The San Luis Hotel, Spa and Conference Center in Galveston overlooks the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas coast. To maximize the assets of this prime piece of real estate, each of the 250 guest rooms has its own private balcony with an unobstructed view.
“The best part of the hotel is the view,” said David Townsend, director of convention and conference planning.
While the beach and roaring surf, located on the other side of Seawall Boulevard, are front and center, the hotel and conference facilities go beyond typical beachfront accommodations.
When guests enter the luxury resort, they walk down a long, marble-floor promenade decorated with marble columns, a huge display of fresh flowers and a hand-painted ceiling fresco.
Although the San Luis doesn’t have a particularly long history, its history is attributed to two highly successful BOI, or born-on-the-island, Galvestonians. The hotel was built in 1984 by George P. Mitchell, a successful oilman and developer, on top of an Army bunker that was part of Fort Crockett. In 1996, Tilman Fertitta, current chairman, CEO and sole owner of Landry’s, Inc., bought the property. Fertitta now owns and operates more than 500 restaurant, entertainment, gaming and hospitality locations, including several other Galveston properties.
Business at the resort is about 60 percent leisure and 40 percent meeting, though vacationers take up most of the property during the summer months. Conference season is in the fall and spring, and December is booked with Christmas parties.
The San Luis hosts mostly corporate groups, but the hotel also serves a good mix, with a lot of state associations and social groups on the weekends.
Groups usually choose the Complete Meeting Package, which includes all meals and is what corporate groups expect, said Townsend.
When asked how its prices compare with those of other convention hotels on the island, Townsend said, “We consider ourselves the premier resort on Galveston Island.”
Self-parking and Wi-Fi, however, are complimentary.
With attention to detail and service, the resort has earned the AAA Four Diamond award since 2000, and its conference center is IACC approved.
Located on the lobby level on the west side of the hotel is the 6,000-square-foot ballroom of the 40,000-square-foot conference center. The ballroom can be divided into four salons. Its south side has large windows that make good use of the view.
The rest of the conference center is below on the first and second floors, for a total of 14 additional meeting rooms, a prefunction corridor and a conference lounge that offers billiards, poker tables, shuffleboard, electronic darts, a built-in bar and plenty of comfortable seating. The conference lounge is popular with corporate groups and is often used as a hospitality room or a reception area. Five additional hospitality parlors are located on the fourth floor.
The San Luis had a $1 million renovation of its conference facility in 2013 that added new furniture, including ergonomic chairs and hard-surface writing tables with privacy guards. It also included a wireless upgrade and new wall coverings, carpeting and lighting.
Meeting sizes at the San Luis range from 10 to 150, with the optimal size being 150.
There is no problem for those wanting to schedule a larger meeting. The San Luis can accommodate up to 2,000 on its 32-acre resort complex, which stretches for eight blocks along Seawall Boulevard. In addition to the San Luis Hotel, the complex includes the Holiday Inn Resort on the Beach, with 5,000 square feet of meeting space; the Hilton Galveston Island Resort, with 15,000 square feet of meeting space; the San Luis Condominiums; and the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort, which features 140,000 square feet of event space.
An on-site activities director is available to help plan team-building events, such activities as sandcastle building, mixology classes, an Iron Chef’s roundtable where conferees create a gourmet meal under the guidance of San Luis’ executive chef and a corporate scavenger hunt.
The elegant lobby, which is on the third floor of the 16-story hotel, houses the front desk; the Steakhouse Restaurant, which features USDA Midwest grain-fed beef; the Café, with casual dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and a new Italian restaurant called the Grotto that opened in June. Three of the walls of the new restaurant are glass, and the restaurant overlooks the resort’s tropical pool as well as the gulf.
The resort’s tropical pool, with a swim-up bar, a grotto spa, waterfalls and a waterslide, is among its most popular features for visitors who don’t go to the beach. The pool now also sports the popular H20 pool lounge complete with fire pit and high-definition televisions; private cabanas have also been added.
Spa San Luis offers an array of services, from Asian and European massages and facials to wraps and hydrotherapy baths. The hotel also provides a complete fitness center, a boutique, a full-service salon and a lighted tennis court.
The recently added Club Ten floor on the hotel’s 10th floor is for adults only. It features a dazzling array of chic offerings, services and VIP amenities, such as “butlered” breakfast services in its 21 guest rooms. The custom-designed modern furniture and fixtures provide a sleek and stylish residential environment, a completely different look from the rest of the hotel. The top two floors are concierge levels with two two-bedroom penthouses.
Television host Ryan Seacrest and singer Jennifer Lopez stayed in the penthouses when “American Idol” held its auditions at the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort in the summer of 2011. Fellow “American Idol” judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson stayed in nice suites elsewhere on the property.
Spotlight on San Luis Hotel
Location: Galveston, Texas
Size: 250 rooms; hotel part of 32-acre complex
Meeting Space: 40,000 square feet in three-level attached conference center
Access: Interstate 45, southeast of Houston; George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Contact Info: 800-445-0090