How can a hotel make a name and a niche for itself in a crowded marketplace? In Santa Barbara, the 122-room facility once known as Hotel Oceana has new ownership and a new name, Hotel Milo. The name and ownership change (it’s the Independent Collection’s 10th property) presents opportunities for the harborside boutique property to redefine itself. 

The picture-perfect location speaks for itself: The two-story Hotel Milo (a collection of several Spanish-style buildings,) spans almost a full block on West Cabrillo Boulevard, across the wide avenue from West Beach and the harbor, with busy Stearns Wharf in view. The new name refers to the 1900s, when Milo Potter opened the Hotel Potter in the same location where Hotel Milo now stands.

To enhance the guest experience for individuals and groups, the rebranded property has partnered with several like-minded businesses in town. Biweekly wine tastings are hosted by Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant; an outdoor yoga series is sponsored by Santa Barbara’s Lolë activewear; and standup paddle-boarding tours are guided by Santa Barbara Fitness Tours. Hotel Milo’s sales team is expert at curating specific activities to fit a group’s interests.

Groups of 10 to 40 are easily accommodated at the property for company retreats, board meetings and receptions. The oceanfacing, 620-square-foot boardroom (up to 24 seated) is popular with local businesses for its seaside location, beachy vibe and easy access to the outdoors. Lazy Acres Market, known for its organic and locally sourced ingredients, provides the breakfast, lunch and dinner catering/ event menus.

“Appealing to the whimsical business traveler, guests at this property will have access to everything they need in one beautiful oceanfront location,” says Shelley Stearns, general manager. Out front, black beach cruisers emblazoned with Hotel Milo signage are at the ready for a post-meeting spin or for a short ride to Santa Barbara’s exuberant Funk Zone, a collection of wine-tasting rooms, art galleries and eateries.

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.


Make no mistake: Group business is returning to Anaheim. In a marketing campaign dubbed “Calling All Characters,” Visit Anaheim, the official destination marketing organization for the city, is spreading the news that the home of Disneyland is open and welcoming both leisure and business visitors back.   


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.