Where can a group experience a touch of star power, complete with a walk down the red carpet and an atmosphere infused with the glamour of Hollywood both old and new? Look no further than Hollywood itself, a place where studios, theaters and historic hotels welcome groups for events that make them feel like celebrity VIPs.
While the nucleus of Hollywood is found along Hollywood Boulevard, its aura extends to such nearby enclaves as Pasadena and L.A.’s inland valleys. Throughout the region are legendary venues where the entertainment industry has worked its magic over the decades.
Hollywood and its attractions form one of the most popular meetings destinations within Greater L.A., according to Darren Green, vice president of sales for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.
“The venues in Hollywood are not only amazing, but are all conveniently close together, whether it’s the Hollywood Bowl, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures or Universal Studios Hollywood,” he said. “When coming to L.A., many planners give top priority to the off-site venues they want and they don’t want to spend a lot of time traveling between them or the hotels, so this is important.”
Another factor making Hollywood a convenient destination is that important sites such as Hollywood & Highland and Universal Studios Hollywood are both stops on the Los Angeles Metro rapid-transit system, he added.
“If people are staying in Downtown L.A., they can easily get to Hollywood on the Metro—there’s no need to use a car, which is a chief concern about visiting L.A.” Green said. “We always assure planners that our Metro system is clean, safe and efficient. It’s a great way to get around.”
Among group-friendly venues right along Hollywood Boulevard is the epitome of glamour itself, the Dolby Theatre, located in the Hollywood & Highland shopping and entertainment complex. Site of the annual Academy Awards, the 3,400-seat theater, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, is available for private events, along with its ballroom and five-level theater lobby adorned with images of legendary Oscar winners. Other event spaces at Hollywood & Highland include the 19,000-square-foot Central Courtyard, a 12,000-square-foot event terrace and a pool deck with views of the iconic Capitol Records building.
A short walk away in the historic Max Factor Building, where stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford were made ready for their close-ups, the Hollywood Museum is filled with over 10,000 show business treasures, including costumes, props, scripts, vintage cars and memorabilia from classic films and TV shows. The museum also showcases the history of Hollywood and the surrounding Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The museum offers a wide choice of atmospheric spaces, including the exhibit floors, the former wig room and makeup rooms, and the elegant Art Deco penthouse ballroom and lobby. The museum’s massive freight elevator can be set up with a cocktail bar and features a huge stained-glass chandelier created by Tony Curtis.
Sitting along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Roosevelt, which opened in 1927 and underwent a major restoration in 2014, is equally infused with history. The hotel offers over 25,000 square feet of event spaces, including the Blossom Ballroom, site of the first Academy Awards in 1929, which has 250-foot LED light ceilings as well as vintage tiles, mouldings and other original details. Outdoor spaces include the Tropicana Pool, which sports a mural painted by David Hockney, and the North Garden, a quiet oasis of palm trees and fire pits.
The famous film studios found in the environs of Hollywood offer maximum flexibility for events as well as settings that require little added decor. The studios continually launch new attractions, tours and event spaces to make their appeal even greater.
Burbank’s Universal Studios Hollywood most recently unveiled the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features settings, including Hogwarts Castle and an English village, taken from the Harry Potter books and films. Visitors will also find thrill rides, retail shops and carts dispensing Potter-inspired treats such as Butterbeer, a creamy butterscotch-flavored beverage.
“Meeting planners are responding to this new option at Universal, which offers a ready-made experience for groups,” Green said. “They can just enjoy it as it is. For groups who want to really put their own brand on the space, Universal offers plenty of other options as well.”