by Michael C. Lowe | January 01, 2011

Long Beach
Long Beach Airport is set to complete major renovations by 2013. The massive project includes a new $45 million passenger concourse; a 34,750-square-foot boarding lounge with improved seating, concessions and restrooms; an atrium, and a garden walkway.

The former cruise ship and current Queen Mary Hotel completed a $6 million renovation last November. The property has 314 staterooms and 18,700 square feet of meeting space.

The GuestHouse Hotel Long Beach completed its $1.5 million transformation into the Hotel Current last November. The renovation left the 143-room property a sleek, boutique resort with modern amenities. Also new: a 2,000-square-foot conference center and an expanded pool and deck area.

Parkers' Lighthouse is undergoing a $2.5 million revamp expected to finish early this year. The makeover will include a new two-story wine cellar and the transformation of the third-floor Queensview Room into a steak house that will be open on the weekends. During the week, the space will be host functions of up to 100.

This past November, the Hotel Maya became the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Maya and is now operated by Hilton. The property offers 194 guest rooms, 20,000 square feet of meeting space and free Wi-Fi.

Last year, Long Beach completed a $1.5 million beautification project of the downtown area using LED lights to illuminate some notable buildings and structures. The project's 9,000 lights produce a spectrum of 16 million different colors throughout the night.

Meeting Hotels
Properties include the 528-room Hyatt Regency Long Beach, 469-room Westin Long Beach, 397-room Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center, 374-room Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, 314-room Queen Mary Hotel, 310-room Long Beach Marriott, 222-room Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport Hotel and Conference Center, 216-room Courtyard Long Beach Downtown, 216-room Residence Inn by Marriott Long Beach, 194-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Maya, 178-room Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown, 138-room Hotel Avia and 134-room Holiday Inn Downtown Long Beach.

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, approximately $20

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

Long Beach city hotel room tax: 12 percent, plus a 3 percent business improvement tax. Sales tax: 8.75 percent. Total tax on hotel rooms, 15 percent

Group Venues
The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Gardenis a 1.3-acre outdoor venue featuring Japanese-style greenery, sparkling waterfalls and picturesque bridges spanning koi ponds. The garden was completed in 1981 and includes signature Japanese architecture and artwork, including stone pagodas and Koma-Inu or "Lion Dogs," mythological creatures posted at the garden's gate to keep evil spirits from entering the peaceful garden sanctuary. The venue can accommodate up to 200 guests. (562) 985-8889

For an offshore excursion, Horn­blower Cruises & Events offers corporate packages to cruise around Long Beach Harbor on one of its seven yachts. The 222-foot Inspiration can accommodate up to 1,000 guests in its 28,000 square feet of meeting space. The company's most intimate option is the 90-foot Dream Maker, which has room for 90 guests cocktail-style or 56 guests seated. (888) 467-6256

Dining Out
The outdoor patio at SipThe Renaissance Long Beach Hotel opened its new restaurant, Sip, last April. The cocktail bar features an outdoor patio with a fire pit, a heated floor and daybed-style seating. Menu items include horseradish potato skins, ale-braised short-rib sliders and craft beers. In an attempt to dispel the myth that hotel bars and restaurants are overpriced, Sip's menu includes items ranging in price from $1 to $16. (562) 437-5900

The Queen Mary Hotel's Chelsea Chowder House & Bar, formerly the Chelsea Restaurant, opened last Novem­ber, with seating for up to 130. (562) 499-6695;

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