L.A. Story Spotlight: Carol Watkins

Carol Watkins | Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Carol Watkins has been Director of Entertainment Sales at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills since 1987, when the hotel first opened. Watkins is responsible for booking all press film junkets and events at the hotel. To date, Watkins has booked more than 3,000 press junkets at the hotel and other Four Seasons properties around the globe. Because Watkins has booked more press junkets than anyone else in the world, many of her clients started calling her the "Queen of Press Junkets," a nickname that is known throughout the industry. 

“I studied at the Sorbonne in France, where I was fortunate enough to study political science and art,” says Watkins. “I arrived in Los Angeles after running a haunted bed and breakfast in the Northeast kingdom of Vermont. I went from a very rural way of life, to running film press junkets in Los Angeles.”

Press junket interview setup | Photo by Sara Roderick, courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Facebook

According to Variety, the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills handles more than 80% of the local junket market. Watkins often has to juggle multiple events, orchestrating even the most complex junkets while still giving each client the utmost personal attention. Watkins notes, “There is no cookie cutter formula as every junket is unique, from the set design to talent requests, such as vegan cuisine to In-N-Out Burgers.”

During her tenure, Watkins has been named to the Four Seasons President’s Club nine times, and she was recognized as “Hotel Salesperson of the Year” in 2004. “The best thing about my job … is that it is always an adventure every day and I get to meet fascinating guests and develop longstanding relationships with studio publicists and other entertainment executives. I have seen people grow from being interns to becoming executive vice presidents of major studios. Many of my clients are like family to me, and I even celebrate certain holidays with them.”

Sandra Bullock at the BAFTA 2014 Awards Season Tea Party | Photo courtesy of BAFTA, Facebook

Watkins notes with pride, “I love how the hotel has grown up and become the pulse of the entertainment community, especially with the BAFTA Tea Party, AFI Luncheon, Elle Magazine Women in Hollywood Event, to name a few.”

“I also truly love working with Four Seasons employees,” she says. “They embody the epitome of genuine service. The hotel is a very exciting place to work. One day, we can welcome an international prime minister and the next day a top actress or musician. We still have 20 original staff members at the hotel since [its] opening in 1987. The employees’ passion for service inspires me on a daily basis.”

Floral arrangement by Eric Buterbaugh | Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Facebook

As she nears her third decade working at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the hotel’s lush surroundings continue to inspire Watkins. “I really love the emphasis on beautiful floral designs throughout the hotel! When we opened … there were rows of Cymbidium Orchids and now we have an amazing collection of succulents, herb gardens and fabulous modern arrangements by Eric Buterbaugh.”

Photo courtesy of Hollywood Bowl, Facebook

When she’s not working with some of the biggest stars in the world, Watkins attends concerts at L.A.’s world-class music venues. “I love the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre for the al fresco environments under the stars,” says Watkins. “I also like the Walt Disney Concert Hall and walking around the Santa Monica Promenade, as it has fun people watching.”

Main Exhibition Hall at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens | Photo by Tim Street-Porter, courtesy of The Huntington Library

For art, Watkins says, “I enjoy spending time at the Getty Museum, Norton Simon Museum and the Huntington Library, Art Collection & Botanical Gardens.”

Photo courtesy of Culina, Modern Italian

Her list of recommendations also includes some of L.A.’s top restaurants. “I love Katsuya and Peppone in Brentwood; Culina, Modern Italian; Spago Beverly Hills and Mastro's Steakhouse,” says Watkins.