Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown — In spring 2012, the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown renovated guest corridors and guestroom furnishings, adding new drapes and sheers, while adding 6,000 square feet of meeting space to its second floor meeting complex and upgrading its existing meeting space. The property also features The Link@Sheraton, an Internet café, in the hotel’s lobby. Internet access at The Link is provided free of charge for guests of the hotel. The Sheraton Los Angeles has 485 guestrooms and suites. 711 S. Hope St., Los Angeles 90017; 213.488.3500; www.sheraton.com
The Standard, Downtown LA — In December 2012, The Standard, Downtown LA welcomed the newest outpost of Spin Galactic, the New York-based table tennis social club co-created by Susan Sarandon and André Balazs on the second floor of the hotel.The hotel alsorecently reopened The Shop, a 144-square-foot emporium located at street level, which features limited-edition products from Los Angeles designers and new lines from the Standard brand. The hotel has a rooftop pool and bar featuring stunning panoramic views of LA, a 24-hour restaurant and extensive business facilities that have recently been renovated with new furnishings. The Standard, Downtown LA has 207 guest rooms and suites. 550 S. Flower St., Los Angeles 90071; 213.892.8080; www.standardhotels.com/los-angeles/.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Hollywood Walk of Fame —In 2012, the hotel premiered luxury, two-level Loft Suites, featuring full balconies for guests entertaining or just enjoying the cool summer breeze, overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. The rooms also include premium, 60-inch TVs, sound, lighting, and personal attendant, in addition to a modern bathroom layout with towel warmers. 1921 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, 90068; 323.850.8151; www.hollywoodholidayinnexpress.com.
Mondrian Los Angeles (West Hollywood) – The renowned West Hollywood hotel completed a renovation of its famed Skybar and pool area in May 2012. 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; 323.650.8999; www.mondrianhotel.com.
Airtel Plaza Hotel (Valley)— This three-star independent hotel located at the historic Van Nuys Airport in the center of the San Fernando Valley renovated the entire lobby area in 2012, creating a multi-use space where guests can eat, drink, work and socialize. 7277 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys 91406; 818.997.7676; www.AirtelPlaza.com.
Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel (Valley)— The Event Center at Sportsmen’s Lodge, formerly known as the Sportsmen’s Lodge Restaurant and Banquet Center, has reopened after a complete renovation in 2012. The Event Center has 30,000 square feet of meeting space, in addition to two outdoor event locations. 12825 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604; 818.769.4700; www.SLHotel.com.
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (Westside)—In September 2012, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills completed a renovation of its event space, including the Wetherly Garden, expanded Wetherly Room now featuring sliding glass doors opening to a spacious outdoor patio, and the Promenade leading up to the ballroom, with new Italian porcelain tile floors. The hotel has also added iPads in all guestrooms and suites along with ICE technology, enabling guests to access all services of the hotel at their fingertips. 300 S. Doheny Drive, 90048; 310.332.3442; www.fourseasons.com/losangeles.
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Los Angeles (Westside)— Renovations to the Los Angeles Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel Los Angeles, one of the largest ballrooms in the City, were completed in January 2012. It features new carpet, paint and wall coverings throughout the California Level, which includes the renowned, 25,000-square-foot Los Angeles Ballroom, the 23,000-square-foot California Showroom exhibition space and a series of breakout rooms. A complete overhaul of the hotels’ original 1966 chandeliers improved lighting, providing better visibility throughout the space. 2025 Avenue of the Stars, 90067; 310.228.1234; www.centuryplazahyatt.com.
Four Points Sheraton LAX(LAX)—SBE’s 566-room full-service Four Points Sheraton LAX completed the renovation of its 228-room East Tower in May 2012. This portion of the hotel’s renovation represents the final phase of the property’s 567-room redo. The hotel also added 16 flat-screen TVs to Brewster’s, the hotel’s famous beer bar with 100+ bottles of beer. The Brewster’s Pool Bar was created as part of the new pool area. Cabanas were also added to the pool area. 9750 Airport Blvd., 90045; 310.645.4600; www.fourtpointslax.com.
Doubletreeby HiltonLos Angeles Downtown (Downtown) — The Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown, formerly known as the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens, opened in July 2012. With its opening, the property debuted its refreshed Japanese-inspired rooftop garden, the hotel’s signature outdoor event and meeting space. The renovation also included significant design and service upgrades to the hotel’s 434 guestrooms and suites, public spaces and corridors, indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces, business and fitness centers, and its legendary half-acre rooftop Japanese-style gardens. The hotel also features 15,000 square feet of flexible conference space, including the largest meeting room at 4,212 sq. ft., which can accommodate up to 650 guests. Situated one block from Los Angeles City Hall and Civic Center, the location of the DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown is minutes from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Japanese American National Museum, Chinatown and Olvera Street. 120 South Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, 90012; 213.629.1200, www.losangelesdowntown.doubletree.com.
