BEVERLY HILLS, CA—Meeting planners looking to offer conference and event attendees an opportunity to mix business with pleasure should look no further than the posh amenities available at SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills here.
Much like everything else in hospitality, meetings are rapidly evolving and hotels are upping their game in terms of offerings meant to be experiential. Guests don’t want to be stuck in a bland conference ballroom; they want to interact with the venue with all of their senses, noted Christophe Thomas, GM, SLS Beverly Hills.
“The trend is all about the experience. We’re seeing that more and more. We are far from the time where you’re just looking for a room. It’s the entire location, not just the meeting room but all of the offerings of the hotel and area that combine to make the meeting experience quite unique,” said Thomas. “We’re fortunate to be in Los Angeles as the weather we have offers so many beautiful days. You can have indoor or outdoor activities. The trend now is for guests and the meeting planner to gather in different venues inside the hotel, sit poolside and dine at the on-site restaurants.”
Dining experiences by celebrity chef José Andrés and an indoor piazza designed by Philippe Starck are some of the ways SLS Beverly Hills is taking meetings to a new level. By rolling out the red carpet, guests become enveloped in a VIP setting with celebrity-status service.
“From the outside, we’re fortunate to have a design extraordinaire. It’s not your typical or traditional place. In terms of service, it’s elegance at all times. We’re focusing on making sure every single need is met with a whimsical design—all by creative director José Andrés,” said Thomas. “Our culinary service is unique in terms of F&B. The menu is not the typical banquet menu that you’d have in a traditional hotel. The food is full of flavor and curated by an amazing team with a lot of creativity.”
There are more than a dozen spaces designed for a variety of groups for meetings, events and conventions. For instance, the Albert Ballroom and Foyer is 4,300 sq. ft. and can accommodate 10 to 500 people; a garden room and terrace allow for indoor-outdoor entertaining; located on the sixth floor, the Altitude pool offers views of the city; and The Bazaar by José Andrés is set in an indoor piazza designed by Philippe Starck. Meeting rooms have guidelines for reducing environmental impact and audio-visual technology is also available.
“Audio-visual technology is just as important as the booking part. Also, quickly responding to last-minute meeting requests is a new trend,” he said. “Instead of planning one year in advance, they are becoming shorter notice and being able to customize an event at the last minute and being more creative than the previous experience the guest had.”
According to Thomas, functions at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills are all about the guest and built to ensure the experience is unforgettable and, at once, feels luxurious and customized.
“When you look around, we want that element of surprise. From the look and feel of the guestrooms and Altitude, which was voted best pool in L.A., to the flexible meeting spaces and great dining experiences helmed by José Andrés, if there is one place to keep in mind it’s the SLS.”