At a length of 27 miles and a maximum width of 3 miles, you are not far from anything you would want to do on Galveston Island. The beach and the harbor are where most of the action happened and while they are only a short distance apart geographically, there is a vast difference in feeling of these opposite sides of the island. The experiences you will remember from Galveston depend on which side of the island you choose for your hotel location. While most people tend to want to be as close to the beach as possible for an island vacation, I would like to make a strong case for choosing a harbor side hotel, like the Harbor House for a hotel on Galveston Island.
~A Spacious Room at the Harbor House~
Introducing Harbor House~ A Room with a View
The Harbor House Hotel and Marina is nestled, or maybe the right word is concealed, at Pier 21 near the historic Strand district of Galveston. I say that it is concealed because I have explored the attractions and restaurants of this area many times and never known that a quaint boutique hotel was tucked amidst busyness of the harbor. That hidden quality is exactly what gives guests at Harbor House a unique perspective on the island. It is the perspective of melding into the landscape as someone who plans to stay awhile, rather than a temporary tourist.
From the clapboard exterior in pale gray blue, the hotel has the look and feel of a boarding house reminiscent of the old maritime days when sailors would come into port looking for warm bed and meal. There is nothing old about the interior, though. The 42 guest rooms have recently undergone a complete renovation to create a modern, industrial loft atmosphere. Guest rooms feature white washed wood furniture, pickled floors, and silver, brushed décor, but it is the views of the harbor that set the rooms apart. Depending on the time of day, you may see cruise ships steaming in and out of the harbor or private boat heading out for a day at sea. Volunteer crews can be seen hard at work on the historic Tall Ship Elissa, manning the rigging and working to restore the historic treasure. Tour ships head out into the gulf, encouraging pods of dolphins to splash along in the wake of the boats. While it is impossible to see the same thing twice from the windows, there is always something to see.
~Sunset over the Tall Ship Elissa: View from the Harbor House~
It’s All Within Reach, Including the Beach
Harbor House is the only harbor view hotel in Galveston, but it is not only the harbor that is the draw for visitors. The hotel is conveniently surrounded by a concentration of attractions within walking distance. Including:
· 1877 Tall Ship Elissa
· Texas Seaport Museum
· Pier 21 Theatre
· Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Educational Center
· Harbor Tours, Baywatch Tours, and Jet Boat Thrill Rides
· Galveston Railroad Museum
Harbor House is also located adjacent to the Strand, Galveston’s famed avenue that was once known as the Wall Street of the Southwest. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its outstanding collection of 19th century architecture, today The Strand is the heart of downtown offering shopping, dining, museums, entertainment, accommodations and nightlife.
What you won’t find at Harbor House is the beach. It’s on the other side of the island, but still a convenient drive or shuttle from the hotel. Harbor House’s sister property, the Hotel Galvez, shares amenities with Harbor House. Guests can catch a shuttle over to Hotel Galvez, which sits on the beach, and enjoy their pool and other amenities. It’s the best of both worlds with access to everything that Galveston has to offer.
Need more ideas for what to see and do in Galveston? Check out this list of ideas for making Galveston the first port of call when cruising and check out the ideas for what to do in Galveston after dark
~Harbor House provided complimentary accomodations for my stay in Galveston. They did not require that I express a particular viewpoint and all opinions are my own.~