For each ‘Planner’s Pick,’ Prevue interviews a planner for their choices of compelling, high value destinations.
PLANNER: TAMMY SELDON
Giant Screen Cinema Association
Lake Anna, VA
Planners can pay a pretty penny in Los Angeles—just like any other first-tier metropolis—but what if you want an updated room under $200, mod meeting space and easy access to the beach, attractions and downtown glam? Who do you call?
The Giant Screen Cinema Association consists of 300 diverse global organizations affiliated with the Giant Screen (IMAX) industry, ranging from film directors to theater owners. They gather every spring in L.A. to screen new films in the IMAX theaters at Universal Studios, The California Science Center and The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center—all available for rental. Dinners take place at their host hotels, often Marriott, such as the 985-room Los Angeles Airport Marriott this year.
LAX Marriott? For film industry creative types?
“We tend to look very closely at cost and room rates, that’s very important to us because of our non-profit status,” says Tammy Seldon, Executive Director. But one interesting option she recommends is the fun Ocean Trolley Express out to Manhattan Beach and the Plaza El Segundo district for shopping and nightlife. “That has really opened up a lot of opportunities for us to use a cost-sensitive property like LAX Marriott but still offer entertainment options to our group.”
In recent years, Seldon has also repeatedly booked the 360-room Marina del Rey Marriott, with its obvious allure being the marina-based activities and numerous restaurants within walking distance. She raves about the courtyard lounge Glow for networking, which at first seemed surprising to hear until we learned Glow is ranked among the top 10 hotel bars in the country. Yes, there are people who judge those things.
“When I went for a site visit, as soon as I walked into the lobby I knew it was the hotel we were going to select,” she says. “It’s just so warm and welcoming and it’s an outstanding location…. Venice Beach is right nearby too.”
How would you rate the cost overall?
“We’ve done Chicago, New York, Vancouver, London—I would say where we have stayed in L.A. has been much less expensive than in other top-tier cities.”
At Universal Studios, Seldon has organized buyouts at the Hard Rock Cafe and an Oscar-themed party at the historic Globe Theater, which can host up to 700 for cocktails. She is now considering events at the JW Marriott Los Angeles Hotel at L.A. LIVE and The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles right above it, after her attendance at a spa party during ASAE this spring.
“That was one of the nicest spas I’ve ever been to…,” she says. “There’s a lot of opportunity at L.A. Live. It’s very self-contained with a wide variety of price points.”
“The Renaissance is a beautiful property and it has very unique corner suites, which would be great for VIPs,” she says. “There’s all kinds of nightlife in the area and lots of things to do…. I would definitely recommend it to other planners.”