Planning my honeymoon had become a daunting task. My fiancé and I wanted affordable luxury, an exotic but accessible location, and a timeless romantic setting all in one. We had spent a fortune on our wedding (sound familiar?) and wanted to locate the lovely, fun, romantic places that would accommodate, well… cheap honeymoons. After considering all kinds of far away, and financially far out of reach island honeymoon destinations, I stumbled across the beautiful, historic, laid back Santa Catalina Island. Just an hour away from the southern California mainland on any one of the Catalina ferries, the aptly named “Island of romance” began to capture my imagination, and after a little investigating, we were soon settled on a Catalina honeymoon.
After considering each of the Catalina resorts, I decided on the Catalina Canyon, a beautiful Catalina resort and spa, which is modern and up to date with all of the amenities that honeymooners could ask for. They have a great restaurant and bar, complimentary shuttles that take you to and from the nearby Catalina ferry terminal, which is just a few minutes by shuttle into town. Their spa has registered massage therapists, saunas, facials and a beautiful pool and poolside… I was pleased. I told them on the phone that I would be on my honeymoon and asked for any honeymoon travel deals and the woman immediately changed my rate and was very fantastic to deal with. I found the prices extremely reasonable. I will add that at all the places I checked out there was a two-day minimum stay
Although we settled on the Catalina Canyon hotel, there were other amazing Catalina hotels that we easily could have chosen. The best Catalina luxury hotel would probably be Catalina’s newest hotel, the Avalon Hotel. A very romantic Catalina luxury hotel would be the Inn on Mt. Ada. Stunning views of Avalon Bay and beautiful grounds make the Mt. Ada hotel ideal for a Catalina honeymoon. If you’re watching your budget, a great hotel (in keeping with the cheap honeymoons theme) would be the Hermosa Hotel. It may not be the ideal romantic type, but rooms start as low as fifty dollars a night! Remember, in all of these places ask for any honeymoon travel deals or all inclusive vacation honeymoon travel deals, when you make your reservations… the hotel manager will most certainly cut you a deal!
There are tons of romantic activities on Catalina Island. You can rent scuba equipment or snorkel in Lovers Cove (yes, that’s really what it’s called), rent bikes, or just go for a hike. Wildlife abounds all over and around beautiful Catalina Island, including Bison, which were brought in for a movie many years ago and now roam wild, deer, birds, sea lions, dolphins, whales, myriad fish, including of course California’s state fish, the striking bright orange Girabaldi. There are extremely affordable Catalina island tours which for many, are the best way to see the abundant marine life, bison herds, whales and dolphins and historic buildings like the Wrigley estate and Catalina Casino.
Tours of the 1929 Catalina Casino are $15 and it’s a great way to learn about Catalina Island’s rich history. I should mention that this casino is not the gambling kind (which will only disappoint some) but instead is known for its elegant Art Deco ballroom and movie theater, which plays first run movies as well as silent movies from the past. The building is truly an architectural wonder, and nowadays is available for full service weddings, events, and is home to many events like the Catalina Island Jazz Dance festival, Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Dance, New Years celebrations and events throughout the year.
Our Catalina resort, the Catalina Canyon, has its own restaurant that offers a fantastic menu, but with so many amazing Catalina restaurants to choose from, we decided not to make reservations and just play it by ear on the day. The Pancake Cottage and Sally’s Waffle Shop are Catalina’s most famous breakfast restaurants, featuring decadent honeymoon worthy breakfast fare. Lunchtime you can check out The Busy Bee (right on the water!) and the Buffalo Nickel, which is just a short ten-minute shuttle (free service to the restaurant!) south of Avalon, where the locals go for authentic Mexican food. Ask your Catalina resort staff where they eat, and they will likely tell you “The Buffalo Nickel.” For dinner, seafood lovers must visit Armstrong Seafood. Known as the islands premier seafood establishment, they masterfully prepare lobster, shrimp, fish of all types and offer a full service bar. Villa Portofino is casual but elegant and also has great reviews for its cuisine, with famous chefs often behind the scenes in the kitchen. The Catalina Country Club has a beautiful dining room with an outdoor patio and although it is a private country club, it is opened to the public for lunch and dinner. They serve California cuisine and in the summer, jazz bands liven things up as part of the Catalina Jazz Festival.
A Catalina honeymoon not only fits the budgets of those in search of cheap honeymoons, but also offers an amazing range of Catalina Island tours, Catalina luxury hotels that won’t break the bank, and is truly a romantic destination for newlyweds in search of a compromise between exotic and affordable.