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 home of Rockford’s new entrepreneurial event space may date back to the 1920s, but Rockford City Market is primed to showcase future creatives and makers of all kinds.

 

Want to add a literary flavor to your next event–literally? Host a gathering at a library to add a scholarly tone to your fête. You could even go all-in with a literature-themed dress code. Here are some suggestions for a “novel” approach to event planning.

Houston
Houston Public Library

 

When you're in the mountains, it’s truly difficult to be bored. From skiing and snowboarding to hiking and climbing, the U.S. Mountain West and western Canada know how to keep things interesting when it comes to outdoor activities. But sometimes, the best way to enjoy the mountains is to sit back and take in the expansive views. Take your meetings to the mountains without the heavy snow gear and winter boots by hosting your next event on a rooftop venue surrounded by breathtaking mountains.