westdrift Manhattan Beach has 393 guest rooms, 26 acres and 35,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor event space, but it also has the intimate feel of a boutique hotel. In that way it’s true to Marriott’s Autograph Collection—it’s the first of these properties to open in Los Angeles area—which combines the muscle and know-how of Marriott with the appeal of unique design and amenities.

Once flying the Radisson flag, the hotel has gone through a complete makeover, its décor a nod to the nearby Manhattan Beach Pier, says Maureen Leary, westdrift’s director of sales and marketing. In the spacious lightfilled lobby, you’ll find furnishings inspired by driftwood, columns that evoke pier pilings and screens made of jute. There are glass walls throughout the lobby, for “an indoor-outdoor California feel,” Leary says. “We wanted to keep things fun, playful and flexible. It’s a large open space, but with sofas and low lounge seating, as well as communal tables, there are discreet areas for intimate gatherings, private conversations and lots of collaboration.”

The lobby includes the signature Jute Coastal Bar + Kitchen, offering a creative menu that can accommodate all tastes with dishes like cedar plank salmon, sous vide beef short ribs and, for vegans and vegetarians, beet Wellington.

Event space includes several ballrooms, with 17-foot ceilings that can accommodate from 100 to 1,000 guests, and a dozen breakout rooms. Shoreacres is an innovative space with industrial lighting, exposed ductwork and a wall of windows that features three garage doors that open to the backyard (ideal for car shows), and overlook the nine-hole golf course with a capacity of 700.

That nine-hole golf course has been the setting for some fun team-building, with a different activation taking place at each hole, including building human pyramids and rope course challenges. “We’re not fussy about the golf course,” Leary says. “We’ve brought in food trucks for events, turned it into a big backyard barbecue and put up screens for outdoor movies.” The adjacent pool area, with private cabanas, can be a setting for cocktail parties or, as took place one recent morning, a location for a scene for the TV series “Jane the Virgin.” Among westdrift’s many offerings is convenience: it’s located less than 5 miles from LAX and a couple of miles from the beach.

Perhaps your attendees have hopped on those electric bikes and e-scooters that are scattered all over metropolitan areas throughout California. That’s old news, no question. Yet it’s a sure bet they’ve never been on a Vintage Electric Cruz Bike, because only 250 of them ever have been made. Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop in Carmel has a fleet of these smile generators, as well as a fleet of knowledgeable guides to lead scenic group tours. 

 

 

The wildly popular Magnolia Brewery in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood has a new addition: Magnolia Hall, a 6,500-square-foot private event space
connected to the always-bustling brewery and taproom. Just a 10-minute walk from Oracle Stadium, where the Giants play, it’s perfect for a pre- or post-game function and for more formal events, too.

 

Simply the best city hotel I have ever experienced, the Moxy San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter is fun and different in so many ways. You check in at the bar and the super friendly staff hands you a cocktail. What could be more welcoming than that?