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“twenty years later, the romance is still alive” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel

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Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel
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199 Chimes Tower Road, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #15 of 20 Hotels in Avalon
avalon, ca
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“twenty years later, the romance is still alive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

Twenty years ago today, my husband and I got married on the patio at this lovely property. This evening, my husband surprised me with dinner on that same patio. A HUGE thank you to Michael, the manager, who has such a romantic soul! We spent our fifth year anniversary in one of the original rooms (the Purple Sage) and intend to continue our traditions at this beautiful property. If you are looking for views that just don't quit, historic properties, peace, quiet and total relaxation....I recomend the Zane Grey!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Leeds UK
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

This old hotel is in a wonderful location overlooking Avalon and the bay - and that is the only good thing to say about it. It is very poor value and appears not to have been updated for at least 50 years. Heating was provided by a two bar electric fire for the bedroom. There was no heating in the sitting area and in January 2013 it was so cold that this room was not useable. 'Breakfast' was exceptionally poor and taken outside in the cold. Tiny bathroom was archaic. Bedding old - at least 50 years old and well past it's use by date. Flaking paint and furnishings very poor quality and badly painted. Wait until it has new owners and has been updated ...

Room Tip: If you really must stay here ask for a room overlooking the bay.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach, CA
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

The Zane Grey is an interesting place. This was one of Zane Grey's homes. It has historical significance and there are photos and information about the late author. The best part about this hotel are the views. It's on top of Avalon overlooking the Harbor and surrounding hills. The views from the rooms are wonderful regardless of location.
The property sits on a large lot (rare for that area). There are deer that roam through the property and cats that hang out outside. There is a small swimming pool and a deck in the back and a deck at the front porch to just hang out.
This is not the place to stay if you re looking for luxury and pampering. It is an old building built in the early 1920's and has been maintained but had little updating. The rooms are small but comfortable. Our room had two small closets that contained a shower in one and a toilet and tiny sink in the other. There is a rack on the wall of the room to hang your clothes.
Since the rooms are small you can also hang out in the living room that contains a piano, a large couch that really needs replacing, and a small old TV.
They offer a "continental" breakfast. Since we like actual breakfast we didn't bother with it and walked downhill to town to eat. A five minute walk and good exercise.
The hotel manager/check-in person was friendly and accommodating.
Overall, you basically get what you pay for. If you are on a tight budget and don't have high expectations, you might like it. If anything you will at least get the best view!

Room Tip: Go for the Harbor view rooms!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

First of all, I dislike Catalina, so keep that in mind. Next, remember I was in Catalina by obligation for a wedding, and this was the only hotel on the island with an available room. Now, the review.

The Zane Grey Pueblo Inn desperately clings to an idealized world of yesteryear, when people didn't have televisions, mobile phones, or AIR CONDITIONING. Let me be clear. This hotel has no air conditioning. Now, they will tell you that Catalina offers its own air conditioning in the form of lovely Avalon, ocean breezes. They are in denial. Unless you stay in one of the seven ocean view rooms, you will be sweating from the time you arrive, until the time you leave. We stayed in "Drift Fence" (the rooms are all named for Zane Grey's novels), and it had a "Catalina Mountain View." Yes, we had a view of dirt, cactus, insects, and some random deer outside our room. Before you get excited about the deer, remember the insects.

There were no screens on the windows, so if you open them to get a breeze (wouldn't disturb an air sock), you will welcome the insects, stray cats, and any passersby into your room. A ceiling fan and oscillating standing fan barely move the air enough to breathe. The Zane Grey Pueblo Inn prides itself on being "rustic" and "charming" with their lack of modern amenities and stock of Zane Grey novels to encourage reading, but I've been in rustic, charming hotels, and they did not include 1960's era bathroom fixtures and filthy carpet. This place needs a major remodel and update to its philosophy. Sure, they offer free shuttle service up the hill from the harbor and down the hill to town, but only twice a day, and at inconvenient times. Spend the additional $100, and stay at the bottom of the hill. You'll end up paying that much for taxis anyway.

Back to the lack of air conditioning. This is not charming. This is not rustic. This is a pretentious hotel that doesn't want to spend the money on modernization and explains it away as something that author Zane Grey would want. Really? I've spent numerous nights in "rustic" hotels in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. where they keep the "rustic," but add the cool air. Zane Grey (whose real name was Pearl Grey) is no longer with us. I think we can abandon this idealized world where people enjoyed the stifling heat and dated (not antique) furniture. Catalina is overrated, and The Zane Grey Pueblo Inn needs to realize this, fork out the cash, and update.

One positive element was the swimming pool. Apparently, there aren't any on Catalina. I'm sure they explain that with, "Catalina has a 'natural pool.' It's called The Pacific Ocean." Okay, but when you're dripping with sweat in your hotel room after returning from the mundane art show in Avalon, a dip in the (very) cold pool is nice. Unfortunately, we had to return to the room to get ready for a wedding, for which I was shiny due to the lack of air conditioning. Did I mention that Zane Grey wanted to encourage reading, but discourage comfort? Yep. He apparently did. And his hotel is carrying on this legacy in spades.

