We set up camp at this boutique lodge, and couldn't have been more pleased with our pick. You can't beat cozy Cali-king-sized beds right on the water, and a free wine and cheese happy hour! Plus, in the center of its plush courtyard, you'll find a fire pit for sharing all of your fresh island intel with pals. We even spotted one super-cute couple roasting their own marshmallows beside it.
Pavilion Hotel, 513 Crescent Avenue (at Sumner Avenue); 310-510-1788.
The Inn At Mt. Ada
This hotel and former home of William Wrigley Jr. was named for his wife, and he chose the perch because it's blessed with dawn's first morning rays and the last bits of light at sunset (what a romantic!). Wrigley also owned the Chicago Cubs, and hosted the team's spring training on a field below. The steps up to the manse are daunting (you'll prefer to ascend via golf carts, for sure), and it's said that they were used as a disciplinary tool for disobedient players. Ronald Reagan, the Prince of Wales, and many a Hollywood starlet have overnighted here, and it's still super-exclusive. We'd recommend planning months in advance to secure a room!
The Inn on Mt. Ada, 398 Wrigley Road (near Upper Terrace Road); 310-510-2030.
Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel
This is the spot for any hopeless nostalgics — the old-school building has an unparalleled historical allure, not to mention a spectacular view of the bay. Formerly the home of novelist Zane Grey, who penned over 100 books in his lifetime (and was responsible for that buffalo delivery), the Hopi Indian-style pueblo doesn't have room numbers. Each weekend nest is named for one of his paperbacks. If you ask us, the arrowhead-shaped pool in the back is exactly where we'd want to jot our very own roman à clef.
Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, 199 Chimes Tower Road (near Vieudelou Avenue); 310-510-0966.
Located a hop, skip, and a jump from the water, you'll find a '20s-style budget-friendly boutique that the Scuba divers and surfers tend to gravitate towards (maybe it's the outdoor rinse-off showers?). There's free piping-hot Starbucks in the early a.m., too.
Hotel Atwater, 125 Sumner Street (near Crescent Avenue); 800-626-1496.
This may be the cutest B&B we've seen! The foundation is a beautiful example of early-CA Craftsmen architecture, but it's been modernized without compromising the bones. There's a rooftop deck with sprawling vistas of the island, and they'll even give you a GPS and binoculars for bird-watching (kudos if you can spot a bald eagle!).
Avalon Hotel, 124 Whittley Avenue (near Crescent Avenue); 310-510-7070.
Photo: Courtesy of Santa Catalina Island Company