Sunday, March 4, 2012

Corpus Christi Hotel Wisdom for Windsurfers

Sunfish My windsurfing buddies and I used to all stay downtown at a hotel like the Best Western Marina Grand Hotel, the Bayfront Plaza, or the Omni. All of these hotels are in walking distance of downtown restaurants and bars. You may wish to try bidding on a hotel on Priceline -- downtown Corpus is the "Corpus Christi Beach Area".

Motel 6 #413

Recently I have been staying closer to the island. The budget / convenience option is the Motel 6 #413, which is closer to the beach, and also closer to some of the better Corpus restaurants. Motel 6 keeps you close to The Island, but I've had comfort and convenience issues there -- it isn't luxury. You may not find the service helpful.

Some folks have been disappointed with the cleanliness of this Motel 6. If you know Jason, he can share his crazy experiences there. One nice thing about Motel 6 is that they are quite dog friendly, and quite cheap. It seems like a lot of recreational fishermen stay here.

Best Western on the Island

The Best Western on the Island, is clean, allows pets with a fee, and isn't far from Worldwinds. I find the place comfortable, but it is designed like a motel. This is good, because it is quick and easy to get to your car, but the view from the rooms tends to be cars, not the beach.

When there are good deals available, I think this is a great location for getting to and from Worldwinds fast. The island has decent dining options, so you can possibly save yourself lots of driving by staying here. I have not stayed here often because it can be pricey by my standards.

Best Western Paradise Inn

I consider the Best Western Paradise Inn clean yet affordable. This motel is half way between downtown and the island, is pretty clean and comfortable, and has easy access to lots of chain restaurants. Like the Best Western on the Island, it is arranged like a motel. Getting to your car is easy, which is good, because you'll probably be driving, not walking, to anywhere you go.

This hotel is right off of South Padre Island Drive, which is a highway. If you stay here, you'll definitely save some time driving compared to staying downtown.

The Omni

There are actually two Omni hotels in Downtown Corpus Christi, right next door to each other. There is the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel Bayfront Tower, and the Omni Corpus Christi Marina Tower. These are two very different hotels, even though reservations are maddeningly accepted as if they were the same hotel.

The Bayfront Tower is a very nice four diamond hotel with a fancy restaurant at the top. The Marina Tower is an OK three diamond hotel. They are both fine hotels, but it is a huge letdown to expect the Bayfront and get the Marina. It seems to me that they benefit from this confusion, and might even intentionally sow it.

One time I booked at what I thought was the Bayfront, but turned out to be the Marina Tower. I drove to the Bayfront Tower, checked in there, was given a key, and hauled my stuff up to the indicated floor. I spent probably five minutes wandering from one end of the hall to the other trying to find my room, confused and irritated.

Finally I ran into an employee and asked where the room was. I couldn't believe when he told me it was in the other hotel! Was there a bridge to the other hotel, I asked. No, I had to drive.

I schlepped my stuff back down to my car, drove to the other hotel, and then carried it back up to the correct hotel room. I was pretty mad that they acted as if it was perfectly normal to get the key for one hotel at another hotel, and as if every idiot knew that room numbers below a certain number were at the other hotel.

Lesson: when dealing with the Omni, call ahead and be sure you know which hotel you'll be staying at.

You can often get good deals on one of these hotels on Priceline (see above).

The Best Western Marina Grand

This hotel is one of my favorites because it is usually inexpensive, clean, and it stands within easy walking distance of the marina, a few shops, some OK restaurants, many iffy bars, and a few OK bars. For a fee, your pet can stay.

One downside to this hotel is that it is tall but only has two elevators. The insiders know to ask for a room at a lower floor so they can skip the elevators. Another downside is that occasionally folks will have noisy parties in their rooms, and the place will sound like a vibrant dormitory late into the night. Also, be prepared to wake up to the 3 AM illegal downtown drag racing.

The staff here is usually nice, and the rooms have a bit of a view.

The Marina Grand also provides a free, but not-so-great breakfast. I suggest walking to Agua Java, or La Bahia, unless you'd rather save money.

