Late 19th-Century Hotel with Comfortable Cottages and Active Diving Scene
Though Catalina Island may best be known as “the island of romance,” it’s also a renowned watersports destination. Set just off the coast of Southern California, the island is surrounded by crystal-clear water, kelp forests, and abundant marine life, making it an especially beloved spot among scuba divers, who travel here from near and far. The Historic Hermosa Hotel & Catalina Cottages, located half a block from the beach, provides a casual, laid-back setting for exploring the area, and it offers dive lockers and outdoor gear showers for those interested in spending time underwater. A sense of Catalina funkiness has been at the heart of the hotel since it opened in 1896, and that remains very much alive today.
Dotted with mountains, beaches, and coves, Catalina Island offers a range of recreational opportunities. Outfitters launch kayaking and snorkeling tours steps from the Historic Hermosa Hotel, and more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails wind through the surrounding hills. You can set up eco-excursions such as zipline tours through the front desk. With this Getaway, you’ll get two tickets to the Catalina Island Museum to admire its historical photographic exhibits.
Villa arches and narrow stairways lead to the hotel’s private cottages. Preferred kitchen units feature full kitchens with refrigerators, stovetops, and microwaves. Casual whitewashed furnishings fill the bedrooms. Guests can take in views of the island’s beautiful scenery from the hotel’s second- or third-floor balconies or hunker down with a book and a cup of coffee in the charming lobby area.
Santa Catalina Island, California: Desert Foliage and Secluded Coves in the Pacific Ocean
Santa Catalina Island, most often referred to simply as Catalina Island, is just 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, but it’s a world away from the busy city. The island’s unpopulated interior is home to a vast array of desert foliage and wildlife, and its many secluded coves are nice spots to soak up rays or snorkel among starfish, sea urchins, and bright-orange garibaldis. Travel + Leisure called these coves “ready-made for romance,” naming Catalina one of the most romantic islands in the world. Much of Catalina Island is accessible only by unpaved hiking and biking trails, but you can see many of its endemic plants in town at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Gardens. The memorial, which was constructed with blue flagstone rock from the harbor and hand-painted tiles from Catalina Pottery, is just a short drive or half-hour walk from Avalon, the island’s only major city. To see a little more of the interior, take the all-levels Garden to Sky hike from here for spectacular views of the island and surrounding ocean.