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“Beware -- this place is a RIP OFF!” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island

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The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island
124 Whittley Ave, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 20 hotels in Avalon
Murrieta, California, USA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Beware -- this place is a RIP OFF!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

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!

Room Tip: Avoid room 101; uncomfortable bed, noisy. Perhaps avoid all lower level rooms as the street below...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
TheAvalonHotels, Owner at The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island, responded to this review, March 21, 2012
We are so very sorry that you feel The Avalon did not met your expectations. We are an independent boutique property and while our amenities and environment please most of our guests it obviously was not a fit for you.
Our beds are Supplepedic, which we choose after much consideration. We get many compliments on our custom comforters; I apologize that they were not to your liking. As for not having a blanket, perhaps you did not notice it as the beds are triple sheeted with ironed, 350-thread count sheets; the blanket is contained within the sheets.
As mentioned in an email to you, we recently switched credit card companies, which is why you were given a restaurant-style credit card slip. It was not a “solicitation” of tip, nor would one have been accepted. We are in the process of rectifying this situation.
Once again, I do apologize for your room not being serviced when you requested it.
I hope you return to Catalina and find a property more to your liking.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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381 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (122)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Coggeshall, Essex
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2012

We stayed here a couple of weeks ago as a last minute getaway. We were here for three nights and it could not have been a better experience! Ken took our reservation and was beyond helpful and accomodating. They had no rooms available with a balcony for our first night, but Ken made sure we had a balcony room for the next two nights and that really made the trip for us! We loved sitting out on the balcony on our glider bench, sipping wine and looking out at the water. Ahhh... Perfect. The view from the rooftop deck was breathtaking. (Though I will say that even the room without the balcony was still great. It had a view of the courtyard with a bit of a water view. No complaints about that room).

Laurie was so nice to let us check in early. We drove down from the Bay Area, took the early ferry to Catalina, and arrived at the hotel at 8:30am. Our room was not available at that time of day, but Laurie was so sweet and said we could hang out on the roof deck while we waited for check in. She knew we were exhausted, so when our room became available, she gave us a call on our cell phone and let us know we could check in early! How nice is that?

During our entire three night stay, we honestly had not one complaint about this hotel and its staff. Everyone was so personable and helpful. The hotel was spotless, the decor was great. Everything is in great condition and the place seems to be recently remodeled. We loved the natural citrus toiletries and soaps. I could go on and on about this place. We would definitely like to return again!

Thanks Laurie and Ken for making this a great trip for us. :-)

  • Stayed February 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2012

First Class in ever way. I wish we could have spent more time . Others could
learn from this operation. I would highly recommend this beautifully maintained and staffed
propery.

Room Tip: Ask for a Harbour View
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.
Yucaipa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2012

This was our second time as a guest for 2 nights. The best room is #301,but we had the 2nd best which is #201 with a view of the marina from the room and the 2 balconies as well. The staff are all friendly, extremely accommodating, which makes you feel very much like home. It truly is the nicest hotel on the island, and with a great location for strolling through the village.

Room Tip: Room #301 is the top corner with a wrap around balcony, but #201 has a great view of the marina as w...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012

Beautiful hotel, beautiful room, spectacular view of the harbor, one block from everything.
Room 306 has great balcony with a fantastic view.
Staff is very friendly and helpful.
A great pace to escape for a romantic vacation.

Room Tip: room 306 has a great view
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  • Stayed February 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torrance, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

I spent 2 nights at the Avalon Hotel with my girlfriend, as part of a romantic weekend getaway to Catalina. We were both extremely impressed - this is definitely one of the nicest places I've ever stayed, and I've stayed in a lot of hotels that were pricier than this. The building itself and the neighborhood as a whole are absolutely charming, and from the moment you walk inside, you can tell that a great deal of thought has been put into the decor and layout of the hotel. The desk staff were friendly and very helpful. They were also really, really nice about my unintentional late arrival!

The wooden trim and furnishings throughout the hotel were finished in a warm, inviting shade, which was accented by paint colors and detailing subtly evocative of the island's historic glazed tiles. This, along with custom designed lighting sconces featuring an outline of the island's profile, really tied the various spaces of the hotel together, and created a distinctive feel that was purely Catalina.

