Monday, August 18, 2014

Santa Catalina Island Company At-A-Glance

 
HISTORY:
The Santa Catalina Island Company was established in 1891 when the sons of American entrepreneur, Phineas Banning, bought Catalina Island to develop as a resort. In 1919, after a spate of bad luck, the Banning brothers were forced to sell their island in shares. One of the chief investors to purchase shares from the Bannings was William Wrigley, Jr. Prior to purchasing, Wrigley traveled to Catalina with his family and immediately fell in love with the island and bought out almost every share-holder until he owned controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company. Wrigley invested millions in needed infrastructure and began the birth of modern tourism on the island.
 
Today Catalina Island boasts a wealth of natural and cultural resources along with animals and plants found nowhere else on earth. Development is minimal and administered by the Catalina Island Conservancy, so the landscape gives the visitor an idea of what Southern California looked like hundreds of years ago. On a tour to the interior of the island, it’s also possible to see an unusual sight; buffalo grazing on the hillsides. In 1924, 14 American bison were brought to the island for the filming of a movie. They remained, and act as island mascots today.
 
DESTINATION:                                    
Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is accessible by Catalina Express boats from three ports: San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point.
 
Avalon, a laid-back island town of 3,736 people, is reminiscent of the seaside villages that hug hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean and is full of opportunities to eat, drink, shop, or just stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the island-village vibe. A broad beachfront walkway stretches from the Catalina Express mooring dock to Descanso Beach. Most residents live in the quaint city of Avalon, while others reside in the secluded isthmus village of Two Harbors. Avalon offers the quintessential beach town experience opportunities for island adventure, romance, eco-tourism, art experiences and family fun.
 
Two Harbors, the quaint village on Santa Catalina Island’s west end, is the ideal destination for a Southern California boating adventure. There are more than 700 mooring sites around Two Harbors in secluded coves, landings, beaches, and harbors including Isthmus Cove, Fourth of July Cove, Cherry Cove, Emerald Bay, Howland’s Landing, Little Geiger, White’s Landing, Moonstone, Hen Rock, Buttonshell, Catalina Harbor and Wells Beach.                    
 
SPA                                                    
In late summer 2014, Santa Catalina Island Company will open the Island Spa Catalina, the islands first-ever resort spa. Reflecting Catalina’s rich history and seaside atmosphere, Island Spa Catalina will offer a variety of pampering treatments and rejuvenating therapies using island-grown ingredients. Located inside the historical El Encanto building, the Spa will feature 15,000 square feet of indoor space and include a variety of outdoor experiential components including a courtyard, soaking pool and vista deck.  The Spa will be comprised of nine treatment rooms, a nail salon, a Spa Shoppe, Spa Café and an outdoor courtyard.                           
 
ACCOMMODATIONS:                          
The recently re-designed Pavilion Hotel offers beach chic accommodations with four different room types, only 14 steps away from the water in Avalon. Set in an elegantly landscaped tropical garden, guests can relax in the cool ocean air in semi-private courtyard lanais or around a large fire ring in the outdoor ocean view lounge. Complimentary breakfast and daily wine and cheese tasting receptions are provided.
 
Hotel Atwater offers comfort in the heart of Avalon. Newly remodeled and more welcoming than ever, the hotel is one of Avalon's largest ideally located properties. With 91 rooms, four different room types and new furnishings, the Hotel Atwater has something for all island guests. Only footsteps away from the beach and Island Tour Plaza, the Hotel Atwater is the ideal place for those wishing to see all of Avalon.
 
Banning House Lodge was built in 1910 as the summer home for the pioneering Banning brothers, who owned Santa Catalina Island. Now a charming, Craftsman-style bed and breakfast, the lodge offers sweeping views of the Isthmus of Catalina and Catalina Harbor from its romantic, hilltop perch above Two Harbors. Each of the twelve rooms is individually decorated with a private bath. Guests can sip a cool drink and view the California mainland on the horizon in the quaint, trellised courtyard. The Common Lodge and Sun Room provide cozy places to read a book, enjoy a crackling fire or share conversation.
 
CULINARY EXPERIENCE:                    
Avalon Grille: Open seven days a week and now serving breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, the Avalon Grille features new American cuisine and regional dishes with a seasonal approach, paired with a world class selection of wines, micro-brew beers and specialty cocktails. The restaurant features large windows overlooking Avalon Bay, open air dining on the large patio and a lively central bar.
 
Harbor Reef Restaurant: A “South Seas casual” Two Harbors tradition, serving up tasty, fresh caught fish from local waters along with steaks, ribs, chicken, and prime rib. The swordfish flag on the pier flies whenever the fresh catch is available. Portions are generous and the service friendly and welcoming.
 
Harbor Reef Saloon: The Patio Bar is the heart of Two Harbors social life, a place to meet new friends and visit with old ones. Dancing under the stars as a live DJ spins is offered most weekends starting Memorial Day weekend through Buccaneer Days in October. The Two Harbors specialty drink, the blended classic “Buffalo Milk,” is served here and recognized worldwide.
 
