Anaheim & Orange County - A Successful Meetings Destination

Successful Meetings MAY 2006: Beyond its hip new image as the star of the television show The OC, Orange County continues to develop its sleek personality as a meetings destination. Along with 42 miles of Pacific coastline, world famous theme parks, the largest convention center on the West Coast (Anaheim Convention Center) and almost 55,000 guest rooms in both convention-savvy properties and intimate enclaves of opulence, meeting planners will discover "The OC" is replete with new attractions, expanded cultural venues, renovated hotels, new restaurants that have already begun to win awards, and a series of revitalizing developments.

Convention Centers:

- Anaheim Convention Center: 865,000-sf of dedicated space, 43 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 15,000 theater-style.
Total Hotel Rooms: 19,817
Rooms close to convention center: 2,982
Distance from center to airport: John Wayne 15 miles; LAX 35 miles

For more listings, visit Facility Quick Search at

Daily Business Costs*:
Hotel: $226
F&B $61.69
Car Rental $80.07

For More Info:
Anaheim/Orange County VCB
Huntington Beach CVB
Costa Mesa CVB
Newport Beach CVB
*Business Travel News 2006 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News

* Phase I of a $55-million project at the Hilton Anaheim wrapped up in the spring. It included updating public space decor and renovating meeting space with a focus on technology upgrades. Phase II is set to renovate the property’s 1,572 rooms next year, featuring new soft goods and The Bed by Hilton.

* The Island Hotel Newport Beach debuted last Nov when the Irvine Company assumed management of the hotel previously managed by Four Seasons. Upgrades are under way in the lobby and lounge area, the hotel’s 83 suites, and its fine-dining restaurant, Pavilion; these follow the arrival of a 4,000-sf spa introduced last year.

* The 532-room Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa emerged in Jan after a $70-million renovation that redesigned guest rooms, including adding the new Marriott Bed; created several new suites, for a total of 20, including two 1,500-sf Presidential Suites with ocean views; debuted the 14,000-sf Pure Blu Spa; and opened Sam & Harry’s restaurant.

* The new Mandara Spa opened in Mar at Disney’s 745-room Grand Californian Hotel. The spa blends the hotel’s "Arts & Crafts" architectural style with Mandara’s contemporary Balinese elements.

* Fairmont Hotels & Resorts assumed management of the 444-room Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach last summer, with a $22-million propertywide renovation completed earlier this year.

* The Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa opened its 14,000-sf spa last year. Another project completed in Jan. redesigned all 376 guest rooms to reflect the nautical spirit of the region.

* The 252-room Doubletree Guest Suites Anaheim Resort/Convention Center opened in Feb with 7,200-sf of meeting space.

* A project slated for completion by fall at the 1,031-room Anaheim Marriott includes a soft-goods guest-room renovation and the debut of the new 25,600-sf Platinum ballroom, providing 80,000-sf of meeting space on one level.

* The 990-room Disneyland Hotel recently introduced a new concierge lounge for its 11th floor upgraded service.

* By fall, renovations at the 510-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel will give an updated look to both the Pacific Ballroom and Yamabuki, the hotel’s signature Japanese restaurant.

* The 320-room Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim Resort wrapped up a project in April that created a retro-chic ambiance in the lobby, enhanced landscaping, and added complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access.

* Following a $32-million renovation, the 490-room Coast Anaheim Hotel was reflagged as the Sheraton Park at the Anaheim Resort earlier this spring.

* In June, the 285-room Hilton Irvine is scheduled to finish a $10-million renovation that is refurbishing the lobby, meeting space, restaurant, and guest rooms.

* In Feb, the 335-room Radisson Newport Beach concluded a revamp of the look in its guest rooms, public space, and ballrooms.

Groups Should Consider these recommendations from Successful Meetings Home Team experts. Top choices include: the 400-room St. Regis Monarch Beach and the 165-room Surf and Sand Resort.

*Contributors who informed this section include Home Team members Maureen Beck; Beth Cooper-Zobott; and Annette M. Kovalcik. Contact them at [email protected]

Readers Recommend

Our subscribers gave Pinnacle Awards to the following:
Anaheim/Orange County VCB
Newport Beach CVB
Anaheim Marriott
Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa
Montage Resort & Spa
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

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Great Places for Group Meals in Orange Count

The restaurants below have group facilities and were selected from the Zagat Survey of Orange County:

Name / Location / Type of Food

Napa Rose / Anaheim / Californian
Mr. Stox / Anaheim / American
Anaheim White House / Anaheim / Italian
Studio / Laguna Beach / Californian
Aubergine / Newport Beach / Californian
Troquet/ /Costa Mesa / French
Pinot Provence / Costa Mesa / French
Ritz Restaurant & Garden / Newport Beach / Continental
21 Oceanfront / Newport Beach / Surf & Turf
Roy’s/ /Newport Beach / Hawaiian

For more information on these and other restaurants in Orange County, please click on

Sidebar: The More the Merrier

Orange County’s bountiful menu of diversions only continues to expand, both for individual pursuits and group activities. In January, Disney’s California Adventure premiered "Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue" in the park’s Hollywood Pictures Backlot; in May the life-size interactive dinosaurs and climbing wall of embedded fossils arrived at Discovery Science Center as part of the facility’s $3.5-million expansion; and this summer a new area with four water-play attractions is set to open at LEGOLAND. Meeting attendees who want to try out a few different attractions with CityPass will find it now includes Universal Studios Hollywood, along with Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, SeaWorld Adventure Park, and the San Diego Zoo.

New group venues have come on line, too, with Hornblower Cruises & Events’ new 220-passenger Dream On, a custom-built vessel with a spacious, fully enclosable upper deck, and The Falls opening at the Black Gold Golf Club, a 3,400-sf venue with views of all Orange County from the hilltop course. Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, a brand-new attraction in Buena Park, opened last December with swashbuckling thrills and space for private events of up to 750 people. Two prestigious restaurants that welcome group business have opened recently as well: the celebrated D.C. steak house Sam & Harry’s is now the signature restaurant at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, and chef Michael Mina returned to the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa to open the stylish, elegant Stonehill Tavern in February.

Sidebar: A Sunny Future

Several projects are infusing Anaheim’s future with even more excitement and possibilities for meeting attendees. The first phase of the Platinum Triangle—envisioned as Orange County’s new downtown—is slated to open by fall. The 820 acres surrounding Angel Stadium and the Arrowhead Pond are scheduled to evolve in phases, over the next decade into a vibrant 24-hour, mixed-use urban environment with restaurants, shops, office space, and more than 7,300 residences. This autumn will also see the debut of Bowers Museum’s new 30,000-sf wing—which includes a 300-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium—and a major expansion at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The center’s new venues include a 2,000-seat concert hall, a 500-seat theater, and a 46,000-sf arts plaza that will have areas where private events can be staged. Meanwhile, construction continues on Anaheim GardenWalk, with the collection of stores and restaurants slated to open in a meticulously manicured garden setting by Oct. 2007.

Along with a new urban edginess, woven throughout all these new options will be wireless Internet access. By the end of this year, the city of Anaheim will become one of the largest cities in the country to offer a citywide wireless network. Meeting attendees will be able to pay for a one-day access pass they can use everywhere from the Anaheim Convention Center to a park bench, between visits with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and a sumptuous repast at one of the city’s award-winning restaurants.