Editor’s note: This story was corrected on Wednesday, April 7, to note that the Bruin Woods Family Resort is open only to UCLA alumni, faculty, staff and students.
Following a year that wreaked havoc on the global hospitality and tourism industry and put a halt to in-person gatherings, the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge, a 50-acre conference center with a newly added family resort in the San Bernardino Mountains, is now welcoming anyone interested in a retreat to the mountains as guests.
The lodge, which was known as the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center until 2020, no longer requires affiliation with UCLA or the University of California to stay or book events there. Beginning in 1957, the property, which has roots dating back to the establishment of its main lodge building in 1922, operated as a conference center under the direction of various University of California campuses. In 1982, leadership of the property was transferred to UCLA. Since then, it has been a much-loved location for UCLA meetings, conferences, retreats, team-building events and other educational gatherings. It’s also home to Bruin Woods Family Resort, family vacation option that will continue to be open only to UCLA alumni, faculty, staff and students.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, the lodge was immediately affected.
“We quickly realized we had a responsibility to get creative as the impact of the pandemic, and the resulting loss in group bookings, threatened the financial health of the property,” said Pete Angelis, assistant vice chancellor for UCLA Housing and Hospitality, who oversees the 104-unit Lake Arrowhead Lodge, the 254-guest room UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center and the 61-guest room UCLA Guest House, the latter two of which are located on the UCLA campus.
“It was apparent that we needed to expand the scope of who could book reservations and what kinds of activities could take place,” Angelis said. “We modernized the brand and expanded outreach as a way to communicate that we had become a location for much more than just conferences. We also began welcoming individual travelers and broader audiences to enjoy the world-class accommodations, amenities and services, and paved the way for a larger range of events to be staged, including reunions, weddings, and TV and film shoots — all in adherence with strict COVID-19 protocols and guidance from the local health department.”
To visually articulate this new name and direction, Lake Arrowhead Lodge’s new logo features a brown bear, water and trees, which symbolize the lodge’s connection to UCLA as well as its surrounding flora and fauna. The logo, which features clean, modern geometric lines and a gentle color palette, is reminiscent of the work of American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright, who conceptualized and developed organic architecture, a style that emphasizes harmony between humanity and the natural environment.
The response to the rebranding has been overwhelmingly positive, said Dylan Matteson, general manager of the Lake Arrowhead Lodge.
“We are getting a lot of wonderful feedback,” Matteson said, “and people are really excited to learn more about us and what we have to offer.”
In addition to the property’s amenities — including tennis and basketball courts, a swimming pool and hot tub and a giant treehouse — there’s a new self-guided Lake Arrowhead history tour, which educates visitors about the area’s past.
“Not many people know that Lake Arrowhead is referred to as the ‘Alps of Southern California,’” Matteson said. “People are also surprised to know that this area was once a playground for old-time Hollywood legends.”
To help fulfill UCLA’s mission of education, research and service, the conference center and family resort plan to host nightly faculty lectures at the end of 2021, he said.
“We are really looking forward to continuing to make lasting memories with our new guests, and introducing ourselves to the world in a new way,” Matteson said. “Not only does this allow us to remain financially viable, but it also supports our mission to serve the public and be a valued community partner and employer in Lake Arrowhead for generations to come.”