City Snapshot

Los Angeles, CA

Each month we pick one of our favorite #DynamoDestinations that should be on your map for hosting conferences, meetings & events. Plus, we’ll reveal our top venue picks in the same 5 corporate event categories each month, so that when you’re in a pinch and need to find the very best picks right now in a given city, you’ve got the Dynamo-approved go-to’s.


Los Angeles, CA – Our February 2020 Feature

Of course, we had to kick off our City Snapshots by turning the lens onto our hometown of sunny Los Angeles, California. We bet L.A. is already on your list of meeting & event destinations because of its great weather, beautiful beaches, and excellent entertainment options, not to mention unbeatable airlift via LAX.

Beyond that, Los Angeles has a booming health & wellness industry, a growing art & design scene, and a foodie culture that’s taking off – just have a look at The Michelin Guide which finally started rating in Los Angeles again last year – 24 restaurants made the cut. Not too shabby.

With all that and the 292 days of sun per year, what’s not to love?

Okay, there is one thing that we hear time and again. Los Angeles can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming to navigate since it is so spread out ie “the sprawl.” It’s true. There’s a lot to L.A. So, we’re going to focus our first L.A. City Snapshot specifically on The West Side.

Los Angeles’ West Side

Many of our clients hosting external events in L.A. with local attendees – think Road Shows and regional Summits – come to us saying, “I can tell I have a high concentration of accounts in the L.A. area, and it makes sense to do an event there, but how do I choose between The West Side, Central L.A., or Downtown? How do I ensure I pick a spot that will work for everyone no matter where they work or live?”

The truth is, if you create a compelling enough value proposition for them to attend your event, it simply doesn’t matter. Angelenos are plenty used to hopping in the car, in an Uber, or increasingly, on the Metro to go to events. So, worry less about the location within the city, and worry more about;

  1. Selecting an enticing venue within the area you’ve decided on and
  2. Creating high-value programming that registrants won’t think of missing when they get the calendar alert that it’s time to hop on the 405 and head to your event.

Internal events like Sales Meetings and Incentives of course don’t have this challenge since your attendees are guaranteed to attend. And, when you’re hosting something like a User Conference where attendees are flying in from all over, “the sprawl” is less of an issue as well. But of course, since you’re a top notch planner, you’ll still want to select a top notch venue to give your attendees the best experience possible.

Here is our list of venue go-to’s in our Top 5 corporate event categories on Los Angeles’s West Side:

1. User Conference

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Santa Monica, CA

Chain: Accor
Brand: Fairmont
Total meeting space: 25,000+ sq ft, plus additional outdoor spaces and dining outlets
Guest rooms: 297
Nearest airport: Los Angeles, LAX (25-40 minutes depending on the time of day)

Why we love it:

When we’re producing user conferences, we always recommend a destination that potential attendees are going to be excited about getting on a plane for (since your users are likely not all locals), and this Fairmont’s Santa Monica address and proximity to the beach can’t be beat. The Fairmont flag also guarantees a certain service level, which is extra-important when customers and prospects are in attendance. We recommend starting with a Welcome Reception on the Sunset Terrace or Miramar Garden, General Session in the Starlight Ballroom, and Meals on the Moreton Bay Circle under the famous Moreton Bay fig tree.

2. Sales Kickoff

Westdrift Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach, CA

Chain: Marriott
Brand: Autograph Collection
Total meeting space: 29,000 sq ft indoor + 8,000 sq ft outdoor
Guest rooms: 392
Nearest airport: Los Angeles, LAX (10-20 minutes depending on the time of day)

Why we love it:

Locals may remember the Westdrift Manhattan Beach as the former Marriott Manhattan Beach, but after undergoing a full gut renovation (they shut down the hotel, so you know it was for real), the only thing that’s recognizable is the gorgeous 9-hole golf course. The decor throughout communal, meeting, and guest room spaces blends “East Coast bold with West Coast cool.”

