I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and decided to treat myself (and the family) with a cruise. Rather than slog all the way to Florida, we decided to sail out of Galveston. Though I love driving, 6 hours seemed better than 2 1/2 days to and from the boat. Our cruise left the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so we decided to spend the night before in town. That weekend is a bit busy in Galveston. But I found a room at the Four Points by Sheraton for a fairly reasonable $161, with no resort fees. That compared favorably to other hotels, so I decided to go with that.
Four Points by Sheraton Galveston
- 2300 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, Texas
- Website: https://www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3515&localeCode=en_US&language=en_US
- Amenities: business center, pool, fitness center, on-site restaurant, free WiFi, cruise parking (for a fee)
Directions: after coming off the causeway from Houston, continue straight as I-45 turns into Broadway. Turn right at 25th Street, then left at Seawall Boulevard. The hotel is immediately on your left. From Houston Intercontinental (IAH), the drive takes 1-2 hours depending on traffic. From Houston Hobby (HOU), 45-75 minutes.
Date of Stay: Saturday, November 25, 2017
Check-In and Common Areas
We arrived around 6 pm, and a friendly agent welcomed us and checked us in quickly. The hotel has a fairly large, though nondescript, lobby area. It did feature fairly comfy chairs, though it all looked like something you’d rent from Aaron’s.
The lobby also features a big screen TV. I appreciated that they kept the volume down, as opposed to blaring.
At the back of the lobby is the business center. It’s small, with a couple of desktop computers and a printer.
There’s also a somewhat helpful automated tourist information kiosk in the lobby. It provides a listing of shopping, eating, and popular sights around Galveston Island.
The elevators are a short walk behind the check-in desk. Though easy to find, their operation contained an annoying design flaw. Both cars operated independently; pushing the button on one side didn’t call the car on the other. So you really need to push both to get one faster.
The property also features an outdoor pool. While not exactly a critical amenity in late November, the pool does look nice, and would be a welcome treat on a hot Texas summer day.
I can best describe the guest rooms as plain, and a little small, but clean and functional. We booked a standard room with 2 queen beds. If you have SPG status, there are 7 suites available for potential upgrade. The room had a typical layout for a mid-level hotel. I did wish the nightstand had a couple of plugs. If you have a laptop and want to work on the bed, choose the bed on the left. There is a plug on that wall. Though difficult to see in this picture, that corner also has enough space to stick a travel crib.
The room also has a long, narrow desk along the front wall. On the upper right corner of the desk are several plugs to charge electronics.
And of course, a flat screen TV front and center. A micro-fridge and clothes drawers sit underneath the TV.
By the window is a small lounging chair with a tray table of sorts. If traveling with a baby, you can slide the tray table pretty far in to create a makeshift high chair. That came in handy at dinner time.
As for views, I guess you can technically call this an “ocean view” room. Look closely, and you can see a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico at the far left.
Note that this room did not have a separate closet, only a small cabinet by the door across the bathroom. That was a bit of a pain, since we had lots of luggage for the cruise. We ended up having to keep a couple of bags by the wall near the right-side bed.
The bathroom was small but clean, with a standard shower/tub combo. Toiletries were “Activ Body Care”, apparently a Four Points-specific brand, provided in fixed dispensers. They seemed pretty run-of-the-mill to me, but apparently you can buy them on eBay.
Food & Beverage
The Four Points has an on-site restaurant & bar, Oasis, which serves breakfast and dinner. It didn’t seem very popular, though. I saw nobody there the evening we arrived, and only a couple of people the next morning.
Between the restaurant and bar was a coffee station. I *think* this was a complimentary setup for all guests, though I’m not sure.
The bar at least saw quite a bit of traffic in the evening. Four Points apparently has something called the “Best Brews” program, which includes at least one local craft beer on tap. I thought I heard the bartender say they served Shiner and Saint Arnold, a Houston-based craft beer.
We didn’t get a chance to try the restaurant, though. My brother lives in Houston, and drove down to meet us for dinner. At his suggestion, we picked up some Louisiana cooking at Cajun Greek a couple of miles down the road. Verdict: expensive, but really, REALLY good, especially the fried oyster poboy. (Travel tip: though usually associated with the Acadiana region of Louisiana, the Houston area has many excellent Cajun restaurants.) I think we made the right choice. Yes, as the name implies, they serve Greek food, too, if seafood isn’t your thing.
Perhaps the best thing the Four Points has going for it is location, located directly across from the historic Pleasure Pier. Think a mini-carnival type thing with midway rides, in this case on a pier overlooking the Gulf. A good diversion if you’re traveling with the kiddos. If carnival rides aren’t your thing, just walk across Seawall Boulevard and enjoy the beach.
With its location roughly midway down Galveston, pretty much everything is an easy 10-15 minute drive from the hotel. You can find all manner of restaurants heading both directions on Seawall Boulevard, the main street along the beach. If you’re staying here pre-cruise, just head straight up 25th Street to the cruise pier. Or, enjoy a walk to admire Galveston Island’s historic houses and buildings. (In the case of Galveston, most structures date to the early 1900s. Most of the city was destroyed by the hurricane of 1900.)
I only encountered a couple of employees from the front desk. Both were super friendly and efficient. Our check-in clerk thanked me for being an SPG member (even as a lowly peon), and shared our excitement about being in town for a cruise.
Speaking of cruises, while the hotel offers “cruise and stay” packages, be aware of some limitations. Generally, the Four Points offers 7 days of cruise parking at the hotel for an extra $50. Though slightly cheaper than parking at the pier ($65-100 depending on which lot you use), the hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle. Instead, they provide a Lyft discount code that more or less covers the short ride to the pier. In most cases, this works out fine. However, traveling with a baby, you need a car seat. We really didn’t want to lug our car seat to the ship, so that didn’t work for us.
Finally, if you want to use points, this Four Points is an SPG Category 3 hotel, and thus 7,000 Starpoints per night. I value Starpoints at ~2 cents/point, so a point redemption would have been marginally cheaper based on the $161 cash rate. When you add in the 500 point SPG quarterly promotion and double points on my SPG Amex, paying cash and picking up 1,150 Starpoints effectively made it a wash.
The brand in general is rather unloved among SPG fans, but I found nothing objectively wrong with this Four Points. The hotel receives mixed reviews, and the decor and design is far from exciting. But the rooms were clean, the beds comfortable, and the location great. It fit our needs for a short pre-cruise stay, so while nothing special, I’d recommend it if you need a a place for a short stay in Galveston.
For another look at the Four Points brand, see James’ review of the Four Points Seoul – Namsan.