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“Parent Money Pit”

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Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center
Ranked #2 of 51 Hotels in Galveston
Certificate of Excellence
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
144 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“Parent Money Pit”
Reviewed 9 July 2013

As you check in, there is a sign that says that Moody Gardens is a non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation and research. I have a very difficult time believing this is a non-profit destination. There is a lot to do here, but almost everything comes at a steep additional cost.

Rooms: The room we had was gorgeous, spacious and clean. We had an island view, but we weren't in the room enough to really make that an issue. However, I think the pyramid view would be nicer to have at night. I don't think the nightly rate was bad considering what we got. In fact, at the last minue we changed our reservation to Moody Gardens from a Marriott Courtyard and the rate difference was only about $20 a night (we got a pretty good rate on travelocity last minute). They provided plenty of towels and the towels were nice and soft. One small issue we had was that we like to keep our towels more than one day for conservation. They had a sign in the bathroom encouraging this practice and telling us to leave our towels on the rack if we wanted to use them again, but there were no towel racks and nowhere to hang our towels to dry to reuse them.

Pool: Heated and large. The pool goes from 3 feet to 5 feet. I has a bar area at one end. It has a hot tub that is really, really hot and the water pours into the pool, which may be how it's heated. We enjoyed the pool a couple of days and though crowded, it was nice.

Things to do: Your room rate covers your room, the pools (one outdoor and an indoor lap pool), the small bounce house, a small uncovered playground, and the kids crew activities. It does not cover anything in the pyramids, 4D theaters, palm beach (which has a lazy river, wave pool, splash pad and sandy beachy area), the paddlewheel boat, and any special exhibits. All of these are additional fees ranging from $7 to $18 for kids and $7 to $25 for adults. We did the Dinos Alive exhibit at a cost of $15 for me and my 6 year old daughter, and the rainforest pyramid at a cost of $42 for me and my daughter. The Dinos Alive was maybe 10 animatronic dinosaurs in an outside tent with some signs with info about the dinosaurs. It took 20 minutes to go through it, even reading all the signs. Not sure it was worth the cost of admission. The rainforest pyramid was phenomenal. It was educational and beautiful. You could spend a couple hours here. Most of the animals are free to roam all over the environment and we came very, very close to a few of the monkeys. Pretty cool. Dinos alive and the paddlewheel boat are the least expensive of the activities, the rest are pretty pricey.

Food: There is no free breakfast at this hotel. The Terrace Restaurant in the hotel has great food, is reasonably priced, and best of all, kids meals are one penny with the purchase of an entree by an adult in the party. We ate here most days. There's a restaurant in the pyramids that doesn't have the one penny deal and the food was pretty bad. I ordered a shrimp po'boy and it tasted a lot like soap. Needless to say, I didn't finish it. Service was horrible there as well.

Service: The front desk staff were pretty uninformed about almost everything. I asked them about the kids crew activities, cruise parking and transportation, and a few other items, and it took them a while to find the answers. The staff at the ticket booth for the pyramids and other activities were horrible. They were very, very slow both days we were there, despite a huge line. They didn't seem to care a whole lot about customer service. The kids crew staff were TERRIFIC!! Can't say enough about them, they were good with the kids, polite, and generally seemed to enjoy their job.

Cruise: If you are cruising, know that you can get the cruise package which comes with parking in the garage for the length of the cruise and transportation to and from the port. Alternatively, if you get a better room rate on travelocity or somewhere else, you can pay them $20 per room to park your car and get the transportation to and from the cruise port. The shuttle leaves at noon the day of the cruise and you just call them when you get back and get through customs. The shuttle on the way back didn't have a/c or it wasn't working well and it was a really awful and long ride back. It seemed a little chaotic and disorganized, but it worked ok for us.

Laundry: The hotel will do it for you, but at $3.00 for a shirt, it wasn't affordable. There is a laundry room. It is down at parking garage level, which I didn't care for. There's only one laundry room with three washers and three dryers. I think it was $1.00 for the washer and $1.00 for the dryer.

I think if you decide to stay here, you need to educate yourself on what they have, the additional costs and set your budget and your kids expectations ahead of time. It can get real pricey, real quick, but it is a beautiful and comfortable hotel. We would stay again when we have more time and more budget!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Stacie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 18 July 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. While I was pleased to read the many favorable comments, I did note some valid feedback on some of the aspects of your stay. I was especially concerned to read of the lack of responsiveness of the front desk associates and service at the Garden Restaurant. Please know that we shared this feedback at our department head meeting this week in an effort to improve both areas.

I did note your concern over the overall pricing of the attractions. While the hotel cannot discount the attraction tickets, our overall goal is to provide many value-added amenities for our guests including the kids eat free program in the Terrace Restaurant, the Kids Crew activities that are all complimentary (including S'mores each night) and complimentary entry into the Palm Beach water park. When all these things are factored in, we believe we have the best priced upscale resort experience on the Island.

