We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Quite A Mixed Bag” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Catalina Boat House

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 1 more site!
Save
You added Catalina Boat House to your Saves list
Catalina Boat House
200 Marilla Avenue, Mailing: PO Box 646, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704 (Formerly Catalina Beach House)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #17 of 21 Hotels in Avalon
Bakersfield, California
Level Contributor
231 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Quite A Mixed Bag”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

This is the toughest review to write that I have ever attempted. Overall, our room for two nights was not so good compared to other hotels on the island in which we have stayed. But on the other hand, compared to other areas in which I have stayed, this stay is toward the bottom of the list for some very glaring reasons. If you could exclude the bathroom, I would give our room a 3, but all things considered, I've rated this property a two.
Upon arrival on the island, you take your luggage to the Hermosa Hotel, a sister property. You place it in an unsecured room with the luggage of other guests who are checking in and those who have checked out but not yet departed the island. The staff here at the Catalina Beach House work only as necessary to accommodate guests in the check-in, check-out process and room cleaning. The rest of the time, they are at the Hermosa. You return to the Hermosa around three pm to identify your bags, have them loaded onto a shuttle and you are given a lift to the Catalina Beach House, space permitting on the shuttle. They then return to the Hermosa. If you have any problems during the course of the rest of your stay, you have to call the sister motel for help using what is referred to as ‘the bat phone’ located in a box in front of the office.
The grounds, if rated by themselves, would receive one star, or less if possible. Peeling paint, lack of maintenance, the only ice maker being out of order, all cry out to a seasoned traveler to use caution when staying here. There are a few ‘patios’ or decks, all of which are in disrepair. Some of the trim is peeling and some is completely bare. One does have a bar-b-que for guest use. There are exposed wires on the back side of the building. All of this really is too bad because the place definitely has the potential to regain its lost charm of yesteryear.
This review is primarily on the grounds and room 8. No two rooms are alike. The clerk who checked us in told us that our room is only one of two which has an ocean view, and the other costs three times as much. Well, our room had only a partial ocean view, most of it being blocked by houses and trees between the motel and the ocean.
Most of our room has been remodeled but the bathroom is lost in the 40’s. Open the bathroom door and two feet in front of you is the door to the stall shower. You must make a hard right turn to face the small sink which has no vanity or countertop. You have to turn to the left and squeeze between the sink and the corner of the shower to get to the toilet. A plus here is that after a long night of drinking, you could sit on the throne and throw up in the sink without moving an inch. By the way, make sure you lift the flush handle after flushing or it will run forever. There are wall mounted soap and toothbrush holders which have corrosion on the top of each, if that tells you anything. The faucet aerator was seen down in the drain since it had no stopper. An ‘over the door’ towel holder was screwed to the wall.
Lighting in both the room and bathroom was minimal. With the kitchen light on, you could barely see the sink/countertop or stove. Since there was no horizontal surface in the bathroom, I was forced to put my contacts in in the kitchen, despite the low light. The bathroom was even worse, and was so small, my wife couldn’t put make up on in there and there was no other mirror in the room.
The television is wall mounted next to the bathroom door. There is no bed, nor any seating directly across from it unless you move chairs from the table nearby. The outlet for the tv is above it, high on the wall.
The curtains are something else… Old, tattered, thread-bare and well worn are all accurate adjectives. They are tied back to the sides of the window with strips of the curtains which have been cut off and tied in a plain knot. The curtain rods sag. Two windows still have the brackets indicating they once had some kind of mini-blind, but that was years ago. The window next to one bed has no screen.
The room has a kitchenette, but the mini-fridge is located on a short chest-of-drawers next to one of the beds, about 12 feet away. To use the coffee maker, you must bring it down from a shelf to plug it in. The microwave, on the other hand, is plugged into an outlet through a hole in a layer of sheet rock which is small enough to expose only half of the outlet. There are no doors on the front of the kitchen cabinets.
One of the two queen beds in our room was quite comfortable. The other wasn’t and was also noisy whenever you would turn over. There were no headboards nor were there nightstands. The clothes closet was very small and had no door.
At about 9 pm on our first night, I discovered the ice machine was broken. Using the bat phone, I called the afterhours clerk and asked if there was another on grounds. I was told no, but that Vons market sells ice and is open until 11 pm. That’s fine, but it’s quite an uphill trek back up the hill to the room while making the 5-6 block round trip.
For check-out, you leave your key in a drop box and, if you wish, you can take them to the Hermosa Hotel and they will store them for you until your departure time.
From the main street and the beach, it is a fairly steep walk up the street to the hotel. If you have any medical problems such as history of heart attack, COPD, or mobility issues, it would be wise to take a cab back to the property. After an active full day consisting of a 2 hour bicycle ride, walking back to the hotel twice, and walking around downtown, my knee started acting up, giving me a lot of pain. We stopped at the Hermosa Hotel to get a shuttle ride at about 3:20 and were told all guests had already checked in and that every one of the staff was too busy to give us a ride back to the Catalina Beach House just because we were tired. We were told they could call a cab for us. After re-explaining that tired wasn’t the issue, but I was hurting, they relented. Upon arrival at the CBH, there was a guest waiting there to check in, so not everyone had already done so.
During the course of our stay, I was able to see other rooms while the maids were cleaning up and by talking to other guests on the patio. Room #1 seems to be the room to ask for, unless the ocean view is a really big deal to you. It was like being in a totally different hotel. Etched glass doors on the tub, new cabinetry and new flooring made this room shine. Room B and room 1 are really nice. Each has a tub and remodeled kitchen, though both are a bit smaller than room 8. Room 9 was OK, and 10 & 11 were only so-so.
Don’t trust the pictures you see on Booking.com and only trust member photos submitted recently on TripAdvisor. The older photos and the ‘professional’ photos are very dated and don’t show this property accurately.
The short story is that if you are looking for a place to lay your head at the end of a long, tiring day of sight-seeing, this isn't too bad. But if you're looking to spend any amount of time in the room and can't get room B or room 1, look elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

