Hotels in Avalon

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Best Avalon Hotels

Avalon Hotels

Lose yourself among swaying palms on golden sandy shores, and discover the meaning of tranquility in an idyllic island paradise – Avalon is not your archetypal tourist destination, with its bright hillside homes and dramatic mountain coastline. It has its bars and late night clubs, and seafood restaurants serving freshly hauled catch, but you won’t find gaudy neon strips and overly cheap happy hours in tourist-filled bars. Instead, you’ll discover laid back island living, with chilled out beach parties, BBQs on hotel terraces and starlight dining in surfside cabanas.

Things to see

Avalon Port is the first place you’ll see if you arrive at Catalina Island by boat, but on the approach it looks little more than a rocky headland where 2 mountain ranges almost meet. Inside their protective curve, a small marina serves ferries to the mainland, and private yachts bob patiently in line along floating jetties that jut out from the golden sandy beach. You can’t fail to notice the art deco-inspired Catalina Casino that sits at the entrance to the port. Its white-columned façade and terracotta tiled roof make it a distinctive landmark. Don’t take a bet on what it’s used for, though, because there’s strictly no gambling allowed in this casino. Instead, it houses an elaborate cinema dating back to the 1920s, and a grand ballroom where an arched ceiling soars overhead, and Tiffany chandeliers cast soft lighting onto the elegant dance floor. The palm-lined fringe of Descanso Beach is just beyond the mountains, and if what you’re looking for on this island is a tranquil escape, you’ll find it here among the soft sands and gently lapping surf of the North Pacific Ocean.

Hotels in Avalon

Catalina Island is small and mostly residential, originally designed as a community resort away from the hectic lifestyle of mainland California. It means there are fewer hotels here than you might expect, although tourists are always welcome. The majority of Avalon hotels are in the mid-budget range, but you might be surprised by the amenities on offer. Typically, terraced swimming pools, soothing spa facilities, fully-equipped fitness centers, and relaxing al fresco dining can be found in most of the hotels in Avalon. And because this idyllic coastal town is built on the side of a hill, you’re likely to get a balconied hotel room with impressive views of the bay. Perfect to whet your appetite for exploring this laid-back island.

Where to stay

Avalon is such a small bayside town, you can cover most of it on foot in a single afternoon. The higher you climb, the more residential it becomes, with pretty whitewashed houses snaking their way up the steep hillside. There are a few Avalon hotels perched at the top, enjoying expansive views over the curving bay and giving access to the lush landscape of the island beyond. Closer to the beach, the town is a little flatter. Uniform blocks of quaint residential houses mix with charming hotels, noisy beachfront cafés and colorful shop fronts that stretch along the broad promenade.

How to get to Avalon

The tiny airport on Catalina Island, nicknamed the Airport in the Sky because of its elevation and short runway, isn’t suitable for anything bigger than a private light aircraft. Most visitors arrive at Avalon Port by ferry from either Newport Beach or Long Beach on the fringes of Los Angeles. The crossing takes about 40 minutes on twin or single-hulled ferries, but if you prefer to arrive in style, private helicopter transfers are a slightly more expensive, but vastly more exciting way to travel.