After another tough year for hotels, things are beginning to look a bit better.
First quarter occupancy rates in Los Angeles County averaged 67.3 percent in the first quarter, compared with 65.3 percent for the like period a year ago, according to PKF Consulting.
Bruce Baltin, senior vice president at PKF, expects a gradual recovery through the balance of the year. "A healthy average (occupancy rate) for a city the size of Los Angeles is 70 to 73 percent," said Baltin. "We aren't going to see that this year or next year but we're getting back there."
After a steep decline in 2002, occupancy rates in the South Bay rebounded by 12.7 percent in the first quarter, to 76.9 percent. Hollywood also reversed its downward trend, adding 8.2 percent for a 69.6 percent average. Downtown occupancy rates were still under 50 percent.
The only operational change on the list was at the MaguirePartners-owned hotel in Pasadena. Known last year as the Doubletree Hotel Pasadena, the 44th largest hotel is now operated by Starwood's Westin brand.
Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites
With little movement in the Southern California hotel landscape, the Westin Bonaventure easily retains its title as the largest hotel in Los Angeles County.
Built in 1976, the property's five mirrored glass towers cover an entire city block downtown. The convention hotel contains 27 meeting rooms totaling 110,000 square feet. Its largest space, the California Ballroom, measures over 26,000 square feet and seats 3,000. The Bonaventure's six-level atrium lobby has 42 restaurants, shops and boutiques, including a rooftop steakhouse and a revolving cocktail lounge. The hotel is in the midst of room renovations.
Aside from conventions, the Bonaventure is a popular filming location, most recently serving as the backdrop for the 2002 cop spoof "Showtime" with Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro. Other movies shot at the hotel include "In the Line of Fire," starring Clint Eastwood, "Blade Runner," "Blue Thunder" and "Strange Days."
The hotel has been creating some drama of its own lately. Late last year, it was expelled from the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau after owner Peter Zen refused to pay $60,000 worth of back membership dues. Zen withheld the money, claiming that the bureau was not bringing enough conventions to Los Angeles.
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