Book now for 2024 summer conferences at UCLA

Picnic and barbecue weather has made way for pumpkin spice lattes and mulled cider season. It may feel like summer is a distant memory; however, team members in UCLA Conferences and Catering already have summer 2024 and the fun and excitement of bringing tens of thousands of people to campus for events and conferences on their minds.

While the first half of next summer is largely booked, those planning mid-August to mid-September group events are encouraged to submit a request for proposal or contact the team at 888-825-5305 now to see what is available.

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Six things to do while staying at the UCLA Guest House

For nearly 40 years, the UCLA Guest House has been a home away from home for campus visitors, with many returning for its quaint and quiet atmosphere, friendly service and complimentary breakfast. Seasoned Guest House guests know there are endless reasons to stay at UCLA’s original campus hotel. Here are just a few.

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Unleash your inner pickleball pro!

Pickleball enthusiasts and newcomers, join us at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge Friday, Nov. 10 to Sunday, Nov. 12 for an exhilarating VELOZ pickleball clinic that will take your game to the next level. It will be an unforgettable weekend of skill-building, camaraderie and fun.

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More curtain calls for Luskin Hotel guests this fall

This fall is full of excitement at UCLA and in nearby Westwood Village with the opening of the new UCLA Nimoy Theater, a landmark venue that has been renovated and transformed into a 300-seat performing arts space. 

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Guest House housekeeper marks 30th year

For Maria Ventura, graduation season at UCLA is always special. The UCLA Guest House housekeeper recalls an out-of-state student’s mother frantically approaching her right before her daughter’s ceremony. She had torn her dress while zipping it up, was pressed for time and didn’t know what to do. Maria stepped in to help by sewing it back together.

Another year, a couple gave Maria and her husband tickets to attend their child’s graduation. The parents had been coming to the UCLA Guest House for years to visit their student, and Maria had become like family to them.

And in 2022, Maria and her husband attended another graduation ceremony – this time for their own sons.

“I always encouraged my boys to dream big,” she said, adding that she often brought them to campus to attend movies at the nearby James Bridges Theater and to participate in other events. “I would see students walking on campus, and I always wanted that for them. I prayed I would have the opportunity to see them graduate.”

Maria’s own graduation ambitions were dashed in 1985 when the civil war in her home country forced her to leave nursing school. “It was such a sad time for me,” she said, speaking about leaving her friends and family behind in El Salvador. She starting working as a babysitter and hotel housekeeper soon after moving to Southern California, and later joined the team at the Guest House after responding to a job ad in a newspaper. 

This year marks her 30th year at the 61-guest room boutique hotel, located in the northeast section of campus. Hers is the longest career of anyone at the Guest House and one of the longest in anyone working in any of the business units that comprise UCLA Hospitality, which also includes the Luskin Hotel and Conference Center, the Lake Arrowhead Lodge and UCLA Conferences and Catering.

“Maria is a real rarity,” said Richard McPhee, general manager of the Guest House. “She is our go-to person. She definitely knows a lot about this place and has seen a lot of changes.”

Working with her managers and co-workers, and taking care of guests, many of whom have been coming for decades, brings her joy and makes coming to work each day a pleasure. 

“The guests tell me this place feels like home because they know us and they aren’t worried to ask for extra things. It’s quiet and not too big. They can rest knowing we will take care of them.”

Hospitality shines as thousands of Bruins celebrate commencement

June is a special time at UCLA. It marks the end of another academic year and the start of a new stage in life for thousands of graduating students. For UCLA Conferences and Catering (C&C), it is a time to shine as they give their all to make graduation celebrations and events memorable.

“This is an incredibly special time for our campus,” said C&C Director Samantha Chan. “Many of our students attended Bruin Day and other events with their families as they were preparing to start their academic journey at UCLA. Our graduation events are a nice way to close this chapter and honor their time with us here in Westwood.”

Over the course of six intense days, the team worked to stage and support 30 events for groups ranging from 50 to 1,500, said Chan. Most were held June 16 and 17.

With so many events in such a short period of time, the team designs specific commencement menu packages with input from the Commencement Committee, which coordinates all commencement ceremonies and is comprised of departmental planners from throughout UCLA. From charcuterie boards, desserts – including 30,000 cookies – and signature punch, some of the most popular items served at these sorts of events, everything is made in-house with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers.

This year’s graduating ceremonies celebrated the accomplishments of 9,000 undergraduate students and more than 5,000 graduate students. Speakers included actor, comedian and UCLA alumnus Randall Park, who spoke at three UCLA College ceremonies, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass who delivered the keynote at the UCLA Anderson School of Management; and Paul Krekorian, president of the Los Angeles City Council, who addressed graduates of the UCLA International Institute.