141 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    34
    46
    28
    15
    18
See reviews for
27
57
4
2
Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
77 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

We stayed here with our kids for my birthday weekend. They were very friendly, allowed us to check in early. Even called us to let us know our room was ready. This property is 100 yrs old. Has great history. Knowing this allowed to embrace its lower doorways and uniqueness of the property. It was small, but had everything we needed, including a kitchenette. Instrumental for feeding hungry kids 1st thing in the morning. We packed food and picked a few things at the Vons with this in mind. Bed was very comfortable we all slept well. The patio was nice to sit outside El Fresco and enjoy dinner. Over all it was nice, I would return.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange, California, United States
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

We were in town for one night and just needed a place to shower and sleep. Had to be up early the next day. Catalina Beach House provided this for us at a very good rate. The staff were very nice!!!! Thank you Catalina Beach House. I will be calling you again soon to book a night's stay.

Room Tip: We had room #7 down below. It was quite and cool.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san diego
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

My wife and I (we're in our 30s) bought a 2-night stay at this hotel as part of a package, which also included roundtrip transportation from Newport Beach, a 2-hour bike ride and 2 tickets to the Casino musem. We had a blast! Our room was ready for check in hours before the usual check-in time (so, we didn't have to just store our luggage there and wait--we could check in right away.) Our room was just a bedroom with a partial kitchen and a bathroom, but had a huge flat-screen TV and was nice and cozy. We loved the patio with a BBQ and table/chairs outside, which had a beautiful view of the Avalon Bay. We love Catalina, so we enjoyed perusing through the museum items at the Casino, reading about the island's unique history and culture. The bike ride was fabulous; the hotel staff (friendly and responsive) told us not to worry if we were a bit late returning the bikes, and we rode up on top of the hill overlooking the bay, were the big U.S. flag is, riding by Ada Wrigley's mansion, and then zipped downhill from there. On our final day we checked out and stored our luggage at the hotel while we went kayaking/snorkeling for 4 hours. I would absolutely recommend it, especially to couples.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fountain Valley, California
Level Contributor
176 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

