Galveston Diaries – Volume 1. – San Luis Hotel Review

Brief Overview

Parking: Free Lot and Valet. (Valet included for free with the Club 10 Rooms.) – The Valet guys here rock. Polite, prompt, will take your luggage up to the room and offer to assist you further if needed. – Ample lot parking near / behind the hotel. Not cramped or tight. I have never had issues finding a spot.

Service: This is excluding room service. Front desk / Check in, no issues, friendly smiles all around. Pool attendants and servers, samsies. Maintenance, also quite kind and prompt to show up and get started. Management / leadership roles, hit or miss.

Room Service & Dining: San Luis Bar (daytime) Fail. Room Service, no issues. – Most restaurants do not have a single vegetarian option, or only 1 or 2, featured on any of the menus. Nothing Vegan on any menu. Vegetarian, Vegan, and GF can be requested, but it would be a modified / or special order all the way. Unless you want to stick to certain salads and side dishes. – I honestly other than the free breakfast included with the Club 10 rooms do not care for the dining options here. Low quality, not so great preparation. Particularly for the pricing.

Cleanliness: Clean overall, except for the rooms (dingy) and bathrooms (moldy, hard water spots, wood in need of a polish)

Pricing and Overall Quality: While yes, this is some of the best Galveston has to offer, not worth the cost at going up to over 400.00 a night…

Now on to the Review:

Hello again and welcome back to Carnivores and Vegans.

Today we get to discuss how dreary a weekend in Galveston can be during the one freeze of the year. 😛

Surprisingly, it is not that bad, if you can disregard the siren like allure of the waves and beach mocking you in the many layers of outerwear you are awkwardly shuffling around in. – Or perhaps that is just me when donning winter gear.

We were down for a wedding, hence the less than desirable beach side timing.

wedding 2

I do not venture in to G-town a whole lot, but am actually quite fond of the water, sand and waves. Plus those cute little sea birds that run along the beach. (I call them water chickens) – The Galveston strand in particular is by far not the cleanest, quietest, or most beautiful beach, but there is certain serenity and beauty if you look for it.

beach - 2

We stayed at the lovely San Luis hotel, which as with such things, had it’s fair share of service and quality up’s and down’s.

pool - 1

I recommend staying on level 10. It is advertised as ‘Offering a new level of comfort and luxury, our Club Ten guest rooms located on the 10th floor of The San Luis Hotel, feature a dazzling array of chic offerings, services and exclusive VIP amenities’. (Per the website)

When entering the 10 floor lobby from the elevator, you are greeted with standard water bottles branded with the hotel name, as well as dry snacks (candy / granola bars) and fresh whole fruit, complimentary.

The elevators, are old AF btw, and are often not working at 100%. Sometimes only 1 of the 3 elevator cars will be up and running, and they will stop at every single floor on the way down, even if no one is there to summon them, in addition to slamming shut really quickly as you race to get into the elevator car you just called.

There are actually stories of paranormal activity at this hotel, but I have not encountered any!

I honestly cannot say what the difference is comfort wise of the rooms themselves between getting the Club 10 level rooms vs the others, however, there was a teeny bopper / children’s cheerleading competition that also filled the hotel that weekend, and I was quite grateful for relative silence of an adults only floor. I am sure all the young ladies were quite lovely, however, while getting away for the weekend, silence is golden, and it is loud enough for me when I am at home. (Dogs)

room 2

I apologize for not having more hotel photos for you, I was so delighted for some time off I neglected to use my camera much. – As you can see pretty basic room wise.

Included with the room are 02 x bottles of free Fiji water, we did not get new bottles with turn down service for the second night (turn down service was quite late in the afternoon / almost evening), and 01 x mini bottle of Prosecco for the stay. – (The valet gentleman that brought up our luggage was even kind enough to get us ice)

The bathrooms would have a chance at being really upscale, however, in stark contrast to lobby and pool area of the hotel, the rooms themselves are really old and run down upon up close inspection, with the bathrooms showing the most of the wear and tear. This was true for my visit late last year here to the Club 10 level.

The nice polished wood in the bathrooms has faded on worn off in places, making it look shiny, yet dull and unsightly any where that it has had frequent contact with human hands. – And the mold/mildew and hard water stains certainly do not commensurate the 450.00 a night weekend rates.

br - 2

br - 1

Unfortunately the high end Molton Brown toiletries as well as the in mirror bathroom TV do not take away from that particular unsightliness. Sadly, I’ve overnighted on road trips at low quality motels that have had cleaner bathrooms.

