As a travel writer, it was a thrill to cover the newly renovated splendor of the Grand Galvez hotel in Galveston, Texas. What an amazing venue for vacationing, staycationing, weddings, and gatherings!
The Grand Galvez is Grander than Ever
Explore the historic past in a hotel like no other
Article by Melanie Saxton
Photography by The Grand Galvez Hotel
Originally published in The Woodlands City Lifestyle
Imagine traveling back in time to a classic coastline hotel known as “Her Majesty” and “The Queen of the Gulf,” frequented by presidents, international dignitaries, and glamorous Hollywood stars. That’s the experience offered today at the Grand Galvez Hotel (formerly Hotel Galvez and Spa), a landmark property recently renovated to its past glory and themed to the Roaring Twenties.
Dallas native D. Mark Wyant, a third-generation hotelier and owner of Seawall Hospitality LLC, develops legacy-steeped hotels in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The Grand Galvez is a breathtaking example of a multi-million dollar renovation achieved with the help of his wife, Lorenda, a talented interior designer.
Built in 1911, Grand Galvez is the only historic beachfront hotel in the state of Texas and was purchased by Wyant from the heirs of George P. Mitchell. It was previously owned by well-known Texans such as William Lewis Moody Jr. and Denton Cooley and was added to the list of Historic Hotels of America in 1994. Magnificently updated, the hotel draws travelers, tourists, vacationers, staycationers, wedding goers, special occasion guests, diners, and holiday revelers year-round.
Gatsby-esque in Galveston
The décor is fabulous. Every detail points to the hotel’s famously lavish bygone roots, evoking the Jazz Age and the Prohibition era along Galveston’s seawall.
“We have great respect for the iconic architecture of this property,” Wyant states. “The vision for the ‘new’ Grand Galvez honors the historic design while at the same time introducing a refreshed elegance.”
Lush greenery and palm trees are juxtaposed against an expansive exterior, repainted in its original 1911 pink hue and dramatically lit in the evening. Courteous valets and front desk staff welcome guests, and once inside, Peacock Alley beckons. This grand walkway was named in honor of the ladies and gentlemen of yesteryear who wore their finest apparel and strolled from the lobby to the ballroom.
From the restoration of original ceiling moldings to the black-and-white harlequin patterned marble flooring, stunning crystal chandeliers, royal burgundy carpets, and luxurious velvet accent draperies, the hotel is a showstopper.
Everything Old is New Again
Tour the 111-year-old hotel and enjoy the unique flourishes throughout. The revamped hotel entry features the “Queen of the Gulf” mosaic, a 44-foot-by-17-foot piece of Murano glass tile artwork designed by the Wyants and produced by Dallas-based mosaicist Julie Richey. It was assembled in Pordenone, Italy, by a Venetian artisan family and features a pink and red Texas oleander garland, native shell accents, and a gold banner.
Another interesting artifact is the 1915 Ford Model T Roadster restored by Wyant. This particular type of model was featured in the hotel’s first ad, and its presence brings a hint of nostalgia. Wyant personally drove it from Dallas to display it at the Grand Galvez.
Gulf View Rooms overlook the Gulf of Mexico, and City View Rooms preview the island’s Victorian and historic architecture. Sixth-floor Spa-Inspired Rooms offer a rain shower, and Grand Suites include the seventh-floor Presidential, Hollywood, and Oleander Suites; eighth-floor Balinese, Howard Hughes Suites; and the two-room Roosevelt Suite.
Wake up to morning fitness classes, lounge at the seasonal Swim-Up Bar, enjoy the beautiful pool, or indulge in relaxing massages, facials, and body treatments at the on-site spa. Then stop by the Lolo Luxury Resort Boutique for some high-end shopping and head to the Monarch Restaurant for freshly caught Gulf Coast seafood. The soaring ceilings and oversized windows usher in the natural ambiance. Enjoy the Founder’s Bar as well, and a brunch buffet on Sundays.
Music Hall, a flexible event space that seats up to 500 guests, is bright and open and features high windows, elegant décor, and patio access overlooking the Gulf — ideal for corporate functions, ceremonies, vow renewals, and receptions.
In fact, the Grand Galvez is a favorite go-to wedding venue and has been featured in Southern Bride magazine, with numerous options for tying the knot. The Terrace Ballroom and adjacent Veranda boast floor-to-ceiling windows for maximum natural light and stunning views of the Gulf. The Parlor offers a versatile area with natural light, the Oleander Garden has a trickling water wall, Centennial Green has a charming pergola, and the East and West Parlors are perfect for bridal luncheons and intimate receptions. Center Lawn seats up to 300 guests for outdoor ceremonies.
The Grand Galvez is now taking reservations for a Thanksgiving Holiday Brunch on Thursday, November 24, and booking rooms for a busy travel season as families plan fall and winter adventures. Events such as the Lone Star Rally are right around the corner (November 4), with the Downtown Lantern & Lights, Moody Garden Festival of Lights, Holiday Lighting Celebration at Grand Galvez, Sunday Brunch with Santa at Grand Galvez, and Dickens on the Strand slated for December.
Other local attractions, some seasonal, include the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Grand 1894 Opera House, 1880 Garten Verein, Moody Gardens, Moody Mansion, Bishop’s Palace, Galveston Historic Seaport – Home of the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, Galveston’s 61st Street Fishing Pier, The Bryan Museum, Texas Seaport Museum, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, Galveston Railroad Museum, and the Port of Galveston.
Visit grandgalvez.com to learn more about this intriguing, historic, and beloved destination.
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