Catalina Island Company Unveils New 95-Room Hotel Atwater Following Extensive Transformation of Historic Property

USA, Avalon, California. September 05, 2019

The Catalina Island Company announces the reopening of the historic Hotel Atwater following a total transformation, bringing an exciting new guest experience to the beautiful seaside town of Avalon, just off the Southern California coast on Catalina Island. On the cusp of its 100th anniversary, the completely revitalized property, which originally opened in 1920, offers modern amenities and a revamped design while preserving its roots as part of the Wrigley family legacy.

"Hotel Atwater was the first major project undertaken by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. after he purchased the Catalina Island Company in 1919, and its reopening is truly a significant event in the island's history," said Randall Herrel, president and chief executive officer of Catalina Island Company. "Through thoughtful renovation, we're excited to be able to offer an enhanced guest experience that stays true to Hotel Atwater's historic beginnings, celebrates the centennial of Wrigley falling in love with the destination, and gives guests another compelling reason to visit Catalina Island."

Hotel Atwater was named in honor of Helen Atwater Wrigley, wife of Wrigley's son Philip Knight Wrigley. This family legacy is reflected in nostalgic elements throughout the hotel, from bud vases filled with fragrant carnations to complimentary splits of sparkling wine in every room, tributes to Helen's love of flowers and glass of bubbly she enjoyed every evening before bed.

The new Hotel Atwater boasts island-inspired décor and updated amenities, all less than a block from the beach. The 95 guestrooms are bright and airy, with pops of bright coral and pale teal. The suites offer king beds, one and a half baths, a separate living space with a sleeper sofa, bar and desk, and views of the ocean, town of Avalon or mountains. Standard rooms offer king or queen beds. All rooms include high-tech modern comforts including digital concierge tablets, high-speed Wi-Fi and smart televisions.

A nod to Helen Atwater's legendary hospitality, the hotel's inviting lobby features welcoming seating areas to encourage conversation and draw guests in from the moment they arrive. Decorative elements including the original Wrigley family safe, books of family history and an accordion and harp to reflect Helen's love of music. New fully-equipped meeting and event space allows for gatherings of up to 65 people.

With rates starting at $199/night, Hotel Atwater offers guests a suite of amenities and access to Catalina Island Company experiences. Included in the $30 destination fee, guests will receive a $40 food and beverage credit per night to be used at Avalon Grille, Mt. Ada, Descanso Beach Club and Descanso Fresh; access to Island Spa Catalina's Wellness Studio; beach towels and access to Descanso Beach Club; complimentary tickets for the Discover the Casino Tour and Glass Bottom Boat Voyage; use of bicycles to get around Avalon, and luggage service to and from the ferry terminal.

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Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.