by Michael C. Lowe | March 01, 2014
Why Here?
The City of Angels is awash in change, as millions of dollars are being invested in downtown. Plans include convention center upgrades, and new meeting hotels are opening, like the trendy Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles (above), set in a vintage theater originally built to show silent films.

L.A. By Way of Brooklyn
Ernest Wooden Jr., named president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board last year, was born and raised in a tenement in the then-rough Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. An L.A. resident since 1999, he previously held senior leadership posts with the Hilton Hotels Corp.

The Montage Beverly Hills
Near the famed Rodeo Drive, the hotel features 201 guest rooms and recently opened its rooftop pool area for private events of up to 220 guests.
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Local Update
• Scheduled to open later this year is a $172 million two-hotel complex in the heart of downtown. The project, which includes a 174-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 218-room Residence Inn by Marriott, will offer a total of 11,754 square feet of meeting space and several food and beverage outlets. The hotels are directly across from the L.A. Live sports and entertainment complex and a block from the Los Angeles Convention Center.

• The Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown is undergoing a $45 million renovation of its 485 guest rooms, meeting space and lobby area, in addition to its restaurant and lounge. The property has more than 26,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness facility, and a restaurant and bar.

• The L.A. Hotel Downtown has completed a $20 million renovation and is set to become the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles Downtown in the near future. The revamp involved the installation of contemporary design features, upgrades to all 400 guest rooms and 69 suites, and a refurbishment of the property's more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel's public spaces, restaurants, lobby and fitness center also saw improvements.

• Last year, Loews Hotels & Resorts invested $26 million to renovate and rebrand the former Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. The resulting new Loews Hollywood Hotel, along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and overlooking the famed Hollywood sign, has 632 guest rooms and more than 120,000 square feet of function space.

• Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel has completed a $4.5 million renovation that included new guest-room balconies and a fresh facade. The 342-room property has two restaurants and lounges, a spa and wellness center, and approximately 17,000 square feet of function space.

• The 182-room Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles features a rooftop pool and lounge, along with several dining options. The hotel occupies what was originally built in 1927 to house the United Artists Theater. Groups can use a 2,300-square-foot lobby area with 35-foot ceilings, as well as the 1,600-seat theater itself with its original murals and intricate plasterwork.

• In the city's Westside neighborhood, the Hotel Angeleno has renovated its meeting venues, including a 16th-floor executive boardroom and 3,000-square-foot pool deck. The hotel's 17th-floor West Restaurant Lounge, available for events of up to 300 people, also saw an upgrade. In all, the 208-room property has nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 1,354-room Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, 1,234-room Hilton Los Angeles Airport, 1,004-room Los Angeles Airport Marriott, 878-room JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles L.A. Live, 802-room Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles, 740-room Westin Los Angeles Airport, 726-room Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 485-room Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, 482-room Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, 469-room L.A. Hotel Downtown and 295-room Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

To find and compare properties and send RFPs, go to

Convention Center: Los Angeles Convention Center; exhibit space, 720,000 square feet; meeting rooms, 64; (213) 741-1151;

Airport Transit: Los Angeles International Airport, 17 miles from the downtown district. Transfer cost to downtown by taxi, about $47; by metro, $1.50; by FlyAway shuttle to Union Station and Van Nuys, $7-$8

Taxes: Sales tax, 9%; room tax, 14%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14%

Group Venue: The Forum entertainment venue, near LAX, wrapped up a $100 million renovation in January that added 8,000 square feet of new event space. The facility also upgraded its 17,500-seat theater, and 40,000-square-foot outdoor terrace. (310) 330-7300;

Contact: Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, (800) 228-2452;