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Pre-cruise Galveston hotel suggestions


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After this year's wildly successful vacation, the family has opted to try Allure of the Seas out of Galveston next August (and yes, I was required to book a suite after exposing them to it this year.  You all were right!).

So, thanks to @Galveston Steve's amazing "All Things Galveston" thread, I've learned a lot about the port and it's progress, and I've also learned there are some very differing opinions regarding where to stay pre-cruise.  I now know NOT to stay near the airports, but some people suggest to stay along I-45 while others prefer to go into Galveston itself the day before.  Here's where I'm at.  All things being equal, I prefer to stay at IHG properties due to my status and points there, but their properties in Galveston itself seem questionable to say the least, and I'm not familiar enough with the surrounding area to pick a good location between Houston and Galveston.  I was considering trying the new Tru by Hilton right on Seawall Blvd., but that's just a guess.  I have learned to rely on this board's expertise and you have never let me down, so I'm back for more help (and hopefully generate a thread that could help future travelers as well!).

We're a family of 4 with 2 elementary aged boys. What we're looking for in a hotel is somewhere clean and safe, everything else is secondary.  Being walking distance to attractions, the ocean and restaurants is certainly a nice bonus, but not at all necessary as I'm quite sure GrubHub & DoorDash work just as well in TX as they do in NJ.  We'll primarily be resting from the trip in to prepare for the cruise, and we'll only be spending 1 night pre-cruise.  So, what say you travel experts?  Where do you like to stay pre-cruise in the Galveston area?

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@USCG Teacher I'm a big fan of staying on the island to get your cruise started off right and to have a short travel distance to the port of the day of departure. However, the island hotels have become very expensive (in my opinion) since tourism resumed. We have been staying north of the island on several stays this year due to the high prices on the island. I'm excited about Tru by Hilton opening up on the Seawall later this year and that would be a good choice if it fits your budget.

As far as hotels along I-45, I would be comfortable staying anywhere along I-45 south of Beltway 8.  That includes the Baybrook Mall area, League City, Webster, and Texas City (I would avoid LaMarque which is just south of Texas City).  There are plenty of options along that corridor.  Hotels on NASA Road 1 and Bay Area Blvd are also an option along that I-45 corridor. 

Another option is in the Kemah area near Kemah Boardwalk (along Hwy 146) which gives easy access to the island also.  Kemah Boardwalk has some nice restaurants and its fun to stroll the boardwalk, especially with the family.

Keep in mind that there is construction along I-45 through League City and Texas City which can slow things down and you may have congestion at those exits for quite some time into the future.

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@USCG Teacher I like you have lots of points and status from when I still worked and traveled for business.  I use IHG and Marriott Hotels exclusively.

I have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the Island and found it not very convenient but at least it was points.

I have also stayed at Holiday Inn Express Houston Space Ctr - Clear Lake, 900 Rogers Court Webster, TX 77598, recently (within 6 months) twice. 

It sits on the back side of a shopping center and there are a lot of eating establishment on the front side of the shopping center, most i would consider to be in walking distance if that is important to you.  The other big advantage at least to me is it is new (well 3 or 4 years old). 

The only negative i had was on both stays they were very amendment about check in not being till 3 pm. (personally I rarely have run into that problem, as most hotels i have always been able to early check in around 1 pm.  I would much rather early check in as an option than the now commonly offered late check out, heck some stays I'm gone well before the free breakfast starts)

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We just stayed at Springhill Suites on Galveston Island. 
 

It was a good, clean hotel with a good breakfast included, however it is most definitely not within walking distance of much, especially if you have kids.  
 

There is a Target on the other side of I-45, but my wife said she wouldn’t feel comfortable walking there and back alone. 
 

Taxi to the ship was $16 before tip. 

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36 minutes ago, CruiseGus said:

I have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the Island and found it not very convenient but at least it was points.

Thank you for the feedback!  I'm curious if you could speak a little bit more about the lack of convenience here?  I've read some questionable reviews about that property regarding cleanliness and the AC units being effective, but I figured the one thing it WOULD have going for it is convenience, both in town and getting to the port.  Unless of course you're referring primarily to the "no early check in" thing, which I get!

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We usually stay only in Marriotts as well.  That is where all my points are.

My order of preference

On Island  I like the townplace suites and Courtyard these are basically on the same property on Sea Wall BLVD at just past 89th street.  Always quiet.