Did you know that the San Luis has their own, in house, on-site maintenance staff to address room issues? (Like maybe removing the shower doors when / if ever needed for a proper cleaning?) We sure do! – We checked in and were greeted by a friendly front desk agent with glasses of sparkling wine (the website says Champagne, but not certain on that) and were then directed to our room. You will need your room key to access levels 10 and pent house from the elevator. – Upon entering our room, we notice that the toilet is just flushing itself non stop. Enter Angel, from maintenance for about an hour to work on the toilet ….

Not only did waiting on him to show up to and work on the shitter cut into the glorious nap I was going to take (I work nights and had been up over 24hrs at this point) but this also cut into just being able to relax in our room, mind you it was 30 degrees outside so lounging at the beach that was just across the road (which would have been awesome in the summer time) or at the pool, heated or not, was not in our mindset after the commute in. I can only imagine how upset I would be if we were there for something romantic such as a proposal / anniversary, etc because what a mood killer! – You do as a consolation prize receive a mini box decorated with tools of some quite surprisingly good tasting chocolate truffles, we ended up with a couple of those during a two day stay, as they had to come back to work on the ac. Despite the huge inconvenience,  Angel with maintenance was very nice and professional not to mention apologetic of the issues.

truffle 2

I am not certain if 100% of the rooms have this feature, but the club 10 rooms, as with many of the rooms in the hotel have a large pool and beach front facing balcony. Overlooking the beautifully lit pool and steamy hot tub, as well as to the beach and water ahead is lovely day and night. – There are 2 large comfy spa robes to lounge around in as you do this.

Another perk of the Club 10 rate is that you get 02 x free room service breakfasts for every day of your stay. – I have never been a fan of hotel room service breakfast, 20 bones a plate for typically poorly prepared eggs and often under-cooked potatoes, but all things considered the one here at the San Luis is not too bad.

Options include pancakes w/ eggs & meat, breakfast burrito (comes with 2!) w/ potatoes, and a bread choice, fruit plate w/ yogurt & a muffin, and a standard egg, potato, & meat breakfast. – Vegans are for sure left out, with vegetarians like myself being able to customize things more easily. – Room service and the front desk are very nice and do not mind working with you, I’m sure the nice folks on the in room dining extension would be happy to adjust things to accommodate our vegan friends a well.

The meals are HUGE and can feed an army. They are actually prepared fairly well for what they are. Ice water, orange juice and coffee or hot tea are also included. However, my tea caddy was almost empty and had limited options.

For a nice touch the butter is even pressed into seashell shapes 🙂 – The fruit plate could have better presentation, fruit pieces are at least twice the size they should be and kinda mealy in texture.

 bfast 2

Since it was freezing out, we decided to use our balcony as a walk in cooler of sorts to store the yogurt, OJ and muffin for later… Terrible idea btw, what the pigeons don’t immediately attack, direct sunlight will hit and kill the rest.

We did at one point venture down to the San Luis Bar, adjacent to the steak house… That experience was clown shoes. Unless you go whilst the steak house is open in the evening the ghost town of the very, very, dimly lit San Luis Bar is not a fun place to wait or grab a snack.

I am assuming it is so dark in there to maintain a lounge-y atmosphere of sorts, however, the Top 40 / Pop music blasting your senses after following you in from the lobby does not fit the theme of the darkened room or the bar being next to / associated with the steak house. – The top photo is sans flash, it was literally that dark in there! – Yes you cannot play live lounge music all day, but why not play a satellite station that matches the theme and venue itself when you cannot?

salad - 1

salad - 2

Those were the first assaults to our senses, the second was the bartender whom made us the worst French 75’s we have ever had. First however, I had to get the young mans attention after sitting there a good 5 minutes or so by walking in front of him and waving my arms around, as he was busy burning a well and watching the bar TV’s instead of looking out for guests. Hey I gave him time, a 60 second greet maximum is industry standard.

So this fine fellow now proceeds to make our cocktails, ordered off the bar menu specifically, I take my mine no sugar / simple syrup.

The abomination set before me was not gin, champagne, and a twist of lemon. Oh no, this concoction looked and tasted like nasty sweet and sour topped off with sprite, had the look of a diluted mountain dew for color, and literally had a cherry on top. A maraschino cherry… Like a child’s sundae…

The offending cocktails were quickly sent back and replaced with almost equally sad Beefeaters martinis. Those took forever to make, were watered down af, and riddled with ice chips due to over shaking. Due to the dirty shaker I had strawberry puree residue in the bottom of my glass.

