Catalina Island, California

I’m sprawled on a deck chair on the Relaxation Deck of the Island Spa Catalina, blissed out after a hot stone spa treatment. Sipping champagne, I take in the spectacular ocean view. I don’t want to move. It’s about four in the afternoon, the sun will soon set, so I call my husband and coax him to laze with me (he’s at the hotel).

Our day began with a helicopter flight from Long Beach to Catalina Island, a 15-minute trip over the Pacific Ocean, which is currently filled with migrating whales. After landing, we drove to the Pavilion Hotel and woke up with coffee and oceanfront view — isn’t that the best way to instantly destress? By 10am, the sun had zapped the chill out oof the air. How different this winter feels to that of the East Coast. Up for some adventure, we hopped into golf cart – the standard mode of island transportation — and were chauffeured s to the zipline camp where, belted up and harnessed, I scaled heights and  revealed my nervous side. By the fifth attempt, my fears had subsided and my body rushed with adrenaline.

Hours later, a “spa” lunch — Caesar salad with avocado dressing — brought me back to earth, as did the Sage Stone Purification Ritual, experienced in the spa’s luxurious two-storey Silver Peaks Suite. I kid you not, the suite was as big as a big-city condo, and I felt like royalty. I sneaked a snooze on the ground-level couch before heading out.

My husband has arrived, and the sun is setting behind us. The Carnival cruise ship anchored ahead of us is slowly losing its gleam. Over coffees and some snacks, we revel in the moment — we talk, laugh, share stories — until a chill beckons us away. But all is not lost: there’ll be wine and cheese  in the hotel library, and California red trout, diver scallops, and chilled Rusack Sauvignon Blanc for dinner at the Avalon Grill. But first, we gather our things and recline by the hotel’s fire pit with a glass of red to continue basking in the moment.

Island Spa Catalina

Island Spa Catalina

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Zip lining (spot my husband on the line)

Zip lining (spot my husband on the line)

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View from a helicopter

View from a helicopter

15 thoughts on “Catalina Island, California

  1. That’s beautiful. I’ve often heard of Catalina Island but this is the first time I’ve seen pictures of it. Thank you for sharing. You must have had a wonderful time.

    • Dear Gerard! I had heard so much and my expectations were surpassed on this first visit. It has a European feel grounded in America. For a short break, I would recommend it as a winter escape 🙂 Summers I heard, are packed!

    • Dear Cornelia! If you have the time, you will certainly enjoy it, especially if you can spend 2 days there as the mornings are really beautiful and crisp. There’s a ferry from Dana Point I believe, so that’s closer to you. We went to the botanic gardens, toured Mt Ada, zip lined, strolled the promenade, but missed the casino tour (it’s not a true casino; it shows films and does historic tours of how it was used as a ‘gathering place’ in its heyday). You and the camera won’t be lost for inspiration. You will probably spot some beautiful sea life on the ferry ride there and back too. Let me know if you go! xx

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