Hotel Metropole, Review of Mini Suite 215, Avalon, Catalina Island, California

Catalina Express boat from Long Beach to Avalon, Catalina Island, California

You can't just jump in the car and drive to the Hotel Metropole.  It takes more planning than that since it's located on Catalina Island, in the city of Avalon, 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles.  A Catalina Express high speed boat is the best bet for visiting this picturesque town and Catalina Island.  

Boat ride to Avalon Harbor and Catalina Island.

These high speed boats leave up to 30 times per day delivering passengers from Long Beach and San Pedro to Avalon Harbor in about an hour. The boats are fast and comfortable, although the ride can be rocky when seas are stormy.  Seats are available inside and outside for that wind in your hair excitement. 

Catalina Express boat arriving in Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island.

Catalina Island was made famous years and years ago in this song by the Four Preps: 26 Miles (Santa Catalina).  Today it's a great weekend getaway from the hectic lifestyle of Los Angeles.   

Beach in Avalon with Casino Ballroom in distance.

It's an easy walk from the dock to the Hotel Metropole. Cabs are available if you have lots of luggage. Along the harbor path you will see several gift shops, restaurants and bars. 

Front, ocean/harbor view rooms at Hotel Metropole Avalon.

The Hotel Metropole offers four mini-suites with excellent views of the ocean and Avalon Harbor. The rooms overlook the street, but you won't hear much traffic.  This review is of Suite #215, which is the lower left room in the above photo. 

Entrance to Hotel Metrople Avalon, California.

The hotel entrance is along the side, just up a small hill. You will notice the golf cart above. Very few traditional cars are allowed on Catalina Island, but golf carts and other small vehicles are popular. You can rent a cart for a few hours and drive around town for fun.  Avalon is a small town, and very walk-able.  

Lobby of Hotel Metropole Avalon CA.

The two story lobby is small and simple. Check in was fast and easy.  Access to room #215 was either by elevator, then walking across the hotel, or the fast way -- exiting to the sidewalk, entering an unmarked side door, and climbing a flight of stairs.

Ocean View Mini Suite #215 at Hotel Metropole Avalon CA.

Rooms at the Hotel Metropole are lovely. This mini-suite is one very large room with a comfortable bed and a romantic fireplace. I've also stayed in a "Superior" room overlooking the courtyard and found it to be equally well appointed. 

Chairs at window in Hotel Metropole.

A cocktail table and two chairs look out over the balcony to the ocean beyond.   Moving the balcony chairs to the side improves the view when inside.  The dark wood floors add a modern, elegant feel to the room.

Balcony overlooking ocean from Mini Suite 215 Hotel Metropole, Avalon CA.

A balcony overlooks Avalon Harbor and the ocean. All four mini-suites at the Hotel Metropole have a similar view, but the second floor units have a balcony above.  So if you want full sun exposure, ask for a third/top floor room. 

View of Harbor & Ocean from Mini Suite #215, Hotel Metropole, Avalon CA.

From the balcony it's easy to spend hours watching the water, boats, and passersby on the street.  This is one of the best hotel room views available in Avalon.   

Mirror artwork in room #215, Hotel Metropole, Avalon CA.

It should be noted that this room is located next to an outdoor bar. After dark the music shouldn't have been an issue, but the speakers for the bar are screwed into the exterior wall that makes up this part of the hotel.  The wall vibrated with the music all evening.  Front desk had no solution.   

Bath room #215.

Bath is spacious with a jet tub and separate glass shower. It also has a sliding door that opens up the view out to the ocean. 

Bath in mini suite #215.

The Hotel offers a variety of basic amenities. You can find more information about the Hotel Metropole on their website.

Balcony rooms overlooking courtyard at Hotel Metropole, Avalon CA.

A few other rooms have ocean views; most have courtyard exposures that are nice. But they are not as spectacular as the views the mini-suites offer. 

Evening view from ocean view mini suite #215, Hotel Metropole, Avalon CA.

Open the window, turn on the fireplace, pour two glasses of wine, and the view from the bed or the balcony will last a lifetime.  

Morning view of ocean and harbor from mini suite #215, Hotel Metropole.

Many visitors leave on the evening boat, only spending the day on Catalina Island, and missing the evening stars and the morning sunrise.   

Classic old Catalina Island tour bus.

A large variety of tours are available for those that want to explore this vast Island.  It is controlled by the Catalina Island Conservancy, which limits development and tries to keep the area outside of town as wild and natural as possible. 

The Casino Ballroom overlooks the ocean and Avalon Harbor.

