El Conquistador is 37 miles east of San Juan. The hotel has a five-passenger helicopter that leaves from a parking lot near the airport every half hour during daylight. The 10-minute trip to Conquistador costs $15. A limousine service costs $5 and takes about an hour and a half.
One of the remarkable things about this hotel is that there is not a room without a view, either of the Caribbean all the way to St. Thomas or of the Atlantic and the fishing village of Fajardo. Rooms cost from $52 to $70 single, from $72 to $90 double, with breakfast and dinner included. After April 30, rates drop dramatically.
One of the great advantages of El Conquistador is its water. All the other major hotels on the island face the open ocean, but here one is on the protected Caribbean, with clear water for sailing and water skiing, reefs for skin diving and islands for picnic excursions. Walter Hendricks, an old hand at the game in Puerto Rico, has been made water-sports director of the hotel and he and his two sons will teach you basic scuba in the hotel pool and take you on reef excursions after. When the marina is finished in February, this hotel will be the ideal takeoff point for deep-sea fishing trips as well.
The marina will also have an attractive waterside restaurant—open only at lunch, unfortunately. This should be a great place for an informal thatch-roofed seaside dining place, the kind you find in Acapulco or Capri, and a considerable relief from the air-conditioned marbled halls up on the hill, where one is forced to dress for dinner. And in Puerto Rico dress means no trousers for the ladies, no matter how fashionable trousers are this year, and ties—no turtlenecks—for the men. The reason for this archaic formality after dark in an otherwise with-it resort is the casino. The government gambling commission requires such dress in all casinos, and the hotels figure that a guest better be dressed before he eats or he might not bother to change just to play the tables.
If El Conquistador does not seem your cup of camomile—it isn't everyone's—consider these other possibilities: Dorado Beach, which has not only the best golf resort in the Caribbean but first-rate tennis and a first-rate tennis pro—Nick Bollettieri; or the Mayag�ez Hilton, a superbly run hotel in the quiet, provincial town of Mayag�ez on the western end of the island. It is here that the Atlantic surf runs high, and at nearby Rinc�n the 1968 world surfing championships were held. If what you are really looking for is a quiet tropical vacation with prices in line with the extremely low fares to Puerto Rico, consider one of the island's guest houses. There are 50 of them, either on or only walking distance from the beach where double rooms cost no more than $12 to $20 a day. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Department of Tourism, 666 Fifth Ave., New York 10019, will send you a list.
The outfit and accessories worn by Jamee Becker on the cover were designed by Giorgio Sant'Angelo. The top and wraparound skirt are of 100% Acrilan knit. They cost $90 and, like all of Sant'Angelo's put-ons on these pages, are at Bonwit Teller, New York, and at Neiman-Marcus, Dallas. On page 27 Jamee wears a striped suit designed by Oscar de La Renta for Fantasy Swim-wear. It is of nylon stretch fabric and costs $40 at Lord & Taylor, New York; Stix, Baer & Fuller, St. Louis. On the following page, at the Mayag�ez Hilton, Jamee wears a floral-printed romper swimsuit by Bill Blass for Roxanne. It is $40 at Bonwit Teller, New York; Marshall Field, Chicago. The colorful jeans outfit, scarf and braided headband worn by Vicky Howard facing this page of color are by Sant'Angelo. The pants and bra top are $100. The brown swimsuit worn by Erin Gray in the whirlpool was designed by Oscar de La Renta for Fantasy. It is $40 at Neiman-Marcus and at John Wanamaker, Philadelphia. On the following page Erin and Jamee wear Sant'Angelo outfits. Erin's patchwork jacket and top are $100; her pants are also $100, as is Jamee's Acrilan knit outfit. On the same page, Vicky Howard wears a pink maillot by Roxanne of 84% nylon and 16% spandex. It is $40 at Marshall Field; Gidding-Jenny, Cincinnati. Facing them, Vicky sails in a wet-look jump suit by Elaine Brandt for Ginori. It is $75 at Bloomingdale's, New York; Jordan Marsh, Miami. Erin Gray, on the following page, wears a metallic sunsuit by Sant'Angelo. It is $90.