We stayed in room #103, which was on the ground floor toward the rear (inland) portion of the building. We booked a little too late to get a room facing the ocean - totally our own fault - but the mountain view we had was quite lovely, and the room also featured a private balcony from which the ocean could be seen. The hotel also offers a fabulous roof deck, open to all hotel guests, that offers not-to-be-missed views of the entire town, the ocean, and surroundings. Based on these factors I would not hesitate to book *any* room in the hotel.

The room interior was very well appointed, and though it was a bit on the small side, it more than made up for this with a well-thought-out layout and furnishings which echoed the design themes present in the hotel's common areas. It was also quiet, extremely comfortable, and absolutely spotless. The bed was one of the most comfortable I have slept on in any hotel, and the high thread count sheets and memory foam pillows felt absolutely luxurious. Really, there are not enough adjectives to describe how wonderful the bed was. I also liked that the ceiling fan and overhead (dimmable!) light could be controlled from the bed, via a wall mounted remote. The bathroom also deserves special mention - high-end fixtures, spotless gleaming tiles, and pleasantly-scented towels that were either brand new or just really, really clean.

From a more technical perspective, the room featured a large flat screen HDTV and DVD player. I'm sure they were nice, but we didn't actually wind up having time to test those out, as there was more than enough to see and do when out & about on the island. The hotel also offers free WiFi, which we did use. This worked well for web-browsing and email-checking, but beyond that, the connection was heavily firewalled, presumably to block high-bandwidth apps like streaming video. As I am a bedtime reader, this did cause some issues for me with my Android-based tablet that likes to update itself in the background, and for my Kindle app on the tablet, which could not sync. However, this is really a minor quibble, which certainly should not deter you from staying here. (Incidentally, I also have an iPhone, and using AT&T's 3G service, it worked better and faster on Catalina Island than anywhere I have used it on the mainland.)

The hotel also should get a gold star for having plentiful and intelligently located electrical outlets in the room, including right next to the bed. I'm sure this sounds like a very strange thing to rave about, but as a CPAP user and frequent business traveler it is something I have come to really appreciate. You'd be surprised how many hotels out there DON'T have an outlet within easy reach. In those cases I have generally had to put the machine in some awkward location, and since I'm breathing air through the intake on that machine, I'd really rather be able to put it on the bedside table and not on top of carpet or upholstery. Kudos to the Avalon Hotel on allowing that little bit of extra peace of mind.

Overall - the Avalon Hotel was absolutely wonderful, and I would not hesitate to stay there again, or to recommend it to friends, or to suggest it to even the most discriminating business associates.

  • Stayed February 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.
Fallbrook, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2012

I recently spent 3 days and 2 nights at the Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island with two girlfriends and had a wonderful time! The hotel staff were very friendly and helpful to tell us what to do and see. It was such an enjoyable experience with the warm hospitality of the staff. The ambience was more like a bed and breakfast with coffe in the lobby to access at all times with fruit and cookies as well as a welcoming breakfast on the private, delightful garden patio each morning. There was a fun complimentary wine, cheese and crackers happy hour on Friday on the patio with a lovely koi pond.
The accommodations were tastefully done, clean. and with very comfortable beds. We had our own terrace facing the ocean where we enjoyed coffee in the morning. The roof had a spectacular view over the harbor, ocean and town area. Everything more than met my expectations!
I am truly looking forward to another stay at this spectacular hotel and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a memorable get-away with a very friendly and accommodating staff!
Thanks so much again to the outstanding staff at the Avalon Hotel who made our stay such fun and memorable!
Submitted by Sharon Meyer

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 201 which offered a view of the ocean as well as a "Spanish" looking hi...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island

Address: 124 Whittley Ave, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Catalina Island > Avalon
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Avalon
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Avalon
#3 Family Hotel in Avalon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Catalina Island's premier boutique hotel features breath-taking ocean views and classic Craftsman style. Amenities include a roof-top deck, garden courtyard, flat screen televisions, Supplepedic mattresses and an attention to detail that indulges hotel guests. We look forward to welcoming you at The Avalon Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Hotel Avalon
The Avalon Hotel On Catalina Island CA

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