Lake Arrowhead Lodge catches its 60th Tuna Conference

Each year, some of the world’s leading experts in scientific and commercial topics related to tuna and tuna fisheries meet at the Lake Arrowhead Lodge. Sponsored by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA/NMFS, the annual Tuna Conference recently made its return to the Lodge after a three-year hiatus from meeting in person.

“We’ve really missed it and we’re so happy to be back,” said Stephanie Flores, NOAA affiliate, who led the planning for 80 attendees from around the world. “The Lake Arrowhead Lodge has such a great layout and design that it feels cozy. Everything is gorgeous and the staff is amazing. Every single question we’ve had, or anything we’ve needed, they’ve just gone above and beyond… It’s just magnificent.”

It was also magnificent to mark an important milestone, said Cassiopeia Figueroa, director of sales and marketing at the Lake Arrowhead Lodge. “This was the 60th time the conference has come to the Lake Arrowhead Lodge, making it a longstanding tradition for this group and for us.”

One of the unique aspects of the conference being at Lake Arrowhead Lodge is the opportunity to disconnect from distractions, said JoyDeLee Marrow, IATTC data specialist and assistant to the head of data collection and database program – regional vessel registry manager. Participants are encouraged to engage in meaningful conversations with each other throughout the day and into the evening. This fosters a collaborative atmosphere where scientists can share their current work and gain insights from colleagues from different parts of the globe.

“Being in the woods and mountains nestled by Lake Arrowhead is extremely peaceful and allows people to completely relax and engage in constructive conversations with zero distractions from the outside world,” said NOAA fisheries biologist and conference attendee Owen Snodgrass.

In addition, attendees rave about the incredible food, said Flores, adding that delegates love participating in a hands-on culinary experience with the Lodge’s chef, something they’ve been doing for the past three decades. “Our conference goers come in, cut up sushi and make poke, and you would never see that in any other conference center,” she said. “It makes the experience special.”

The conference also includes a highly revered tuna barbecue and bonfire, which provides a delightful evening of food and camaraderie, said Figueroa, adding that she and her team love tailoring experiences for the different needs and interests of different groups.  Additionally, participants had the freedom to explore various on-site activities, ensuring a well-rounded experience for everyone, she said.

“This is an incredible group with an incredible mission, and we are so proud to be part of their legacy.”

This summer, the Lake Arrowhead Lodge is welcoming conferences, meetings, retreats and team-building events from any of our 10 University of California campuses. Other colleges and universities may also book similar events with an educational purpose, space permitting. To discuss your specific requirements, check availability and secure your booking, please call 909-337-2478.

Luskin Hotel welcomes USGA U.S. Open Championship

The UCLA Hospitality team, including those from the Luskin Hotel, got a close up look at one of golf’s most coveted artifacts: the U.S. Open Championship Trophy. As one of just a handful of hotels who worked in partnership with the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) to accommodate VIPs, guests and fans attending the U.S. Open, the Luskin Hotel was part of a trophy tour organized by the USGA as a way to say thank you.

“Being part of such a monumental event in Los Angeles was an honor,” said Tony Perrone, general manager of the Luskin Conference Center and Hotel. “We were proud to share our incredible brand of service and hospitality with the USGA VIPs, guests and fans who stayed with us.”

The United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open, is one of thefour major championships in professional golf and attracts top players from around the world. It returned to Los Angeles June 15-18 for the first time in 75 years.

The last time the event locally was in 1948 when Ben Hogan won the first of his four U.S. Opens with a 72-hole score of 276 (8 under par), two strokes better than Jimmy Demaret, at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. This 2023 event was held roughly two miles from the Luskin Hotel.

The trophy is treated with the utmost care, requiring white glove treatment, said U.S. Open Championship Director Charlie Howe, who accompanied it to our venue on June 1. “The privilege of touching it with bare hands is reserved for the champion who earns it each year. That champion earns the right to hoist the trophy and have a little fun with it for the next year when they have it in their possession.”

This year’s winner was Wyndham Clark, 29, of Denver, CO, who stole the show to claim a one-stroke victory and add his name to the list of legendary champions.

From a hospitality standpoint, Los Angeles boasts an array of incredible properties and the Luskin Hotel, in particular, stood out as an exceptional venue for accommodations, said Howe.

“Our guests, our fans and our VIPs will love the space and love the amenities in Westwood,” said Howe. “Sitting here today, being outside in such a nice courtyard space — anywhere in this general vicinity — is great. That’s what we love, and that’s what our guests will love.”

