove channels, explore local colonial forts (including La
Fortaleza, a UNESCO world heritage site) and hike through El
Yunque, the only rainforest in the US National Forest System.
For more on this press trip to Puerto Rico, please visit us
online at Prevuemeetings.com.