On Island but not a Marriott but next door to the older cruise port so not as convenient going on Allure out of the new port is the Harbor House.  This is an awesome place if you can get in as it is on pier 21 with a few very good restaurants and very close to the strand

 

Off island

Springhill suites Texas City

Springhill suites NASA/Seabrook

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1 hour ago, Galveston Steve said:

I'm excited about Tru by Hilton opening up on the Seawall later this year and that would be a good choice if it fits your budget.

That is good to hear.  FYI - I'm not sure if it's just due to the fact that it's pre-opening right now, but the price for August 2023 starts at around $140 +tax a night right now for a 2 queen room, and around $165 +tax for an "Oceanview balcony."  Those prices seem incredibly reasonable for what will be an 8 month old hotel by then, I definitely wanted to ask about it to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but that seems like an incredibly affordable rate for a weekend night stay right on the ocean...

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52 minutes ago, Matt said:

I booked the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Galveston Beach for my November cruise. Haven't stayed there, but looks good based on various reviews.

Yes, that's a good choice too I think. Haven't stayed there either but I like the location.  Are you on the media cruise or the inaugural?

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@USCG Teacher having just looked them up again I now find that there are 2 Holiday Inn Express on the island itself.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Galveston Beach  -  3228 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston  (this seems to be a new Hotel 2019)

and

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Galveston West-Seawall - 8628 Seawall Blvd., Galveston

The one I have stayed at a number of years ago now, was the later, West Seawall,  from what I remember is it was older not in great shape, front desk was not helpful and far away from any place to eat or other stuff.  I seem to remember i even had trouble getting a cab out there on cruise morning.  Just made my list of NOT staying here again at that time.

I know nothing of the first one and don't remember seeing it last time i booked unless they had a 2 night minimum, which some on the island do.

 

BTW for anyone else looking at this thread, I have also stayed at the Springhill Suites on Galveston Island in the past.  Like @teddy stated there is nothing inherently wrong with this Hotel.  It just has nothing within easy walking distance.

 

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52 minutes ago, teddy said:

We just stayed at Springhill Suites on Galveston Island. 
 

It was a good, clean hotel with a good breakfast included, however it is most definitely not within walking distance of much, especially if you have kids.  
 

There is a Target on the other side of I-45, but my wife said she wouldn’t feel comfortable walking there and back alone. 
 

Taxi to the ship was $16 before tip. 

Question, is it walkable to Sea Wall BLVD from the Springhill suites?  I;m thinking more about sidewalk availability and such.  We are staying at the Springhill for a future cruise and the hotel itself looks great.  Thanks!

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30 minutes ago, Reigert2008 said:

Question, is it walkable to Sea Wall BLVD from the Springhill suites?  I;m thinking more about sidewalk availability and such.  We are staying at the Springhill for a future cruise and the hotel itself looks great.  Thanks!

It's a busy road but there are sidewalks most of the way.  There is a nice new waterfront park for the first part of the walk near the hotel that you might enjoy watching folks fish and launch small boats on the backwaters, then keep walking to the beach if you are ambitious enough.  It's almost 2 miles from the hotel to the beach but plenty of businesses along the way for rest breaks.

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1 hour ago, Galveston Steve said:

It's a busy road but there are sidewalks most of the way.  There is a nice new waterfront park for the first part of the walk near the hotel that you might enjoy watching folks fish and launch small boats on the backwaters, then keep walking to the beach if you are ambitious enough.  It's almost 2 miles from the hotel to the beach but plenty of businesses along the way for rest breaks.

perfect!  Thanks so much!

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We live an hour from Galveston. I'm IHG and a HIVC owner, so we stay mostly out at one of the timeshares. I would not recommend the Holiday Inn Resort next to the San Luis Hotel. It is old and needs serious updating/remodeling. I haven't stayed at the Holiday Inn Express @ 3228 Seawall, but it is next door to a great option for dinner, The Spot. It is very kid-friendly and has tons of outdoor seating, both covered and not, with great views of the Gulf. It is actually several different restaurant concepts in one area, kinda under one roof, but not really. They are known for their burgers and they are good in my opinion. They also have seafood and other stuff, but it might not all be available in the same area. If you go there, look at the menus before you choose which place to order from. We have the Holiday Inn Express booked for our Thanksgiving cruise because I could use points. I would recommend Uber or Lyft if you want to venture out and for the morning of departure. 

