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.

The Shay, a Destination by Hyatt hotel, in the Culver City neighborhood is opening its doors.

This marks the Los Angeles debut of the Destination by Hyatt brand, a diverse collection of independent hotels and resorts, with each property embodying the spirit of its location. For the 148-room Shay that means pop-up shops in the lobby, a lobby fire pit, rooftop socials on a pool deck that offers views of downtown.

 

After many delays and budget overruns, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has finally opened. It’s a blockbuster, with enough dazzle, beauty and innovation to, arguably, justify its $484 million cost. And, in good news for meeting planners, the event space here is gorgeous!

 

Enoteca 5, an intimate new wine bar in LA’a Pacific Palisades neighborhood, is perfectly aligned with a comfortable return to gathering. The wine bar itself seats 8, with additional indoor tables for a dozen more and an outdoor patio that can accommodate 10 at a long narrow table, making for a very festive party for 30.  If you’re planning a larger gathering, you can take over the adjoining Cinque Terra WEST restaurant and patio, a longtime beloved community spot, for a total capacity of 90.