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“Best kept secret on Catalina Island”

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Banning House Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Two Harbors B&B and Inns
Reviewed 1 August 2014

This was my first visit to Catalina… I'd always been intrigued, but hesitant, as I'd only heard about the main city, Avalon, and all the golf carts, crowds, and potential "spring break" atmosphere. No one ever seems to talk about the "quiet cousin" on the other end of the island.

Two Harbors is a wonderful rustic retreat, and the Banning House Lodge is THE way to experience Catalina in a way that strikes a balance between enjoying the great outdoors and still enjoying creature comforts. (No TV a plus for me!) Fantastic views. Comfortable beds. Quiet hours from 10pm-8am, which much to my surprise, the large group who took up most of the Lodge respected. (Thank you!!) The Craftsman-style architecture features many comfortable sitting spots with views that make the Lodge worth every penny (outdoor seating on main patio and large two-part indoor common room with couches, fireplace, loft, game table)

Morning breakfast (the only meal available at the Lodge) was far more ample than the advertised "continental breakfast"… bagels, cream cheese/nutella/peanut butter, toast, scones, yogurts, fresh fruit, oj, hot chocolate, cappuchino/latte machine, hard boiled eggs, slices meats and cheese. Wow. Great way to start the day! They also make their kitchen available, so it looks like large groups bring over additional food/wine for their own entertaining. What a fabulous place to consider renting out for a group. And do keep in mind, if you go, you might be the one room NOT a part of a large group. (we were fortunate to nab a last minute room because someone from a large group cancelled their single room… and we're grateful!!)

The Lodge is located up a somewhat steep hill… there is a pathway (lighted at night) that we walked frequently… takes less than 10 minutes from the Harbor. But if you have any trouble walking, then the Lodge offers a van service that will come down the hill to get you.

I'm actually not a "water person" but Two Harbors is a water lover/sailor's paradise… great cove for mooring. Fun activities… stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayaking, swimming. But I still found my favorite activities. Mountain biked (rentals available at the Harbor) out to Parsons Landing. Dirt road, modest ups and downs. Doable for anyone in some reasonable shape (I hadn't mtn biked in a decade, so it was a fun and achievable challenge) Glad I brought my own mtn biking gloves and biking shorts. Rental shop provides helmets.

Another great activity to enjoy while staying there is a day hike to Little Harbor. Buy a return trip on the Safari Bus at the Visitors Center. The hike over (steep, but again, doable for anyone who regularly hikes 5+ miles) offers spectacular views and will take 3-4 hours. Pack a picnic and enjoy the rest of your day at the beach before catching a late afternoon ride back to Two Harbors.

Indulge in a daily ice cream cone at the General Store down at the Harbor. Dinner can be enjoyed outdoors at the Harbor Reef Bar or indoors in the restaurant. VERY pleased with the quality of the food. The sesame crusted seared ahi is a big winner. Great margaritas, cold beers etc… It's a sailing harbor, so expect a sailing clientele for goodness sake, and enjoy happy hour, the occasional karaoke night, and embrace the lifestyle.

Most people who come to the area are either staying aboard their boats or camping… so for those lucky enough to enjoy the 12 rooms at the Banning House Lodge, appreciate your good fortune.

Sal and Eddie are both very welcoming and help make the Banning House very personable. It's not the Four Seasons, so don't expect that kind of experience. It has a B&B atmosphere, so enjoy getting to know the other guests, but also be respectful in sharing the experience with others. Some people are there for the peace and quiet, some people are there to party. Everyone is friendly, and it can be paradise for all.

Finally, ditto to all the good things happy reviews said. For the complaints, I noticed that most of the negative reviews are from 2010, so pretty easy to dismiss. We found our room to be VERY clean. All the employees very responsive.

A special way to enjoy a very unique location!

Room Tip: Rooms 2 and 3 share a private patio. Room 3 is perfect for a couple. Room 2 sleeps four people (2...
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank MNK94025
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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52 - 58 of 113 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2014

The banning House is a great place to unplug from life. beautiful views,quite and relaxing. We loved eating breakfast outside overlooking the the harbor in the mornings. After a day out we would come back and relax with a glass of wine. everyone who stayed at the house so friendly. we will be back to the banning house !!

