Beachfront hotel, closed since Hurricane Harvey, reopens

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The building that was once a Holiday Inn along Whitecap Beach on North Padre Island has suffered a triple whammy.

It has been closed since Hurricane Harvey severely damaged it in August 2017. Then, in July 2020, Hurricane Hanna wreaked havoc on the building and the renovations that had been made to it. Finally, the February 2021 freeze caused pipes to burst and other problems.

But in January of this year, the building got new owners, a new life and a new name.

“New owners came in and said, ‘Okay, we’ll make it work,'” said Gail Huesmann, executive chef of the Island Resort. “And they came in, and they pulled out all the stops.”

In three months, they’ve transformed two floors of the six-story building into functional hotel rooms, and repairs are nearing completion for the hotel’s pool and outdoor bar called “The Sandbar.”

The restaurant and bar are run by Huesmann — formerly of the Black Marlin at La Palmilla Beach Resort in Port Aransas — and they already prepare a breakfast buffet and small bites for hotel guests.

The menu-ordered breakfasts, lunches and dinners that will be open to the public could be just over a week away, and Huesmann says it fills a void when it comes to food and accommodation options at beaches. of the region.

“It will be the only full service hotel – at least for the foreseeable future – anywhere on Padre Island or Mustang Island,” she said. “So it’s definitely an important thing.”

Huesmann’s Sandbar and Beachside Bar and Grille won’t be fully functional until after the Davises, a couple from Iowa, move out of Coastal Bend.

They stayed at the hotel before it was devastated by Harvey, and they’re going back now. The couple believe the newly renamed Island Resort is on the right track.

“Getting the restaurant back – that’s something we’d like too, because we love (spending time on the beach) and not going anywhere else afterwards,” Kathy Davis said.

“You don’t have to go anywhere,” said Jeff Davis. “If (the restaurant is) here, you don’t need to leave.”

While this is a good thing for Island Resort, Huesmann is exploring the broader impact the hotel could have on the local economy by attracting more people to Corpus Christi.

“It will help the city with the tourist tax generated,” she said. “And it will help The Island – by bringing people here who will also go out and spend their money on other businesses.”

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