When I am booking a vacation, the hotel is usually the final detail and something of a forgotten step-child in the planning process. Hotels tend to be just a place to sleep and recharge before hitting the streets to see the sights. Even if they are nice, they aren’t special enough to be worth mentioning in the re-cap of the vacation. Every now and then, though, a hotel has just the right kind of perks and amenities that it becomes the center of the vacation, and enhances every part of the experience. Moody Gardens in Galveston won that rare distinction of being a key part in the enjoyment of our trip to the island.
What did we love about Moody Gardens Hotel?
~The animal exploration of Moody Gardens Pyramids is steps from the hotel~
1.Location, Location, Location
Much like real estate, the real value of a hotel is all about location, and if you have kids, they are going to be drawn like a moth to the attractions that are within walking distance of Moody Garden Hotel. Moody Gardens Pyramids, Schlitterbahn, and Lone Star Flight Museum are all within walking distance of the hotel, but there is even a shuttle if you don’t want to walk. If those activities are on your list, the convenience of popping out of the hotel and into the parks is well worth it.
~Sparkling Oasis Pool~
2.Family Focused Amenities
Moody Gardens Hotel goes way beyond the typical “family-friendly” moniker that so many establishments love to claim. The amenities aren’t just welcoming for families; they are designed with families in mind. Thankfully, the full on kid-fest is still done with the highest level of service and understated luxury, so that adults (even those without kids) will still be pampered.
The pool area isn’t the only place where you can find family fun, but it certainly the most obvious. The shallow entry oasis is flanked by a casual dining area and an ice cream shop on one end, and a bounce castle and playground on another. It’s clearly a paradise for the less than five foot tall set. This area is also the gathering place for many of the scheduled family activities, including s’mores and scavenger hunts.
Rounding out the list of family amenities are mini fridges in each room, a huge arcade, and the Secret Garden Teen Spa that offers services geared towards ages 5 to 16.
~Palm Beach is just a short (and free) walk away~
3.Included Perks for Families and Cruisers (and Cruising Families)
The entertainment value at the hotel is certain, but the value, particularly for families continues to increase with the added perks.
· Kids Eat Free: One kids meal is offered free for every adult meal when dining in the Terrace. The buffet is not included, but any other meal or time the kiddos eat for free.
·Free Passes to Palm Beach: Galveston’s only white sand beach is just a short walk from Moody Gardens. The “beach” is actually white sand delivered from Palm Beach, Florida and is surrounded by a lazy river, wave pool, tower slides, and splash pad. Passes for up to four people per room are included with the standard room rate at a savings of $86 for a family of four.
· Free Parking and Shuttle for Cruise: The hotel offers a free shuttle and parking onsite for cruisers who stay at least one night before the cruise. For a weeklong cruise, you can expect to save $80 by not parking at the cruise pier, plus you have the added safety of knowing that your car is parked in the covered and patrolled garage at Moody Gardens.
4.Extras that aren’t Extra
Wi-fi and parking should be a part of the hotel package (can I get an Amen?) and they are included with the price of the room at Moody Gardens. Not only is the wi-fi free, but it is good. That deserves another amen, and a hallelujah. Add that to the free kids’ meals, and free cruise shuttle and other complementary amenities and the value of the stay just keeps going up.
5.Good Stuff for Grown Ups Too
No doubt the kids and family are taken care of at the hotel, but there are plenty of amenities for the grownups too. A full service spa and a very impressive fitness center (with amazing views) are a part of the hotel package. Other details include a swim up bar, a lap pool, and an outdoor, poolside lounge with plush seating for relaxation. There is definitely something for everyone.
~Carnival Cruise Lines, Galveston CVB, and Moody Gardens provided my family with lodging while we were in Galveston. They did not require that I express a certain viewpoint and all opinions are my own.~