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Culture / Travel

A Rich Vacation

Houston Billionaire’s New Playground Gives Galveston a High-Roller Retreat

BY // 08.10.15

Want to live like a billionaire?

Houston restaurant/casino/resort tycoon Tilman Fertitta — whose own net worth happens to be $2.8 billion, according to Forbes magazine— is betting that many do. Fertitta’s newest big-money idea revolves around giving others a taste of the kind of life guys like him enjoy. For a price, of course.

Hence, the new Villas at the San Luis Resort, a secluded, private-entry pampering retreat that’s on the property of Fertitta’s sprawling Galveston resort. There are only five of these ultra-lush villas — and each comes with its own hot tub, poolside cabana and hostess.

The cost? Try $900 to nearly $3,000 a night, depending on when you want to stay. In other words, this ain’t no beach dive.

At first blush, Galveston may seem like something of a strange choice for this high-roller retreat (especially if you’ve been on one of the island’s more crowded public beaches on a summer weekend). But there are plenty of power players with money from Houston (and even more far-flung areas of Texas) looking for quick escapes, too.

With that in mind, San Luis Resort boasts its own helipad for guests with the means to fly right over that I-45 traffic. Villa guests will be whisked to their luxury cocoons from there, no trip to a check-in desk necessary.

The bathrooms in the 800-square-foot suites are said to be mammoth and lifted straight out of a spa. It’s the seclusion and exclusivity that truly sets them apart from other offerings, though.

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I envision The Villas at The San Luis as an elegant retreat unlike anything else available on the Gulf Coast,” Fertitta says in a statement. “These suites will provide incredible surroundings and countless opportunities for relaxation, complete with uncompromised service.”

As the owner of five Golden Nugget casinos, Fertitta knows more than a little something about catering to high rollers. Transforming Galveston comes across as more of a personal mission for this billionaire, however. Fertitta got his business start (at age 14) doing all sorts of jobs at his father’s Galveston seafood restaurant, and his ties to the island go back to his grandfather.

Now he’s bringing a new level of luxury to his hometown, knowing that many of us yearn to live large. Even if it’s just for a weekend.

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