Avalon Travel Guide
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When Catalina Island's Pavilion Hotel, formerly the Pavilion Lodge, reopens on Friday after a complete renovation, people may be talking less about its new midcentury design and more about the new iPads the hotel will offer to guests.
The hotel will have eight iPads for guests to use. Six of them can be checked out from the concierge for free. With them, you can can check your email, see weather reports, read a newspaper and look up things to do on the island while hanging in the outdoor lounge or in the library. The other two gadgets will be in the hotel suites, an extra incentive to splurge for the larger spaces.
Catalina Island might not exactly be Capri, but it’s easier to get to (just 26 miles from Long Beach), and at least there’s a touch of Italian influence in the white-washed, red-roofed architecture of Hotel Villa Portofino on the island’s little hamlet of Avalon.
From now through October 31, the hotel is offering a "Villa Venturer Package" starting at $161.50 per night plus tax. The package includes:
· Accommodations at the oceanfront hotel
· Continental breakfast
· Welcome gift
· Roundrip transportation to Catalina from Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point aboard Catalina Express
· Roundrip taxi transfers from the dock to the hotel
· 75-minute snorkel trip with Catalina Ocean Rafting
Now for the small print: the weekend rates are usually higher, and a two-night minimum might be required. When we tried to make a sample booking for mid-week in July, the rate actually came out to about $325 per night, so you might have better luck with a little flexibility in your schedule.
To book the package, call the hotel directly at (888) 34-OCEAN, or visit the web site.
And for good reason, too -- in our opinion, the Avalon offers what all hotels should be offering (without any of that hidden resort fee BS).
In addition to free Internet access, the basics are all extra-nice: flat-screen televisions, Supplepedic mattresses, 350 thread-count sheets, free breakfasts and complimentary (!) in-room beverages and snacks.
Even better, the hotel keeps binoculars, GPS units, backpacks, beach towels and even laptops on hand for guests to check out. Nice.