Until now, there are two things we used to think of whenever Galveston, Texas was mentioned. One is the 1969 song popularized by Glen Campbell. The other is the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008. In fact, we didn’t even know Galveston was still there! And we're not alone. When we mentioned to several friends that we were visiting the island, they didn’t know it was even ‘‘open to the public.’’
So for all you travelin’ folks, it’s definitely time for a Galveston UPDATE! The island is up and running – and a delightful place to visit. In fact, in 2009, Galveston Island was selected as the #1 attraction in Texas by leisure travelers outside of the state according to an announcement made during Texas Travel and Tourism Week.
The 32-mile-long island is just 50 minutes from Houston and has newly replenished beaches, historical attractions and a variety of interesting restaurants and hotels.
On our recent visit, we stayed at The San Luis Resort Spa & Conference Center. We arrived during the winter holidays, in cold, damp weather. Inside, the San Luis was warm and cozy, tastefully decorated with festive Christmas decorations. The hotel was packed with families intent on enjoying every minute of their vacation in this handsome resort, despite the weather. An extremely pleasant and helpful staff is on call for their guests at all times. Free valet parking is available, but for those who want to save on tips, there is a complimentary self-park lot.
This modern gulf-side hotel has everything any traveler could want. Newly remodeled rooms, a heated pool with a swim-up bar, hot tubs, and separate waterfall slides for kids. The hotel has five restaurants and a piano bar, which was alive with folks like us singing along and enjoying the hotel’s ambience. A live parrot in a large gilded cage entertained the children with it’s squawking, “Bye, bye,” and the kids responded each time with enthusiasm.
Our room on the resort’s Club 10 floor, provided upscale accommodations, and was tastefully decorated in comfortable, contemporary style with unobstructed views of miles of ocean and beach below. Even in winter this is a captivating sight.
Mornings from 7 – 10 am, Club 10 guests find a complimentary continental breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit and pastries in the cozy private lobby area. If you seek a more substantial breakfast, or are on another floor, you can enjoy a bountiful buffet in The Café off the lobby, or go for pancakes at IHOP, which is just across the street. In the afternoon, Club 10 guests are treated to complimentary candies and bottled water. Both Club 10 and the Penthouse Floors offer this little extra reception and treats.
On-site restaurants at the San Luis include The Steakhouse, Landry’s Seafood House and The Rainforest Café which features an exploding volcano every night, delighting guests and passers-by alike. Other choices to satisfy your palate or whet your whistle at any time of day include the H2o Pool + Bar; The Jetty Restaurant at the Holiday Inn Resort next door and Palm Court Restaurant at the Hilton Galveston Island.
If you like the idea of living at a posh hotel with 24 hour services, the San Luis Resort offers condominiums in a separate wing. Many Texans find this combination of ownership and amenities ideal for their visits to this friendly gulf beach resort.
Using the central location of The San Luis Resort as a base, we walked the sands and roamed the miles of small streets. Despite the winter weather, Galveston is still a fun place to explore and we found plenty of things to do and places to go.
The Strand and
Galveston’s Historic Downtown, with its grand old houses, including 1892 Bishop’s Palace, 1838 Michel B. Menard House, 1859
Ashton Villa, and the 1861 Custom House to name but a few.
You’ll also want to head over to the Maritime area to visit the
Galveston is back, and likely better than ever. And the San Luis Resort is a wonderful place to stay, with easy access to all the island's attractions and delights.
The San Luis Resort Spa & Conference Center
5222 Seawall Boulevard
Galveston, TX 77551