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Echo Bay, Ontario
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Going to SPI at end of March. Has anyone stayed at the Bahia Mar vacation rental near White sand street? Any info would be appreciated.

Arlington, Texas
Destination Expert
for South Padre Island
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809 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Condo

The main building of the Bahia Mar was heavily damaged during hurricane Dolly. Rebuilding has been going on for years. Since I don't live on the island, I am not certain that the project has been completed. The outlying area of the property had several condo units. Some were in better shape than others. I would ask for pictures of the specific unit to make sure it meets your standards.

Austin, Texas
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18 posts
64 reviews
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2. Re: Condo

My review of Bahia Mar for Spring Break '14 http://www.vrbo.com/80117


We stayed in Bahia Mar #216 on South Padre Island over Spring Break 2014. Three adults, three boys under 12, and zero beer bongs.

This is a great pet friendly unit facing the beach. It is bigger than it looks on the site and can easily hold 8 if the owner allowed it because the trundle bed in the master bedroom is a twin with a stow away underneath. The place has large 24" smooth tile flooring throughout making it easy on the pets and easy to keep clean of sand.

There are large windows facing the beach and the dunes 20 feet from your patio are low enough that you can see and hear the ocean waves throughout the condo. Both the den and master bedroom have covered patios with a few chairs to relax and enjoy the ocean roar. The unit is well equipped with lots of little extras that mean a lot: fancy halogen lighting above kitchen bar; a really productive ice maker in the fridge; foldaway playpen for the tiny tikes; nice supply of plastic sand toys; a few leftover boogie boards to get your guys hooked; blender; lots of pots and pans; plastic drink-ware; full size washer and dryer; a few low beach chairs if you don't want to haul your own. The coded door lock was ultra convenient and we were checked in and beaching within 10 minutes of pulling up. Parking was convenient and easy to the condos location, but expensive, (see Below).

The den has a large flat panel TV with HDMI and composite video inputs. The cable channels offered are a pretty extensive package. There is also a DVD player and some DVDs if you need them. You can tell the place is kept in good shape to make your stay pleasant and comfortable and not "just good enough".

About Bahia Mar

Back in my day, Bahia Mar was the overpriced mega complex way up on the end of the island not worth going to. It has been totally redone and is very nice. The pools are well finished and the hot tubs welcome in the 70 degree March air. The "boardwalk" in front of the beach is pleasantly equipped with nice lounges and a great place to finish of spend the whole day watching the beach. Beach access is easy and only 8 stair-steps away. This is not like North Padre where the dunes have to be traversed via long 100 yard board walks. And with this front of the complex condo, you can go back to the unit so easily you won't need to haul that much each trip.

The Bahia Mar complex is well maintained and Spring Break craziness was kept at a minimum somehow. It felt safe and calm the 4 nights we were there. The parking lot and the beach access to the property are protected by security almost 24/7. Other reviewers complained about the wrist bands but they were necessary and not inconvenient at all. They have strict no visitors policy to keep control of the place, but I understand that. Bahia Mar is about 1/2 a mile from Clayton's, a very popular Spring Break beach bar, so there are a lot of partiers walking up and down the beach to get to the various party spots, so the guarded access makes sense. Clayton's was also nice enough to provide us with a 15 minute fireworks show each night we were there.

About SPI for Spring Break with Kids

This was my first SPI Spring Break since 1985 (which I kind of remember) so I had a few concerns about taking three boys under 12 to the carnage. Bahia Mar was 90% families and was laid back and fun. The beach was great people watching with most of the spring breakers behaving very decent when they saw families. Sure there was some colorful language, and a few who had too much to drink and not enough to wear, but we were never afraid and my boys were never shocked or freaked out as the young coeds walked up and down the beach in various levels of intoxication and levels of swimwear coverage. Overall I was pleased with how the college kids got along and were in a general jovial mood. They were always friendly to our boys and respectful. On Saturday night, we went out to dinner at Captain Roy's and the boulevard was like a scene from "Rebel Without a Clue" as the inebriated beach goers were now cruising the main boulevard, honking horns, jaywalking and doing their best to almost get killed while not getting arrested by the continuous Police weaving through bumper to bumper traffic. It wasn't all that bad, just a stark contrast to the fun beach time and pretty loud and crazy. Interesting to see, but the boys thought the revelers were all nuts and behaving irresponsibly.

My only caveat about this unit's is make sure you have all the costs associated with renting understood between you and Julie before sending your deposit. I wired my $500 deposit after Julie and I had exchanged emails and agreed on the rate for the 4 days. She sent via snail mail a contract for me to sign with a Post It note explaining we;d have to pay Bahia Mar security $20 per adult for security wrist bands, and pay her $20 per car parking fees, and an optional $20 to her for WiFi. I was okay with the security fee as it was Spring Break, it would have been nice to have these spelled out in advance on the VRBO site. I was disappointed when I arrived and explained to the security guards as I paid the wristband fee that I had already paid the parking fee they said, "Coleman huh? She always does that. All are units come with two free parking spaces." Kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. I should have been weary however, when Julie and I talked via phone before I sent my deposit and we agreed I'd rent the unit at the rate she quoted me a week earlier, she said, "Oh that's what I quoted you? That's only $100 lower than my Spring Break rate, I'll make that up somewhere else, I'll get you somehow." I thought she was joking, but she wasn't. So she tacked on the unnecessary $40 parking fee and $20 for 4 days of wireless (the WEP password she gave me didn't work, but the password is stuck on top of the WiFI modem, so you really don't need to pay her the $20). This sly $60 just left a bad taste in an otherwise great vacation and vacation rental. Kinda a dumb way to leave an otherwise positive advocate of your property. I gave Julie a chance to make the $40 right to no avail. This shouldn't prevent you from renting this unit, just make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and why.

Edited: 8:16 pm, March 23, 2014
3. Re: Condo

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