The L.A. Hotel (Downtown) — The L.A. Hotel Downtown is undergoing a $20-million transition to become a Hyatt Regency, debuting in spring 2013. Renovations will bring an all-new modern look to the hotel, including an elegant and contemporary design, and service upgrades to each of its 400 guest rooms and 69 suites, public spaces, meeting and event areas, business and fitness centers, restaurants and grand lobby. The more than 25,000-square-feet of meeting and event space, including its 23 versatile meeting rooms, two ballrooms, and nearly 4,000-square-feet of pre-function space, will receive exquisite new design upgrades as well as new floor plans. The L.A. Hotel Downtown is close to L.A. LIVE, STAPLES Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall and many major businesses. 333 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, 90071; 213.617.1133. www.thelahotel.com.
Luxe City Center Hotel (Downtown) — Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, the Luxe City Center Hotel renovatedall 162 guestrooms and suites, and completed renovations of its restaurant and bar at the end of July 2012. Located in the heart of Downtown’s thriving entertainment district near L.A. LIVE, facilities include meeting and banquet space, a fitness center and business center. 1020 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 90015; 213.748.1291, www.luxecitycenter.com.
Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles/Hollywood(Hollywood) — In March 2012, the former Hollywood Heights Hotel joined the Hilton Worldwide Portfolio of Brands as Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles/Hollywood. The 160-room hotel features the Hilton Garden Inn Serta Perfect Sleeper as well as both wired and WiFi Internet access in guestrooms and public spaces. The hotel also features an ergonomic Mirradeskchair by Herman Miller; a spacious and clutter-free work desk; and two speaker telephones equipped with data ports and voice mail. The hotel also features one meeting room offering 546 square feet of flexible space and the Great American Grill restaurant. 2005 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, 90068; 323.876.8600, www.losangeleshollywood.hgi.com.
Loews Hollywood Hotel (Hollywood)— Loews Hotels & Resorts purchased the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in June 2012 and renamed it the Loews Hollywood Hotel. With 632 guestrooms, including 32 suites, the property also features over 48,000-square-feet of meeting space and is undergoing a $26 million renovation. Set with spectacular views of the world-famous Hollywood sign and along the renowned Walk of Fame, the hotel rises 20 stories above the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The hotel’s most defining features – the spa, pool terrace, restaurant and event space – will be enhanced and renovated. Wolfgang Puck Catering will continue to partner with Loews in the operation and catering of the 25,000-square-foot ballroom located in the Hollywood & Highland Center complex. 1755 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, 90028; 323.856.1200.www.loewshotels.com/Hollywood-Hotel/.
Hotel Amarano Burbank (Valley)— Formerly The Graciela, the Hotel Amarano completed renovations in April 2012 including adding guest rooms, a swimming pool, cabanas and fitness center. Located just around the corner from Warner Bros. Studios and minutes from Universal Studios and NBC Studios, the hotel has 100 rooms and suites, all with full kitchenettes. The hotel also has more than 2,000 square feet of stylish meeting and event space, plus a business center with secretarial services. The garden rooftop sundeck overlooks the Hollywood Hills, while the Library Lounge features a new menu with selections from Chef Jose Sanchez, plus a new, extensive wine list. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to Bob Hope Airport. 322 N. Pass Ave., Burbank, 91505; 818.842.8877, www.hotelamarano.com.
Arts & Culture
Cahuenga Peak (Hollywood) — In March, 2012, a new, 138-acre mountain parcel of parkland,called Cahuenga Peak, was added to Griffith Park just west of the Hollywood sign. Visitors can hike to the peak from the Griffith Observatory along a steep, rocky one-mile-long trail to enjoy stunning panoramic views of Los Angeles. Griffith Park is one of the largest, wild urban parks in the U.S. www.laparks.org.
California Science Center (Downtown) – The U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour went on display at the California Science Center on Oct. 30, 2012. The space shuttle first flew in May 1992, replacing Challenger, which was lost in 1986. Endeavour’s return to Southern California is a symbolic homecoming, as it was built in Palmdale, Calif., and often landed at nearby Edwards Air Force Base. Admission to the California Science Center is free and there is a nominal $2 charge to see the Endeavour. www.californiasciencecenter.org
Civic Park(Downtown) — The 16-acre Grand Park was unveiled on July 26, 2012, unifying the landmark institutions in Los Angeles’ Civic Center, stretching down Bunker Hill from the Music Center to City Hall and passing between the county-owned buildings on Temple and First streets to the steps of City Hall. The park continues the renaissance of downtown LA, which in recent years has seen the $2.5 billion entertainment complex called L.A. Live sprout just 10 blocks away including the Nokia Center, Staples Center, a pair of world-class hotels and numerous upscale restaurants, nightclubs and theaters. http://civicpark.lacounty.gov
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument’s “America Tropical” Mural(Downtown) — Painted in 1932 by well-known Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros on the second-story wall of Italian Hall on Olvera Street, “America Tropical,” is an aesthetic and political mural that was whitewashed within a year of being completed and was restored for public viewing on Oct. 9, 2012. “America Tropical” is one of only three murals painted by Siqueiros. An $8-million public-private investment was made toward the completion of the mural’s restoration, as well as construction of a protective shelter, viewing platform, and visitor bridge in the America Tropical Interpretive Center. The 80- by 18-foot mural provides an understanding of the social and political climate influencing public art in 1930s Los Angeles. www.getty.edu/conservation
