Doing business in… Los Angeles
by Jimmy Im
The beauty of Los Angeles is that you can play and work here. Business execs are ubiquitous at power lunches and most of the well-appointed hotels are equipped with all the necessary business amenities. In fact, Los Angeles goes all out to cater to the business traveler, “LA’s trademark industries: entertainment, fashion, art, design, and cuisine, among others, have been magnets for creative gay and lesbian trendsetters for more than a century,” says Director of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Cory Abke. “And by their sheer numbers and substantial influence, these pioneering men and women have left a permanent, positive, and gay-friendly legacy on LA’s culture, political climate, and sense of community.”
While members of the gay community have a strong hold of LA’s trademark industries, it’s not all about creative arts. Nearly one-fifth of LA’s business is in trade, transportation, and utilities, and the entire city is sprawling with tourist attractions suitable for any sort of traveler with more than 300 museums, terrific restaurants, and unforgettable hotels (more than 95,000 rooms are offered). In downtown LA, getting around has become a lot easier with the new Los Angeles Metro Rail that provides visitors with a more streamlined and convenient commute, connecting Hollywood, Universal City, Downtown LA, Miracle Mile, Culver City, and other areas.
For large functions, business is ideal at the award-winning Los Angeles Convention Center, a top meeting venue with a total of 720,000 square feet of exhibition space and 147,000 square feet of meeting room space, easily accommodating larger events and/or business meetings. One of the newest downtown developments is the $2.5 billion LA Live. This 5.6-million-square-foot, mixed-use center spans 27 acres across the legendary Staples Center and adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center. It’s become the centerpiece of downtown, home of restaurants like Trader Vics, live music venues, nightlife (Conga Room is popular), and two five-star hotels (Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles and JW Marriott Los Angeles Live) that amp up the luxury factor in downtown LA, which has always been identified as the less-desired district. Clearly, times have changed.
Should you not need all the five-star glitz of a big chain, check into Luxe City Center Hotel, a chic, 178-room property right across the street from the Staples Center. Guestrooms are contemporary and comfortable (many with views of the buzzing Staples Center) with a modern Italian restaurant, FigOly. Top Chef Season 7 Alex Reznik created the menu, and the restaurant has a terrific alfresco dining terrace with a separate outdoor cigar bar/lounge area, that’s very unique for a downtown LA hotel.
Drinks at The Roosevelt Hotel, a historic hotel where Marilyn Monroe lived for two years, is a must on your itinerary. Taken over by Thompson Hotel Group, the 1927-built hotel has 1,015 rooms and a spacious, classic-meets-modern domed lobby. The Library Bar is a “hidden” room, swanked out in leather that features a bar lined with fresh produce and herbs (bought daily at the farmer’s market) for beautifully inventive cocktails. There’s no cocktail list: bartenders make drinks determined by your liking and mood. The hotel also features five dining options and a lively outdoor pool scene.