We read that the staff here is very helpful, and we definitely found that to be the case. When we left our luggage at the Hermosa Hotel at the end of our stay, the staff willingly agreed to charge my husband's cell phone in the office. However, the accommodations were not as great as the staff. Our room had two beds and a chest of drawers; two of the drawers were broken. The beds were high, making it awkward to sit on them to get dressed. There was a folding chair in the closet, but no place to leave it set up where it was not in the way. One of the pillows was awful; it seemed like a bag of rags, whereas the other pillows were quite firm. The toilet ran on if we didn't push the handle all the way up. Two of the four light fixtures didn't work, a problem for people like us who enjoy reading at night. When our room was cleaned, the maid didn't leave any coffee, and there was no blow dryer in the room. The patio furniture is rather shabby; one of the chairs didn't even feel stable. If you are looking for a hotel where you can comfortably relax on the property, this is not the place for you. If you are looking for decent accommodations with few amenities in a quiet neighborhood while you go off to explore the Island, this place might work!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
475 reviews
82 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 296 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

With the exception of the staff, I would give it a 0 .

I have stayed in a lot of places all over the world, from flops to tops. This is just a sad place to stay.

Upside, the staff sometimes.

The downside.
The golf cart that brings you up from the sister hotel Hermosa, is broken, and apparently has been for a week so dragging your bags up the hill is just stupid on an island that has golf cart rentals 70 feet from the Hermosa. Why they didn't just rent one for their guest luggage and travel up to this hotel shows poor thought.

No Internet, we were given the code for logging in and at the same time told it works sporadically. Naw that was a big lie. Didn't work at all.

Paid an additional 150 for room 3 room 3 has an exclusive balcony with a view of the harbor, you pay for the table and view, but no one bothered to tell other guests that its not community use. We never got a chance to use it because it was always full of other people.

The blinds in the room are broken and missing parts, yep people can see in, the sun comes in in the morning so it's a complete joke.

The carpet is crusty, in bare feet, granted there's an ocean close by, but I live at the beach in LA and never had it happen.

Maid service. They did clean and make up the room that was fine. They didn't clean the patio, leaving trash and stuff on the patio, bird droppings, pistachio shells and other people's empty wine bottles.

It's inexpensive and maybe the above reasons are why, but there is no excuse for the downside, easy inexpensive fixes could make this much better. This is the high season here. Time for a major overhaul here

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Springs, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

Really couldn't say more for the views, the staffing, the overall feel good feeling when staying at the Catalina Beach House!

Small and quaint but I could still make a meal in my room and save a few bucks not eating downtown every meal. The patio is a great place to socialize while BBQ'ing!

Had a great time and anything I needed was just a call to the front desk away.

Thanks Guys we had a blast!

Room Tip: Ask for the jet tubs, they warm you up after being in the ocean all day!
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Avalon hotels
0.1 mi away
Hotel Atwater
Hotel Atwater
#15 of 21 in Avalon
4.0 of 5 stars 339 reviews
0.4 mi away
Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa
0.2 mi away
Pavilion Hotel
Pavilion Hotel
#4 of 21 in Avalon
4.5 of 5 stars 782 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.0 mi away
Aurora Hotel
Aurora Hotel
#8 of 21 in Avalon
4.5 of 5 stars 168 reviews
0.2 mi away
Hotel St. Lauren
Hotel St. Lauren
#16 of 21 in Avalon
3.5 of 5 stars 272 reviews
0.1 mi away
Hotel Metropole
Hotel Metropole
#9 of 21 in Avalon
4.0 of 5 stars 353 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Catalina Boat House? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Catalina Boat House

Address: 200 Marilla Avenue, Mailing: PO Box 646, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704 (Formerly Catalina Beach House)
Location: United States > California > Catalina Island > Avalon
Amenities:
Beach Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Avalon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This charming property is located one block uphill from the beach in a quiet residential area still walking distance to the shops and restaurants. Modern kitchenettes and our sunny patios set the scene for relaxing barbecues with family and friends. Store your bikes in our lush courtyards or enjoy lounging on one of our public or semi-private decks with sweeping harbor views. We have some pet friendly rooms. This is the perfect setting for intimate weddings and small events and celebrations. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Priceline, Booking.com and Agoda so you can book your Catalina Boat House reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Catalina Beach House Hotel Avalon
Catalina Beach Hotel
Catalina Beach Avalon
Catalina Boat House Catalina Island/Avalon, CA

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Catalina Boat House, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.