Sales kickoff attendees will love the Westdrift’s proximity to the airport, its ample communal space, and the large bar in the lobby area perfect for networking with their colleagues who they may only get to see once or twice a year while they are selling in the field. Meeting planners will also love the Westdrift’s proximity to the airport without being an “airport hotel” and that the it is accessible but not TOO accessible (read: distracting) to central Los Angeles.

We recommend hosting your General Session in Loftlight with soaring (lofty) ceilings, meals in Shoreacre with tons of natural light and industrial details, and breakouts up on the second floor. Plus, you can easily shuttle attendees off property for a welcome reception or teambuilding event at the nearby beach with firepits, the Porsche Experience Center, or on a hornblower cruise from Marina del Rey.

3. Executive Summit

The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey, CA

Chain: Marriott
Brand: Ritz-Carlton
Total meeting space: 25,000 sq ft indoor + 17,000 sq ft outdoor
Guest rooms: 304
Nearest airport: Los Angeles, LAX (10-20 minutes depending on the time of day)

Why we love it:

Time is money for your executive attendees, and this Ritz Carlton is only about a 15 minute drive from LAX, which is a total breeze by LA’s terms. Pair that convenience with the Ritz Carlton quality and service standard. Add lots of fresh, light-filled meeting space and a total of six outdoor event venues. And you’ve got yourself the perfect spot to host your Executive Summit. The property itself is situated right on the Marina del Rey marina. You’ll find your attendees grabbing drinks with their new connections on the patio of Cast & Plow, the hotel restaurant overlooking the marina. The sunsets are incredible from here, and built-in fire pits give it extra ambiance.

4. Road Show

The Proper Hotel Santa Monica

Santa Monica, CA

Chain: Marriott
Brand: Design Hotels (Proper Hotel)
Total meeting space: 18,000 sq ft indoor + 14,00 sq ft outdoor
Guest rooms: 271
Nearest airport: Los Angeles, LAX (20-35 minutes depending on the time of day), but remember, this is an event for locals

Why we love it:

The Santa Monica Proper is definitely the cool new “it girl” in town, and for our design enthusiast readers, it is dripping with that Kelly Wearstler detail that the Proper Hotels are known for. For a road show we recommend using the Converge meeting room or part of the Canela Ballroom, depending on the size of your group. The banquet menus are already full of delicious locally sourced and sustainable options, so you cannot go wrong there. But, if you really want to wow your guests, start with lunch on the Onda Private Terrace, and end with a cocktail reception on the Calabra Pool Deck, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That’s worth taking the 405 to the 10 for… ie you’ll reduce dropoff on the day, which is always a risk for road shows!

5. Incentive

Terranea Resort

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Chain: Independent
Brand: Independent
Total meeting space: 60,000 sq ft indoor + 75,000 sq ft outdoor
Guest rooms: 582
Nearest airport: Los Angeles, LAX (40-60 minutes depending on the time of day)

Why we love it:

30 miles southeast of LA, your incentive winner attendees will find themselves in a 102-acre Meditteranean oasis on the bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Terranea is the only true retreat-like resort on Los Angeles’s coast, away from the hustle and bustle in the beach cities north of it. While there are many resorts along the coast in Orange County – we’ll cover our favorites in a future post – none of those have the convenience and airlift that LAX provides for your incentive winners who are no doubt traveling in from all over the country (or world).

Terreana has all the amenities you’d expect from a five-star oceanfront resort – nine dining options, a 50,000 sq ft spa and fitness center, a nine-hole golf course, four heated swimming pools (including two adults-only pools), a Discovery Trail nature walk, fire pits, bocce ball, and croquet.

Beyond that though, there is so much more detail that makes this such a special place. The resort offers a Falconry Program where guests can have encounters with various birds of prey and learn from expert falconers – not something you experience anywhere else in SoCal. The property is also situated in a way that guests can see both sunrises and sunsets in clear view. And there are 228 outdoor firepits and fireplaces across the property – seriously, what is more relaxing than hearing a crackling fire as you watch the sun set? Well, maybe one thing – every evening Terreana marks the end of the day with an ancient ritual, the ringing of the quartz crystal Singing Bowls.

Believe us, your attendees will thank you.


Which area of Los Angeles would you like us to cover next? Send us a message to let us know!

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