Summers in Galveston can be a bit on the pricey side, but, for those who have the flexibility, please consider a trip to Moody Gardens Hotel in the fall, winter or spring, where the weather is swim-friendly and hotel rates are 30-50% less than summer.

Sincerely, Garvin O’Neil
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English first
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2013

This is the third time staying here. Rooms are always clean. Adjoining room was a little loud but manageable. Requested ocean view but since on 2nd floor, could only see Shlitterbaun water park. Overall a great place to stay. A little pricy for rooms but worth it. Only problem was when checking in. Booked on-line and paid fully in advanced. When checking in they asked for card again which I expected. They apparently tried to charge full room rate again with added deposit. They said card not charged until checkout. We proved room was paid and it took awhile for them to figure it out. After said and done, it was taken care of even though they were still confused.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Divingfamily628
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 11 July 2013
Thank you for your comments about your recent stay at Moody Gardens. I am disappointed to hear of your experience with your online reservation and checking in. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused during your stay. It is our overriding goal at Moody Gardens to provide great customer service and a pleasant stay for our guests. I have shared your feedback with the Front Desk Manager so we can identify ways to avoid similar situations. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future. Garvin O'Neil, General Manager
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Katy, Texas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2013 via mobile

We stayed on the property on the 4th of July weekend. I returned to MG because we received such great service 2 years ago. Well they must be under new leadership because we did not get the 5 star service as we did 2 yrs ago. It started out great as we were greeted by the valet parking guys, checked in, each of my kids were welcomed with a nice drawstring pool bag. Our room was very clean, spacious, and up to date furniture and decor. My problem was the customer service in the restaraunt and in the gift shop. The hostes was chewing food as she seated us and told her coworker "um those people want their drinks" in a condescending tone. $15 per person for the brkfst buffet, not bad, kids ate free. Food was'nt all great. Everyone in the gift shop seemed like they did not want to be there. As we walked in, we were never greeted each time we visited. My wife needed baby wipes for our baby, she asked the girl and she just pointed behind here without looking up. She then asked if she could hold the package to see if the baby would be allergic to it. Frustrated, the girl gave it to her. I returned later that day and the girl was still there, I walked in to look around while she was painting her nails, never said hello to me, is there anything I can help you find- nothing. We ended up driving to CVS down the road instead of spending money there. The firework show was only 2-4 min. Would I return? Nah, I'm looking elsewhere for my next stay in Galveston. Moody Gardens is overpriced with poor guest services.

Hotel manager, if you're reading this, please train your staff to better serve your guests, especially on a holiday weekend. A genuine smile and a "Can I help you find anything sir?" -goes a long way.

  • Stayed July 2013
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Helpful?
3 Thank Joelben79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 10 July 2013
Thank you for sharing feedback on your recent stay at Moody Gardens. I am disappointed to hear of your experiences with The Terrace restaurant and the gift shop. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused during your stay. It is our overriding goal at Moody Gardens to provide great customer service and a pleasant stay for our guests. Please know that the issues that you mentioned definitely do not meet our standards of service. I have shared your feedback with the rest of the hotel management team so we may address accordingly. We hope you will consider staying with us again so we can meet your expectations and provide you with the customer service we are known for. Garvin O'Neil, General Manager
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Houston, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2013

I was pleasantly surprised to have a new renovated room during my last stay. The rooms are no longer green!! But tastefully decorated with soft tones and new furniture with stone tops. The bathroom was also new and very clean. We enjoyed are stay and look forward to returning.

Room Tip: We were on the third floor.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Jennifer B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 10 July 2013
Thank you for your comments. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay and our newly renovated rooms. It is great to hear that our loyal guests enjoy the new color scheme and renovations. We look forward to welcoming you back soon. Garvin O'Neil, General Manager
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Rock Hill, South Carolina
Level Contributor
76 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2013

We visited Moody Gardens Resort last weekend for two nights and brought my wife's parents who were in visiting from California. My mother in law booked the reservation through Hotwire.com, and specifically reserved it for 4 adults in the room. Hotwire promised comfortable accommodations for all guests. Since you don't know which hotel you will be reserved with until purchase, we didn't know which we would be put it. We also purchased the travel protection insurance via Hotwire (through Allianz).

Two days before leaving, I called Moody Gardens to confirm our reservation and was told that we were booked in a King room with one King bed for 4 adults. I insisted that the hotel find us a room with 2 queens, because the last time I checked, 4 adults can't fit in a King bed! The representative said I would need to contact Hotwire because they couldn't help me.

