by Amanda Geronikos
Pearl South Padre is the first hotel that families encounter when they cross the famous causeway to South Padre Island. It should be the last hotel they encounter during their vacation, too (at least once, anyway). The Pearl is a true gem for families, with a summer camp for kids, a spa for mom and dad, and a restaurant and pool complex for everyone to enjoy.
Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, the hotel also offers direct access to the sand and surf, where you’ll likely spend most of your vacation. When it’s time for a break from the sun, however, families can retreat to their guestroom or condo and take in the views from their private balcony. It’s a good thing the hotel provides complimentary Wi-Fi — your sunset photos will be too good not to post on Instagram.
Our Editor Loves
- Beachfront locale
- Summer Kids' Camp
- Condos with kitchens
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The accommodations at Pearl -- guestrooms, suites and condos -- provide guests with an authentic "beach feel," and feature private, spacious balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Guestrooms also offer all the conveniences families seek while on vacation, such as mini-fridges, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, DVD players and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel has connecting rooms, and cribs and rollaway beds are available with advance notice; rollaway beds cost $25 per night. Condos, housed in a separate building, offer the same services, plus fully equipped kitchens and added space -- perfect for large families and/or long vacations.
Deluxe Rooms are ideal for families of four or five, with two double beds (or one king) and a private balcony.
If you're looking for a room with a view, book a Premier Room. These rooms are located on the upper floors of the property, and overlook the ocean or pool complex. They have one king or two double beds.
King Parlor Suites
These units offer families extra privacy, with a separate bedroom with a king bed for mom and dad and a living area with a sleeper sofa for the kids. These rooms also offer kitchenettes with microwaves (in addition to a mini-fridge that's standard in all rooms) and wet bars.
If you have a large group or want more space to spread out, you should consider a condominium. You can rent a condo with one bedroom to sleep four people or two bedrooms to sleep six. Both variations come with a fully equipped kitchen and private balcony.
We stayed one night for our anniversary. We did not have time to visit the restaurant or other areas of the resort.
Facility overall is nice. Staff was very accommodating. However our stay in room 719 was not up to par. The room is in dire need of updating.
The view from the balcony was gorgeous. The pool area and access to the beach was amazing. But, The room was dated, humid, smelled funny the first day, and had mold on the ceiling of the whole room. The walls need wiped down. The arms of the chair were dirty. They need better housekeeping. The room was so humid it felt sticky under the sheets. If they could control the humidity they could control the mold.
Guests can access the beach via a private walkway. The hotel doesn't provide beach chairs and umbrellas, but they can be rented on the beach. Water sports rentals are also available on the beach, and include Banana Boats and Wave Runners.
The hotel has a 6,000-square-foot swimming pool that fronts the ocean. There's also a separate pool for kiddies, who love the waterslide that resembles a frog! They slide down the colorful frog's tongue before dunking into the water. The pool complex, which also includes a hot tub, is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Summer Kids Camp
Designed for children ages 5 to 11, Summer Kids Camp brings a themed activity to the resort each day. On Thursdays and Saturdays, for example, children can try sandcastle-building lessons on the beach (free of charge). Pool deck games are hosted on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The program is offered Memorial Day (or just after Memorial Day) to Labor Day. Activities - all of which are complimentary to guests -- take place between 9 a.m. and noon, and 1 to 4 p.m.
Beachside Bar & Grille
Open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Beachside Bar & Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Expect favorites such as eggs Benedict and French toast for breakfast, and burgers, salads, sandwiches and fish specialties for lunch and dinner. Be sure to make a reservation for the Seafood Extravaganza Bar on Fridays, and don't miss the Sunday Brunch -- it's the best one on the island. The casual restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and high chairs and a kids' menu are available.
Palapa Bar & Grill
Enjoy drinks and light bites by the pool during the summer. It's typically open Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is complimentary to all guests, and works well throughout the resort.
The hotel has a small fitness center with cardio machines and free weights. It overlooks the ocean (now there's a reason to work out), and is open 24 hours with key card entry only.
Pets weighing less than 25 pounds are welcome with a non-refundable, one-time payment of $50. They are not permitted by the pool or restaurant areas.
The Pearl has a fairly large convenience store that sells beach gear, snacks, toiletries and other essentials. It is located just down the hall from the lobby.
The Art of Smart Timing
Pearl South Padre bustles with travelers on a steady basis, but is especially busy during spring break (March to mid-April) and the summertime. If you can get away during September or October, you'll practically have the island to yourselves.
If you're traveling within Texas, you'll want to fly into Brownsville (BRO) or Harlingen (HRL). If you're coming from out of state, you'll likely need to fly into a major airport, such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and then board a connecting flight to Brownsville or Harlingen.
Parking is free at the hotel (though valet service is also available), and a rental car is necessary to get around the island.
For Mom and Dad
Make an appointment at Sapphire Spa, located on the property (at Sapphire Condominiums). Couples massages and spa packages are available, along with traditional treatments that include wraps, facials, manicures, hair services and more. The spa is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.