Exterior of the Tremont House with a car in front of the entrance

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Make the most of your stay on Galveston Island with our insiders guide to exploring the area. Our monthly Staff Picks highlight all of the historic places, interactive tours, and family-friendly attractions that make our beachfront city so special. Read more to learn about our favorite places to drink, dine, shop, and explore.

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06 Apr

Ten Fabulous Facts About Hotel Galvez & Spa

1. Known as “Texas’ Queen of the Gulf,” Hotel Galvez opened on June 10, 1911 and was built at a cost of $1 million as a symbol of recovery following the nation’s deadliest natural disaster, the Great Storm of 1900.

2. Hotel Galvez and the City of Galveston are both named for Bernardo de Galvez. De Galvez, who never set foot on the island, was a Spanish hero of the American Revolution.

3. When the Hotel Galvez opened in 1911 it offered 275 rooms, but the modern addition of in-room bathrooms has reduced the current number of rooms to 224.
4. According to local legend, during the 1915 hurricane guests at the Hotel Galvez drank champagne and danced the night away while a woman gave birth to a baby boy in Room 231.

5. The Pageant of Pulchritude, which began in 1920 and ended during the Great Depression, was held in front of the Hotel Galvez and later evolved into the Miss Universe contest. The event has been revived as the Galveston Island Beach Revue.

6. The U.S. Coast Guard commandeered the Hotel Galvez for use as its wartime headquarters from 1942 until 1944.

7. Presidential guests of the Hotel Galvez include President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1937); Dwight D. Eisenhower as a general (1949); Richard Nixon as vice president (1955); and Lyndon B. Johnson as a senator (1959).

8. Noted celebrity guests rumored to have stayed at Hotel Galvez include Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Phil Harris and Alice Faye, Jack Benny, Howard Hughes, Peggy Lee, Jerry Lewis, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Dean Martin, Freddy Martin, Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Stewart.

9. The hotel’s lobby features a hand-carved bar purchased from the Old Galveston Club and added in the mid-1990s. The Old Galveston Club was known as the Island’s last speakeasy.

10. Hotel Galvez is the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Along with Hotel Galvez & Spa, when it’s time to travel again you’ll find luxurious downtown accommodations at The Tremont House. Or, for stunning harbor views, check into the Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21®.