For our first trip to Catalina Island, we decided not to sail down and stay on the boat. This turned out to be a great decision as the seas were rough and the weather cold enough that I would have been cranky – and nobody wants that! Instead, we enjoyed the comforts and convenience of a hotel, El Terado Mini Suites in Avalon.
Andy chose El Terado because it was a relatively short walk to the downtown, was in budget and had some very nice water views (and, as it turns out, views of the deer that wandered around in the valley below us). He also chose it because it had a full kitchen – as we were traveling over Christmas, we weren’t sure if we would have to fend for ourselves, and it was nice to have the option.
The bed was a roomy king, and was wildly comfortable. It wasn’t overdone with pillows or extra bedding, though extra blankets were available in the closet. The heater managed to drive out the nighttime chill, and the television was Netflix enabled (because sometimes you have to watch the next episode of Jessica Jones). The bathroom was clean, and had everything we needed to make us comfortable. And that is the key word for the room – comfortable. It wasn’t fancy, but it worked well for a three-day tour, and I’m guessing it would be a great spot for longer working stays (at which point, if money was an issue, you would definitely get more use out of the kitchen). They even have a barbecue set-up for guests who want to grill.
As mentioned, the view was lovely. We saw the ocean light up in the moonlight, and rosy glows of early morning through the large, central window. Even though there is a walkway outside the room, it was largely quiet. In fact, the only time we were really aware of other people, it was when one of our “neighbors” saw the deer coming for food, and we were actually thrilled to be alerted to their presence.
Part of the reason the hotel was quiet is because it is removed from the immediate downtown area. It’s less than a 10-minute walk into the heart of downtown (probably closer to 6 or 7 minutes), but it is far enough away that you don’t get the noise from crowds visiting the restaurants, or pubs later in the evening. This is probably an even bigger benefit during the warmer months, as people in December don’t tend to linger outside.
Overall, I would definitely recommend El Terado. The rooms run from approx. $129 per night plus tax and increase in cost depending on the room and the package you book (some packages include the ferry tickets, others do not). It’s one of the more affordable ways to stay on the island (unless you plan to camp, or stay on an anchored boat). It was comfortable, clean and convenient – and it made for a great base for exploring the island.
- The hotel is budget friendly.
- The area is quiet, and allows you to escape from the more touristed areas.
- Entire suite was very clean, comfortable and answered our needs.
- The kitchen is a big bonus if you are on a tight budget and don’t want to eat out every meal.
- Some rooms have ocean views.
- Town is only a short walk away.
- The hotel is up a hill (as is a significant part of Avalon). It is not particularly steep, but you will be getting a bit of a workout as you go up and down for meals and wanderings. That’s not great for people who have physical challenges, as cabs and golf cart rentals can add up.