South Padre Island, Texas, is one of the most popular beach vacation locations in the state, attracting visitors who come to swim in the warm Gulf of Mexico seas and enjoy the various coastal resorts on the island. The barrier island off the southern coast of Texas is home to hotels and resorts to suit all budgets and travel tastes – but the majority of the properties are from 3 and 2-star establishments, with no real luxury options.
If you’re looking for a romantic holiday, there are a number of semi-luxurious resorts with huge pools and a variety of dining choices. For families traveling with children, there are more reasonably priced mid-range resorts that provide plenty of activities to keep the little ones occupied.
Groups of friends traveling together to South Padre Island are very popular, and you’ll find a variety of hotels and resorts to suit your needs if you’re part of this demographic. The best part is that South Padre Island is a year-round vacation destination.
We’ve compiled a list of South Padre Island’s best resorts:
1. Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites South Padre Island
Although this Holiday Inn Express does not have an oceanfront position, it is merely a three-minute walk from the beach along a concrete path. The hotel has a tropical feel to it, and like many of its competitors, the exterior is brightly painted in orange and yellow tones to add to the joyful atmosphere. The lobby is vast, thanks to the high ceilings and a second-story terrace that overlooks the main floor of the building. The spacious outdoor pool with plenty of lounge chairs is where you’ll want to spend the most time resting. Additionally, a covered bar area with palapa-thatched drink tables and palm trees enhances the tropical vibe of this establishment.
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites South Padre Island is located in the quieter northern part of the island, just minutes from the beach and shopping. Free Wi-Fi is available in all of the rooms, which are modern and equipped with flat-screen televisions, mini-fridges, and microwaves. It boasts a large outdoor pool with soothing tropical decor and an outdoor shower for washing off after going to the beach, but it is lacking in other services, such as a quality fitness facility. The beach is only a three-minute walk away from this hotel, despite the fact that it is not precisely on the property’s property line. Additional amenities include complimentary breakfast every morning and comfortable workstations with ergonomic chairs; nonetheless, the rooms lack the dramatic vistas that other South Padre Island hotels have to offer, as do other South Padre Island hotels.
2. Royale Beach and Tennis Club
The grounds are lovely, with palm trees and blooming flowers. Wooden bridges span one of its three pools, which meanders through the grounds like a meandering river. Not to mention the wonderful (though busy) beach right next door. This premium real estate comes with certain costs. Notably, the spa, casino, and conference space are in the kid-friendly Now Larimar Punta Cana next door. Choosing the Secrets over the Now Larimar family-friendly resort can be a major disadvantage.
Mornings at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana are peaceful and relaxing, except along the beach, where the music from the bar can be loud. The day grows raucous with poolside drinking contests and loud music. The big pool becomes packed early in the morning, and guests return later to take their position. The majority of visitors are over 30 from the US and Canada. Those wanting peace and quiet should look elsewhere.
Fourteen structures, two rows perpendicular to the beach, house the hotel’s 464 rooms, all junior suites or one-bedroom suites. The interiors are light and breezy, with wicker furniture, colorful pillows, and huge stone or natural fiber ornamentation. In spite of the unprepossessing style and large windows overlooking the lovely gardens.
If you’re deciding between Secrets Royal Beach and Secrets Cap Cana, realize that both are adults-only and serve essentially the same menu. However, there are a few distinctions to note before booking. It has newer, more luxurious rooms, with nicer bathrooms, some with glass shower walls overlooking the bedroom. The Cap Cana spa is on-site, but guests at Royal Beach must go to Now Larimar, which is next door. The beach at Secrets Cap Cana is mainly tranquil, but Secrets Royal Beach is loud and crowded. This hotel is nearer to shopping and restaurants but farther from the airport.
3. Isla Grand Beach Resort
Isla Grand Beach Resort has 193 rooms and condos. Simple motel-style rooms with dated decor and some maintenance difficulties, whereas condos are more modern and include fully equipped kitchens. The facilities are lovely, especially the two outdoor pools with plenty of colorful loungers. There’s a buffet, a seasonal poolside grill, and an outdoor cafe with live music and sunset views. While most customers are tourists, the hotel also attracts business travelers due to its extensive conference facilities. Consider Pearl South Padre, which offers similar services plus a spa and more modern accommodations.
Isla Grand Beach Resort is a laid-back complex featuring a high-rise apartment building and a second, lower structure housing many of the rooms. Exposed brick walls and wicker furniture give the lobby a tropical feel. The lobby’s resident macaws and giant potted palms give color and excitement. The fun is outside, with two large pools and plenty of places to dine and drink. The hotel’s big conference facilities also attract some convention travelers.
4. The Pearl South Padre
This is the upper-middle-range Pearl South Padre a 256-room beach resort with full or partial ocean views. The hotel also rents condos with kitchens and up to three bedrooms, however, their design is variable. There’s a unique kids’ pool close to the resort’s main pool, and a summer camp for the kids. There’s also a seasonal restaurant at the main pool with a swim-up bar. The daily resort charge covers Wi-Fi and parking. The adjacent Isla Grand Beach Resort has similar amenities plus tennis courts but no spa.
The Pearl South Padre is a huge resort located between the main road and the Gulf of Mexico. In the foyer, there are many luxurious sofas and chairs in periwinkle, cream, and navy. A wide window opposite the reception desk looks out over lush vegetation. Most visitors are tourists, and the resort attracts many families with children.
The Pearl South Padre is the first building that visitors notice upon crossing the Queen Isabela Causeway from Texas. Its location on the southern tip of the island makes it quieter than other hotel options. It’s a seven-minute walk to the main road from the hotel, and it’s close to restaurants and attractions.
5. Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island
Beautiful sandy beaches are just a short walk away from the 156-room Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island. The rooms are comfortable with big balconies, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi (parking is also free). The hotel also has a fitness center and a large outdoor pool with lounge chairs. Note that thin walls and gatherings in the hotel ballroom cause noise complaints. Bars, tennis courts, and a nightclub are available at the Isla Grand Beach Resort along the beach.
The Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island is located near the beach on the northern end of South Padre Island. A beach park is adjacent to the hotel, although the La Quinta Inn & Suites is older and less spectacular. The Hilton Garden Inn is set back from the water, with a huge pool between the hotel and the beach. The pool area has a wooden boardwalk to the beach. That’s a recipe for a relaxing island vacation.
The Hilton Garden Inn’s northern location makes it feel quieter than hotels in the hotel sprawl. It is also near local restaurants, one of which is right on the beach. A car is required to go around South Padre Island. A tiny lane separates the property from another hotel to the south. The hotel is close to Andy Bowie County Park and the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center. Guests should be informed that walking to any of the nearby attractions (save the beach park) requires crossing and walking along a busy road without sidewalks. Valley International Airport is an hour and ten minutes away.