The 25th anniversary of the Toyota Grand Prix in April was the perfect setting for a Corporate Meetings & Incentives Showcase familiarization trip, hosted by the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and numerous hotels and restaurants. Race day was packed with excitement. Roaring engines, 180 mph speeds, crashes (fortunately, no injuries), and perfect weather made a fun-filled event for all 200,000 race fans, including us. The annual race is billed as the largest sport special event on the West Coast.
Long Beach's location is another asset: only 30 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, 10 minutes from Long Beach Airport, or 35 minutes from Orange County/John Wayne Airport.
Room rates generally fall far below those of comparable sized cities. And the range is excellent: Marriott, Westin, Hilton, Renaissance, and Hyatt Regency all call Long Beach home. Even the Queen Mary will undergo a $200 million renovation and addition. Planned over the next five to seven years, the first phase will include an historic renovation of the ship's public rooms and 365 hotel staterooms as well as new heating, electric, and plumbing systems. A 150-room boutique hotel will eventually be added, as will a floating restaurant.
The city's Queensway Bay Project is redeveloping some 300 acres of oceanfront land adjacent to the downtown core. Phase one, completed last year, included the opening of the Rainbow Harbor (home to two tall ships) and the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. It is surrounded by a multi-level, 2,000-square-foot-long public esplanade, all within walking distance of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. Phase two will involve development of a 520,000-square-foot entertainment and retail area, to be completed by 2001.
Check out why "total room nights sold" have been climbing rapidly in Long Beach. HINT: The city wants your business, and gets it by offering excellent rates, an abundance of rooms, and a CVB that will do its best to assist you in meeting and exceeding your meeting needs.