I called Hotwire. Pitiful excuse of a company. NEVER EVER GIVE THEM ONE RED CENT OF YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY!! I explained to them our situation and that the hotel said to call them to arrange for comfortable accommodations for 4 adults. Hotwire responded by saying they will be happy to provide a roll away bed. I said no that will not suffice. We are not driving 6 hours only to sleep in a cot! I'd rather pitch a tent on the beach is what I told her. She finally put me on hold and called Moody directly to figure it out. 10 minutes later, she came back on to tell me again that the only thing the hotel could do is provide a roll away. I reasoned with her and asked her if she would drive 6 hours with her family who had come in from CA to sleep in a roll away at a 4 star resort?! She said yes. I said no you wouldn't!

Long story short, I realized we weren't getting anywhere with Hotwire. They lied and said they would provide comfortable accommodations for 4 people.

I called Moody back to try to talk to a manager. I finally got through to the Reservations Manager, Erin Hernandez. She was awesome. She knew all about our situation because Hotwire had talked to her. Turns out, Hotwire told us a lie. Erin explained that this happens often with Hotwire where they book people in rooms that they know won't accommodate them properly. Erin overrode the reservation and put us in a 2 queen room, and she saved our trip!

Once we got to Moody we liked it a lot. The room was very updated with granite counters in the bathroom, very clean, and a view of Schlitterbahn and the Gulf. We were in Room 744. Awesome views. It's about 1 mile from the Gulf, but you can still see it.

The water park is also included in the stay, which has a lazy river and wave pool etc. There's also a great separate pool with a swim up bar which was great.

Don't forget to visit the Rainforest Pyramid. We didn't get a chance to do the Aquarium Pyramid, but it looked great too. Also there's a riverboat in the sound you can take.

The one drawback was we could hear the people next door hollering one morning which was aggravating. There could be more done to soundproof the rooms.

All in all we recommend Moody...just book through them directly!!

Room Tip: Rooms facing Schlitterbahn are a plus.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Carolinashorty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Thank you for the feedback on your recent stay at Moody Gardens. I was disappointed to hear about the difficulties you had with your Hotwire booking. I am pleased to hear that Erin was able to get you in a room that would allow all of you to sleep comfortably. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed your stay as well as the Rainforest Pyramid and Palm Beach. Your comments are greatly appreciated and I have shared them with our staff. We look forward to welcoming you back soon. Garvin O'Neil, General Manager
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Houston
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2013

We just got back from a 3 night stay at Moody Gardens Hotel and we loved it. The service was excellent. We haven't been there in 3 years, and the rooms have been beautifully redecorated. The beds are comfy, and the bathroom is roomy. We have two 2 1/2 year olds and a 4 year old, and there is so much to do right on the property, they had loads of fun. We started out with riding the Colonel Paddlewheel and the Dino's Alive exhibit, moved on to Palm Beach and the Rainforest pyramid, then the aquarium pyramid, and a short trip up the seawall for a trip to the beach. Palm Beach has gone through extensive wonderful changes since we've been there last, and now has a lazy river where we spent most of our time. Breakfast buffet was delicious and free for the kids. This trip was everything we could have asked for. A very enjoyable experience.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Houston019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 3 July 2013
Thank you for leaving feedback about your recent stay at Moody Gardens. I am so glad to hear your family had plenty of time to visit all of our attractions and that you enjoyed your stay with us! I am pleased to read you enjoyed our newly renovated rooms and that you found the breakfast at the Terrace delicious, as well as a good value. We hope to see you again soon! Garvin O'Neil, General Manager
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Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2013

This is where my husband stays when he attends Shriners Hospital for Children meetings. This was my first time there. Clean rooms, attentive staff. Kim, our bartender at the lobby bar was very nice and helpful in suggesting places to eat. Breakfast buffet was good too. Had some friends there with their grandson, so we spent the day at their Palm Beach. Had a great time and will take my grandkids there next time.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank debdfwrealtor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoodyGardensHotel, General Manager at Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, responded to this review, 28 June 2013
Thank you for your feedback. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your recent stay at Moody Gardens and Palm Beach. Your comments are greatly appreciated and I have shared them with all of our associates. We have many fun activities this summer so please keep us in mind for a return trip with the grandkids! We look forward to welcoming you back soon. Garvin O'Neil, General Manager
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Additional Information about Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center

Property: Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center
Address: 7 Hope Blvd., Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77554-8927
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Texas > Texas Gulf Coast > Galveston Island > Galveston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Galveston
#1 Luxury Hotel in Galveston
#3 Business Hotel in Galveston
#5 Romantic Hotel in Galveston
#5 Family Hotel in Galveston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center 4*
Number of rooms: 418
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Moody Gardens Hotel Spa And Convention Center
Moody Gardens Hotel Hotel Galveston
Moody Gardens Motel
Moody Gardens Galveston
Moody Garden Hotel Galveston

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