Who doesn’t enjoy the Holidays; great food, fun with family and friends, and, of course, presents! But with all the shopping, decorating, and partying, this time of year can be a bit exhausting. By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, you can barely stay awake long enough to watch the ball drop on West Coast time.
Maybe you should use some of your left over PTO and head to Catalina Island for a relaxing holiday hiatus. Right now for a limited time, you can book a midweek stay in the heart of Avalon at Hotel Atwater for as low as $125 per night per person based on double occupancy. And that includes your transportation on Catalina Express from San Pedro, Long Beach, or Dana Point.
Relax at the Atwater
Originally built in 1920 and completely renovated in 2019, Hotel Atwater is Catalina’s newest guest experience and a great spot to recharge your batteries before you charge into the New Year. You’ll feel relaxed and right at home the moment you walk into the hotel’s welcoming lobby, which seems more like someone’s living room with its island-inspired décor, comfortable seating areas and bouquets of fresh flowers. And don't miss the daily wine reception for guests from 4 to 9 pm daily.
With the hotel’s incredibly soft beds and luxurious linens, you might be tempted to slip between the sheets and drift off into a blissful state of relaxation as soon as you arrive, which is fine. But I recommend getting out and exploring all the other ways Hotel Atwater helps guests ease their Holiday stress.
The charming seaside town of Avalon is like a peaceful Mediterranean village frozen in time. Colorful bungalows line narrow avenues, while Spanish-style homes cling to steep hills that surround this sleepy mile-square metropolis. You can explore the town on one of Hotel Atwater’s complimentary bikes. Or go for a leisurely walk to the new Catalina Island Museum, where you can check out Wrigley's Catalina: A Centennial Celebration. This temporary exhibit, which runs through July 19, 2020, commemorates William Wrigley Jr. and the execution of his vision for Catalina, especially during his first year of ownership in 1919.
After you’ve learned about the island’s history and culture, listen to gentle waves lap the shore as you stroll along the waterfront to Avalon’s historic Casino, which opened in 1929 as the crowning achievement of Wrigley’s vision for Catalina. The Discover the Casino tour, which takes you through Avalon Theatre and up to the historic ballroom, offers a great introduction to the history of this architectural marvel. And it’s included in your stay at Hotel Atwater
Once you’re back in town, explore Crescent Street, which follows the bay and features a fountain, benches, planters and a serpentine wall decorated with authentic Catalina tile. Grab a seat under a palm tree and watch the boats bob on the water. You might even find some last-minute stocking stuffers at one of the quaint shops that line this scenic promenade.
Dine by the Bay
Your stay at Hotel Atwater includes a breakfast buffet at Avalon Grille. But it’s their lunch and dinner menus, which feature original and regional favorites served with harbor views, which make Avalon Grille one of Catalina’s most popular restaurants. Try the grilled octopus appetizer. It’s one of their specialties. The Grille also offers a huge selection of world-class wines and signature cocktails, like the Wrigley Martini.
Home of Avalon’s only beachside restaurant and bar, Descanso Beach Club is one of the few places in SoCal where you can legally have a drink in your hand and your feet in the sand. It’s also a great spot to do what you came to Catalina for in the first place: relax.
Kick back and enjoy the views while friendly staff delivers beach bites and beverages right to your oceanfront cabana, chaise lounge, dining table or beach towel. Tricia’s Nachos and a Buffalo Milk, the island’s signature drink, is a can’t miss combo at this seaside sanctuary, where you’re sure to leave a lot more relaxed than when you arrived.
Refresh at the Spa
If you’ve never been to a spa, you’re going to love Island Spa Catalina. Avalon’s only experiential spa offers 15,000 square feet of stress-free space, including a Jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna, soaking pool and ocean view deck, which are refuges of relaxation. And the spa’s full menu of massages and body treatments is tailor-made to drain every ounce of tension from your body.
Sometimes it helps to get out and do something different, like letting out a primal scream as you speed across Descanso Canyon at 35mph on Catalina’s Zip Line Eco Tour. After this bucket-list experience, you’ll be ready to soar into the New Year.
The Undersea Expedition is sure to dial down your stress level a few notches. There’s something magically calming about watching colorful sea creatures swim in and out of an undulating forest of giant kelp as you cruise through the crystal clear water of Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve.
Or find solace in nature on the Bison Expedition. This popular tour, which takes you through favorite bison grazing grounds, is a great way to experience Catalina’s scenic beauty as you search for these world-famous bovines in the island’s pristine interior.
Maybe it’s time for you to take a break from the holidays and recharge with a midweek Catalina getaway. You can book your package online at VisitCatalinaIsland.com/best-of-fall-winter or call a reservation specialist at 877.778.8322.