Located and hour SW of Houston, built throughout the early 1900’s, and opening its grand double doors in June 1911, The Hotel Galvez is one of the most impressive and stately structures on Galveston Island. The building was named “The Galvez” honoring Bernardo De Galvez y Madrid, count of Galvez, for whom the Island was named. Although Bernardo De Galvez never stepped foot on the island, Galvez was a Spanish hero of the American Revolution. The hotel is not like any other, just by walking through the front doors you are transported back 100 years with the magnificent décor that greet you with your first steps through the heavy wood doors. From the original mahogany beams that cross the ceiling, to the original pillars that are perfectly spaced throughout the middle of the lobby and extending into the spacious hallways leading to other hidden nooks within the hotel. The hotel itself does such a phenomenal job of enveloping you in the history, luxury, and such a peaceful state, that you honestly forget what era or year you’re in. When inside the hotel, whether in your room or sitting in the lobby you feel transported back to a simpler time.
The Hotel Galvez sits directly on Seawall Blvd overlooking the mighty Gulf of Mexico, so you are always guaranteed a breathtaking Texas sunrise and sunset, on a clear day. The hotel is the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas gulf coast. Surviving dozens of hurricanes with only minor damage, and flooding, the hotel demands attention and respect, and rightfully so. It stands as a testament of a Texans will to survive and recover from whatever is thrown our way. We will stand tall, and we will stand mighty as the great Hotel Galvez does through every hardship.
The Hotel has played host to a list of famous movie stars and even several US Presidents in its hay day, and was even known as “The Playground of the Southwest” for the wealthy.
(The above picture is a bird’s eye view from the famous room 500, looking East onto Seawall Blvd.)
There are so many “lives” within The Hotel Galvez that peeling back layers becomes fascinating and addictive. With today’s interest in the paranormal world growing and increasing every day, the hotel has become synonymous for its paranormal activity reported over the years, they also offer a paranormal tour for guests. Records state, that after “The Great Storm” that occurred on September 8th, 1900 that leveled the majority of the city, and killed upwards of 6,000 – 8,000 of Galveston Island residents, the entire town is brimming with spirits of the past. I can attest, that the city of Galveston has an entirely different and eerie vibe after dark. In “The Great Storm of 1900” there were so many residents that perished, an official death record was never kept.
The hotel is known for the ghostly children that run throughout its halls and the “Lovelorn Lady, Audra” who took up residence in room 501 while her Fiancé was at sea, but tragically hung herself in one of the hotels Tourette’s after learning that her Fiancé’s ship had sunk. Now Audras soul is said to be at eternal unrest due to her husband returning to the hotel alive and well a month after her suicide to retrieve her, and marry. Audra is seen in room 501, 500, the 5th floor hallway and in the first-floor ladies’ restroom.
The ghostly children are seen and heard all over the hotel as well. The Galvez is built mere minutes away from the original site of St. Mary’s Orphanage Asylum where 10 nuns and 90 children drown in the storm of 1900. Some speculate that Sister Katherine and several of the children were buried right where they died, which is where the Hotel Galvez spa sits today.
The Hotel Galvez was built in haste to bring tourists back to the area, and revive the local economy, which it accomplished, in time. The city has hundreds of years of stories that as you tour can be peeled back to reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly. Overall, the city is so fascinating and full of mystery and wonder that it will keep you coming back for more every time.