The beach always captures center stage in the summer. It’s the backdrop for surfside bonfires, family reunions and sandcastle contests. But even in ‘not summer,’ (a term that Houston locals lovingly refer to the other three seasons) Galveston Beach makes a memorable weekend getaway. While the snow flurries in other parts of the country, Galveston visitors can soak in the sunlight with smaller crowds this time of year. A winter beach trip gets even better with a stay at the San Luis Resort Spa and Conference Center overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
“Between the three resorts on property, The San Luis Resort welcomed over 30,000 visitors to Galveston Island in 2016, from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida—
We even have visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia who visit the resort on a regular basis,” said Mary Ann Cuellar of Dancie Perugini Ware Public Relations. “Some factors that can influence this number are weather conditions, number of conference attendees and holiday activities on the island.”
With coastal breezes blowing onto the private balconies, this luxury hotel’s standout amenity is its tropical pool. Since the waters are heated between 88 and 92 degrees in the winter, a luxurious swim is possible, even in January. Open until 2 a.m., on weekends, there’s a 45-foot slide and a waterfall, Mediterranean-style private cabanas and a swim-up bar, appealing to singles as well as families.
For couples interested in a quiet getaway, the San Luis Resort offers adult-only accommodations. “Club Ten, located on the 10th floor, begins with a champagne toast during expedited-check-in, followed by personal escort and familiarization of your luxurious accommodations,” said Cuellar. “Many more special touches are included, as well as a butlered breakfast service.”
The San Luis Resort boasts 10 restaurants, including the Rainforest Café, The Steakhouse, the Grotto and Landry’s Seafood. The Rainforest is a sensory-overload dining experience, geared toward families who prefer eating dinner with entertainment provided by animatronic gorillas, elephants and other jungle habitants. The menu offers a variety of seafood, pasta, salads, burgers and other choices. The Sparkling Volcano is the most memorable dessert, a massive concoction of brownies, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, topped with impressive sparklers.
The Strand is another great tourist spot, the streets lined with retail shops, restaurants, museums, art galleries and more. The Galveston Arts Center showcases contemporary art as well as yoga classes, live drawing studio with live models and several workshops and classes. After soaking in the art world, stop by La King’s Confectionery and for an ice cream cone, root beer float or banana split at this Galveston tradition. Established on the Strand in 1976, the company relies on 19th century recipes for many of the candies, such as saltwater taffy, fudge and peanut brittle.
The waterfront boardwalk Pleasure Pier is a fun place to play the Midway games, ride roller coasters and sample the carnival food, all while admiring the Gulf Coast views. Whether it’s the Iron Shark roller coaster, the Pirate’s Plunge or the Texas Star Flyer, the rides offer just enough amount of shock and excitement. In January and February, visitors pay kid admission prices. The park is also gearing up for the Mardi Gras celebration, a festive time on the island, and will offer special admission prices.
Mardi Gras is another Galveston attraction that brings guests to the San Luis Resort in the winter. “For the past 21 years, The San Luis Resort has led the festivities by hosting the annual San Luis Salute, one of the region’s largest galas,” said Cuellar. This year’s black tie and mask affair will feature a royal procession of the Knights of Momus court, dignitaries and distinguished attendees. “The lavish evening will also include a performance by The Big Beyond, non-stop Vegas-style entertainment, surprise acts, a delectable seated dinner catered by The San Luis Resort, over-the-top décor and festive revelry. Each year gets bigger and better, and as a result, tickets completely sell out. The philanthropic event annually benefits The University of Texas Medical Branch and honors medical professionals from the hospital.”
Visit http://www.sanluisresort.com/ or call (800) 392-5937 to book the cure for your wintertime blues.