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Renovations of this historic property include first-class resort amenities, spa facilities, pool entertainment and outstanding cuisine. Read on to learn more about Grand Galvez renovations.
Mark Wyant and his wife, interior designer Lorenda Wyant, are the creative forces behind Grand Galvez renovations and interior designs. They collaborated on the Saint Hotels and other hotel properties and homes.
When he purchased the Grand Galvez, also known as the Queen of the Gulf, in May 2021, Mr. Wyant’s goal was to reinforce its position as one of the preeminent destinations in south Texas for leisure and business travel, weddings, meetings, events and exhibitions. The property’s historic legacy underlines the brand positioning for this iconic hotel, which offers first-class resort amenities, spa facilities, a heated saline pool, entertainment and outstanding cuisine.
The current emphasis is on the stylish and sophisticated renovations underway at Grand Galvez, focusing on an interpretation of modernism blended with the energy of the Gatsby era. The hotel’s refreshing renovations and creative design touches will intuitively meet the needs of every guest.
The renovations include all hotel rooms, hospitality and public areas and reflect a refreshingly elegant design and color palette that is perfect for the resort ambiance of Grand Galvez and Galveston Island. The hotel and spa remain open and fully operational with guest bookings, weddings, dining, special events scheduled. The guest rooms are being redesigned one floor at a time.
“These new, exciting designs combine with the property’s current amenities and magnify the new vitality of the Grand Galvez,” said Mr. Wyant.
Public areas include a beautiful harlequin black and white marble flooring with black framing, crystal chandeliers throughout, royal burgundy carpets, and accent draperies. The front desk harkens back to the earlier front desk of 1911 with its iron detailing and glass features.
Perhaps the most striking is the renewal of the original Peacock Alley, the grand walkway leading from the lobby to the spa and ballroom, a design element not seen at the hotel in over 70 years. During the renovation, original moldings and ceilings were found in the hotel walls that have been restored for the first time since 1962.
“We found a section of the original brass stair railing, which was trapped behind some larger brass railing that was installed in later years to meet ADA requirements. To restore the hotel and pay homage to its beautiful design, we sent a section of the original stair rail to have moldings made and new railings created to match the original railing in the hotel identically. The newly recast railings will be a bit higher to meet current code,” said Mr. Wyant.
“We have great respect for the iconic architecture of this property. I can assure everyone that our vision for the ‘new’ Grand Galvez honors the historic design, offering a refreshed elegance throughout the hotel. These designs reflect the new energy we are bringing to the resort and all its amenities,” continued Mr. Wyant.
The “new” Grand Galvez offers a feeling of luxury and sophistication with an emphasis on stylish changes, focusing on an interpretation of modernism blended with the energy of the Gatsby era. The hotel’s refreshing renovations and creative design touches will intuitively meet the needs of every guest.
The luxurious interior renderings (new pictures to come; see Dropbox at end of this document) include multiple angles of the Music Hall, Terrace Ballroom, Lobby entrance with the 44-foot “Queen of the Gulf” mosaic, 1911 Espresso Café, and Monarch, the hotel’s restaurant.
Heralding the hotel’s moniker as “Queen of the Gulf”, the new 43-foot by 7-foot Murano glass mosaic was designed by Grand Galvez owner Mark Wyant and his interior designer wife, Lorenda Wyant, produced by Dallas-based mosaicist Julie Richey and was installed in May 2022 by Ms. Richey and Romeo de Candido of Miami.
“Grand Galvez is a magnificent, iconic building. We wanted to create a spectacular entrance inside the front doors and the goal was to pay homage to our ‘Queen of the Gulf’ in a majestic way. The Grand Galvez setting, which faces the Texas Gulf, inspired us to incorporate brilliant colors and natural Texas elements in an exquisite design.” - Mark Wyant, owner, Grand Galvez
“It’s a mosaic brocade carpet of Texas oleanders and Gulf Coast seashells. We used marble and smalti, a kiln-fired enamel glass infused with rich colors. Thick sheets of glass are then cut using the exact same tools the Romans used. This is an artistic project that can be compared to couture stitching.” - Julie Richey, mosaicist
Twelve 4-foot-tall decorative white plaster urns have been placed on the exterior corners of the four towers at the top of Grand Galvez. The tower urns are exact recreations of those originally installed for the 1911 Hotel Galvez opening. The originals were last seen 90 years ago in 1932, possibly disappearing because of that year’s hurricane.
