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“Best. Trip. Ever.”
Review of Portofino Hotel

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Portofino Hotel
Ranked #5 of 20 Hotels in Avalon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 6, 2010

If you never been you MUST go - to Catalina Island, California. Hawaii is fine if you're wealthy and don't mind all the tourists and Los Angeles is great if you can ignore the smell. But for the perfect romantic vacation free of overcrowding - visit Avalon in winter. It's cold, it's wet, but it's worth it; if you're only interested in sunbathing or swimming Catalina probably isn't the place for you any time of year. But in Winter the views are incredible, the rain (if you're lucky enough to have it) is beautiful - the best sleep machine EVER, and the activities are INCREDIBLE.

My wife and I came here and stayed at the Hotel Villa Portofino - the best hotel on the island, in my personal opinion, and took advantage of their winter-only Limited Offer package - on our 1 year anniversary in 2009. We saved enough to be able to enjoy the splendor of this beautiful island PLUS the package at the time included a free activity. We took advantage of the under sea tour which was AWESOME (although a little nauseating). We walked to the conservatory - another wonderful thing about visiting this paradise is everything is in walking distance, and we saw a movie in the incredible and beautiful Catalina Island Ballroom & Casino.

You MUST MUST MUST visit this place and if you DO STAY AT THE HOTEL VILLA PORTOFINO - this hotel is beautiful, accomodating, and affordable. With fireplaces in many of the rooms you can stave off the cold of winter (the only negative in my opinion) and enjoy the romantic views of the ocean.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 26, 2010

We just got back from three days and two nights at the Villa Portofino. We will definitely do it again!!! The reviews on TripAdvisor were a great help in making our decision on where to stay. We visited the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving so the hotel was not full...but filling up rapidly. The staff was excellent. My wife requires the use of a mobility scooter. Daniel allowed us use of the next room to ours to store the scooter when we weren't using it. He also worked out a late departure for us as our Catalina Express did not depart for Dana Point until 4:30 PM. The hotel location was perfect...not right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle...but on the main quay...a short walk to everything. The view from the sun deck on the roof was fantastic. We didn't have the money for a suite that has a view of the bay, but in retrospect, all we needed the room for was sleeping and the room layouts minimize street noise as much as possible. This is a noisy little harbor with all the motorized carts buzzing all over...very few cars. The continental breakfast consisted of coffee, juices, pastries, fresh fruit, etc. and since it was quite cool when we were there (Tucson standards, anyway), the staff had hot cider and cocoa available during the afternoons. Housekeeping was excellent...we left for breakfast the first morning and the room was clean with fresh linens when we got back. The price was quite reasonable compared to all the other hotels right on the harbor...I highly recommend you look at their packages...we got an excellent rate for a queen room including Catalina Express and taxi. The only reason sleep quality was rated very good instead of excellent was that my wife requires a daily nap and sometimes the noise of people going up and down stairs was noticeable...we were in a room quite near the office, though. Don't know about the room air conditioner, but the heater was excellent (all one unit like most modern hotels). The bathroom was spacious (shower only) and a separate makeup area. Overall the room was tight, but manageable...all we really needed...we were there for the location...Avalon...not for the room flavor. My wife and I have travelled all over the world and for the location, price and amenities the Portofino was a great choice for us. We did look into almost all the other hotels on the harbor while we were there...for a return visit in the future. The Portofino is still our first choice.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rustic17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2010

Catalina Island is a great getaway and this hotel is the place to stay. The room was large for what's available in Avalon, modern and clean, with a marble bath/shower and plenty of towels and soaps/shampoos etc. We upgraded to a room with a gas fireplace for a little more romance for our anniversary visit. The manager upon hearing of our celebration sent up a complimentary chilled bottle of champagne. The location is great, on the main drag but near the quieter casino end of the beach. The staff was welcoming, helpful and cheerful. They had a luggage room, bathroom and sun deck that you are welcome to use after checkout. The prices are slightly higher but the accommodations are significantly better than other hotels we've stayed at in Avalon. The continental breakfast was fresh and they have beachfront tables to enjoy it at. They also provide snacks and drinks all day. The attached Italian restaurant was moderately priced and very good. This is the best value for the money that we have found in Avalon, Catalina Island.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Thereandback468
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2010

The service here was amazing. They front desk staff was extremely helpful and nice. The location was perfect. Right by the water and there is a restaurant attached, which was also just as amazing!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank candycaneps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2010

