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Hop on the Catalina Express for fantastically romantic adventure

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If you’ve never been to Catalina, the little island resort that sits just 22-miles across the sea from Long Beach, California, book an off-season visit (from now through March 2014) and save big time. Granted it will be a bit chilly, but it’s a great escape for lovers who can snuggle up at night by a fireplace while enjoying complimentary cheese and wine that’s offered at some hotels. During the day you can stroll around the quaint town, sightseeing, shopping or sampling many bars and restaurants.

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Throughout the low season Catalina Express and Paradise Hotel Partners are offering combination room and boat packages at more than a dozen hotels in Avalon as part of its “Best of Winter” listed here www.catalinapackage.com. Each package includes round trip transportation on Catalina Express. Hint, several Avalon hotels offer complimentary wine and cheese hour.

The Avalon Hotel The Aurora Hotel: These sister hotels offer breathtaking rooftop views with a 360-degree vista of Avalon and its charming harbor. Spicing up the romantic ambiance is the Avalon’s gracious Garden Patio fountain and fire pit. At Aurora you’ll be enveloped by a contemporary cosmopolitan ambiance with a lush lobby appointed with stylish couches for relaxing and an artistic. Most rooms come with 42-inch flat screens and high-speed Internet connections are available at no extra charge.

The Best of Winter package offers free boat transportation to/from Avalon, on-island taxi transfers from boat to hotel and continental breakfast. From $395 double occupancy for two nights at The Avalon and $393 at The Aurora, inclusive of taxes, savings of 30 percent.

Hermosa Hotel: This budget-friendly hotel sits in the heart of Avalon, just a short 10-15 minute walk from the boat landing. Originally opened in 1896 the guest rooms still maintain an old world charm. The package here ncludes round trip boat transportation, two passes to each of the following: Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, Catalina Island Museum and two hour-hour bike rentals.

Hotel Metropole: Also centrally located in the heart of Avalon, just steps from the beach, this property is tailor-made for lovers with daily continental breakfasts, a bottle of Champagne, a luxury spa basket and rates that start at $219 double occupancy, per night, plus tax, nearly 30 percent savings.

Hotel Villa Portofino: This is one of the top hotels on the islands. It features a very European style personalized service and charm. The “Limited Package” includes round trip boat transportation, continental breakfast and taxi transfers from boat and hotel. Rates range from 101.25 per person, inclusive of tax, with a savings of more than 20 percent.

You really should take a trip to Catalina. Go with your significant other, or a group of friends. Out of towners will love seeing the island, too, and it’s only a little over an hour’s boat ride away from shore by Catalina Express.

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