And since no review from Mrs. Kenobi would be complete without a comment on the ice situation, get ready for some ziplock bags full of ice. Yes. That's right. There is no ice maker. They have a refrigerator and freezer (standard kitchen type circa 1982) on the patio by the pool, and in it you'll find sandwich bags full of ice cubes, the kind your freezer makes at home. Sure it sufficed in a pinch, but considering how hot it was in our room, it did not meet my criteria of filling the (dated and dirty) bathtub full of ice to cool off from the stuffy and stale air of the room. Really? You can't even spring for an actual hotel ice machine? Really?

Like I said, I've stayed in so many places in all my travels. I've stayed in igloos in Sweden. I've been camping in Death Valley. I've slept in the Australian Outback. I lived in Japan. I've schlepped along the highway in Motel 6's on route 66 in the 1970's with my parents en route to Ohio. But, this has to be one of the most uncomfortable hotel experiences in my life. I am being generous with the "poor" rating since my husband hates to criticize, but if you absolutely have to stay in Catalina (you'll be over it in one day), get a room in town, in the air conditioning, in the 21st century. Sure, you may be mindlessly watching TV instead of reading an intellectually stimulating Zane Grey novel, but at least you'll be comfortable.

Room Tip: Absolutely stay in an ocean view room if you have to stay in this hotel. Do not stay on the mountai...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

For $180, we had a gorgeous view of the bay and ocean beyond. And you are away from the noise of downtown Avalon. And the pool is lovely to swim in. A lovely porch exists out back. I even read a Zane Grey novel. BUT, the rooms have tiny bathrooms with old wood in the medicine cabinets, thin towels, old carpeting, wicker chairs in the room without seat cushions, and barely comfortable beds. Paint is peeling and on the wooden stairs you can see how the wood is rotting away. The place is up for sale, and I doubt the owner wants to put any money into the place now to improve it.

Room Tip: The ocean view rooms are the best because they have the view and are cooler in the afternoon. The...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

View was the only thing good about this hotel. For 200$ Imagine an apartment complex in the ghetto, decorated with all the cheap trinkets you can buy as you cross the Mexico border and you are at the Zane Grey. Walls peeling, dingy carpet from the 70's, feral cat's all over, and super thin walls. Great view with only 1 very small open-able window. Rooms are all different I think the one we had was converted from a 10 x 10 closet to the "Golden Sands or Desert Sands." Whatever they name it it was the room directly across from check in office. Early 10 am check out. If you plan on spending the day in Catalina hope you have a place for your bags because they just told me I could put mine outside by the pool. Coffee and Breakfast I was told was served between 8-10am. I know it sounds like I am making this up to be bitter but I am telling the truth. Breakfast was instant coffee, wheat bread in a ziplock bag each with a jelly packet, and a bowl of oranges.

I found one and only taxi service on the island to be the worst part about Catalina. They have a monopoly on the island so they gouge you big time and for the most part the drivers were unfriendly. Example, there is a shuttle offered from the Zane Grey at certain times of the day. You have to call to let them know you need a pick up. I called. They never came. I called back and they taxi operator was arguing with me that the taxi came and went. So when they did arrive they dropped us with all our bags downtown. We needed to go to the dock which was 2 blocks away. The driver said that would be 11$ if we wanted to go the extra 2 blocks because the free shuttle was only to downtown. I choose to just carry my bags. Wouldn't ya know it when I got to the dock. There was our cab driver snickering at us hauling our bags. Par for the course. I found the hospitality on the island as a whole to be very poor. My wife and I were on our anniversary. We named this the island that doesn't want people.

Trust me stay somewhere else other then Catalina if you want a romantic getaway

Room Tip: Not the "Golden Sands or Desert Sands" what ever the ocean view room is that is directly a...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

We had a fantastic stay at the Zane Grey. The views from the pool deck and the south patio next to the piano room are amazing. They don't have a bar, but there is a refrigerator for all guests to share, so pick up some beverages at Vons before you head up the hill so you'll have something for the sunset. We watched some deer come down from the hillside to take a drink from the pool while we were having our wine. The rooms are basic, no TV, but the bed was fine and we slept well. Breakfast is a bit spartan, just toast, apples and oranges, and coffee only, so next time we might pick up some yogurt and juice as well to put in the fridge. We will definitely stay here again on any future visits to Avalon.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel

Address: 199 Chimes Tower Road, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Location: United States > California > Catalina Island > Avalon
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 20 Hotels in Avalon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel offers ocean view and mountain view rooms as well as sunning decks and balconies where guests can take in the spectacular views. The Pueblo Hotel also features an arrowhead shaped fresh water swimming pool surrounded by graceful gardens. The Pueblo's character is still evocative of the author's perceptions. The decor, ambiance, balconies and gardens lend themselves to a peaceful and quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Avalon. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Zane Grey Pueblo Avalon
Hotel Zane Grey Pueblo
Zane Grey Hotel
Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel Catalina Island/Avalon, CA

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