My husband and I recently visited Catalina for the first time to celebrate his 50th birthday without kids! But since we didn't know whether or not childcare might get disrupted at the last minute, I wanted to find a hotel with a room large enough to accomodate cribs if needed. We booked the Villa D'Este which is the largest suite at the hotel. The location is very nice and as far as space in the room goes, the size was great. The bathroom had been upgraded and was quite nice (though for the price I would have liked to see spa-quality soap and shampoo vs. dial and breck as well as perhaps cotton balls, q-tips and robes. All-in though, the bathroom was very nice with a large soaking tub and separate shower, marble floors etc. Unfortunately, the rest of the room was significantly sub-standard considering we paid $550/night after taxes and fees. The carpet was old and smelled musty and in fact was ripped and frayed in parts. The furniture was ok but not upscale by any means. The kitchenette was convenient with a fridge and microwave. But with upgraded cabinet doors even the formica counter top would have felt better. They were cabinets you'd expect to see hanging in a nicely appointed garage and dismal grey. As for the bed, it was a bit too soft for my taste and the pillows were not quite as downy as I'd have liked. I have had better sleep. Finally, it is LOUD. The windows are old and not double-pained. Despite Catalina being a "car free" island, there are so many golf carts (which are much louder than cars) and plenty of cars buzzing around the streets near the hotel so that a doublepaned window in such an expensive room would have been at least one way to make the guest feel like they are in an oasis.
The sun deck has some stinky indoor-outdoor carpet which also was a bit of a surprise. Maybe it's to prevent anyone from slipping. But it's a bit musty. And I agree with another reviewer that it is unfortunately a place that smokers go to smoke so for those non-smokers who want to enjoy the outside view, the sundeck isn't the place to do that. The continental breakfast is okay...a few pastries, and juice. Nothing to write home about and an easy run to any house coffee shop would get you the same for $5. There is no mid-afternoon wine and cheese which would have been nice. We ended up not having to take the babies and much of the weekend we spent longingly gazing at the swanky new Pavillion Hotel which had smaller rooms but fantastic, clean, pretty outdoor social seating and what looked from our view as a very nice continental breakfast and mid-afternoon wine/cheese gathering. Boo hoo.
I don't know about the standard rooms or maybe a cheaper suite ...maybe the value for the money might have been there for those. But for the Villa D'Este, their most expensive room, and priced comparably to a premier room at the St. Regis or Four Seasons room in cosmopolitan city, I would have expected to have more upgrades and better quality amenities.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank suitandshorts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2010

It's true, the rooms are nonsmoking, but that can't be said for anywhere else in the hotel. The place is architecturally lovely but there are multiple ashtrays in the courtyard on every level and 5 or 6 on the small sundeck alone! All have tables and chairs next to them. I can't remember seeing that # of ashtrays in such a small space in California in years, and other guests made the same comment.

That's not an accommodation to smokers, it's an engraved invitation to smoke in every inch of the place that isn't in a room.

The building is visually lovely but the design and the concentration of "you are welcome to smoke here" spots leads to smoke getting sucked up through the entire building. The sundeck is effectively unusable to people who can't tolerate tobacco smoke, and any number of people who were up there with us complained that their experience was marred as a result. It definitely ruined my stay, and the excuses were extremely lame. Nonsmokers pay as much as smokers for rooms here, and we should have equal access to the amenities. If this place wants to set itself up as a smokers' paradise, it should advertise itself as such. They did not directly lie on their web site, but it wasn't exactly full information either.

Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
3  Thank lrgpers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catalinatime, General Manager at Portofino Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded October 6, 2010

Thank you for taking the time to write your comments following your stay with us. Unfortunately as hard as hotels work to provide our guests with a smoke free environment we still have people who are inconsiderate and smoke outside the smoking areas. Please note that ALL of our rooms are non-smoking and we do have designated smoking areas in our property. We will continue to work on this issue until we become a full non-smoking property but these things take time to accomplish. Please accept our apologies for any inconveniences during your stay and consider giving us another opportunity to exceed your expectations during a future visit.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2010

We have stayed here several times and always found the rooms clean, comfortable, quiet and the staff extremely helpful. We love the location and the attached restaurant. Very good value! The upstairs sun deck with a view of the harbor is an added plus.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank jakeinla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Portofino Hotel

Address: 111 Crescent Avenue, PO Box 127, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Catalina Island > Avalon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Avalon
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Avalon
#7 Romantic Hotel in Avalon
Price Range: $120 - $356 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Portofino Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Footsteps from the water, the best of Catalina is just outside our door. Enjoy your island getaway in an ocean view suite or beautifully appointed guest room. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Portofino Hotel Avalon
Portofino Hotel Catalina Island/Avalon, CA

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