You’ll either love it or…not. I was hoping our stay at the Hermosa Hotel would reveal the negative reviews were nothing more than mean-spirited griping from uptight snobs with no concept of funky charm, people who sneer at anything that doesn’t have turn-down service and a mint on the pillow.
Nope. The negative reviews of the cottages are, unfortunately, accurate.
This sounds contradictory, but the positive reviews are also generally true; there are some good things about this place. They are diver-friendly and allow you to stow your bag after you check out and even let you come back to take a shower. Relative to the cost of other lodging on Catalina, it’s cheap.
We stayed in cottage “H” for two weekend nights. The cottages are absurdly tiny, but the bed is comfortable and the room is equipped with an excellent heating and cooling unit. The kitchen and bathroom are serviceable, but again, miniscule. A pair of 250-pound adults would not fit comfortably in here. There is a working stove, microwave, and refrigerator. The location in town is perfect; the grocery store is less than two minutes away on foot.
I agonized over this review and ended up with two stars instead of one because the management does try hard to provide outstanding customer service, and because we stayed here as part of a group. We did not choose this accommodation ourselves, and wouldn’t have, so I don’t want to be completely unfair.
The size of the cottage might have been tolerable, maybe even somewhat enjoyable, except for two things:
First, the property infrastructure is horribly maintained. What a shame that the owners of an historic Catalina structure with such potential have allowed it to fall into an atrocious state of disrepair. I know work is currently being done in some areas, but please. Why bother with new floors and climate control systems in each unit but leave broken blinds and flimsy locks?
The owners should take a good look at some of the sparkling and beautiful neighboring properties. None of which, sadly, had vacancies the second night of our stay. The Hermosa seems to have a large following. Instead of trying to keep as many rooms booked as continuously as possible, they would be better off concentrating on upgrading entire whole units at a time, inside and out, instead of doing it piecemeal.
Second, our cottage was dirty. There is a stark difference between seaside funky and downright filthy. It almost felt like it had not been cleaned after the previous guests. The room was so small I had to clamber over my husband to get out of the bed. I couldn’t go around the end of the bed because there wasn’t enough room between the bed and the wall for me to squeeze through. And I’m a whopping 125 pounds. Besides, we had to store one of the bags down on the floor in the space between the foot of the bed and the front wall. Why didn’t we utilize the ample space UNDER the bed, you ask? Well, because I looked under the bed first and found a big, thick island of dirt and hair in the middle, where the mop didn’t reach. That mop obviously never went past a six-inch perimeter around the floor under the bed. That’s the respect your cleaning staff has for your new Pergo floors. The overhead fan hadn’t been cleaned in months, either, and it was missing a bulb.
But the worst thing was a giant clump of long dark hair wrapped around one of the screws in the bathroom door sill. I saw it instantly; the cleaning staff should have, too. Let me be clear: there is no way anyone doing even a cursory bathroom cleaning could possibly have missed this clump of wet creepy hair. They would have had to step over it. Your cleaning staff doesn’t care, or they never set foot in here after the previous guests.
As other reviews have mentioned, for those that subscribe to the “a room is only a place to sleep” theory of travel, good luck getting a restful night here. The street noise and people walking up and down the stairs were awful. You CAN hear everything. And what good is a non-smoking room when people are sitting outside smoking four feet from our door?
The management also needs to pay closer attention to who is in their lobby at night. They don’t staff it twenty-four hours a day. There is a computer in the lobby for guests to use, but when we went to use it, we saw what was apparently a local neighborhood kid taking advantage of it. I say “apparently” because when he was done, he got up, went outside, and rode his skateboard away.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hermosa is Catalina’s friendly, quaint, economy hotel located in the heart of Avalon half block from the beach and a short, flat walk from the boat landing. The Historic Hermosa Hotel has been serving guests of the island as far back as 1896 and, as was the style then, our rooms are small and simple. No thrills or frills- ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hermosa Hotel Avalon
- Hermosa Hotel Catalina Island/Avalon, CA