Mark Wyant, owner, Grand Galvez:
Mark Wyant, owner, Grand Galvez, has purchased and restored a 1915 Ford Model T Speedster, considered one of the country’s first sport cars. Modified to go to 50 mph, Mr. Wyant drove the 14-foot-long vehicle from Dallas arriving on June 10, the 111th anniversary of the hotel’s opening. The vehicle has been positioned in the East Loggia, where it permanently resides as part of a historic display.
Mark Wyant, owner, Grand Galvez:
The Founders Bar is the new lobby bar in the West Loggia. The vibe is romantic but energized and its setting is reflected by its connection to the newly restored Peacock Alley and its magnificent views of the Gulf.
The Founders Bar is a nod to the five founders of the hotel with portraits of these gentlemen and other historical photographs and mementos featured in the decor. The interior design incorporates beautiful wood floors with burgundy crystal Baccarat chandeliers and chic upholstered chairs. A small stage has been built for live music entertainment, big enough for a 3-piece band. There are no details of specific drinks served at the original hotel. However, guests from that era would have enjoyed Champagne, a Gin Fizz or a French 75, which was first created around 1915 and became popular during WWI. Grand Galvez Specialty Drinks include the “Ghost Bride” named for Audra, the famous ghost that still haunts the hotel, and the “Galvez Sling.”
Located off the main lobby, the Grand Galvez restaurant’s decor incorporates some elements of a French cafe with wicker chairs and a celadon and beige color palette. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving fresh seafood, steaks and other delicacies. An oyster bar has been installed within the restaurant and provides fresh oysters on select days of the week. The restaurant has been in this location since the hotel first opened in 1911.
A coffee café has opened in the west lobby. Open early in the morning and throughout the day, the café serves freshly brewed coffee, teas and snacks.
As part of his goal of emphasizing the grand renovations, Mr. Wyant commissioned a landmark Italian marble fountain, which has been produced in Italy for the Center Lawn of the Grand Galvez. Featuring dolphins, griffins and peacocks around a 4-tiered fountain and water display, this magnificent font was carved from Calacetta marble and is 16 feet tall by 35 feet wide.
The guest rooms at Grand Galvez offer a tranquil, casual opulence that soothes and stimulate the senses and is perfect for the guest who is looking forward to a deep and restful night’s sleep. The all-white-and-indigo blue rooms are sleek and modern yet cozy. The couch at the end of the beds is upholstered in a tropical green and white palm pattern and the white lacquered and mirrored furniture is offset with light sky blue ceilings.
King and Queen pillow-top beds feature a custom mirrored back wall extending to the ceiling. The guest rooms at Grand Galvez allow guests to indulge in the finest amenities, including crisp Egyptian cotton linens, down duvets, complimentary in-room WiFi and luxurious Niven Morgan signature bath products and robes.
“We want the guest rooms and all the hotel renovations to provide a luxurious and relaxing haven for every one of our visitors,” said Mr. Wyant.
Lolo, the new luxury resort boutique, is in the main lobby. Lorenda Wyant, an interior designer who is collaborating with her husband, Mark Wyant on all the renovations at Grand Galvez, has designed Lolo and is handling the merchandise selection. She has been involved in the retail business for many years, overseeing the boutiques at all the hotels developed by her husband.
The Lolo design and merchandise color palette of the 500-square-foot store and merchandise reflects the luxurious renovations taking place at the hotel. All items are light, bright and colorful with whimsical touches of pinks, blues and vivid prints, all complementing the seaside location of the Grand Galvez.
