September 2010 - My first stay at The Tremont House was in September 2010. I went with two girlfriends (we’re all in our late 20’s), immediately following the unexpected death of one of their husbands. I called ahead to amend the reservation, which my friend had made as an anniversary celebration. (Obviously there was no need for rose-petals, king beds, chocolate and strawberries.) Even though she’d booked it on a pre-paid, no cancellations/changes deal, the manager was kind and sincere in his condolences and had no problem changing the room to a double room and shortening our stay and crediting her CC for the unused night. When we arrived, he sent a bottle of wine, a cheese/fruit tray and a note expressing the hotel's condolences about the loss of my friend's husband. They checked on us a few times to make sure everything was fine, but did not bother us. The room was comfy and everything was great. Because I was there with my friend, consoling her on the loss of her husband, we didn't really "explore" the hotel. We mostly stayed in the room, drank wine and talked. We did use the Galvez Pool privileges once and ate Sunday Brunch at the Galvez. (Well worth the $36/person!! More food than you can imagine and endless champagne!)
June 2011 - I just returned from a three night (Th-Sat) stay with my fiancé. (FYI: I’m 29, fiancé is 35.) He was working; I was relaxing. This time I really explored the hotel, the area, the amenities.
Parking – I’m not sure why people complain about paying for parking – we thought $15/valet was a steal. (We’re from Houston and used to vacationing in San Antonio/Austin where valet will cost you $35/night and there is no self-park option.) That said, we parked on the street mostly, at a meter and paid the $1.25/hour rate. We never had problems finding spots on the street. The valets are Johnny-on-the-spot. I never opened a door (coming or going) and never carried my suitcase. They were kind and professional, not “lazy teens” as someone else mentioned. They’re mostly college students at Texas A&M – Galveston. Well-spoken, friendly, helpful.
Our Room - comfy king bed, easy chair, round table with bottled waters/ice bucket, small computer desk, huge armoire for TV with drawers for clothes, 20 foot ceilings, brass doorknobs, allergy-free certified rooms, free WI-FI (no problems with this at all, not sure about the complaints), plenty of towels, hairdryer, iron, extra bedding and a nice TV. We did have to move the furniture around a bit. (The desk was not on a wall with a plug and my fiancé needed to work. But it was small and light and everything moved with ease.) I wanted the coffee pot in the main room, not the bathroom, so that required another table move, but everything was fine because nothing is bolted down. Bathroom had two minor issues, leaky faucet, running toilet, but maintenance was there immediately and the issues were resolved. We were in room 246, facing the street on the front of the hotel. On Friday night there was a wedding across the street and it was L-O-U-D. Saturday night was “art walk” on the Strand and again, many loud, drunk people wondering around on the street, but the hotel can’t control that. We’re young and usually part of “the party” so we didn’t mind; we kind of got a kick out of it. If you’re worried about noise, you might ask for a hotel facing the courtyard instead of the street. But you’ll love the large window and drapes if you get an outward facing hotel.
The Tremont Rooftop Bar – High priced drinks, but generous pours, attentive wait staff and a GREAT view with a nice breeze, even in our 100* summers!
The Galvez Pool – The Tremont House does not have their own pool, so you get pool privileges at their sister property, Hotel Galvez. It’s a 20 minute walk to the other side of the island (or you can catch the shuttle that leaves every 15 minutes on the weekend.) WORTH IT. Plenty of loungers, towels, cocktail waitresses, swim-up bar, etc. For me, staying at The Tremont, but using the Galvez Pool is the best of both worlds. (I prefer low-key vibe of the Tremont over the bustling, mega-resort feel of the Galvez, but you can’t beat that pool.)
The Tremont Gym – The gym is adequately furnished with a couple treadmills, a couple ellipticals, an incline bench, a cable machine and free weights from light to heavier than I’ve seen in most hotels (50 lbs.). A large TV you can control, (as well as small screens on the cardio equipment), plenty of towels, a fridge of bottled water and a fruit bowl. Small, but ample equipment for a good workout. Of course, you’re on Galveston Island – go outside! I got all my cardio in along the Harbor, the Seawall and all in and around The Strand. Run around and take in all the Historical Markers, churches, etc.
The Tremont Café – I ate breakfast here one morning. Breakfast pizza, it was delicious. I would imagine everything else is too. Large screen computers in the Café you can hop on the internet and check your email while you eat. There is a pianist in the lobby bar on weekend evenings and plenty of people enjoying cocktails. Just be ready for that on Fridays and Saturdays. It never bothered us. (We enjoyed the people watching.)
The Bottom Line: This is a small, historic, up-scale hotel. This is NOT a mega-resort on the beach. But, they make up for that with the shuttle to and from the Galvez. (You can ask them to take you to/from even not on the weekends, if they’re not busy. They transported us in a very nice Town Car.)
The Black Pearl Oyster Bar (one block from the hotel) – YUM!! Home-made seafood fare, cold beer, cheap! (We went for lunch.)
The Gumbo Bar – a couple blocks from the hotel on Post Office – YUM!! Tiny little place, great service, great food, affordable.
Fisherman’s Wharf (on the Harbor) – sit outside, eat The Ultimate Crab Cake, bring your wallet!
Wille G’s (on the Harbor) – Great service, good food that is a little overpriced in my opinion. But, it looked they had a great (and cheap) happy hour from 11 – 7 everyday.
MOD – an independent coffee shop a couple blocks from the hotel – opens early, great coffee drinks, friendly employees. (There is a Starbucks closer to the hotel in the opposite direction, but I enjoyed trying this new place.)
The Original Mexican Restaurant – on 14th street. We ate breakfast here on a recommendation from a friend. Small breakfast menu, HUGE portions, great food! Cheap. SLOW service - bring your patience.
The Strand – a couple blocks of boutiques and t-shirt shops selling beer. Rowdy crowd on the weekends. (You can buy a beer for $2.00 and just walk around.)
The Tall Ship Elissa – a Barque ship from 1877. The fiancé thought it was cooler than I did, but it was a cheap little thrill for history buffs or kids. You get to walk all around it, it is cool, it’s just HOT. Buy the $1.00 bottled water in the gift shop when you buy your ticket.
Harbor Tours – we booked ours through the Elissa Museum and it was WELL WORTH the $8.00. (We got a discount because we bought the tour of the ship AND the harbor, so you get a couple dollars off.) It was over an hour; we saw dozens of dolphins and learned about the Harbor. Very friendly and knowledgeable boat captain.
The Beach – if you have a car, you’re better off driving all the way down the island to the west end and using the public beaches down there. There are NOT lifeguards on the west end. Some of the East Beaches are private, you have to pay and the crowd is often questionable. The beach along Seawall Boulevard is still being rebuilt after Hurricane Ike’s damage in 2008; so there are a few public beaches (with lifeguards) but they’re small and sporadic. Just head west on the seawall and use any of the Public Access points once you get out of town. If you don’t have a car, have the shuttle drop you at the Galvez and walk across the street.
Enjoy your trip!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.