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 time is right; the stage is set. Groups are ready to meet face to face again, and the four-star luxury hotel MGM Grand Detroit is ready to welcome you back.

According to MPI’s report “Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook,” three-quarters of meeting professionals predict a face-to-face event this calendar year. And that definitely rings true for Lisa Williams, executive director of sales for the hotel.

 

Despite an overall crushing year for the hospitality industry in Pennsylvania, some seeds of hope have been planted and are finally sprouting in the form of new hotel openings. These new properties on the horizon have ample meeting and event space up for grabs, all within close proximity of each other. As capacities allowances increase, check out the new real estate for meetings and events at the following hotels.

 

Making the most of Minnesota’s ideal (and ever-fleeting) outdoor event season is a time-honored tradition, but outdoor venues hold a whole new appeal in a post-pandemic landscape. 
Plein air events can offer planners plenty of space to safely distance their guests as well as peace of mind to attendees still wary of in-person gatherings—as well as some much-needed screen-free interaction.