Looking to reestablish Galveston's reputation as a glamorous beach destination, a reputation that had been difficult to earn back after the island and many of its finest homes were devastated in the 1900 storm, local leaders decided that a grand beachfront hotel would help lure back the wealthy and elite. They ultimately spent $1 million dollars to build the hotel, which was designed by St. Louis architects Mauran and Russell in the Spanish Mission style, and named for the island's namesake, Bernardo de Gálvez, a former governor of Spanish Louisiana and viceroy of New Spain who never actually visited the island.
Adding to the hotel's allure, the eight-story building sported one particularly unique and eye-catching characteristic—it was entirely pink! With a vision of a building that would glow in the early morning light, the builders mixed pink granite into the stucco finish, resulting in its signature hue. For many decades during the 20th century, the hotel was painted white until recently, when new owners, Mark and Lorenda Wyant, restored the hotel to its original color.