“The inspiration for Lolo comes from many beach resorts and hotels we have visited around the world, including the original bathing suit and hat shop opened by Coco Chanel in the beachside resort of Deauville. I have always loved the history of fashion and seeing Coco’s first retail store was so memorable that when it came to naming the Grand Galvez beach resort boutique, Mark and I wanted to pay homage to her. With a ‘play’ on her name, we decided to use my childhood name ‘Lolo’ for the boutique’s branding,” said Lorenda Wyant.
Some of the chic clothing lines include colorful bathing suits and outfits from Lilly Pulitzer; richly colored caftans by Powder; swimwear, caftans and hats by Maaji; robes by Frette; baby clothes and swimwear by RuffleButts for babies and RuggedButts for boys; men’s swim trunks and shirts and Azul Siete; and sun protection lotions and oils by Hampton Sun. A signature lavender-based scent for Grand Galvez has been created by Dallas-based Niven Morgan and his personal-care products and hand-poured candles are available at Lolo.
With its renowned history and exquisite setting, Grand Galvez is the site of hundreds of weddings each year. Mrs. Wyant has also selected beautiful bridal accessories from the “To Have and To Hold Collection” from Shiraleah, designed for bachelorette parties, bridal showers and gifts.
“We know many guests at Grand Galvez want to take with them a memory of their visit and we have created a selection of Grand Galvez-branded polo shirts and hats that are for sale at Lolo,” said Lorenda Wyant.
The Spa at Grand Galvez is a spacious 10,000-square-feet and welcomes Grand Galvez guests as well as members of the public. Reservations are required. Special rooms include the Relaxation Room, a Steam Room in the Locker Room, a Swiss Shower, a Vichy Treatment Room, as well as seven rooms for Massages, Facials and Couples Massages.
The signature offering is the “Texas Ruby,” which incorporates ruby grapefruit essential oil, an iconic Texas fruit, and is widely known as “The Joy Oil” for its uplifting effects. The treatment is a festival of organic grapefruit with hot infused towels and inhalations (50-minutes $135; 80- minutes includes the conditioning grapefruit and coconut mask for hands and feet).
There are many indoor and outdoor locations beautifully suited for Grand Galvez weddings, reunions, corporate groups and special events.
Grand Galvez is renowned for the hundreds of weddings and wedding festivities held at the property. A dedicated wedding planning team works with clients to design original, glamorous and unforgettable events. All catering is handled in-house by the hotel’s talented chefs and culinary team.
The spacious free-form saline pool and jacuzzi is surrounded by tropical palm trees, lounges and semi-private cabanas, available by reservation. The pool area is available only to Grand Galvez guests. A special menu for poolside service is offered and a swim up bar serves a refreshing selection of classic and Grand Galvez signature drinks, beer and wine.
The Grand Galvez, a 220-room resort hotel and spa is a historic landmark property in Galveston, TX. Grand Galvez will be part of the Marriott Autograph Collection and has pleased guests worldwide for more than 100 years. The AAA 4-Diamond property is the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast and is renowned as one of the finest Galveston hotels on the beach. Hotelier Mark Wyant, owner, Seawall Hospitality LLC, purchased the property from the heirs of Galveston Island-born oilman and developer George P. Mitchell in March 2021. Mr. Wyant, along with his wife, Lorenda Wyant, has instituted extensive renovations, which will embody the hotel’s beautiful architectural design while, at the same time, introducing an upgraded luxury and energy.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Mr. Wyant is an established hotel owner and developer in Texas, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina. The purchase of the Hotel Galvez, now the Grand Galvez, marks the third property Mr. Wyant has developed in Galveston. In 1999, he built the Holiday Inn Express at 1st and Seawall and then sold it in 2005. In 2004, he developed the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, where the noted Capt. Jack’s once stood. In 2014, he sold it and went on to create The Saint Hotel brand with award-winning properties in New Orleans, Key West and Charleston. In 2021, he sold The Saint Hotel New Orleans and The Saint Hotel Charleston. Mr. Wyant continues to own and operate The Saint Hotel Key West, a Marriott Autograph Collection property.
A history lover, Mr. Wyant strategically selects development properties that are in key US cities known for their history and excellent leisure, business and entertainment experiences. In every location, his primary goal is to embody and respect the city's legacy, charm, and history.