At Disney California Adventure Park in the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., the new $75 million World of Color show uses all manner of lasers, lights and projections, not to mention some 1,200 pulsing fountains, in a 25-minute "visual symphony" that takes viewers through stories based on Disney movies such as The Lion King and WALL-E. The attraction can accommodate up to 6,000 people, and buyouts are available that would enable event organizers to customize the show with corporate logos.
Also at the resort, the 988-room Disneyland Hotel's new Big Thunder Suite spans 1,400 square feet decorated in the mid-19th-century fashion of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park. The entrance, on the 11th floor of the hotel's Dreams Tower, is a faux mine shaft inlaid with fool's gold. Inside, wood from a Midwestern barn has been repurposed for flooring and paneling, complimenting the rustic décor and textured earthen walls. The suite features two bedrooms, a living and dining area, and a master bathroom concealed by a sliding barn door.
In addition, a 10,000-square-foot kitchen has boosted the efficiency of the culinary experience for visitors to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. The facility can turn out F&B for meals ranging from an intimate dinner in the secluded Aladdin's Oasis, to an 800-person picnic in the Festival Arena, to a 7,000-person private event in either of the theme parks. (714) 781-7531; disneyland.disney.go.com
The 130-year-old Los Angeles Athletic Club completed the renovation of its 72-room hotel in October 2009. The urban-chic accommodations feature a variety of original artwork on the walls and homey touches such as grandfather clocks in addition to flat-screen televisions and wireless Internet. The hotel's Trophy Room serves as a 1,000-bottle wine cellar as well as a private venue for chef-led tasting dinners for up to eight guests.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is in the midst of an $84 million renovation. The museum's revamped Rotunda and Galleries reopened in July, and a new fossil hall and urban wilderness exhibit are set to debut in 2011. Space inside the galleries or among the huge dinosaur exhibits can be rented for events and can accommodate up to 500 people.
Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 1,352-room Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, 1,234-room Hilton Los Angeles Airport, 1,004-room Los Angeles Airport Marriott, 928-room Wilshire Grand Los Angeles, 878-room JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles, 802-room Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles, 740-room Westin Los Angeles Airport, 726-room Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 683-room Millenium Biltmore Los Angeles, 613-room Crowne Plaza Los Angeles International Airport, 569-room Beverly Hilton, 485-room Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, 482-room Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, 469-room Los Angeles Marriott Downtown, 453-room Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza, 295-room Sofitel Los Angeles, 268-room Hotel Palomar Los Angeles-Westwood and 200-room London West Hollywood.
Convention Center: Los Angeles Convention Center; exhibit space, 770,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 64; (213) 741-1151; lacclink.com
Airport Transit: Los Angeles International Airport, approximately 17 miles from the downtown district. Transfer cost to downtown by taxi, about $47; by bus, $1.85; by FlyAway shuttle to Union Station, Westwood and Van Nuys, $5-$7
Taxes: Sales tax, 9.25%; room tax, 14%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14%
Group Venues: In the downtown district, The Edison began life as an early power plant back in 1910 and today serves as a striking event emporium. With its art nouveau and industrial Gothic décor, the facility features a variety of interesting spaces, such as The Lab (which accommodates up to 200 people), the Game Room (20) and the Generation Lounge (70). For private dinners of up to 45 people, the Tesla Lounge offers a genteel turn-of-the-20th-century vibe. Victorian-style armchairs and furnishings, an elevated stage for live entertainment and beautifully primitive early motion pictures (produced by the venue's namesake) projected onto the walls complete the picture. (213) 613-0000; edisondowntown.com
L.A. LIVE, AEG's $2.5 billion sports, entertainment and hotel complex, spans a monumental 4 million square feet and includes the Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge, the Grammy Museum, and a Yard House eatery and bar, among other attractions. Outside, the 40,000-square-foot Nokia Plaza can be taken over by groups for events. The entire complex, nestled between the Staples Center and Los Angeles Convention Center in a lively area of the city, offers a total of 260,480 square feet of event space. (866) 548-3452; lalive.com
CVB Services: LA Inc., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, (213) 624-7300 or (800) 228-2452; discoverlosangeles.com
Long Beach News
Long Beach Airport
has announced plans for a $136 million renovation, to be completed in 2013. The project includes new gates, and a new concourse with a central garden...The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
completed an $8 million renovation last year and now sports an ocean-inspired interior design. The center offers 224,000 square feet of exhibit space and 34 meeting rooms, along with an open space that seats up to 13,500 people.
Local Update:The 1,362-room San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, in the downtown district, is undergoing a $51 million renovation scheduled for completion in January 2011. Guest rooms are being outfitted in what management calls an "urban beach style" with granite countertops and wood furnishings. The property offers a total of 75,000 square feet of meeting space.
Paradise Point Resort & Spa completed a head-to-toe renovation of its 462 bungalow-style guest rooms and bayfront meeting facilities this past February, to the tune of approximately $20 million. Among the enhancements: Guest rooms have been given hardwood flooring and handcrafted batik-style bed throws, as well as contemporary artworks and furnishings. In addition, more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space was revamped, including all of the property's 29 meeting and banquet rooms and three ballrooms.
Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort reopened its popular buffet in June, following a $6.2 million renovation. Dubbed the Modern Food Theater, the new venue offers 9,000 square feet of space for up to 426 guests, as well as Indian, Brazilian, Japanese and other cuisines.
The Best Western Island Palms Hotel & Marina completed a $20 million expansion and renovation in April that saw the addition of 72 guest rooms and 60 suites, for a total of 222 rooms. The property offers 6,300 square feet of meeting space.
San Diego International Airport is in the process of introducing new flights from North American destinations including Boston via JetBlue, Atlanta via airTran, Toronto via Air Canada and Puerto Vallarta via Alaska Airlines, among others.
Meeting Hotels: Properties in downtown include the 1,625-room Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego; 1,362-room San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina; 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel; 511-room Omni San Diego Hotel; 462-room Paradise Point Resort & Spa, 450-room Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego; 420-room Hard Rock Hotel San Diego; 337-room Embassy Suites Hotel San Diego Bay-Downtown; 306-room San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter; 283-room Hilton San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter; 270-room The US Grant-A Luxury Collection Hotel San Diego; 240-room Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter, 222-room Best Western Island Palms Hotel & Marina, and 159-room Andaz San Diego.
Convention Center: San Diego Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 615,701 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 72; (619) 525-5000; visitsandiego.com
Airport Transit: San Diego International Airport, about three miles northwest of San Diego's downtown neighborhood. Transfer cost by taxi, $12.50; cost via The Flyer metropolitan bus, $2.25
Taxes: Room tax (city of San Diego), 12.5% (10.5%, plus tourism marketing fee of 2%); sales tax, 8.75%; total taxes and fees on hotel rooms, 12.5%
Group Venue: The colorful San Diego Zoo offers myriad environments teeming with critters, such as the insects and reptiles of the Discovery Outpost; the lions, tigers and other big cats roaming in Africa Rocks; the giraffes of the Urban Jungle; and the koalas, camels and wallabies hanging out in the Outback. There also are multiple areas available for private gatherings of humans: Treetops, a plantation-style venue with floor-to-ceiling windows, a private patio and a cascading waterfall, can accommodate up to 375. For an al fresco gathering, the Zoofari Party Area can fit up to 1,000, while the new Sabertooth Grill allows up to 300 to mingle just steps away from assorted elephants, turtles and antelope.
CVB Services: San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, (619) 232-3101; sandiego.org