Japanese Garden at the Huntington (San Gabriel Valley) –The Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens reopened its beloved Japanese Garden on April 11, 2012, after being closed for a year to undergo $6.8 million in renovations and improvements. One of the highlights of the project is the installation of a ceremonial teahouse. www.huntington.org
Museum of Flying (Coastal) — A new Museum of Flying opened on Feb. 25, 2012. The structure is on Airport Avenue on the south side of Santa Monica Airport, adjacent to the historic DC-3 Monument. The new museum focuses on the Douglas Aircraft Company and the history of the Santa Monica Airport. It also houses the California Aviation Hall of Fame, which recognizes and pays tribute to the aviation visionaries of California who have made significant contributions to the advancement and development of the aviation and aerospace fields. The museum houses about two dozen aircraft, as well as aviation art and artifacts, in about 22,000 square feet, plus an interactive and education center for children. The museum’s centerpiece is theDouglas World Cruiser. www.museumofflying.com
Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles (Coastal) – Local artisans now fill part of 140,000 square feet of warehouse space with handmade goods and artisanal food at a new marketplace near the Port of Los Angeles along the San Pedro Waterfront. Showcased goods include handmade glass, felt hats, carved leather and more. The first phase of Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles opened June 29, 2012, with full development of the complex expected by summer 2014. www.craftedportla.com
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Downtown) —”LAIR, The Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles” exhibit, opened March 8, 2012, with magnificent new homes for the Zoo’s outstanding reptile collection, one of the most rare among North American zoos. Species featured in the new conservation facility include Chinese giant salamanders, crocodiles, venomous snakes, scorpions, rare tortoises, blue frogs and much more. www.lazoo.org
Six Flags Magic Mountain (San Fernando Valley) — On June 30, 2012 the world’s tallest vertical drop ride thrilled its first passengers at this popular theme park. Named after one of DC Comics’ most dangerously intelligent super-villains and Superman’s greatest enemy, “LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom,” is attached to both sides of the iconic “SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton” tower. Riders sit inside a floorless gondola on one of two vertical tracks flanking each side of the “SUPERMAN” tower. They are pulled to the top of the 400-foot tower, experience a brief pause, and then drop 40 stories at speeds of up to 85 mph. www.sixflags.com/magicmountain
Starline Tours (Hollywood) — Two new routes debuted in 2012 on Starline Tours’ CitySightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Double Decker City Tour expanding the tour’s coverage to more than 100 miles. One new route stops at LAX hotels, Fisherman’s Village, Marina del Rey, and Venice Beach, allowing passengers to connect to Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Hollywood. Tours depart daily and include a “Show & $ave” promotion for discounts at more than 50 museums and other attractions. In addition, a new station in Anaheim allows passengers to connect to the Hop On Hop Off system throughout the Los Angeles area. www.starlinetours.com.
Sundance Sunset Cinemas (Hollywood) – Sip wine and ease into a plush rocker at the new Sundance Sunset Cinemas. Actor Robert Redford’s theater opened on August 31, 2012 at the former Laemmle Sunset 5 space at 8000 Sunset Blvd. and features five screens with a total of 635 seats; reserved stadium seating; a rebuilt lobby with a bistro serving classic movie treats, quick snacks and a bar serving beer and wine; an outdoor patio area; and an art gallery featuring local artists. The theatre specializes in movies made by local and independent filmmakers and foreign language titles. www.sundancecinemas.com/sunset
USS Iowa(Coastal) — Renowned World War II battleship, the USS Iowa, became a permanent museum and memorial at LA’s San Pedro Waterfront on July 6, 2012. Designated the “World’s Greatest Naval Ship” due to her big guns, heavy armor, fast speed, longevity and modernization, the Iowa is also famous for transporting President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic to confer with Allied war leaders at Tehran, Iran, in 1943. Admission is $18 for adults ages 18 – 61; $15 for adults ages 62 and over; $15 for active, retired and reserve military; and $10 for ages 6 – 17.www.portoflosangeles.org.
Universal Studios Hollywood(Hollywood)— “Transformers,” the electrifying blockbuster celebrated for its multi-generational appeal, inventive storyline, spectacular action sequences and special effects, has been developed as a new theme park mega-attraction in a partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts, Hasbro Inc. and DreamWorks Pictures. The attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood made its debut May 2012, fusing 3D-HD media, mega-special effects and stunning robotics with a ride system that transforms perceptions of theme park experiences. The dynamic, motion-based thrill ride tells an original “Transformers” story using sophisticated special effects masterminded by Industrial Light & Magic and one of the most elaborate roaming flight simulator ride systems ever created. The theme park is currently home to such groundbreaking attractions as “King Kong 360 3-D,” “The Simpsons Ride™” “Revenge of the Mummy™ — The Ride,” “Shrek 4-D™,” “Jurassic Park® — The Ride,” and the world-renowned Studio Tour, which takes guests behind the scenes of landmark TV and movie locations. www.universalstudioshollywood.com