SAN LUIS BAR.jpg

The food is all preserved / prepackaged Sysco quality at best with the salad and guac being something reminiscent of what Aramark would over charge for at a stadium. Store bought bottled dressing and croutons. Cheap tasting quseo and salsa.

And the guac, DO NOT EAT THE GUAC. All I had to eat at all that day were the items in the photo above, and the those were the only items my companion and I shared. For the next couple of days when either of us, uh, went to the bathroom, things were bright food color green… Like we had consumed an overly large amount of coloring. The guac could have been the only culprit, it must be treated with some colored preservative. Gross. Really, stay away. We would never share that if we were not trying to save you from the horror of eating that guac. (Although it didn’t taste horrible while we were eating it. Just preserved and bland)

I did not try anything from the steakhouse, my companion did while I was finally catching some z’s. All he had were some side items as a snack, and mentioned them to be only “okay”. Not high praise for their high end restaurant.

He did bring some mac and cheese on the off chance that I would wake up and eat some, I did wake, hours later and the cheese was still soft, like the texture of cheap canned cheese. Mind you the room was freezing cold, even cheap processed cheese like velveeta that has been liquefied into queso would have hardened. Any actual real cheese product of even minimal quality should have and would have hardened.  This flavorless garbage did not, and remained as gas station canned cheese texture, no firmness at all. So needless to say, I will pass on this steakhouse next time in the area.

 The next morning afternoon, we did spend a little time relaxing at the pool.

pool - 2

It was still freezing out, but the warmth and steam from the heated pool, as well being in direct sunlight made it bearable. We also picked a prime spot on a big comfy round couch that was backed up next to the hot tub.  You cannot see it from the the photo, but there is also a huge water slide in the pool area, also heated, as well a lookout area amidst beautiful landscaping to view the beach that is literally across the street. There is plenty of comfortable lounges, couches, and seating, and lovely (not too mention brave in this weather) ladies in track suits taking drink orders for pool guests, as well as a swim up pool bar. We were very shortly joined after taking this photo by many of competing cheerleaders and their families enjoying the pool and slide, so the water and area itself must have been quite tolerable indeed even when in swimwear. (Well for some, I would have still been freezing!)

Another note in regards to the overall service of the hotel. It is not just in the San Luis Bar that you may have on occasion have to remind some staff members that they are at work to make your experience a great one. Such as once at the pool on a prior visit, we were the only 2 people there at this time, a pool manager and 2 pool attendants were walking the pool discussing this and that, he then stands directly in front of us, to the point when I look up all I see is them, and starts having a meeting with them. After letting this go on for a while thinking they would have quickly moved along so we could enjoy our evening, I did have to politely get up and ask that they have a meeting not standing directly in front of the only 2 guests out there. Be prepared for a few of those types of service situations even on a short 1 or 2 day stay.

We did not hit the spa this time, but did the last. Everything is as expected; beautiful, serene and relaxing. – We both had good experiences with our massages. If I remember correctly, there is a tiny steam area, smelled like mold / feet though in my opinion. That was the downfall there.

Well this concludes the San Luis portion of my Galveston weekend, in summation, it’s a very nice upscale hotel. When the weather cooperates the pool, balconies, and location across from the beach in addition to the short distance to pleasure pier are huge pro’s to booking a stay at this venue. The room service breakfast for a hotel is quite good, can feed an army, and is butlered to you in bed. – As well as the room service staff being quite mindful and polite. The valet guys have always consistently been courteous and on point as well as the front desk staff.

Cons, busted up rooms, particularly the bathrooms. – A polish and deep clean would do wonders to make that better. The San Luis bar in general, as well as all the non breakfast food being of poor / processed quality. (It’s hard to screw up eggs and potatoes if they are prepared correctly to be fair) Lack of vegetarian, and next to no vegan items all across the board for all of the restaurants. Whether they can accommodate or not is not good enough for a high end international hotel that has guests from all dietary walks of life. Make them feel welcome and have at least an option or 2 on each menu.

I did btw, address some of our issues to management via phone the evening prior to check out. He offered us free food to make up for it. After the devil guac and canned cheese macaroni, we promptly passed. A hundred dollar credit was offered. Okay great, we’ll take it. However, upon check out, the credit was not reflected, nor were any notes on why we had issues. So I had to go over the whole thing again with a huge line of people waiting to move on with their lives behind me. While the credit was eventually applied, I did not feel that the manager I originally spoke to is very customer service driven and certainly does not follow documentation procedures, which would make the experience for both his fellow co-workers and hotel guests alike more bearable.

Well I am out for now.

– N

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