Greater Los Angeles - A Successful Meetings Destination - 2007-10-05

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS September 2007 Nowhere else in the world is a greater wonderland than Greater L.A., where every restaurant, shop, or venue holds the possibility of a brush with celebrity. And now that the L.A. LIVE development is taking shape, planners can look forward to a convention center campus of amazing proportions.

Essential Tool Box
Convention Centers: Los Angeles Convention Center, 800,000 sf of dedicated exhibit space; 54 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 22,870 theater-style. Long Beach Convention Center, 223,979 sf of dedicated exhibit space; 47 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 12,500
theater-style. Santa Monica Civic Center, 27,168 sf of exhibit space, converts to a 3,000-seat arena.
For complete listings, visit Quick Facility Search at www.mimegasite.com
Daily Business Costs:*
Hotel $173.53 F&B $93.46 Car Rental $92.72
For More Info:
LA INC. The CVB: www.greaterlosangeles.com
Pasadena CVB: www.pasadenacal.com
Long Beach Area CVB: www.visitlongbeach.com
Beverly Hills CVB: www.beverlyhillsbehere.com
West Hollywood CVB: www.visitwesthollywood.com
Santa Monica CVB: www.santamonica.com
*Source: Business Travel News 2007 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News
The wait is over-or has it just begun?

On Jun 1, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, together with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and the CEO of developer AEG, Timothy J. Leiweke, joined forces to break ground on the long-awaited building shared by the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton (for a total of 1,001 rooms) at L.A. LIVE, downtown's massive redevelopment, where the 7,100-seat Nokia Theater is expected to debut next month.

Said Bill Marriott, chairman and CEO of Marriott International, "The combination of an entertainment district of this scale with such a unique hotel and residential tower project is a proposition unmatched anywhere in the world."

Facilities Update
In Jun, two new Metro Rapid bus lines, Santa Monica and Long Beach, started service; 18 lines operate on high-traffic corridors throughout L.A. County.
* Last fall, the University of Southern California opened the 255,000-sf, $147-million Galen Center arena in downtown, with 12,258 seats, a 45,000-sf pavilion, three practice courts, and the Athletic Department Hall of Fame. The arena is available for concerts, commencement ceremonies, community events, lectures, meetings, shows, and pageants.
* Vibiana Place, the former St. Vibiana's Cathedral, has recently opened following a major restoration of the 1876 Baroque-inspired structure, and is now available for public and private events. Phase II will retrofit the bell tower and transform the former rectory into a restaurant.
* The $5-million, 295-seat Billy Wilder Theater opened at the Hammer Museum, home of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
* A new 305-room W Hotel is under development as part of the $600-million, mixed-use Hollywood & Vine project. The property will include a private rooftop pool and gym, a signature restaurant, a 9,200-sf spa, and a rooftop bar. The W Hotel is scheduled to open in 2009.
* The Doubletree Hotel Los Angeles/Westwood will reopen in Apr 2008 as the 268-room Hotel
Palomar Los Angeles-Westwood. Improvements will include extensive guest room upgrades, a reduction in the number of guest rooms to create more suites, a destination spa and fitness center, and a high-end, chef-driven
restaurant.
* The 726-room Hyatt Regency Century Plaza has completed a $22-million renovation to its guest rooms and added a new 9,100-sf Plaza Pavilion designed for up to 500 guests, augmenting the hotel's more than 100,000 sf of meeting space that includes the largest ballroom in L.A. After a $4.5-million renovation, its spa opened in Feb as the Equinox Fitness Club & Spa, with more than 20 treatment rooms.
* In Jan, the 264-room Hyatt West Hollywood expects to have completed a $24-million renovation that will add 42-inch plasma TVs and superior bedding to guest rooms and replace guest balconies with translucent glass.
* The 637-room Renaissance Hollywood will open Spa Luce in Jan 2008 with six treatment rooms, just off the pool deck. Guest rooms are getting a redo costing between $27,000 and $30,000 per room. Completion is set for Jan; new colors and furnishings have been chosen for a classic Hollywood feel.
* The 200-room Bel Age is undergoing a renovation that will transform it into London West Hollywood this fall.
* The 482-room Hilton Los Angeles, located at the main entrance to Universal
Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk, recently completed a multimillion renovation that now offers refurbished guest rooms and 60,000 sf of indoor and outdoor space, featuring Wi-Fi, and video- and Web-casting capabilities.
* Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has expressed interest in flagging a 275-room hotel that is expected to open in 2010. The hotel, part of downtown's Grand Avenue redevelopment, will occupy the lower floors of an iconic 48-story tower designed by Frank Gehry. Also part of the development is a 25,000-sf event facility.
* The 102-acre Terranea Resort, located only 15 miles south of LAX, is scheduled to open in 2009 with a 26,000-sf destination spa, a nine-hole golf academy, three restaurants, three swimming pools, and 582 guest rooms in a variety of lodging options-upscale hotel accommodations, suites, casitas, villas, and bungalows. The $450-million development will also boast more than 63,000 sf of indoor meeting and event space, including an 18,000-sf ballroom and 31 meeting rooms for social and business gatherings. A variety of outdoor venues will provide more than 75,000 sf of terrace and lawn space with breathtaking views for meetings and events.
* Redondo Beach's 163-room Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club recently completed an $11-million renovation that gave a nautical theme to the property's 8,000 sf of conference and meeting space.

