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Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

The hotel industry has been trying to recover from the economic downturn and the Sept. 11 aftermath, but occupancy rates in the first quarter of 2002 are still down considerably from last year.

Los Angeles County’s hotel occupancy rate averaged 66.3 percent through the first quarter of the year, down from 74.6 percent for the like period last year, according to PKF Consulting. The average room rate during the first quarter of 2002 declined slightly, to $120.52 per night from $126.49 a night during the like period in 2001.

Occupancy in the downtown hotels is down 16.3 percent for the first quarter of the year, averaging under 50 percent for January through March. Nonetheless, the average daily room rate rose a little more than 5 percent to $131.26 a night.

Hotels around Los Angeles International Airport are still waiting for business to pick up. LAX’s major hotels saw a 13.4 percent dip in their first quarter occupancy rate, with only 69 percent of their rooms occupied.

Only one new hotel opened in 2001. Marriott’s Renaissance Hollywood hotel has 637 rooms and debuts at No. 10 on the list.

Deborah Belgum

The Pacesetter

Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites

The Westin Bonaventure long has been the largest hotel in Los Angeles County. Its other big-time credit is as a film star. Well, maybe a glorified extra.

Its 25,000-square-foot California Ballroom has doubled as a movie set in 1993’s “In the Line of Fire,” starring Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich. Other movies that have included shots of the hotel include the sci-fi movie “Blade Runner,” the helicopter flick “Blue Thunder,” and the virtual reality suspense movie “Strange Days.”

The hotel started renovating 400 of its rooms earlier this year. The renovated rooms will have two beds to better accommodate business travelers who choose to double up during business meetings or conferences.

Bathrooms are being redone with new tiles, lighting and wall coverings. Further sprucing up will come from vintage black-and-white vintage photos of downtown Los Angeles.

The renovations should be completed by June, said Joni Simpkins, director of sales and marketing.

Built in 1976, the hotel occupies an entire city block. It has 24 meeting rooms and 17 conference rooms in its five mirrored glass towers. The six-level atrium lobby has more than 30 restaurants, shops and services overlooking an extensive system of fountains and reflective ponds.

Deborah Belgum

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