Travel & Recreation

Catalina Express & Paradise Package Hotel Partners Offer “Best of Winter” Packages & Discounts Thru March 2016


From Taylor Swift, Lorde to generations of Angelenos, Catalina Island is a favorite year-round Shangri-la that has new attractions, restaurants, renovated hotels and events galore for every taste and budget.

*Packages Include Round Trip Boat Transportation and Minimum Savings of 20% – Island Events Provide Even More Reasons to Visit

Visiting Catalina Island during off-peak season has myriad perks, from more room to roam, cooler weather to incredible savings. Now through March 2016, Catalina Express and Paradise Hotel Partners offer combination boat and accommodations packages at more than a dozen hotels in Avalon as part of its “Best of Winter” offering.  And with events galore taking place through March, there’s no reason to say no to a day or overnight in Avalon.


From budget to luxury, there is a deal to fit every pocketbook and taste. Following is a sampling of winter offerings; a full listing can be found here. Each package includes round trip transportation on Catalina Express. Hint, several Avalon hotels offer complimentary wine and cheese hour.


Events abound, from the 3rd Annual Catalina Island Museum Holiday  Symphony Concert on December 31, 35thAnnual Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup  on February 20, 2016, An Evening with Oscar on February 28, 2016 and Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon/10K/5K/Kids Run on March 19, 2016 – there is no shortage of things to do and sights to see.


Catalina Boat House Hotel: In 1912 Captain Joseph McAfee sailed his flat bottom houseboat from Venice Beach to Santa Catalina Island with the intention of making Avalon his home. Captain McAfee purchased a parcel of land with a wonderful view of the bay located on what is now called Marilla Avenue.

Captain McAfee

Captain McAfee

Maintaining a strong attachment to his houseboat, as well as the desire to have a home overlooking the bay, Captain McAfee devised an ingenious plan to haul his houseboat up the hillside to his newly acquired property. Captain McAfee’s houseboat was now referred to by one and all as “the Captain’s Beach House.” As the years went by, the enterprising Captain built additional rooms to take advantage of the booming island tourist trade. These rooms were attached to the original houseboat and tiered down the hillside. The houseboat hotel became known as the Driftwood Inn and was then renamed the Catalina Beach House Hotel in the early 1960s. The Catalina Beach House Hotel has been updated and remodeled into one of Catalina’s most charming and delightful places to stay. The hotel was renamed the Catalina Boat House Hotel in 2014 to honor the visionary Captain McAfee and the property’s unique history.

The Best of Winter package offers free boat transportation to/from Avalon, two mid-week nights (Sun.-Wed. arrivals), two tickets to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and two tickets for a Sea View Glass Bottom Boat ride. From $349 double occupancy for two nights, savings of more than 30 percent.


Hotel Villa Portofino: Consistently rated one of Avalon’s best hotels, the Hotel Villa Portofino carries on the traditions of a European seaside resort with high quality standards, personalized service and a relaxed Mediterranean charm. Located just steps from the beach, shops and sights, the Hotel Villa Portofino is where European Elegance and the Pacific Ocean meet. Includes round trip boat transportation, taxi transfers and continental breakfast. From $107 per person, for one night, savings of 20 percent.


Hotel Villa Portofino:

Hotel Metropole: Centrally located in the heart of Avalon, Catalina’s quaint harbor town, and just steps from the beach, Hotel Metropole is the perfect spot for romantic interludes and family getaways alike. Winter Special includes Continental breakfast, 1 bottle of Champagne, and starts at $269 double occupancy, per night, plus tax, more than 40 percent savings.


Santa Catalina Island Company offers several packages, including:

Unlimited Fun Package  Unlimited Fun at Pavilion Hotel, Hotel Atwater or Inn on Mt. Ada, includes:

  • Unlimited Santa Catalina Island Company activities, including one Zip Line Eco Tour per person
  • Round-trip boat transportation aboard the Catalina Express
  • Overnight accommodations
  • $50 per person/per night dining credit to use at Avalon Grilleor Descanso Beach Club (must be billed to room and used prior to check out)

Rates from $358 per person based on double occupancy or $408 for single occupancy.

Ship & Zip package includes round-trip transportation and one ticket for the zip line eco tour, where guests propel down 5 separate zip lines dropping from 600 feet above sea level, with one run that is 1,100 lineal feet long all on its own. Rates from $109 per person — a nearly 50 percent savings.

catalina island packages

About Catalina Island and Catalina Express

Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is accessible by boat from three ports via Catalina Express: San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point. Catalina Express offers up to 30 daily departures and year-round service to Avalon and Two Harbors, transporting nearly one million passengers annually. It offers comfortable airline-style seats and grouped table seating. Traveling to Catalina Island in as little as one hour, each vessel was designed and built/purchased specifically for comfort and speed. Catalina Express is an unparalleled resource in Southern California, and one of the world’s most respected ferry fleets. For information and reservations, call 800-429-4601, or visit Catalina Express.

Catalina Island’s clear blue waters and Mediterranean climate and ambiance are a Shangri-La. This laid-back island town is chock full of places to eat, drink, shop. Catalina has a wealth of natural and cultural resources, unique animals and plants found nowhere else on earth. Sightseeing opportunities are numerous and varied from escorted tours around town, adventure rides into the interior, jeep eco tours, hummer rides, to zip lines, rock climbing and undersea adventures. Independent activities are plentiful, camping, hiking, snub, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, spa treatments, beach lounging, golf, motor boating, parasailing, fishing, boat rides down the coastline and more.

About the author

Jane Emery