The Holiday Inn is nice. The location of Desert Pearl is very slightly better and it has a nice ambiance to it - IMO it's not worth the difference in price and much of the reason Desert Pearl is so highly recommended is it typically is a great value and less expensive than what you are seeing for that particular time.
There is nothing wrong with the Holiday Inn. We stayed there years ago when it was a Best Western. On the property, there is a high end steak house called Switchback, and a sports bar called Jacks. Many more possible restaurant choices within walking distance.
Desert Pearl is a favorite of ours, and is one of the highest rated properties in town. We like it because of River access rooms, walk out balconies/patios, and the semi full kitchen in the room. It has equally as many restaurants within walking distance.I was going to say that 9 East restaurant on the property was unique, but it seems to have closed now.
Point is that you are choosing two properties in Springdale. Location is everything when visiting the park, because of the shuttle, very limited parking, and crowds. Choose your amenities and your price point. You cannot go wrong with Springdale.Edited: 03 January 2018, 08:14
We stayed at the Holiday Inn this past weekend and have no complaints. Quiet and a nice outdoor area to sit around a fire pit. You will be out exploring the park most of the time so won't be spending much time in your room anyway :)Edited: 04 January 2018, 02:06
Good morning! I'm sure you have already solidified your travel plans by now, but in case you are still wondering, here are my thoughts on the two:
The Desert Pearl Inn is a unique and beautiful hotel. I would recommend spending a little more money and staying on the riverside, unless you are traveling with kids and would prefer the easy access to the pool. The Pearl is not necessarily more money than the Express, but it will give you that boutique feel that chain hotels cannot match.
However, the Holiday Inn Express is also a great hotel! It is not a cookie-cutter Express. It has a great pool area with beautiful views. They have really friendly staff, a nice complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and is in good proximity to some great restaurants. I would recommend reserving earlier than later, as rates do tend to increase as it gets closer to September. Book a rate that can be cancelled, however, in case you find a lower rate as it gets closer.
I'm happy to help you with any other questions you have, as I'm sure all of the other great destination experts on this page are as well.