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Not to hijack this thread, but which Houston airport is the preferred one to fly into. Then what would be the best option to get to the hotels in the Galveston area? Taxi. Uber. Lyft, RC shuttle service if using A2S, or ???Thanks

 

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11 minutes ago, barjpoe said:

Not to hijack this thread, but which Houston airport is the preferred one to fly into. Then what would be the best option to get to the hotels in the Galveston area? Taxi. Uber. Lyft, RC shuttle service if using A2S, or ???Thanks

 

Houston Hobby (HOU). Uber and Lyft work well. 

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12 minutes ago, Stelkp said:

Are you august 6? I booked that while on my last July cruise. We are sooo excited and got a great deal for a suite. I am also looking for a place to stay prior as well. (From NY) so I’ll be hotel shopping too. Thanks for the thread. 

I'm a few weeks later, the 20th, and we also got a suite for a steal! You'll have to scout things out for me next summer. 😉

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2 hours ago, USCG Teacher said:

Since we're throwing in dining options in Galveston while we're at it, how's Queen's BBQ?  As soon as I told my older son we were going to TX, he immediately said, "We've got to get BBQ...." 🤣 

All the time we lived in Galveston we never had a great barbecue place. Queen’s was ok but not great. We hear great things about Koop’s BBQ Kitchen but have not been there. I will commit to trying Koop’s in late September and report back!

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10 hours ago, USCG Teacher said:

After this year's wildly successful vacation, the family has opted to try Allure of the Seas out of Galveston next August (and yes, I was required to book a suite after exposing them to it this year.  You all were right!).

So, thanks to @Galveston Steve's amazing "All Things Galveston" thread, I've learned a lot about the port and it's progress, and I've also learned there are some very differing opinions regarding where to stay pre-cruise.  I now know NOT to stay near the airports, but some people suggest to stay along I-45 while others prefer to go into Galveston itself the day before.  Here's where I'm at.  All things being equal, I prefer to stay at IHG properties due to my status and points there, but their properties in Galveston itself seem questionable to say the least, and I'm not familiar enough with the surrounding area to pick a good location between Houston and Galveston.  I was considering trying the new Tru by Hilton right on Seawall Blvd., but that's just a guess.  I have learned to rely on this board's expertise and you have never let me down, so I'm back for more help (and hopefully generate a thread that could help future travelers as well!).

We're a family of 4 with 2 elementary aged boys. What we're looking for in a hotel is somewhere clean and safe, everything else is secondary.  Being walking distance to attractions, the ocean and restaurants is certainly a nice bonus, but not at all necessary as I'm quite sure GrubHub & DoorDash work just as well in TX as they do in NJ.  We'll primarily be resting from the trip in to prepare for the cruise, and we'll only be spending 1 night pre-cruise.  So, what say you travel experts?  Where do you like to stay pre-cruise in the Galveston area?

Not sure it has been suggested but since IHG is one of your preferred an in between location would be the Staybridge in Webster. It is about 15 minutes from Hobby and 30 to the cruise port. It's where we will be staying pre-cruise but we also have family to ferry us from the airport and then to the ship with a free 'loaner' car too. LOL

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17 hours ago, USCG Teacher said:

Since we're throwing in dining options in Galveston while we're at it, how's Queen's BBQ?  As soon as I told my older son we were going to TX, he immediately said, "We've got to get BBQ...." 🤣 

I will echo @Galveston Steve's statement. I haven't tried Koop's as well, but everyone on the Galveston Eats facebook page rave about it. I'll be down there in October and plan to try it. Depending on the amount of time you have while in Galveston, I recommend taking your boys to LaKing's Confectionery. It is an almost 100 year old candy store in the historic part of the Strand. My brother and I loved going every summer on vacation when we were kids. 

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On 8/30/2022 at 11:21 AM, USCG Teacher said:

That is good to hear.  FYI - I'm not sure if it's just due to the fact that it's pre-opening right now, but the price for August 2023 starts at around $140 +tax a night right now for a 2 queen room, and around $165 +tax for an "Oceanview balcony."  Those prices seem incredibly reasonable for what will be an 8 month old hotel by then, I definitely wanted to ask about it to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but that seems like an incredibly affordable rate for a weekend night stay right on the ocean...