Renting a Condo

Last year I rented a condo on Mustang Island through Coastline Adventures. The particular condo we rented was just a few blocks from the beach and had two bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, and a living room. They even allowed dogs!

Depending on the season and the number of people, a condo might save you a lot of money. Driving to Port Aransas from Worldwinds is easy, but I'm not sure it takes less time than driving downtown.

Port Aransas is a cute touristy town with lots of shops and restaurants, including the Port Aransas Brewing Company, which makes a mean hamburger. They also have about five different tourist shops with giant concrete sharks in front of them.

You can drive on the beach in Port A -- many streets there just end in the sand. It feels very different from Corpus Christi, which is fun.

Share What You Know

What are your tips and tricks for Corpus-area hotels and lodging? Comment below.

*Updated 4 March 2012 to add Condo information.

Windsurfing Expedition: March 2012

Mo Lands One
Mo Lands One
Are you curious about Windsurfing? Why not learn the same way that my friends and I learned? Take the beginner class at Worldwinds on Friday March 23rd, and spend the rest of the weekend playing on the water.

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March 23 - 25, 2012.

I'm staying at the Best Western Paradise Inn, which is about half way between Downtown and The Island. If you'd like to stay downtown affordably, many of my windsurfer friends have stayed at the Bayfront Hotel. For more money, you can probably stay on the Island itself.

If you have not windsurfed before, you'll want to schedule classes at Worldwinds. Almost all of my surfing friends have learned how to windsurf from the fine folks there, including myself. Just be sure to show up to your class early -- arriving late will cause problems for yourself and other guests. To get started, look at the 5 easy step to Windsurfing Bliss.

If you've already taken the beginner class, you may wish to reserve equipment and any classes in advanced.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

August is Your Month to Windsurf

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Holy smokes, August is almost here! Let's enjoy a beach escape while it's still Summer. Reserve Friday August 12 through Sunday the 14th for fun time.

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I'll be staying at the inexpensive Best Western Paradise Inn this trip, which is about half way between North Padre Island and Downtown Corpus Christi.

If you have not windsurfed before, you'll want to schedule classes at Worldwinds. Almost all of my surfing friends have learned how to windsurf from the fine folks there, including myself. Just be sure to show up to your class early -- late is rude. To get started, look at the 5 easy step to Windsurfing Bliss.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You'll Learn how to Windsurf in April if You Join Us

The first Wind Addict trip of 2011 is April 22-24 in Corpus Christi. If you don't yet know how to windsurf, this is your opportunity to get introduced. If you do know how to windsurf, you should get out of town and enjoy the water.

Details
If you have not windsurfed before, you'll want to schedule classes at Worldwinds. Almost all of my surfing friends have learned how to windsurf from them. Just be sure to show up to your class early (see the 5 easy steps).

I'm staying at the Best Western on the Island this time. This hotel is located on North Padre Island across the street from a mini-golf course, and right next to the Packery Channel Park.

Consult the 5 easy steps to windsurfing happiness to get started.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Beginner Experience

Janet Jay joined us a few months ago for a windsurfing adventure. She wrote a fun article (with cool photos!) documenting the experience.

I think it nicely captures the experience of learning to windsurf. Best of all, I'm quoted in it! Ok, that isn't really the best part. I really liked her reasons for windsurfing. Try windsurfing, you will have fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Labor Day in Corpus Christi

September 4th - 6th in Corpus Christi.

To preserve my mental health, I need a windsurfing trip ASAP. No more procrastination. No more excuses. Labor day weekend is now windsurfing weekend.

I'll be staying at the economical Motel 6 near the island again. Is it luxury? No! But it is a few blocks from excellent breakfast food. The big 6 isn't far from a big dinner at Ichiban either. And on the way back to the Six from Ichiban? A Spec's liquor. I'll leave the rest up to the reader as an exercise.

As always, Worldwinds will be hosting the beginners and the renters. Be sure to get your reservations for classes and gear in early -- it is labor day.

If you decide to come, you'll want to follow the 5 magically easy steps to prepare.