L.A. Luxe: Westside’s Glamour, Glitz and Art

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Westside’s Glamour, Glitz and Art

From celebrities to some of the world’s best shopping—window or otherwise—the Westside is the place for glamour, glitz and art. The region’s neighborhoods encompass media hub Century City, the college town of Westwood and the tony enclaves of Bel-Air and Brentwood. Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood add to the panache of the Westside experience.

Groups have lots of economical ways to enjoy Westside’s flair. There are plenty of free and inexpensive things to do, from taking tours on foot or by bus to checking out one of the fine museums, many of which do not charge admission or offer free days.

Several upscale hotels cater to large groups, including Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles At Beverly Hills (285 guest rooms, 14,130 sq. ft. of meeting space), InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at Beverly Hills (363 guest rooms, 16,650 sq. ft. of meeting space), Hyatt Regency Century Plaza (726 guest rooms, 100,000 sq. ft. of event space), SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills (297 guest rooms, 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor function space), Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (295 guest rooms, 11,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), The Peninsula Beverly Hills (194 guest rooms; 3,398 sq. ft. of meeting space) and newly renovated W Los Angeles-West Beverly Hills (297 guest rooms; 10,164 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor space).

Nosh

There are scores of great dining spots, and options for just about any type of food.

Wolfgang Puck reigns at his eponymous restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air; he also has two other restaurants in Beverly Hills. Your group can go old school with Lawry’s The Prime Rib (hosts groups up to 500 during the day, 80 in the evening) in Beverly Hills, or enjoy fresh California cuisine at Fundamental LA in Westwood (which also does event catering) or Italian at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood (the private room hosts up to 40; buyouts host up to 450).

Enjoy fine cuisine in unsuspecting places. At open-air Westfield Century City, for example, people love Meizhou Dongpo—the menu includes dumplings and classic Chinese food, including an entire Peking duck. The Original Farmers Market, a Los Angeles landmark, is located near The Grove retail and entertainment complex. The Grove actually can host galas, with such offerings as valet parking, champagne toasts and a fun trolley ride for attendees.

Mondrian's SkybarMondrian’s Skybar off Sunset Boulevard is the place for evening cocktails and views of the city and immersion in the L.A. scene.

Get Cultured

Does your group crave culture? The Westside’s museums fill the bill. Getty Center in Brentwood is atop the Santa Monica Mountains high above Sunset Boulevard, accessible by free tram and completely free (except for parking). Groups of more than 15 must make a reservation. Make sure your group sees van Gogh’s Irises, one of the most expensive paintings in history.

In addition to the Restaurant, where the food is top notch, there’s a private dining room that seats 54. The Getty can also provide picnic box lunches, as there are several spots where groups can dine al fresco.

Skirball Cultural Center, a Jewish cultural institute that welcomes every ethnic and cultural identity in American life, is a great place to host meetings (60,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and see trendy exhibitions. Recent shows include Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution and Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip.

Los Angeles County Museum of ArtThe Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (known by locals as LACMA), has an extensive collection and several exhibits. It’s the largest museum in the western United States. Groups can book private tours and pre-order picnic lunches to enjoy in the outdoor spaces. Food trucks converge once a week.

For an indoor and outdoor adventure, head to La Brea Tar Pits, featuring a museum with fossils, animals and plants that have been found on the site. The plaster animals, such as a woolly mammoth, have been awing generations of kids. The museum has space available for corporate after-hours events.

There are many more specialized museums, with interesting exhibits and a variety of spaces for events.

Specialty Tours and Sites

MAK Center for Art and Architecture at Schindler House is good for day trips and a perfect setting for meetings, parties and receptions. The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills has the foremost public archive of television and radio programming, and hosts many star-studded events; its theaters, boardrooms, meeting rooms and outdoor event space are all available to rent.

petersen-automotive-museumThe Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum features cars of all vintages, makes and models from around the globe, though by design only about half are on display at any given time. The newly renovated museum has 50,000 sq. ft. of event space, including an all-glass penthouse. It reopens in December.

And even though it’s touristy, consider taking your group on a tour bus. Celebrity tours take you past the lavish homes and mansions of movie stars and other celebrity haunts. Starline Tours, for example, says on its tour you may see the homes of Halle Berry, Madonna, Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise, David and Victoria Beckham and more.

On Dearly Departed Tours, you can see the places where famous people met their end (or places where they lived before meeting their ends). It’s twisted. It’s macabre. And people rave about it.

And then, of course, there’s TV. Many shows are taped daily in L.A. So look into your group’s favorite show to see if you can be part of the audience.

Window Shop & People Watch

For great shopping (and noshing), stroll along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, 26th Street in Brentwood or Westwood Boulevard in Westwood, home of the Mighty Bruins at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Just about any day on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is an adventure. You can take in the haute couture at Gucci and Louis Vuitton, ogle the jewels in Cartier—or just window shop and people watch.

You might even spot a celebrity or two. Here’s a hint: They don’t always hang out on the main streets. Robertson Boulevard’s trendy boutiques are also good for celebrity spotting. You’ll find vintage stores, skateboard shops and other hipster-friendly stores along La Brea Avenue between West Third and Beverly Boulevard. West Third, from La Cienega to Fairfax, boasts everything including locally owned eateries.

When in doubt, head to the open-air shopping centers—Century City, the Beverly Center or The Grove, where you also can catch E! News being filmed live.

For more on our Ultimate Los Angeles Guidebook for Meeting Planners – click here

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