This place is a rip off! Everything on the website is hype! At best, the views, beds, breakfast and service are all modest. This hotel promises a lot, charges a breathtaking rate, even by Catalina Island standards, and then fails to deliver!
I sensed trouble when I checked in and was solicited for a tip on a un-totaled, restaurant style credit card receipt. For what? The pleasure of accepting my online reservation and $400+ deposit? While I would consider tipping for excellent service on checkout, it is a low-class (or grossly careless) business practice to imply this consideration at check-in and a lie to present such a receipt and pretend it means anything different.
Since my visit to Catalina was a special event, I selected Room 101 based the website’s description of it. Definitely DO NOT reserve room 101 if you want any quiet or privacy. It's only one level above a busy street and about 10 steps from the front desk/lobby. The room itself was a HUGE disappointment! I expect some hype on a business’s website, but this one is borderline fraud. For this room the website describes “dramatic ocean vistas” and a “plush queen bed.” I would describe the view, from a standard sized window around another building and down a street, as “modest” at best. The bed and bedding are third rate even in comparison to current chain hotel standards. The bed had an uncommon, twenty or so pound, horse blanket type bedspread but no blanket underneath. It was extremely unwieldy and uncomfortable. The mattress was some type of foam (as advertised) but far inferior to standard foam mattresses.
The service was disappointing, too. We left our room at 9 am and returned momentarily around 2 pm and it still wasn’t serviced. I specifically requested at the front desk that it be serviced since we were returning in an hour to prepare for a late afternoon event and then dinner and was completely brushed off. We returned at 3 pm and waited 30 minutes more for our room to be ready. I would not normally comment on such an incident, but this lack of service combined with a discount hotel quality continental breakfast; cheap, store bought cookies and other highly touted but lackluster amenities, and uncomfortable room at the weekend rate of $860 makes the Avalon Hotel, in a lifetime of worldwide travel as a military and airline pilot, the biggest hotel rip off I’ve ever experienced!
In short, big price, big promises, but just not worth it.
On the plus side, I strongly recommend Brown’s Bicycle Rental, the grilled fish sandwiches at the Lobster Trap, morning coffee and fresh baked goods at the El Encanto Courtyard, dinner at Villa Portofino and the couple’s massage by Lavina and Sarah at the Aurora Hotel if any of those activities are of interest to you. Except for rate to quality ratio at the Avalon, our visit to Catalina was a blast!