by Amanda Geronikos
The beach is the main draw on South Padre Island in Texas, particularly for families. The second biggest draw? Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort. The water park, alone, is worth a visit to the island, with several lazy rivers, pools interactive features, and even beaches. Of course, the park is open to anyone, but hotel guests enjoy modern accommodations and quick access to the water park, with admission automatically included in rates. The kids will literally be wiped out of the waterslides and into bed — and then want to get up and do it all over again the next day!
It’ll take some serious convincing, but once you pull the kids out of the pools, be sure to head to the glorious beach — it’s just steps from the hotel.
Our Editor Loves
- Water parks and pools
- Suites with full kitchens
- Location by the beach
- Water Parks
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel offers a total of 221 simplistic, yet modern guestrooms, each one equipped with a mini-fridge, coffeemaker and microwave, along with a flat-screen TV (or two) and complimentary Wi-Fi. Of course, all the usual suspects are included in rooms, as well: irons and ironing boards, hairdryers, safes and alarm clocks.
Cribs and rollaway beds are available upon request; there's a charge of $20 per night for rollaway beds.
You can stay in a Standard Room with two queen beds or one king bed and a sleeper sofa. Both sleep four to five people.
Premier Rooms feature partial ocean views, and offer the same arrangements as the Standard Rooms -- one king bed and a sleeper sofa for a total of four or five guests in the room.
This room variation comes with one king bed or two queens and faces the Gulf of Mexico.
This room also comes with one king or two queen beds, but doesn't offer views of the beach.
Double King Suite
This room has two king beds in a separate bedroom, a set of bunk beds in another alcove, and a sleeper sofa in the living room. It sleeps a total of eight guests. It features a view of the pool or ocean, with ocean views coming at a higher nightly rate.
King Suite Beach Front
This room is similar to the King Parlor Ocean View Suite, except it doesn't have bunk beds. It sleeps a total of six (or seven with a rollaway bed or crib).
King Parlor Ocean View Suite
The King Parlor Ocean View Suite is the best option for large families. It has one king bed, two queen-size sleeper sofas and a set of bunk beds, along with a fully equipped kitchen and washer and dryer. It sleeps eight (or nine if you request a rollaway bed or crib). It also has connecting capabilities for those traveling with friends or extended family.
To be fair, kids had some fun playing in the water park. Though the wait was long, little kids liked the water park. We liked the water park in general.
However, the hotel experience at the Schlitterbahn Beach Resort was horrible... mainly because of their unfriendly and non-responsive staff at the front desk. When we were checking out on August 6, they basically just ignored us (all 7 of us), no matter how many times we asked our questions. And these are just very simple questions, such as "Hello, we are checking out. What should we do?" But no response. "Should we return these (towel) cards?" "May I ask how to get towels?" NO RESPONSE.
It was our first time. We did not really know where to go or how to do certain things. There are signs saying we had to check out at 12noon and we could play in the water park afterwards but obviously for first timers we did not know many things and we wanted to make sure we follow their rules.
Imagine after waiting 15-20 minutes in line to be our turn and then the staff just took your room key (wristbands) WITHOUT answering any of your questions then TURNED AWAY to talk to others and do other things, leaving you and your old folks (say, one is 75 years old; and the other over 80 years old) and your little kids (say, 6 years old) stand there NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO. I did ask several times if we have completed our checking-out and if we were good to go.... etc. NO RESPONSE. THIS STAFF JUST LOOKED AWAY.
Then imagine the staff just started talking to other people?!
What would you feel? Probably similar to what we felt then. Now, imagine they answer OTHER people's questions but not yours. This makes me think of the Dr. Dao experience with United Airlines. Dr. Dao, as a loyal UA customer, boarded a UA flight but UA all in a sudden wanted to let four of their flight attendants fly on this plane and asked Dr. Dao to stand up and get off the plane. He explained he had to see his patients but UA just beat him up, knocked him out, and dragged him out of the airplane.
