C atalina Island is a quick- and-easy getaway destination for millions of Californians. The Island is an incredible place after the day-trippers go home, serene and beautiful, with fine restau- rants and a stunning, star-filled sky overhead. What’s the secret to finding a great hotel room? We asked a couple of local experts for advice. “Any time of year is a great time to visit the Island,” says Jim Luttjohann, president and CEO of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. But he admits there are tricks to getting a good room. “The best hotel and vacation rental rates are found weekdays and in spring or winter.” Another Luttjohann tip for vacationers looking for hotel values: Check out the packages and special offers at Catalina- Chamber.com and the Catali- na Express site, CatalinaPack- age.com, which includes pack- ages that offer boat tickets and lodging. Jerry Dunn, owner of two Avalon hotels, has more advice. “Book as early as possible. If you see something you like, pull the trigger. People often go back later and find the room they thought was available has disappeared,” he says. Dunn’s hotels, the Snug Harbor Inn and Hotel Vista Del Mar, are both popular boutiques with a chic flare. He also owns three retail stores and Scoops ice cream shop. “A lot of the hotels in town have upgraded over the years to try to compete better,” he says. “They’re offering more amenities; many have added fireplaces, like my hotels have. I think all the hotel owners have tried to do a better job to satisfy the customer. “I think that’s great. I don’t care if guests stay with me or somebody else. I just want them to enjoy themselves and come back to the Island again.” What’s the best thing about Avalon hotels? Spectacular views that stretch all the way to the mainland on a clear day. Hotel Options In the early 1900s, rows of tents greeted visitors to Ava- lon. The city has come a long way since then. You still can find tent-site camping, but if you’re looking for luxury rooms with a seaside vibe, Avalon’s the place. A good starting point might be a hotel that recently reno- vated, like the Aurora Hotel, a modern hillside boutique with a nice vibe. It made changes and updates in 2018. Another is the Hotel Mac Rae, which fronts on the bay. The hotel dates to the 1920s but has a continuing renova- tion program, recently adding large flatscreen TVs. The Mac Rae has a pleasant shared courtyard patio and has been owned and operated by the same family for four genera- tions. It features value rates. The Holiday Inn Resort is also newly renovated. This rambling hotel in the hills be- hind the city has refurbished its rooms and public areas. It has a popular restaurant, Seaside Bistro, and a pool—a rare commodity in Avalon. It also allows Fido to stay, a plus for dog owners. Another pet-friendly hotel in Avalon is the Hermosa Hotel. Renovations are also ongo- ing at the Mt. Ada, onetime summer home of William Wrigley Jr., the chewing gum tycoon who developed Catali- na into a tourist destination. The six-room B&B is pricey, but has a panoramic view of Avalon and the bay and of- fers its guests breakfast, lunch and use of a golf cart. If you’d like to take a look without staying overnight, the inn is open to visitors for lunch. 30 CATALINA EXPRESS MAGAZINE 2018-2019 Island Getaway How to Find the Perfect Vista Del Mar Hotel Metropole