On Site: In West Hollywood It's Award Season

Successful Meetings March 2006: Elsewhere may be blustery and cold, but for sunny SoCal, fall and winter bring a seasonal flurry of award ceremonies to Los Angeles County. January saw the Golden Globes and the Directors Guild (DGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards; in February, the 48th Annual Grammy Awards took the floor at the Staples Center, while this month the season concludes with the 78th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.

So, if an incentive or small meeting group is into celebrities, this is the best time to dive into L.A.’s already celebrity-rich environment, because attendees can see the famous and the almost famous without even trying. In the city of West Hollywood (once the rowdy section of L.A.), where many of the hotels lie in residential zones, celebrities check in when they want privacy to work out in the gym. They also visit hotel salons like the Argyle Salon & Spa or the Alex Roldan Salon at the Bel Age to get their “game faces” on for the Oscars and other events.

In January, the West Hollywood CVB invited a small group of media and planners to inspect updates at its diverse meetings properties, including new villa development at the 114-unit Sunset Marquis & Villas; new guest room looks at the 132-suite Montrose, the 200-suite Bel Age (soon-to-be the London LA), and 262-room Hyatt West Hollywood (formerly known as the “Riot Hyatt” of rock’n’roll fame); and the new 112-room Chamberlain. The visit included shopping in the Melrose district and nights of club-hopping (the Lounge at the 135-room Standard, Skybar at the 237-room Mondrian, House of Blues, and The Comedy Store) and a morning back at HOB for an outstanding Sunday gospel brunch. It also yielded sightings of Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey, Jr., Brian Austin Greene (Beverly Hills 90210), Bill Lee (MadTV), and Pink—all of whom were just going about their business. Had I loitered, I’ve might have seen Halle Berry or Renee Zellweger, but that would be stalking, which is wrong.