The Best New Reason to Visit Galveston Is Hotel Lucine

A former 1960s motel gets new life as a Gulf Coast oasis, with fine-ish dining and rooftop cocktails

November 10, 2023 6:38 am
Aerial view of a pool and courtyard
Hotel Lucine opened on Friday. Here's what you need to know.
Lori Horton/Samantha Wiley Photography

November might not scream beach weather, but there are still plenty of reasons to hit the road for Galveston. There’s the seafood, of course, but Galveston is also one of the state’s best holiday destinations. During the first week of December, downtown’s Strand Street is transformed into a Victorian-era, Dickensian London. Then there’s Holiday in the Gardens, which turns Moody Gardens into a winter wonderland, complete with ice sculptures and a literal mile of holiday lights. Such trips require a place to stay, and now there’s a new one for your consideration: Hotel Lucine. Bookings are currently live, and doors open November 10.

The 61-room boutique hotel is situated at 10th Street and Seawall Boulevard. Originally developed in 1963 as the Treasure Isle Motel, Hotel Lucine is the oldest remaining property from a generation of beachfront motels in Galveston. Many original aspects of the low-slung, two-story structure’s midcentury spirit have been incorporated into the new design, including the courtyard and pool anchoring the U-shaped property. But now the oceanfront hotel is boasting all the things you want in a weekend vacation spot, like modern rooms, a great restaurant and a rooftop bar. 

“No other town on the Texas coast has the assets, charm, history or weirdness to pull this off,” says Dave Jacoby, who’s a partner in the hotel. He credits Galveston’s “unique vibe,” which is something you can’t build new or recreate in another coastal town.

Rooms are bright and airy, with king or double-queen configurations, light wood and plenty of sunlight. Choose a balcony room on the second floor, and you’ll get pool views and easy access to the outdoor bar.

King Suite at Hotel Lucine
King Suite
Hotel Lucine
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The hotel restaurant is called The Fancy and is a self-described “American fine-ish dining” spot run by chef Leila Ortiz. She’s worked at hotels abroad, in Houston at Bludorn and UBPreserv, and in New York as sous chef at David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar. The Fancy’s menu is French-adjacent with Galveston roots and a vibe that conjures a nostalgic dinner party. The menu features raw bar items like Gulf tilefish and mussels on the half shell, and small plates like meatballs with clam and fennel salad and caviar with potato pave crisp and crème fraiche. Larger plates include a whole striped bass, roasted Gulf snapper, grass-fed ribeye and a pork chop.

There’s also the Den, a casual lobby restaurant that serves coffee and breakfast in the morning, and then moves into lunch and dinner — think cheeseburgers, a spicy chicken sandwich and Caesar salad with Gulf fish croquettes. Because the beach is quite conspicuous, you’ll be pleased to know that Hotel Lucine has the largest beachfront rooftop bar in Galveston. So you’ll get unobstructed views of the water while sipping drinks. 

Rooftop at Hotel Lucine
Rooftop at Hotel Lucine
Lori Horton/Samantha Wiley Photography

“We hope to make Hotel Lucine a hangout where our neighbors and visitors can find culture, fun and culinary delights all in one place,” says Robert Marcus, who’s also a partner in the project. “We look forward to being a seaside hideaway that folks never want to leave.”

Whether you plan a trip for the fall or wait until sunnier spring, all of the above does make a pretty compelling case to visit and stick around for a while.


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