by Michael C. Lowe | October 01, 2013
Why Here?

Groups coming to California have the benefit of a variety of new improvement projects, including a $70 million upgrade of the Grand Hyatt San Francisco (above), a $130 million expansion of San Jose's convention center and a new 45,000-square-foot event space in Long Beach.

Food finder:  For the latest on L.A.'s culinary scene, check out
Big Birthday

In Berkeley, the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015. The 279-room property offers 30,000 square feet of function space, three swimming pools, a yoga studio and more.

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Long Beach
The new Pacific Ballroom at the Long Beach Arena will open next month, offering 45,000 square feet of function space. Suspended above the area is a $1.6 million grid system equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, sound and video systems, all controlled via iPad.

The 528-room Hyatt Regency Long Beach finished phase two of a $30 million-plus renovation earlier this year. The project included refurbishing all guest rooms and some meeting space, including the redesigned 3,400-square-foot Seaview Ballroom.

The new 159-room Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach opened in April near Long Beach Airport, featuring more than 2,000 square feet of meeting space, free Wi-Fi and a restaurant.

The 216-room Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown opened a new dining spot in May, featuring Modern American cuisine. Chef Dean James Max's James Republic Restaurant has indoor and outdoor patio seating. The property also offers a total of 6,690 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels
Major properties include the 528-room Hyatt Regency Long Beach, 469-room Westin Long Beach, 398-room Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center, 374-room Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, 346-room Queen Mary Hotel, 310-room Long Beach Marriott, 216-room Residence Inn by Marriott Long Beach, 199-room Hotel Maya-a DoubleTree by Hilton, 178-room Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown, 138-room Hyatt The Pike Long Beach and 135-room Holiday Inn Downtown Long Beach.

To find and compare these and other properties, and to send RFPs, go to

Convention Center
Long Beach Convention & Entertain­ment Center; total meeting and exhibit space, more than 400,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 34; (562) 436-3636;

Airport Transit
Long Beach Airport, about six miles from downtown Long Beach. Transfer cost by taxi, $20

Los Angeles International Airport, about 23 miles from downtown Long Beach. Transfer cost by taxi, $65

Long Beach city hotel room tax, 12%, plus a 3% business improvement tax; sales tax, 8.75%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15%

Group Venue
Built to house an exclusive social organization for women, the 1924 Ebell Club features an intricately ornamented façade, a polished marble entry, teak paneling, high ceilings and lots more. The place was renovated in 2004 now offers more than 25,000 square feet of event space. (562) 436-4014;

Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 452-7829;