Groups Should Consider
Groups should consider these off-site venue recommendations from Successful Meetings' Home Team* experts. Renowned chef Wolfgang Puck's signature restaurant, Spago Beverly Hills, for groups of less than 100. For groups of more than 100, contact the CVBs of the coastal communities to see which private beach clubs may be available. Whether with bonfires on the beach or formal dinners overlooking the water, guests can relax in casual, yet upscale, settings and enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Coast right from the sand. For more than 500 attendees, Warner Brothers or Universal offer tours of the studio backlots, with catering provided by the same teams that cater to every whim of the stars.

*Home Team contributors who informed this section include Dabney Bixel. Contact her at [email protected]

L.A. "Lite"
Welcome to SoCal, where a Jehovah's Witness group of 10,000 and a "Leather and Lace" motorcycle pinup event find themselves peacefully coexisting on a picture-perfect, sun-drenched weekend.

But before you make assumptions, we're talking about Long Beach, a city of 500,000 that is part of Los Angeles County. It shares the same weather, the same coastline, the same great airlift; and its public transportation can get you to downtown L.A. in 40 minutes. But with prices that are less than other coastal communities', Long Beach could be described as the value destination in the Golden West.

Long Beach has over 5,000 hotel rooms, most of which are in walking distance of the 400,000-sf Long Beach Convention Center. Fifteen properties-including the Hyatt Regency, Westin, Hilton, Holiday Inn, and Long Beach Marriott-offer meeting space.

In the entertainment complex that surrounds the convention center is the Aquarium of the Pacific. A great place for watching sea lions and sea otters at play, the Aquarium is also terrific for events, from authentic Hawaiian-themed parties, to backstage tours of sea lion training, to a full-facility takeover after hours with dancing under the blue whale. Across the street, The Pike area around Long Beach Harbor includes restaurants and a GameWorks arcade for fun or teambuilding events, plus scenic views of the Queen Mary and lighthouse. Though it's easily walkable, you can also set up Segway rentals for your delegates. The iconic Queen Mary, anchored in Long Beach Harbor, is available for events, as are the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Museum of Latin American Art.

Outdoors activities, like sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, waterskiing, fishing, and harbor cruises as well as rollerblading, biking, tennis, and golf are popular; Bay Boat Rentals can set up your group for a cocktail cruise or an afternoon of water fun.

You can also board the Catalina Express ferry ($60 round-trip for adults, with a $15 upgrade for the Commodore level, which includes a free drink and reclining seats) for a trip to the town of Avalon on that historic island. Built by the Wrigley Company to resemble a European town, Avalon boasts quaint shops and restaurants surrounded by murals of handmade Catalina tile. Groups can watch colorful fish on an undersea tour or via a glass-bottom boat, hold events on the Descanso Beach Club lawn and stage, or take a bus trip through Catalina's wild interior to see the buffalo-and no, the widely publicized fire did not burn any of Avalon's tourist areas. The gorgeous Art Deco Casino, which can hold up to 1,200, is also available for rental.-Michael Goldstein

Readers Recommend
Our subscribers gave Pinnacle Awards to the following:
Beverly Hills CVB
LA INC. The CVB
Long Beach CVB
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
Pacific Palms Conference Resort
For complete hotel/facilities listings, visit Facility Quick Search at www.mimegasite.com