Room Tip: rooms 7 and 8 are down below from the big house a little more privet area away from the main house
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Randababe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2014

The Banning House has it all: beautiful location, wonderful comfort, and fabulous service. I have been to this hotel twice and have recommended it to friends. They share in my satisfaction. Upon each visit, this hotel exceeds my expectations. I feel like royalty and very much enjoy being spoiled. The ambiance is so serene and relaxing that I never want to leave. The Banning House Hotel is a must visit for anyone coming to Catalina Island!

Room Tip: #3,4,5,and 6, are great rooms and views for the price!
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Yolanda N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2014

I've been going to this BB/Hotel for a few years now and I've been very impressed over the last two years with the improvements that have been made. It has always been a pleasant kind of get away place, but now, it has been changed into a paradise-like retreat. The continental breakfast has been expanded and is no longer just some cold packaged sweets, coffee and juice. There is an array of fresh pastries, cereal, yogurt, fruits and ESPRESSO from a professional level machine. I had a delicious cappuccino brewed for me (and any guest who desired one) that reminded me of my youthful first tastes of Italian coffee on the autostrade --- delicious. The rooms are immaculate and smell fresh. The staff is friendly and responsive to every guest's needs. The whole site has been given fresh paint and renovation and I hear there is even more in store. It is a place for serenity and/or romance. I can't wait until my next visit!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are nice with some tye of view but there are detached rooms that have views of both...
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Deidre S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2014

This beautiful property is the prefect place to relax and unwind. We loved the beautiful room and views, the delicious breakfasts, and the warm welcoming staff. We will definitely be returning!
This end of Catalina Island is quieter and has a laid-back vibe. Perfect for hikes, beach combing, volleyball, Frisbee golf, bicycling and water sports. The Banning House Lodge is the perfect place for a little "Island Time!"

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Heather R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

If you want to get away and really relax, the Banning House Lodge is the place. This was our third visit and it was the best ever. The Banning House staff, Sal and Tyler, are very friendly and helpful. They pick you up at the dock when the Catalina Express comes in and drop you off when you are ready to leave at the dock. There is a continental breakfast provided in the mornings and there is sometimes a happy hour in the evenings. This is not a five star hotel rather a hotel with character and terrific views from some rooms-- all within walking distance or a shuttle ride into town. It has become a tradition for us for "alone time" because there are not TVs in the rooms and it is so peaceful.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank welshbabe1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2014

I stayed here for the first time five years ago. There was a wedding party, and only one huge room left in one of the side houses. It was cold and windy, and not very clean, but we decided we'd go back one day because we really liked the place in general. This time we stayed in the main house, in a smaller and cozier room. The location of the lodge is spectacular, and Two Harbors is the perfect place for a romantic getaway - no nightlife, no TV, just the sound of seals, maybe the sight of a dolphin or two (not to forget the bison!), beautiful countryside,a handful of interesting people in search of peace and quite, and you and whoever you're spending quality time with. The sunsets and sunrises are absolutely gorgeous and you can even watch from inside the lodge when it's nippy. The lodge seemed cleaner this time around and the furniture, well it's still very used and should be replaced at some stage, but replacing it would take away a lot of the place's charm. I'll certainly keep going back.

Room Tip: The main house is a good good choice if there's only two of you - the side houses have bigger ro...
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Diane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banning House Lodge

Address: 1 Banning House Road, Two Harbors, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Catalina Island > Two Harbors
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Two Harbors
Price Range: £116 - £688 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Banning House Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at the West End of the island, the Banning House Lodge was built in 1910 as the summer home for the pioneering Banning brothers, who owned Santa Catalina Island. Now a charming, Craftsman-style bed and breakfast, the Banning House Lodge offers sweeping views of the Isthmus of Catalina and Catalina Harbor from its romantic, hilltop perch above Two Harbors A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily in the charming dining room. Van shuttle service between the lodge and Two Harbors village is included. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banning House Hotel Two Harbors

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