I stayed at the Tru by Hilton in Webster before my spring break cruise a few months ago. Pros: the hotel seemed very new, clean and modern. Location was great, as it was right by the Baybrook mall and lots of restaurants. Cons: something about the room just felt very barebones, like a dorm room. Not cozy and comfy like usual hotels. We had a 2 queen room and found it very cramped, with narrow passageways around the beds, similar to a cruise ship cabin (though not as bad). I recall having a hard time every time I needed to open a hard-shell suitcase, that there was very little floor space to do so. I regretted not brining the old suitcases that didn't open like a clamshell.

I love staying in Webster near I-45. Tons of hotels to choose from, target/walmart/heb nearby for things you forgot. It usually takes us ~ 35 min to drive to the port.

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We have a brand new (as in, not even open for business yet) Tru “hotel” very near my house.  I put “hotel” b/c it is so tiny and so ugly, I dare not really call it a hotel. It reminds me of a youth hostile.  I have no idea what it will look like inside, but it is, without a doubt, the most unappealing building I have ever seen. The architecture is cheap-looking and the color scheme is horrific.  I don’t see how there could be more than 25 rooms in the entire place.  The only word that can describe it -for me- is cheap.  I will be interested to learn what they charge for a room per night once they open.

It comes as no surprise to me that @jupiter03 found the rooms to be cramped and stark.  I would have guessed that.

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On 8/30/2022 at 9:33 AM, USCG Teacher said:

After this year's wildly successful vacation, the family has opted to try Allure of the Seas out of Galveston next August (and yes, I was required to book a suite after exposing them to it this year.  You all were right!).

So, thanks to @Galveston Steve's amazing "All Things Galveston" thread, I've learned a lot about the port and it's progress, and I've also learned there are some very differing opinions regarding where to stay pre-cruise.  I now know NOT to stay near the airports, but some people suggest to stay along I-45 while others prefer to go into Galveston itself the day before.  Here's where I'm at.  All things being equal, I prefer to stay at IHG properties due to my status and points there, but their properties in Galveston itself seem questionable to say the least, and I'm not familiar enough with the surrounding area to pick a good location between Houston and Galveston.  I was considering trying the new Tru by Hilton right on Seawall Blvd., but that's just a guess.  I have learned to rely on this board's expertise and you have never let me down, so I'm back for more help (and hopefully generate a thread that could help future travelers as well!).

We're a family of 4 with 2 elementary aged boys. What we're looking for in a hotel is somewhere clean and safe, everything else is secondary.  Being walking distance to attractions, the ocean and restaurants is certainly a nice bonus, but not at all necessary as I'm quite sure GrubHub & DoorDash work just as well in TX as they do in NJ.  We'll primarily be resting from the trip in to prepare for the cruise, and we'll only be spending 1 night pre-cruise.  So, what say you travel experts?  Where do you like to stay pre-cruise in the Galveston area?

Glad to hear you enjoyed your vacation!

Since you prefer IHG hotels, I'm going to give you my 2 cents:

  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Houston Space Center - Clear Lake 900 Rogers Court Webster TX This is a nice, fairly new hotel conveniently located near the freeway.  Shopping and restaurants are within walking distance. Like someone said earlier, about 15 minutes from Hobby Airport and 30 from the cruise port.  The prices are generally reasonable
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Galveston Beach, 3228 Seawall Blvd Galveston My wife and I did a weekend getaway here. It was comfortable and clean.  Well located across from Galveston Beach and within walking distance of food and attractions.  This is more expensive than Webster.

If you want to be near attractions and food, one place that is frequently overlooked is the Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah TX.  It's about 30 minutes from Hobby Airport and 30 from the cruise port.  The Boardwalk Inn is in the middle of the boardwalk.  The Courtyard by Marriott is within walking distance.  Both hotels are very nice.

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/30/2022 at 5:31 PM, Galveston Steve said:

All the time we lived in Galveston we never had a great barbecue place. Queen’s was ok but not great. We hear great things about Koop’s BBQ Kitchen but have not been there. I will commit to trying Koop’s in late September and report back!

@USCG Teacher so we tried Koop's BBQ Kitchen in Galveston on this trip... it was great! The barbecue and side dishes were really good. The space was clean and pretty basic.  The staff was friendly and helpful.  I'd recommend it!

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20 hours ago, Galveston Steve said:

@USCG Teacher so we tried Koop's BBQ Kitchen in Galveston on this trip... it was great! The barbecue and side dishes were really good. The space was clean and pretty basic.  The staff was friendly and helpful.  I'd recommend it!

First off, well remembered.  Secondly, thank you! It's going on the list.

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