The Westside SizzlesBy Maxine Cass

L.A. County’s Westside and beach cities tout glam, sun and sand

The Westside Sizzles

When groups take a look at Southern California for meetings, there are many considerations; not surprisingly, the chief one is often location, location, location.

“Don’t just look at L.A. or LAX,” says Michael Krouse, senior vice president of sales at LA INC., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau. “You can have [high-end] or cost-effective meeting experiences with different price points even on L.A.’s Westside.” Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, the beach cities and the Los Angeles International Airport-area hotels that comprise the metropolis’ Westside never had the AIG-effect challenge of cancellations to deal with, notes Krouse. “Meetings could and can come regardless of the economic situation.”

Beverly Hills, with its tony neighbors Brentwood and Bel Air, along with the Century City and Culver City “movie industry production hub,” Krouse says, gives the Westside a “special cachet.” Malibu is generally considered the northern outpost of the county’s coastal options. There’s also an impressive list of properties near the 405 freeway and L.A.’s principle airport that offer the nimbleness to put together events on the fly. And the Westside puts visitors within five to 20 miles of many of the famous beaches in the region. A 22-mile paved bike path, known as the Strand, winds south along the Pacific Ocean from Will Rogers State Beach just north of Santa Monica to Torrance County Beach in Los Angeles’ South Bay. In between are the beachside communities of Santa Monica, Venice and Marina del Rey, followed by Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Torrance.

Beyond price and location, the West L.A. experience is the draw. “When the sun shines, that place sparkles,” recalls Beth Gangel, CMP, Western Union Financial Services’ senior manager of global events. Her 450-attendee Global Kickoff meeting at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes basked in a week of sunshine in February 2011. “People from all over the world could see schools of dolphins. We felt like we were in a resort and in a special place.”

GETTING THERE

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is on the western edge of Los Angeles County. It serves all major North American cities and has 565 daily flights. Major carriers include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. Travel time to and from Westside areas varies with traffic.
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB) is a regional airport 15 miles from Torrance. It is convenient for attendees arriving from a number of U.S. destinations on carriers including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and US Airways.

CVB Resources

Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau

Discover Torrance

LA INC., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau

Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau

Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau