5 things to know
Cool new retro, food-focused boutique hotel settles on Galveston shore
Galveston’s hotel options got an upgrade this November with the opening of Hotel Lucine. Located at the intersection of 10th Street and Seawall Boulevard, Hotel Lucine brings a boutique experience to the island that’s distinct from its most prominent properties.
The hotel’s owners — Galveston native Keath Jacoby, her husband Dave, a finance and hospitality developer, and their business partner Robert Marcus — have transformed the former Treasure Isle Motel into a modern experience designed to appeal to Gen X’ers and Millennials. That’s obvious from the small details — like the soundtrack of ’90s rock at the rooftop bar — as well as an overall aesthetic that preserved the property’s vintage details like the pastel blue tiles on the pool deck.
The hotel invited me to experience a full evening at the property, including drinks on the roof and dinner at The Fancy. Here are a few first impressions based on that overnight stay.
The environment is distinct from Galveston’s most well known hotels
For Texans whose trips to the island usually include a stay at grand resorts like The Galvez or San Luis, Hotel Lucine offers a distinct experience. All 61 rooms at the, two-story property are oriented around the hotel’s pool. Two reasonably athletic people could probably play catch at opposite ends of the interior courtyard.
Co-owner Keath Jacoby elaborated on that intimate environment in a recent episode of CultureMap’s What’s Eric Eating podcast.
“We want people to understand this is a place where you’re going to rub elbows and hug necks. It’s not a large, grand property where you’re going to have a ton of privacy, but that was always the goal,” she says.
“We want it to feel like an elevated house party that your weird aunt is throwing. That’s my hope, that people will interact.”
Those interactions will take place around the pool, which is fully stocked with lounge chairs and umbrellas, on its adjacent patio, or in the hotel’s three distinct dining venues — which brings us to point two.
The property has three distinct venues for eating and drinkingThey are:
- A rooftop bar
- The Den, a lobby bar and restaurant
- The Fancy, a “fine-ish dining” restaurant that’s currently only open for dinner
Spend an afternoon on the roof watching the waves crash against the shore while sipping a craft cocktail, glass of wine, or craft beer. It has a number of seating options, including an indoor bar, outdoor couches, and more traditional banquette-style seating with tables that can accommodate food from downstairs.
The Den is similarly flexible, with a range of seating options that range from couches and armchairs to booths for groups. Midcentury modern furniture gives the room a clean, sleek look.
Open throughout the day and into the night, it offers both a limited breakfast menu of six items — think breakfast tacos, a sandwich, and a couple of pastries — as well as a lunch and dinner menu that includes shareable items such as shrimp cocktail and crudite alongside a few entrees that include a burger, a chicken sandwich, and a Caesar salad with fish croquettes.
Given The Fancy’s grander ambitions, let’s consider it separately.
The Fancy could be Galveston’s next great restaurant
Simply put, the hotel’s restaurant has all the components necessary to earn recognition as one of Galveston’s best eateries. That starts with chef Leila Ortiz, who brings a resume that includes time working for celebrity chef David Chang as well as prominent roles at both Bludorn and UB Preserv. Hired as the executive chef by James Beard Award winner Justin Yu, Ortiz’s menu includes cold seafood dishes, shareable plates, and more traditional entrees that blend her French training with some more personal influences.
When walking in, the low-ceiling dining room offers an intimate environment that’s enhanced by the room’s dim lighting. Highlights from dinner included potato pave topped with caviar, house made potato chips with prosciutto and cured tuna, and a classic roast chicken with ground chicken-filled dumplings. Bucatini pasta topped with a meaty pork ragu delivered homey comfort.
Beverage options start with a few house cocktails that are distinct from those served at The Den or on the roof. Diners will also find a tidy wine list that includes a few natural wines alongside more traditional vintages.
The rooms maintain their original layout
Renovations to the property did not include changing each room’s footprint. In standard rooms, that means the only piece of furniture to sit or lay on is a bed. Those looking for a desk to do a little work, for example, will need to find a table either on the patio or in the Den. Want to read? Find a chair by the pool, on the roof, or in the Den.
Bathrooms are similarly sparse with just a sink and a standing shower. Those who associate hotel rooms with a bathtub will have to look elsewhere.
It’s still working out the kinks
Visiting a hotel during its first week of operations inevitably means that some things need to be smoothed out. For example, I had difficulty staying connected to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, although that could be because my room was among the (relatively) farthest from the lobby and its amenities.
A table of diners at The Fancy walked out when the kitchen’s hood malfunctioned and made the dining room too smoky for their liking. A friend and I noticed the smell but didn’t find it too distracting to complete our meal.
Finally, the Lucine isn’t dog friendly. Find a pet sitter prior to heading to the island.