The squeal—it sounded like several women at once—was so high-pitched that all heads turned to spot the star. My group shared a collective chuckle. “Wonder who that was?” someone asked. We craned our necks to see, but we were already too far past.
And so it went for several unforgettable minutes walking the red carpet at the 67th Annual Emmy Awards on Sunday. “There’s Ryan Seacrest, but I’m not sure who he’s interviewing.” “Did you just see Kevin Spacey rush by? That was him!” “That’s the cast of Modern Family taking a selfie!” It was the quintessential star-studded experience that LA is known for the world over.
Our group of meeting planners and journalists were guests of MeetLA as part of its annual customer advisory board meeting. The day had begun with an outdoor breakfast at NOE at the Omni Los Angeles, featuring egg and waffle dishes themed after TV shows. Attendees were then treated to their choice of manicures, pedicures, hair or makeup. This was the Emmies, after all! Goodie bags in the rooms included glitter nail polish for those who chose to do their own.
Donned in our full-length cocktail dresses and stiletto heels, updos firmly in place, we gathered for group photos at the pre-event reception at the Conga Room. From there, it was just a few short steps to the Microsoft Theater, where the awards were held. There was also a post-event outdoor reception at the JW Marriott, with nibbles such as rich macaroni and cheese or Caprese salad served up in shot glasses.
Downtown Los Angeles has everyone abuzz, with many new hotels and venues under development. The Broad Museum, right across the street from the landmark Disney Concert Hall, just had its grand opening the night before. The new Wilshire Grand, opening in 2017 with 900 rooms, will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi and literally change the landscape of downtown LA. An interesting feature: Guests will take high-speed elevators to the top floor to check in. Other developments include a new Hotel Indigo, a 1,000-room tower being added to the JW, a major re-do of the iconic Hotel Figueroa, the Luxe Hotel becoming the city’s third W in 2019, and a re-do of downtown’s Macy’s into an open-air shopping experience including other complimentary boutiques. The convention center just received LEED Gold certification and a major renovation is being voted on this fall. Add to that the numerous talented chefs opening restaurants downtown, and there’s no question: This city is white hot. LA is doing what other cities strive to do and often can’t: reviving its downtown to the point where people want to live there.
While not every group can experience the Emmies, opportunities for awards-themed experiences abound. Also in the LA Live area, the Grammy Museum can be taken over for group events, or companies can host cocktails on its top floor, with an outdoor terrace that accommodates 150, or 250 including the indoor space. The local DMCs are expert at creating Academy Awards-themed experiences in Hollywood, complete with the red carpet, using the Loews Hotel and Dolby Theater (which are located right across the street from each other). The possibilities are as limitless as the talent you will find in the show business capital of the world.