Surf, Sand, and Superior Meetings in Huntington Beach

This coastal destination boasts meetings-friendly properties and beachfront attractions

Huntington Beach CA pier

In the California coastal town of Huntington Beach, the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street is referred to as the "Times Square of Surfing." Gaze down at the Surfing Walk of Fame; peer up at the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the Father of Modern Surfing.

Head west from this point and walk 1,850 feet onto Surf City USA's iconic pier toward its terminus point marked by the red-domed Ruby's Diner. Or, turn east and saunter down Main Street, where the dive bars and surf shops are imbued with a culture of chill. Seek out the monument that is the world's largest surfboard, or for $3 tour the International Surfing Museum.  

Though Huntington Beach does not have a convention center per se, four proximal oceanfront resorts have formed the HB Collection, which collaboratively offer 1,400 guest rooms and 185,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The Visit Huntington Beach staff can collaborate a "citywide" that incorporates all or some of the collection.

The four hotel properties -- as well as a very new retail/dining complex -- form a line up and down Pacific Coast Highway. The best way to visualize the layout is to take a tour and start at the southernmost property, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa.

All 517 guest rooms in the Spanish-décor-inspired Hyatt have a balcony or a patio. (Cool amenity alert: All beds have motion-sensor lights near the floor allowing for safer middle-of-the-night calls of nature.) Coming soon: a half-dozen first-floor suites with outdoor fire pits.

With 52,000 square feet of flexible function space -- plus 20,000 square feet of pre-function space and 40,000 square feet of outdoor function area -- the Hyatt is the largest property in the HB Collection. It offers three ocean-view ballrooms, including a Grand Ballroom that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests.

Dining alert: Attendees won't want to miss the Hyatt's signature restaurant Watertable. It's designed with a rustic, residential feel -- homey enough to attract locals and with an ever-changing menu filled with flair and celebration. Go for the off-menu surf and turf.

One block north of the Hyatt is The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel. The property, just wrapping up an expansion of its 437 guest rooms, offers 47,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space, including five outdoor event lawns and terraces with ocean views.

The meeting spaces within the Hilton and Hyatt properties are so close to each other -- separated by a side road -- that there's talk and hope of building an aerial footbridge between the two.  

A few more steps north of the Hilton is the gorgeously textured Paséa Hotel & Spa (marvel at the huge art piece on the wall in the lobby made from 1,400 pairs of colorful flip-flops). The 250-room property has a boutique feel and offers 34,600 square feet of event space that includes a stunning indoor-outdoor oceanfront Blue Room. 

If visitors have an hour to spare, they can put that knot in their necks in the hands of a masseuse at Paséa's Aarna Spa, a Balinese-inspired oasis designed with impressive wood-carved doors and treatments that deliver lavender-enhanced muscle relief.  

Between Paséa and the fourth member of the HB Collection, the trail leads through Pacific City, a new and still-sparkling collection of restaurants and retail outlets. The space includes a food hall -- with cool spots like The Dudes Brewing Company, Pie Not (Aussie meat pies) and Beau Soleil Kitchen & Bar -- which can be reserved for groups of varying sizes.

Just past Pacific City is the 157-room boutique gem Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel. It's cozy and unpretentiously cool here, with 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting rooms and outdoor event venues, including an open-air courtyard enlivened by conversation-starting fire-pits.

If guests are hankering for a cocktail, they can belly up to the bar at Kimpton's Pacific Hideaway. The cocktails are experiential, including the Dazed & Confused (a rum concoction with a faux doobie clipped to the rim) and the Magic Mike (coconut cream, orange Red Bull and vodka served by a bartender who recreates Channing Tatum's movie moves -- rated PG).

If attendees need a little air after finishing a Magic Mike, they can step outside onto Main Street and find themselves half a block from the ocean, the pier, and the Times Square of Surfing.