Take one of the tours of the area and learn about the history of Avalon and Catalina Island. On the pier -- a two-minute walk from the hotel -- are a variety of water sports and boat tours. A few small sandy beach areas are found along the harbor.  One is just opposite the Hotel Metropole. You might want to ask first before swimming in the harbor; water pollution from the large number of boats has been a problem in the past.  

Swing dancers and a Big Band perform in the Casio Ballroom.

The Casino Ballroom is in a beautiful, historic structure and a must-see for anyone visiting Catalina.   It also houses a movie theater that plays current releases.  Arrive early for the show and take in the beauty of the classic art deco movie house

The high speed Catalina Express boat leaves Catalina Island for Long Beach.

Catalina Island is a magical spot.  It might be just minutes from the City of Angels, but it will transport you back to a time when things were slower and simpler. If you make the extra effort to visit this charming place, you might want to stay at one of the finest hotels in the harbor town of Avalon -- the Hotel Metropole.

Review of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad California

Main Entrance of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad California

After a day on Southern California Freeways, it is nice to arrive at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in the hills of Carlsbad, California.  The darkness hides what I know are this resort's beautiful grounds.  I'm looking forward to a dip in the pool, a bite to eat, a drink at the bar, and a soft bed.  And the Omni delivers on all counts. 

Lobby area of the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

The lobby is large and includes several seating areas and a large lounge with a double sided glass fireplace.  Check-in was fast and smooth.  A driver took me and my luggage to a room.  The property is a maze of smaller buildings separated by lovely lawns and trees. 

Living Room area of Suite in Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

 The living area of this large two room suite has a sofa bed, desk, large TV, and access to a narrow balcony.  Lighting is very good, and the heating & cooling system is quiet.  WiFi signal is a little weak in this location, but speed was acceptable.  Keurig coffee maker is provided.

Bedroom of suite at Omni La Costa

Not only were the mattress and pillows comfortable, but the sheets were nice and smooth.  The bedroom also had another large TV.  Bathrobes and slippers were provided.  The large closet was nice, with a section designed to hold very long women's dresses.   

Bathroom of suite at Omni La Costa

The bathroom amenities were "Omni Resorts" brand products.  It had a large two sink layout, and the big tub had a large sliding window that opened into the bedroom.  The separate shower had a nice shower head and plenty of room.  The toilet was behind a sliding pocket door.   

Morning sun in living area of suite at Omni La Costa

With the morning sun came a beautiful view of one of the two La Costa golf courses.  The room was well maintained and clean.  A larger/deeper balcony would be nice for lounging.  Most ground floor units have patios.

Grounds of Omni La Costa

Guest rooms are situated in several small Spanish styled buildings separated by well manicured lawns and trees.  It can be a long but beautiful walk to get back to the main resort buildings. A call to the front desk will bring you a cart & driver. 

Golf course Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Carsbad CA

This Omni resort is home to not only great golf, but also large tennis facility and one of the best spas in the USA.  Ranked #1 by Spa Magazine in the USA while Travel & Leisure said it was the #4 spa in North America. 

Golfer on practice tee at Omni La Costa

Great golf always needs good weather, and the Southern California climate provides just that.  The Champions course was redesigned in 2012, and the Legends course was renovated and reopened in 2013.

Main Spa building at Omni La Costa

If you are not out on the golf course or playing some tennis, you might want to check out the large Spa facility.  This highly regarded operation has a variety of services for men and women. 

Adult pool at Omni La Costa Resort

Kids will not be found around the adults only pool, but will be found in the family pool with its sandy beach.  The large spa tubs around the adult pool are a romantic spot for a glass of wine under the stars. 

Children play area and pool at Omni La Costa Resort.

And talking about kids.... the Omni La Costa offers a great opportunity for kids to be kids while their parents are out on the golf course.  A large dedicated facility houses a variety of programs for children. 

Outdoor casual dinning at Omni La Costa Resort

A variety of dining options are available.  Indoor & outdoor, casual or fancy, as fancy as it can get in this laid back Southern California atmosphere.  A large market/coffee shop is located in the central shopping area next to the lobby.  It offers a variety of grab and go snacks and prepared dishes.  It also has a bunch of iPads available for guests to use while sipping a cup of coffee. 

Meeting room at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa Carlsbad CA

Many visitors to the Omni La Costa are not just here for the golf, tennis, or world class spa.  They are here to work.   They have a variety of meeting spaces and associated services.  It is also a great property for weddings of all sizes. 

Stairway at Omni La Costa Resort

Around every corner is a magical find, expressions of simple architectural details that turn an ordinary hotel into a beautiful resort.

Seating area around fountain at Omni La Costa Resort

The Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is a great Southern California destination for golf or tennis.  But it also works as a romantic getaway with someone special.  Or bring that hipster hat you have, heat up your laptop, and put a few finishing touches on your next Hollywood screen play.