UCLA Conferences & Catering shines during Bruin Family Weekend

As the sun rose on UCLA, there was already a flurry of activity permeating as the campus prepared for Bruin Family Weekend. This annual tradition welcomes thousands of guests from across the nation and around the world who gather to spend time with their students in their lives, most of whom are freshman, and learn more about  what makes UCLA  the No. 1 public university in the nation.

In total, the campus welcomed roughly 5,000 individuals over the two days event.

A critical component of events, no matter the size, is food, and UCLA Conferences & Catering works to help clients keep their hungry guests happy.

“Bruin Family Weekend is one of our largest events of the year,” said Samantha Chan, director of UCLA Conferences, Catering and Events, which provides planning expertise, professional catering services and meeting rooms all year round, plus overnight accommodations during the summer. “People expect a lot from UCLA because of its world-class reputation and commitment to excellence, and our campus catering operations are no different. We put our all into making every event match that standard.”

In nearby kitchens, talented chefs, cooks and bakers had been chopping, cutting, assembling, blending, mixing and finishing items to be delivered for two breakfast events. In addition, banquet staff are gathering equipment, loading trucks and charting floor plans. One event held in Dickson Plaza welcomed parents and families, while other one held on the Ahmanson Terrace at Royce Hall was for UCLA alumni.

And this was only the beginning.

By noon, the team had prepared and delivered lunch to six different “Meet the Dean” events and were preparing for dinner service. They also provided breakfast service the following morning.

“An event like this requires a great deal of logistics, planning and care,” said Chan. “Everything needs to be perfect.”

The same care and dedication to excellence also extends to smaller gatherings,” said Chan, noting that groups as small as 20 can order catering from her team for their meetings, celebrations and other events. UCLA Conferences & Catering can also help with meeting spaces at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center and various other locations at UCLA.

“We’re really a one-stop shop for events at UCLA. It’s something we take extreme pride in.”

Cozy, mid-week mountain stay or family holiday getaway

There is no question that remote and hybrid work and learning are here to stay. The ability to log in to meetings and handle assignments from virtually anywhere is an exciting approach to what used to feel mundane. For those staying at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge, mid-week escapes allow people the benefit of getting back to nature and for creativity and fresh-thinking to flourish in a beautiful environment. Right now, our mid-week stays start at just $179 per night. This year alone, the Lodge has welcomed a variety of visitors to the mountains to mix work and learning with fun, adventure and relaxation.

Many of these visitors are parents with children who are looking for a fun way to spend time together away from screens and other distractions. With Spring Break approaching, lots of families will be visiting us from April 6-9 for our all-inclusive Spring Break Family Holiday stay. Spaces are still available if you’d like to join us!

If you’ve been here you know this is a pretty special place. And If you haven’t, you need to experience it. Here are just a few of the things that make the Lake Arrowhead Lodge the No. 1 hotel in Lake Arrowhead, a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award recipient for the past three years and a must-visit destination for so many in 2023.

Amazing food

Meal planning, shopping and preparing meals are off the table while you’re here. Each day starts with a hearty breakfast made fresh by an award-winning culinary team. Guests converge in the dining room to enjoy a full buffet and the company of other guests. And just when you think things can’t get better it does because you are welcomed back for a buffet lunch and a plated sit-down dinner, too! Come see why guests like you voted to make us a 2023 Diners’ Choice Award winner.

Fantastic rooms

Unlike standard hotels, our accommodations have real personality. Whether you come solo bring your spouse, children, friends or colleagues, we have a chalet to suit your needs. Accommodations range from one-bedroom plus twin loft to our four-bedroom Briar Creek house that sleeps up to 10 people. Many of our  accommodations also come with decks and fireplaces for that little something special. Some even have kitchenettes and full kitchens.

Free activities

There is certainly lots to see and do here. Not only do guests have access to our fitness center and jacuzzi, there is also a host of great outdoor activities for those who like to hike, bike, bird-watch and enjoy getting back to nature. In 2020, we introduced a 12 stop self-guided history tour, which guests really enjoy. And nothing captures the magic of a mountain night under the stars than s’mores over a crackling campfire.

Off-site fun

Lake Arrowhead and its surrounding communities are also pretty cool places. Get out and enjoy our surroundings with shopping, dining and events in Lake Arrowhead Village, outdoor adventures at SkyPark, the slopes at Snow Valley Ski Resort, exciting Lake Arrowhead Queen Boat Tours and arid forests and majestic mountains in San Bernardino National Forest. There is no time like now to experience this kind of SoCal experience. For a limited time, enjoy rates for midweek stays (Sunday – Thursday) starting at just $179 per night, based on availability.