Recently I cruised on a one hour Catalina Express boat ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island. The captain slowed down when a pod of dolphins were feeding, so we could all admire this magnificent mammals.

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Once I arrived in Avalon, I walked along to pedestrian-only front street to enjoy a day at the spa with a 60 minute Sea of Life facial, complimentary treatment enhancement, $30 credit at Encanto Cafe, 25% retail discount at the Spa Shoppe and complimentary access to all spa amenities.

Walking into the spa, I was introduced to Spa Director Zach Thomas formerly of the Terranea Resort. He gave me a tour of the 15,000 square feet Mediterranean style facility with a heated saltwater pool and whirlpool. We also walked up to the second level ocean view Vista Deck, featuring comfortable lounges, removable sun shades and breathtaking Avalon harbor views. before escorting me to the entrance of the Women’s Locker Room and Lounge.

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I learned the spa has one of the first Hot Sand Therapy tables that’s heated with layers of  warm quartz sand. As Thomas lifted up the mattress, he showed me how this table can be positioned into ergonomically positions to envelop one’s body to deeply relieve muscle, arthritic and joint pain.

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There are nine state-of-the-art treatment rooms and two couples suites built as a beautiful oasis for island-inspired treatments. Each suite is named after a favorite cove or bay along Catalina Island that includes Emerald Bay, Starlight and Salta Verde.

Before of after a treatment, the small Encanto Cafe serves spa fare to guests before, during and after a treatment. The staff make fresh made fruit smoothies, and pour wine or champagne for guests to enjoy while sitting by the pool on a lounge chair under an umbrella. On Friday nights locals and visitors can enter the upstairs Vista Lounge for $5 beverages and small bites from 5 to 6 p.m.

Catalina IslandBefore leaving, I did a little retail therapy at the Spa Shoppe. Saying goodbye to Thomas he told me he has scheduled un-WINE’d at the Spa on Mondays and Wednesdays during the summer starting at 5:30 p.m. After a 1-hour yoga class in the Wellness Studio, participants receive a complimentary glass of wine and access to the spa’s sauna, eucalyptus steam room, Jacuzzi, soaking pool and ocean view relaxation deck for $40 per person. Reservations required. He also has partnered with REI to provide Spa, Kayak and Yoga experiences, and Spa, Hiking and Yoga adventures.

To learn more and see a schedule of classes, go to

To make a reservation on the Catalina Express