Hold onto your hats on your Gold Coast visit.
BY BRAD FOSTER
Your delegates will never get bored getting from A to B on the Gold Coast, as our small group of corporate meeting planners discovered recently.
Our Harley Davidson tour (see page 112) was just the start of things to come on this northerly educational. During our three day whirlwind tour we rode pillion on motorcycles, sat back and relaxed on buses, got a bird’s eye view of the city and region on helicopters, acted cool in classic cars, and cruised up the broadwater by boat.
And if that wasn’t enough, on the final day those brave enough were jettisoned backwards at 161kph on Dreamworld’s Tower of Terror II.
If there’d been time we could have caught a wave in a learn to surf class, ridden a golf buggy around one of the dozens of courses, taken a bicycle tour along the new and improved foreshore area, bounced our way to earth on a bungy jump, and taken a spin in a high-speed jet boat.
Because of its roots in tourism the Gold Coast is certainly Australia’s most adrenalin-charged region – great news for those wanting to give their delegates a little bit more than the norm at their upcoming conference.
What it also offers is a plethora of high-quality conference facilities, starting with the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. The centre is fast-developing a big reputation for professionalism and expertise, as was evidenced when Toyota held its annual dealer meeting there earlier this year (see page 114).
Accommodation and meetings venues are also highly regarded. The Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, for example, is a four-and-a-half star property in the heart of Surfers Paradise, just 80 metres away from a glittering stretch of white sandy beaches and five minutes’ walk to world-class shopping, dining and nightlife. The hotel offers a stylish, contemporary retreat with 388 guest rooms and provides guests with access to a myriad of facilities including a luxury day spa, two award-winning restaurants, seven conference venues, two pools, a sauna and gymnasium.
Specialising in boutique conference arrangements, Watermark Hotel & Spa offers a selection of venues featuring natural light, well-equipped meeting rooms and outdoor terraces. All rooms offer complimentary wifi for meetings and conferences, and can be fitted with high-tech audio-visual equipment according to the specific requirements of each client. Venue sizes are varied and can seat between 10 and 400 delegates, with a number of venues, including the outdoor poolside marquee, also suitable for sit-down gala dinners and elegant cocktail functions.
For companies seeking a premium experience for their delegates, Club Premier can take your group to the top with premium facilities and flourishes. Accommodation is provided on the top two floors of the hotel, with Club Premier including valet parking, a chilled bottle of Chandon on arrival, daily hot and cold breakfast selection, evening drinks and canapés, and access to the club lounge. In-room internet access and skype is free of charge.
For further details visit www.watermarkhotelgc.com.au
Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast
If it’s style you want then it’s style you’ll find at the refurbished Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa. Set among 3.4 hectares of sparkling lagoons and tropical gardens, the iconic Sheraton Mirage is described as the Gold Coast’s only five-star resort to offer an absolute beachfront location.
All 293 rooms were refurbished recently as were the entry foyer, lobby and reception, pool area and stylish new dining section.
Rooms are without doubt some of the best on the coast. Starting at an impressive 43 square metres, appointments include the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, flat screen televisions, wifi access, custom woven carpets, designer furnishings, casual lounge and dining settings, bedside decor and new bathroom fittings including tapware, baths, toilets, vanity and refreshed marble surfaces. In-room technology enhancements incorporate environmental benefits and include new LED lighting, intuitive air-conditioning, high-speed data and wireless communication and a complete digital entertainment package featuring the latest Movielink system.
The property also offers excellent meetings facilities including the Mirage Grand Ballroom which can accommodate up to 1050 delegates theatre-style. The pre-function area just outside the ballroom looks directly over the resort’s lagoon. There is a total of 11 meeting rooms at the property.
To learn more visit sheraton.com/goldcoast
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa
Not to be outdone in the accommodation and conferencing stakes is the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa which completed a $20 million refurbishment late last year.
The luxurious 28 level resort features 329 rooms and is located on a serene riverfront site just a few minutes from the heart of Surfers Paradise. All rooms offer breathtaking views of the Gold Coast Hinterland, Surfers Paradise skyline or Pacific Ocean.
The property opened 20 years ago and became an instant tourism icon courtesy of its lagoon pool which is home to a myriad of tropical fish.
Its most recent makeover has included an upgrade to all guest rooms including the opulent Presidential Suite, lobby area, lagoon pool area, front entry, dedicated events floor and a new all-day dining interactive restaurant, Citrique. Guest rooms have been completely remodelled and boast a contemporary look with neutral colours and accents of coral, crisp whites and creams with the furniture reflecting a modern Queensland coastal charm.
The Marriott offers a total of nine meeting rooms, the largest of which can seat up to 800 delegates, and some great outdoor spaces, particularly around the lagoon, for cocktail parties and functions.
The property now features a new ‘grab-and-go’ deli called Java +, a luxurious lobby lounge bar, Benihana Japanese Steakhouse, world-class Lattouf Hair & Day Spa, gymnasium and a new WiFi lounge area located on the ground floor for guests to enjoy internet access 24 hours a day. WiFi is also available throughout the rest of the resort.
For further details visit www.surfersparadisemarriott.com.au
When it’s style you crave then the Palazzo Versace may be just the ticket as it proved to be for the launch of the Aston Martin One-77 earlier this year.
The $3 million car, and the only One-77 in Australia, was unveiled by Aston Martin’s global director of design, Marek Reichman at a black-tie gala dinner in Palazzo Versace’s Grand Ballroom. Guests from across Australia gathered to be among the first to see the One-77, and were treated to an opulent and entertaining evening with ballerinas dancing in over-sized martini glasses, flowing champagne and giant pythons.
With stunning function facilities in stylish surrounds, the property proved to be a great setting for the event. Home to showstopping cuisine, five-star function spaces, and elegant event offerings, the property is well-equipped to cater for events up to 500 persons.
The exclusive event was also a celebration of the recent collaboration between Aston Martin and Gold Coast jewellery designer, Calleja. In celebration of the launch of the car Calleja designed a collection featuring 77 numbered pieces of jewellery, the centrepiece of which was a new cut of gemstone called the Astar, which is styled around the front grille of the new Aston Martin.
Aston Martin’s selection of Palazzo Versace honours 50 years of close collaboration between the luxury car makers and House of Versace.
Visit www.palazzoversace.com.au to learn more about the venue.
When you want to get your delegates out of the more traditional event spaces then McLarens Landing is a great option. McLarens Landing is an all-weather venue in a beautiful natural bushland setting overlooking its own calm water private beach, just a short boat ride from Surfers Paradise.
Groups of all shapes and sizes can be catered for with a maximum of 1000 guests.
The homestead and covered pavilions cater for a range of functions and events and are perfect for off site gala lunches or dinners, product launches, awards nights and special events.