Yes, I am male, I am Asian, and I am a Dr. but being treated like this is just wrong. This was our first time staying here... and I am pretty sure it is our LAST TIME.
I had to go back to the front desk 3 times to find out we had checked out and there was no receipt whatsoever.
For record, they called and apologized after receiving some survey. I explained that rude person was not their manager Alyssa.
Upset and shocked by their front desk customer service, we will just spend our $700-800 / night SOMEWHERE ELSE in the future. I suggest that all families stay out of unfriendly and rude hotels to avoid a nice family trip being flawed.
by Debra A
Recently we regrettably stayed at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort at South Padre Island for 6 days. We paid $400 per day for 6 days-i.e. over $2,000 for a room which was not better than a low budget motel room and with substandard housekeeping service. The water park was extremely crowded with many families with infants & young children in diapers, and yet allowed to be in the crowded water, posing a hygienic & health risk. There were insufficient inner tubes available because people would keep them in their possession all day long, even though they were not using them & that the parks rules are that if you are not using them, they are to stay in the water or be placed back where they keep them. There were very long lines go get on the slides and no one was enforcing any order to anything. Overall it was a bad experience, the resort is in bad need of refurbishing as it is old, the rides are very rusty & leaking. It is apparent to us that their main goal is to maximize profits with little regard for their guests as it was extremely oversold with day-tickets sold as well, i.e. extreme crowding. We will NOT BE COMING BACK TO THESE RESORTS. It is not worth the extremely high expense. The food at their restaurants or stands provided awful food as well. The only positive thing we can say is that access to the beach was nice & we enjoyed that, but we would never have had to spend so much on just a beach!
Guests of the hotel receive free admission to the extensive water park, which has both indoor and outdoor portions. The popular park is available to both resort guests and the general public, and features several lazy rivers, pools, waterslides, man-made beaches and interactive areas just for tiny tykes. When little fingers start to shrivel up, you can hop on the water park's historic carousel, or head to Mega Blast for more interactive fun. Tubes, floats and life vests are available to guests, free of charge; private cabanas can be rented for a fee.
The water park fully operates in the summertime, with the indoor portion operating on limited hours (mainly weekends) the remainder of the year.
Organized Games and Events
The hotel often hosts games and events -- from bingo to dinner shows -- with a schedule of events available to guests. Be sure to inquire about the schedule upon arrival.
Shrimp Haus Restaurant
Shrimp Haus Restaurant serves sandwiches, soups, salads, brick-oven pizzas, steaks, and just about anything you can imagine. Of course, it also specializes in shrimp and other seafood -- it is located on the Gulf of Mexico, after all. The restaurant also offers a kids' menu with four options: Bahn Burger, Chicken Tenders, Little Shrimp or Fish and Li'l Padre Pizza. Shrimp Haus is located at the hotel; it is not part of the water park.
Seaside Grill is located at the water park, and serves all your favorites -- burgers, wings, salads and more.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
Visit the hotel's concierge for local suggestions, from fishing tours to sandcastle building lessons!
Look for a package -- the hotel regularly offers deals that might include meals and other extras.
Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
Plan to visit Schlitterbahn Beach Resort in the spring or summer, when the water park is fully open, or go on a weekend in the fall (the water park is closed on weekdays during non-peak periods).
Schlitterbahn Beach Resort is a short, easy drive from Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, as well as Valley International Airport in Harlingen. If you live in Texas, you may be able to fly to either one of the airports directly. Otherwise, you'll likely need to fly into a large airport, such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and then take a connecting flight to one of the smaller airports.
You'll need a car to get around South Padre Island, despite its small size. Parking is free at the hotel.
For Mom and Dad
Head to the Shrimp Haus for a few margaritas, or make a dinner reservation at Gabriella's, a short drive from the hotel. The intimate restaurant serves hearty portions of Italian favorites, from pasta to seafood. Save room for dessert -- the Italian Wedding Cake is out of this world.