Cool Place in the Sun

South Shore Harbor $10 million renovation gives new life to grande dame of the Bay Area

South Shore Harbor $10 million renovation is a game changer for resort

South Shore Harbor, July 2016
After a $10 million facelift, South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center is ready to run with the big dogs. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
Many of the hotel rooms overlook the romantic marina and iconic light house. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
The South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center lobby completely re-imagined. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
The room decor is infused with a nautical ambience.  Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
The Paradise Reef Restaurant has a whole new look. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
One of two expansive two-story suites overlooking the marina. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
The 185-foot pool completely renovated. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
The pool area is known as The Oasis. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
The lighthouse provides a picturesque backdrop from many angles at the resort. Courtesy of South Shore Harbor Resort & Conference Center
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016
South Shore Harbor, July 2016

It's been 28 years since the South Shore Resort & Conference Center opened its doors and it's been that long since the queen of the Bay Area has received much-needed cosmetic attention. After a nine-month, $10 million renovation and facelift, the aging dowager has been transformed into a waterfront babe.

Galveston-based American National Insurance Company made the commitment to infuse new life into its 237-room property in League City with the project that included a complete cosmetic overhaul as well as all new air-conditioning and mechanical systems, the latter alone costing $3 million.

In advance of Thursday's grand opening, principals in the project invited media for a tour and restaurant sampling. "I've been walking around just grinning from ear to ear," said resort GM Roy Green. "It looks like a brand new property to us. We have regenerated what it once was."

The briefing was held in one of the resort's dreamy two-level penthouses ($900 per night). The penthouse decor and in guest rooms ($189 per night) throughout the hotel embraces a subtle nautical theme. Captain's chairs at desks, drapes striped like the marina's iconic lighthouse, polished stainless steel railings, rope-embellished lamps, tile floors that resemble bleached dock planks, and colors reflecting the blue sky and the white hulls of yachts parked in the marina.

Our favorite spot was the 185-foot, completely renovated pool with its swim-up bar, cabanas and surrounding tropical landscaping. Lush and lavish, the pool set-up is top notch, the perfect complement to the newly-decorated guest rooms. 

Green and others involved in the project boasted not only about the fresh, contemporary decor but also about the ample meeting space — 25,000 square feet of conference rooms spread over 20 options. That includes two ballrooms, an 80-seat amphitheater training center, and a handsome, fully paneled board room.

The bonus for resort guests is free access to the adjacent state-of-the-art fitness center and spa (130,000 square feet) and tennis courts. Guests also have access to a neighboring 27-hole golf course.

The resort is only minutes from attractions, including the Kemah Boardwalk and Space Center Houston and is within easy driving distance of Galveston and its myriad attractions.