L.A. venues vie for award season biz

New spots try to nab dwindling marketing dollars

Hollywood loves a party. The Golden Globes are but one of many awards events that will generate a social whirl this season because, whatever happens in the economy, the celebrating and schmoozing must go on.

That said, marketing bud-gets are down and event planners predict that guest lists will be more targeted and scaled down. “My sense is that those who do events are going to be more intelligent and strategic about it,” says Tarin Wilson, prexy of Plan A Events, which produces the Art Directors Guild Awards plus other fetes.

And because of plans laid down in more prosperous times, L.A.’s party mavens can now choose from among a gaggle of glittery new hotels and gourmet restaurants.

While the Beverly Hilton has the lock on the Globes after-parties, plenty of other soirees, from private dinners for talent to the Vanity Fair party, are now in negotiation.

New venues in contention for industry dollars include Sam Nazarian’s SLS at Beverly Hills, the Montage Beverly Hills, the London West Hollywood, the Sunset Strip’s BLT Steak and the Kress in Hollywood.

“We have dynamic decor, camera-ready backdrops and spaces that speak to the entertainment industry,” says Theresa Fatino, chief creative officer of SBE, which just opened the SLS at a reported cost of $250 million on the site of the former Le Meridien.

Visual elements at the hotel — created by designer Philippe Starck — include a mosaic-tiled outdoor terrace that flows from a silvery event space, and “microclimates” within the public spaces. Cuisine is by celebrated chef Jose Andres.

At the London West Hollywood, a $56 million remake of the former Bel Age, groups and events can expect catering from the kitchen of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

Even with the downturn, venue execs and party planners anticipate a good, though not over-the-top, awards season. Says vet event producer Eileen Colavita of Spin Shoppe Canvas Media Group, “Everyone feels it’s a temporary trend, (but in the meantime) companies are not just throwing money around — they they want bang for their buck.”

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