VENUES:                                            
Descanso Beach Club: A beautiful cove and beach, Descanso is one of the last private beaches in California with public access. Morning hours are serene and the pace quickens as the day progresses, creating an energetic vibe at the hottest place in town. The open-air restaurant offers lunch and dinner with fire rings on the beach and two popular, beachside bars. The daytime menu features a wide variety of appetizers, burgers, wraps, sandwiches and salads. The bar at Descanso Beach Club is famous for specialty Catalina cocktails. On Saturdays and Sundays the afternoon kicks off with the Descanso Beach Club's Beach Party scene with DJs spinning, happy hour specials and occasional live music.
 
The Club provides easy access to snorkeling, kayaking, the Catalina Climbing Wall, Sea Trek, Scuba and the Zip Line Eco Tour.
 
In the fall of 2014, Descanso Beach Club will debut a new look with upgraded facilities and new high-end amenities such as private cabanas, chaise lounges and indoor/outdoor restaurant and meeting space. The new look will include 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Spaces include: St Catherine’s Ballroom, an expansive and flexible 1,900 square foot banquet space for up to 170 guests, the Atrium, a 1,100 square foot space with panoramic ocean views and 2,000 square feet of outdoor ocean view deck space.
 
Catalina Country Club: The perfect solution for small and mid-sized groups, both casual and formal seating areas are capable of accommodating 10-200 guests. Individual rooms or the entire venue can be reserved. Located only steps for the Catalina Golf Course, groups can take the meeting onto the green, or choose to relax in the private and peaceful interior of the Catalina Country Club.
 
Catalina Island Golf Course: Originally built by the Banning Brothers in 1892, this is the oldest operating golf course west of the Mississippi. The 2,100-yard course has nine challenging holes with two sets of tees for 18-hole play. The golf course offers a fully stocked pro shop, rental clubs, electric and pulls carts, and a PGA-certified professional.
 
Dive Shop at Two Harbors: The place to rent all types of recreation equipment for island activities including snorkel gear, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach umbrellas, tennis rackets, mountain bikes, wetsuits, SCUBA gear and more.
 
Moorings Two Harbors & Avalon: Considered a cruiser’s paradise, Two Harbors is situated at the isthmus of Catalina Island. The crystal clear waters and unspoiled vistas enchant visitors. The village of Two Harbors and the secluded coves nearby each have mooring and anchorage options to make discovering all that Catalina has to offer an easy experience.
 
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES:                  
· Zip Line Eco Tour
· Scenic Beaches
· Skyline Drive Tour                    
· Safari Bus
 
· Avalon Scenic Tour                  
· Boutique Shopping
· Dolphin Quest                            
· The Catalina Casino
· Flying Fish Boat Tour              
· Fishing
· Kayaking                                      
 Catalina Climbing Wall
· Heli-Hiking                                                     
 
GETTING THERE:                                
While some fly by helicopter or airplane, by far the most popular mode of transportation to Catalina Island is by boat. In its 33-year history, Catalina Express has ferried more than 22 million passengers to and from Catalina and is the preferred mode of transportation for 95 percent of visitors to the island. The fleet of eight high-speed, high-tech vessels carries passengers over the 22 miles in about an hour, sometimes less, with up to 30 scheduled departures per day.
 
Catalina Express offers frequent departures from Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. The Express travels direct from the mainland to Avalon and Two Harbors. For boat reservations, call 800-429-4601 or book online at www.CatalinaExpress.com. The Commodore Lounge upgrade is available on the high-speed catamarans. Lounge passengers enjoy priority boarding, comfortable seating in a more intimate environment and a complimentary beverage with snacks served by cabin attendants. The Captain’s Lounge upgrade for up to eight passengers is available for private bookings on select boats. Located on the top deck directly behind the captain, it includes a complimentary bottle of champagne.
 
CLIMATE:                                            
Catalina Island has a temperate climate and average annual precipitation is just over 12 inches. Summers are dry and warm with ideal winds for boating weather. The ocean water temperature ranges from the low 70s in summer to the low 50s in winter.
 
DID YOU KNOW?
 
  • Marilyn Monroe lived on the island for a year during World War II when her husband at the time, James Dougherty, was stationed in Avalon with the Merchant Marines.
  • Hollywood visitors over the years have included John Wayne, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Errol Flynn, Judy Garland, Henry Fonda and more recently, Barbra Streisand, Nicolas Cage, Rob Lowe, Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry.
  • The Chicago Cubs conducted spring training on the island from 1921 to 1951 when chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. owned both the island and the team at the time.
  • Modern sport fishing can be traced to the Catalina Tuna Club, founded in 1898. It is the oldest big-game saltwater fishing club in the world.
  • Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to discover the island in 1542, but Catalina Island got its name from his countryman, Sebastian Vizcaino, who spotted the island on the eve of Saint Catherine’s day in 1602 and named it after her.
  • Notable politicians to visit the island are U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge, as well Britain’s Winston Churchill, who in 1929 caught a marlin in less than 20 minutes.
  • Famed World War II General George S. Patton spent summers on Catalina as a boy.
  • Zane Grey, author of western novels and an avid sportsman built a pueblo-style home on a hill above Avalon. Today it is a hotel, with rooms named after some of his book titles including The Vanishing American and Riders of the Purple Sage.
 
MEDIA CONTACTS:                           
 
Laura Millet/Lydia You/Kaitlin Novell
Murphy O’Brien Public Relations
310.586.7142 / 310.586.7124 / 310.586.7170

Map

E.g., 09/17/2014
E.g., 09/17/2014