For inexpensive indoor accommodations, your best bet is the Hermosa Hotel & Cottages (131 Metropole St., 877/453-1313, www.hermosahotel.com, $75–155). This simple budget hotel has rooms with shared bathrooms in the main building—in the way-off season, some of these clean rooms are dirt cheap if you’re willing to walk down the hall to the shower. Even in the summer, you can get a decent room for under $100. (Be aware of a two-night minimum for stays involving a Saturday night in the high season.)
The cottages have private baths, and some have kitchens and TVs. “Family units” can sleep up to six people in the main building and have kitchens—perfect for larger families or groups of friends traveling together on a budget. The 100-plus-year-old building sits only about a block from the harbor beaches and a short walk from the Casino, shops, and restaurants.
The Hotel Atwater (125 Sumner Ave., 800/626-1496, www.visitcatalinaisland.com, $107–219) also has bright cheerful rooms for reasonable rates. Take in the history of a budget hotel that’s been hosting guests since the 1920s. Clean, light-colored economy rooms provide the best value for your buck, while the more posh suites cost more and offer prettier decor and better amenities.
Whichever type of room you book, you’ll have a TV, coffee maker, air conditioning, and more. You’ll find storage for your diving gear and bikes, and a rinse-off area outside for divers, snorkelers, and swimmers. The Atwater closes each winter; call ahead to confirm their availability.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition