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 Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.