February 25, 2010 - Santa Catalina Island is undergoing a renaissance thanks
to an $11 million revitalization that’s adding an array of alluring activities
and amenities to the historic destination. Major changes in store include
renovations of the Pavilion Hotel; a makeover for Descanso Beach Club;
addition of the Avalon Grille restaurant; and introduction of the Zip Line
Eco Tour, Sea Trek Undersea Adventure and GPS walking tours of Avalon.
Dating back to its genesis in 1894, Santa Catalina Island Company is
now getting back to the original vision set forth by William Wrigley Jr.
with the revitalization of Catalina Island.
“Santa Catalina Island has been a favorite getaway destination for generations
of visitors since the late 1800s,” said Brad Wilson, for Santa Catalina
Island Company. “But Catalina is not the same place you visited when you
were a child, or even compared to two years ago. By maintaining its unique
charm and character while at the same time adding distinctive amenities
and activities, we’re in the midst of a rejuvenation that will appeal to
past visitors while also drawing a new generation of families, adventure
seekers, and people wanting a departure from the hurried pace of life on
Changes underway include:
A complete renovation of the 71-room, two-story Pavilion Hotel (formerly
the Pavilion Lodge) just 14 steps from the beach. Its upscale design will
make use of a huge garden courtyard area by creating private lanais for
many rooms, inviting guests to enjoy indoor/outdoor relaxation. The hotel
will also offer two luxury suites with breathtaking ocean views, an elegantly
landscaped garden sitting area with fire pit, wine & cheese bar, indoor
lounge & internet café, and open air ocean-view lounge area
near the lobby.
Nestled in a private cove just past the famous Casino Building, the Descanso
Beach Club will enjoy a complete transformation with new high-end amenities
such as private cabana and chaise lounge rentals. The open-air restaurant
will offer daytime and evening dining with fire rings on the beach, and
two outdoor bars. Weekly music on the lawn and an expanded beach area will
provide for ample enjoyment of the seaside location. The Descanso Beach
Club will also serve as the new activity headquarters, where guests can
rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, snorkeling & scuba gear, as well
as book massage and golf tee times, plus all Discovery Tours. The Beach
Club will be the staging area for the new Zip Line Eco Tour and Sea Trek
The Avalon Grille will be a new American pub-style restaurant with central
bar, on the waterfront in the center of town across from the Green Pleasure
Pier. High, open architecture and indoor/outdoor patio seating will seamlessly
blend to create an al fresco atmosphere no matter where seated. The menu
will include appetizers and entrées paired with a world-class selection
of wines, microbrews and cocktails.
Beginning almost 600 feet above Avalon, the new Zip Line Eco Tour will
provide a way to see and experience Catalina like never before. The nearly
4,000-foot zip line comprises five separate zips across Descanso Canyon
and ends by the seashore at Descanso Beach, with speeds reaching 45 miles
per hour and heights of more than 300 feet. Each zip ends at a specially
designed platform with spectacular views of the surrounding island interior
and ocean. Platforms will have special interpretative signage highlighting
the unique flora and fauna of the island.
Where the Zip Line Eco Tour provides a view of Catalina from above, The
Sea Trek Undersea Adventure and Snuba will provide a glimpse from below
(no prior diving experience is necessary). Beneath the waves participants
may find themselves surrounded by teeming schools of mackerel or anchovies;
observe sea lions or a solitary bat ray gliding through the blue water;
or even catch a glimpse of an octopus or California Lobster hiding among
The GPS Ranger Walking Tour, which meanders through the streets of Avalon,
offers visitors their own personal high-tech guide to experience the sights
at their own pace. The GPS-enabled multimedia units will lead the way,
pointing out landmarks and historical points of interest using audio, video
and photos. The tour will accommodate up to six people per unit, and guests
will have ample time to complete the tour.
The new Catalina will include these attractions as well as the large array
of recreation that has lured generations of visitors to the island, including
beach hopping, buffalo safaris, hiking, bicycling, kayaking, wildlife viewing
and even walking across the stage in the renowned Catalina Casino where
Benny Goodman played before thousands of adoring fans.
About Santa Catalina Island Company
116 Years of Quality Service
In October, 1894, the Banning Brothers - William, Hancock and Joseph
- incorporated the Santa Catalina Island Company, placed title to the Catalina
Island land holdings they had acquired two years earlier into their newly-formed
company, and then started building for the future. The Bannings planned
to develop the island as a resort, and much of the initial development
of Avalon took place during their ownership.
When William Wrigley Jr. acquired a majority interest in the Santa Catalina
Island Company from the Bannings in 1919, the destiny of the Island began
to change forever. This now-historic event cast the die for permanently
preserving substantially all of Santa Catalina Island in its natural state.
During the next 56 years, various conservation practices were initiated
by the Wrigley-led Santa Catalina Island Company, including much-needed
animal controls, protection of watersheds and reseeding of overgrazed areas.
A positive sense of future direction and prudent land stewardship have
been the hallmark of the Santa Catalina Island Company since then, and
remain so to this day. Thus, as we approach our second century, the Santa
Catalina Island Company is headed into its 110th Year of Quality Service,
and we are entering a new era of exciting challenges and opportunities.
Success in achieving these opportunities is a function of external economic/business
factors, hard work and a commitment to well-founded business policies and
practices. For the Santa Catalina Island Company our business philosophies
are inexorably linked to the high business standards established over time
by the two families which have controlled and guided our direction and
The Santa Catalina Island Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries,
Catalina Island Resort Services and Two Harbors Enterprises, invite you
to visit any or all of our properties. The Santa Catalina Island Company
operates the Pavilion Hotel, Hotel Atwater and Discovery Tours. Catalina
Island Resort Services operates the Catalina Visitors Country Club, Catalina
Island Golf Course, Descanso Beach Club and the Casino Ballroom. Two Harbors
Enterprises operates all operations located at the resort town of Two Harbors.
The overall objectives of our efforts are to make Catalina Island in
general, and SCICo. properties in particular, a Premier Southern California
For more information, visit www.visitcatalinaisland.com
or contact Brad Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer for the Santa Catalina
Island Company, at 310-510-2000.