Surf City meetings
Huntington Beach is the largest surf town in America, with tons of low key beach shops, trendy surf bars, the International Surfing Museum and the bustling Huntington Beach pier.
Anchoring this environment, the 517-room Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is the largest hotel in the region ensconced inside a Spanish-style complex. The resort is perfectly situated along the coastline with long green lawns, palm trees and the sound of the surf just steps away. The Hyatt is the only hotel with direct beach access in the city thanks to a bridge that connects to the sea directly.
“Our hotel owners got approval from the California Coastal Commission to build a footbridge that leads from our property, across the Pacific Coast Highway and onto the beach directly,” says Nancy Monte-Frye, senior director of catering/convention services. “It’s really unique in Huntington Beach.”
Planners are using this to their advantage with the help of the onsite surf shop, Toes on the Nose. The staff coordinates all outdoor activities whether it’s surf lessons, paddleboarding, bike riding, sandcastle competitions, volleyball tournaments or just fun in the sun. There are also Segway tours for groups to scoot through town, as well as Segways with large knobby tires for riding directly on the sand. With some of the most consistent waves on the West Coast, groups can easily become part of the local Hang 10 culture.
Monte-Frye says almost all groups coming to Huntington Beach participate in surf lessons. Large groups will take turns in and out of the water. No more than 15 are allowed in the water at a time, while other members of the group are trained on the shoreline. Toes on the Nose has hosted groups in the past up to 500.
“Surfing is the experience of a lifetime,” says Monte-Frye. “What groups take away is a great support system and life memories. There are a lot of high-fives out on the water.”
After a fun day of curling waves and a few belly flops into the Pacific, groups head to the hotel’s waterfront courtyard to enjoy a surf-themed reception and dinner. The Hyatt conference services staff line the courtyard with surf boards, colorful fabrics and tall seashell centerpieces to add to the theme. For groups up to 1,000 pax, they’ll jam to a Beach Boy tribute band and serve fun dinners with spicy fish tacos and quesadillas.
“We use our environment to our advantage,” says Angel Hollingsworth, director of group sales. “The surf meetings have Woody cars, camp fires and live music. It’s like a 21st century version of a classic 1960s surf flick.”
Due to the unique and varied setting, there’s a natural amount of movement among attendees to encourage networking and mingling with different people. During a reception, groups can walk from one of the restaurants to both the grass courtyard and the beach.
The laid-back California vibe is pretty addicting in Surf City. Hollingsworth tells us that attendees often book pre/post stays to enjoy the pool scene with breezy cabanas and steal drum music.
The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach has 110,000 sf of indoor meeting space with convenient access to three area airports.
Here are some more photos from Toes on the Nose: