Spice issue 100 Autumn 2023

Page 10

Issue 100 – Autumn – 2023 IT’S OUR 100TH ISSUE! TFE Hotels Introducing Victoria’s newest one-of-a-kind events destination Industry leaders reveal what’s in store for the year ahead Singapore Blue Mountains DESTINATIONS 2023 HOT SEAT
Tickets are on sale now eventsuncovered.com.au 10 AUG 2023
Back for its eighth year, the event with another all-star line-up of inspirational leaders and experts as well as a must-see showcase of fresh and innovative trends, suppliers and venue offerings.

Autumn 2023


5 Going up, going down

6 New and noteworthy

8 Cover story: Introducing Chapter Place… Victoria’s newest destination for standout events.


11 Spice magazine’s 100th issue

A celebration of memories and milestones.

14 Hot Seat 2023

Industry leaders share bright outlook.

46 Sensational spas

Push the reset button and find your zen.


52 Find your balance in Brisbane

Marriott hotels deliver wellness with wow-factor.

56 Breakaway into the Blue Mountains

Stunning for business events in every season.

60 Set off for Singapore

A dynamic destination with loads on offer.

52 spicenews.com.au

6 8 14

Lana Bogunovich Editor

Managing Director

Simon Grover


Paul Wootton pwootton@intermedia.com.au


Lana Bogunovich lbogunovich@intermedia.com.au

National Sales Team

Katherine Ross, Charlotte Marshall Production Manager Jacqui Cooper jacqui@intermedia.com.au

Production Assistant

Natasha Jara njara@intermedia.com.au

Art Director

Alyssa Coundouris


Tony Willson

Subscriptions subscriptions@intermedia.com.au

The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers in SPICE magazine are not necessarily those of Food and Beverage Media's management or staff. All material contained in SPICE is copyright.

A time for celebration!

Welcome to our very special 100th issue of Spice magazine! What started out as humble industry publication Main Event back in 2007, has gone on to become a respected magazine and biweekly e-newsletter Spice News, read by business events professionals all over Australia.

On page 11, we mark this milestone issue with some of our previous editors who have worked on Spice and share some of their best memories from when they were at the helm. We also dive into the archives to pull up some of our favourite covers over the years and reflect on the stories of that time, from page 12.

It’s also our annual Hot Seat issue and the industry is bracing itself for a huge 2023 with a lot to look forward to. From page 14, we bring you leaders from across the industry who share opinions and insights on everything from pressing topics and industry updates to the outlook for the year ahead.

Also in this issue, we get the lowdown from TFE Hotels on their incredible new MICE destination in Melbourne’s revitalised Pentridge precinct (page 8), we show you where to get some R & R in our spas roundup (page 46), check into Marriott’s fabulous Brisbane properties (page 52), get a breath of fresh air in the Blue Mountains (page 56), and set off on an adventure in Singapore (page 60).

Enjoy this 100th issue of Spice magazine and here’s to a busy and prosperous year of events ahead!


The Long Hall at Pentridge lifestyle precinct is visually stunning.  (L-R ) Venue general manager, Jesse Kornoff; TFE Hotels director of sales, Shahnaz Bakhshay; TFE Hotels business development manager MICE, Cristina Guevara.

Spice Magazine Sales and Marketing Team

Katherine Ross + 61 2 8586 6176 kross@intermedia.com.au


@SpiceNews @SpiceNewsMag


Spice Magazine is published by Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd (ABN 81 163 792 292)

41 Bridge Road, Glebe NSW 2037 ph: 02 9660 2113, fax: 02 9660 4419

ISSN 1832-7176

Charlotte Marshall +61 2 8586 6216 cmarshall@intermedia.com.au

Spice Magazine and spicenews.com.au are proud media partners of:

This publication is published by Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”). Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication.

Copyright © 2023 - Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd.

for the latest industry news as it happens. Our twice-weekly updates cover venues, suppliers, destinations and technology, as well as inspiration and tips to help you plan stand-out events.
4 Spice Autumn 2023 Editor’s letter

Plant-based goes mainstream

The need to reduce our carbon impact is driving a new passion for plantbased meals, which can be produced at a vastly lower footprint. The key is to make it look unique and taste delicious. Breaking away from the stigma that the “vegan options are boring” is key.

Giving back

A renewed focus on connection

The cocktail hour banter, the camaraderie, sharing of new ideas, learning from your peers, and even taking a domestic flight are all moments to be cherished. Expect a renewed focus on events and experiences that encourage interaction and person-toperson communication.

Eco tokenism

Did you know that the carbon footprint of merchandise at events is around five times the emissions caused by company travel? Those branded reusable water bottles are starting to look more like eco tokenism now. “No-waste” info packs will replace tokenistic merch.

Virtual meetings and events

While equitable access to events will continue to be an integral consideration of event plans, people are done with video being the dominant delivery mechanism for an event. If you’re planning a virtual strudel baking class or online team trivia, forget it. People aren’t interested.

Being a good corporate citizen is more than a “niceto-have”. Events businesses will partner with community groups to do better and give back, such as consulting with food rescue organisations to reduce the massive food waste that comes with large events.

Going up, going down

Queues and crowds

People don’t want to be squeezed onto too-small tables, waiting in queues, and sharing things. Health concerns with large crowds will persist for a while yet, so be sure to make good use of breaks and outdoor spaces to put air between people and remember hygiene best practices.

With an illustrious events career spanning more than 20 years, Mister Milford managing director Adam Niewand knows a thing or two about creating events that wow. Here are his insights on what’s hot and what’s not for the year ahead.
spicenews.com.au 5 Trends

Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne

Perched inside Pentridge’s giant bluestone walls, the newly built Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne has been completely reimagined from its Victorian origins. Here, there’s no blurring of the boundaries on what is old and what is new, so the heritage aspects really stand out. Each of the Adina’s 106 one and two-bedroom and studio apartments offer generous living space and kitchen amenities and boast individual climate control. Located just 20 minutes from Melbourne CBD, the hotel offers 24-hour reception, plenty of onsite parking and is perfectly positioned for MICE and leisure guests with four traditional meetings spaces. It’s also ideally situated to soak up the local culture, eateries, parks, and art galleries including The Heide and Division Gallery in the new billion-dollar Pentridge lifestyle precinct.

New + noteworthy

Capella Sydney

Sydney’s heritage-listed Department of Education Building is set to become the city’s hottest new luxury hotel and events space when it opens as Capella Hotels and Resorts’ first ever Australian hotel in March. Just steps away from Circular Quay, the luxury property features six meeting and conference rooms which can comfortably accommodate groups of 10 to 80 people, as well as a range of dining options, including the signature Brasserie 1930 that showcases the finest in locally sourced produce. Private dining and late-night drinks can be arranged, with a focus on highly personalised service that ensure delegates enjoy a full and memorable itinerary. Guests can also take advantage of Auriga Spa featuring a 20-metre swimming pool positioned under a heritage skylight, as well as a large fitness centre and yoga platform.

The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne

The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne is sure to make a luxury impression on the city’s events scene when it opens its doors in March. The 80-storey hotel offers soaring views across the city while also providing a full suite of facilities ensuring guests’ needs are well taken care of. There are 2,781 square metres of meeting and event space available, including the RitzCarlton Grand Ballroom, that will certainly impress with its seven-metre-high ceilings and floor-toceiling feature window providing an unparalleled view of the city. Event organisers can also take advantage of complimentary AV solutions and fully customisable catering menus to wow the tastebuds of attendees. Outside of the event, guests can unwind at the restaurant and bar, wellness centre and sky-high infinity pool and marvel at the décor which celebrates local artists at every turn.

6 Spice Autumn 2023

Naumi Hotel Wellington

Perfectly situated on vibrant Cuba Street, this newly opened design-led hotel offers an array of bright and colourful events spaces in New Zealand’s capital city. Featuring bold colours and designs, the hotel’s five conference rooms can be combined to offer a 266-squaremetre venue for up to 250 cocktail with an additional boardroom for meetings up to 20 pax. Award-winning executive chef Kiran Ghate is at the helm of Naumi’s culinary offerings, which include the seductive pan-Asian Lola Rouge Restaurant (60 pax) and Parisianinspired The Parlour (70 pax), ideal for cocktails and high tea. Intimate private dining is perfectly catered to in The Red Room. Another key highlight of the hotel is the generous size of its 62 rooms, which are designed more like studio apartments than traditional hotel rooms.

sales@cairnsconvention.com.au www.cairnsconvention.com.au


Victoria’s newest destination for standout events in Melbourne’s new billion-dollar lifestyle precinct.

It’s Melbourne, but not as you know it. Victoria’s newest one-of-a-kind MICE destination, Chapter Place – set in the billion-dollar Pentridge lifestyle precinct within 20 minutes of Melbourne’s CBD – has been born from the belief that moments in time should be elevated to be as impactful as possible.

This bespoke MICE destination is unlike anything else in Australia right now and, according to venue general manager, Jesse Kornoff, will appeal to people who appreciate that experience is everything.

“The wider Pentridge precinct is undergoing a revival as a destination and meeting place,” says Kornoff. “Within its bluestone walls, B Division has literally metamorphosed from a collection of neglected buildings into Chapter Place - an urban sanctuary featuring decadent modern finishings, uniquely Melbourne MICE experiences and a thoroughly modern FirstRate energy rating of 6.5 stars.”

“By its very nature, this is a destination for unconventional conventions and extraordinary events,” says Kornoff of the transformation which has seen the historic Pentridge site reinvent itself as a place where people want to gather as opposed to not being able to leave (in reference to the precinct’s former life as a gaol).

Officially opening in autumn this year, Chapter Place – which comprises nine indoor and alfresco event spaces, intimate nooks, high-end conference facilities and landscaped gardens – sits alongside the brand-new 106-room Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne and other anchor tenants including Olivine wine bar and North & Common bistro in B Division, the freshly imagined former isolation wing of the former prison.

There is no doubt the transformation respects the 170-year-old history of the site – it’s evident in the adaptive reuse of buildings, but it’s also noticeably

8 Spice Autumn 2023 Cover story

clear that the design, form and function of the buildings are hellbent on giving Pentridge and Chapter Place a new lease of life over the next 100 or so years.

“On arrival there’s a real sense that you’ve left the ordinary and the everyday behind when you come to Chapter Place,” says Kornoff. “I’d say the feeling strikes the moment our bluestone walls unexpectedly give way to light-filled spaces, intimate gardens and courtyards that are custom built for the MICE Industry.”

“Some days it really is hard to believe we’re on the fringes of Melbourne CBD and not out in the regions,” he says. “But, in reality, we’re just 20 minutes from both the centre and Melbourne International Airport, and well serviced by public transport.”

Urban renewal

Coburg sits in many Australians’ memories as the site of Pentridge Prison and the first landmark on the traditional road trip up the Hume Highway. Fast forward to today and Coburg sits at the centre of the city’s arts community, a melting pot of passionate creatives in Melbourne’s north.

Step outside the walls and you’ll find yourself in an entirely unique and eclectic area full of artists, artisans, bars, restaurants, galleries, studios, breweries, distilleries, and wineries – which Chapter Place has embraced and offers as part of their signature event experiences.

Clients can get their hands dirty learning how to roll truffles from Coburg’s own Koko Black, with the head chocolatier during a 1.5-hour Masterclass, or attend a soiree, hosted by Impala & Peacock tea sommelier, Sarah de Witt, showcasing local produce that’s perfectly paired with rare and exclusive teas.

Memorable and impactful events

If you’re expecting expressionless, austere spaces, think again. Architects and designers have added contrast and contradiction to the bones of B Division to create a series of inviting spaces. From the intimacy of the tranquil Reflection Garden, walled with bluestone for pre-dinner drinks, team building, incentive events or morning meditation to the visual beauty of The Long Hall – a 40-metre former cell block framed beautifully by ten-metre-high arched ceilings and central glass window ›

Left: Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne. Above: Walk-in wine room at B Division’s standalone Olivine wine bar. Below: The Reflection Garden.
“By its very nature, this is a destination for unconventional conventions and extraordinary events”
spicenews.com.au 9 Cover story
Jesse Kornoff

feature – a showstopping location for cocktail functions, fashion shows or an unforgettable long table event, there are surprises at every turn.

For TFE Hotels senior director of sales, Shahnaz Bahkshay, it’s the versatility of the venue that’s a standout.

“Part of our adaptive reuse plan was to retain and bring to life part of the original prison wing. Accordingly, Chapter Place features a series of beautifully designed venues within a venue that will work for conferences, incentive groups, exhibitions, smaller meetings, catwalk events and even pop-up comedy if the mood takes you,” Bahkshay says. “Quite simply, we have a collection of beautiful spaces that pay homage to a chapter in Australian history and promise to create meaningful memories our clients will love.”

According to Bahkshay, one-of-a-kind experiences like Chapter Place’s The Real Underbelly event, uncover stories of the darker times with one of Pentridge’s original prison guards who shares unpublished stories from its early Ned Kelly days to personal experiences with some of Melbourne’s most notorious characters.

“The feedback to date from our clients who have had a preview has been outstanding.”

The traditional meetings industry is also well served by the Merri Creek conference rooms, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, high-tech AV, and hybrid conferencing capability. Whilst Pentridge’s former chapel – with its beautifully arched leadlight windows and 10-metre-high ceilings – adds a touch of drama to any event.

Nearby bistro, North & Common, with Melbourne chef Thomas Woods at the helm, offers the best of Victoria on the plate and in the glass. This is a place where the simplicity of presentation is underpinned by rigorous technique. North & Common can accommodate groups of up to 80 guests inside and 120 in the alfresco dining area complete with open fires and operable ceilings which is perfect for year-round events. B Division’s standalone Olivine wine bar, with its world-class wine list, walk-in wine rooms, booth seating and in-house sommelier team, caters for more intimate affairs.

Stay and play

Inside Pentridge’s massive bluestone walls, the newly built Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne has been completely reimagined from its Victorian origins and, according to the delivery architects, Konzepte, stands in deliberate contrast. Here, there’s no blurring of the boundaries on what is old and what is new, so the heritage aspects stand out.

Featuring 106 spacious apartments, the Adina is the tallest tower in the north. It boasts hightech technology where the hotel windows clean themselves, solar energy and a unique vista back across to the north side of Melbourne CBD and panoramic views over Pentridge.

The hotel offers onsite parking and is perfectly positioned for MICE and leisure guests but also ideally situated to soak up the local culture, eateries, parks, and modern art galleries including The Heide and Division Gallery.

Chapterplace.com.au n
Above: The Merri Creek Room.
10 Spice Autumn 2023 Cover story
Below: Olivine wine bar beverage manager Liinaa Berry.

Viva la Spice!

In celebration of this special milestone issue, we tracked down and caught up with Spice editors of the past (and present), whose vision and dedication to the magazine has shaped it over 100 issues.

I took my seat in the editor’s chair right in the middle of Sydney’s second lockdown and the irony of joining an events industry publication when we weren’t allowed to mix and mingle wasn’t lost on me. Despite the uncertainty we all felt at that time, I was excited for the new possibilities that lay ahead and was welcomed so warmly to the team and to the industry – albeit via many Zoom calls!

So far in my year-and-a-half at Spice, there have been many wonderful, rewarding and memorable moments – from hosting the Spice Knowledge Sessions at Events Uncovered and meeting some truly remarkable industry professionals to experiencing many wonderful famils and events around Australia and beyond.

I feel really proud to be a part of this lineup of editors – and the talented and hard-working Spice team behind the scenes – whose dedication over the years has led to our milestone 100th issue. Here’s to the next hundred!

I started as editor of Spice in August 2013 and was lucky enough to be at the helm for an exciting four years until 2017 when my son Joseph was born.

Business and special events were booming at the time and supporting technologies were on the rise. Things like check-in kiosks, conference apps, virtual meetings and live streaming were all coming to the fore.

Sustainability was on the rise too – venues were considering food waste management, local provenance of ingredients and upgrading energy and water systems to reduce their environmental footprint.

One particularly memorable famil was to Georgetown in Penang after the MEA conference in Kuala Lumpur. An event program that absolutely blew my mind was Dreamtime in Adelaide - from the Welcome to Country and the native ingredient meal at Orana, to a private tasting of Penfold’s Grange at Magill Estate - the whole thing was next level.

I’ve also always enjoyed writing the Going Up, Going Down column!

Even years later, I am still friends with many people from the events world and I am so grateful for my time at Spiceit was a dream come true.

During my time as Spice editor, I travelled to some incredible destinations, from South Korea and Las Vegas to Hayman Island and Alice Springs. But travel, and business events more broadly, came to halt about halfway through my tenure when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Major conferences were cancelled and borders were slammed shut but it didn’t take long for the industry to adapt.

‘Pivot’ became the new buzzword as the industry found a way to survive in a new environment. Meetings went virtual, caterers switched to home delivery and team building companies turned to Zoom. Even Spice had to pivot to an all-digital issue for our Winter 2020 edition, which became one of my favourite magazines during my time as editor. We interviewed an exhibition supplier delivering pop-up COVID testing clinics and hotels that were accommodating guests in isolation.

Pandemic aside, my most memorable interviews included Sydney PR guru Roxy Jacenko and former White House event director Laura Schwartz.

I was the very first Spice editor from its original launch in 2007 (back when it was first called Main Event) and took it in a new direction with the re-branding to Spice Magazine in 2009.

Winning the Publisher’s Australia Bell Award in 2009 for Best Magazine Relaunch as well as launching the Spice News website and the now hugely popular Spice Hottest 100 will always be proud moments for me.

It’s been so satisfying seeing the magazine continue to grow and support the industry over the years from very humble beginnings.

Brittney Levinson, editor 2018-2021 Emma Castle (nee Gardiner), editor 2013-2017
spicenews.com.au 11 Spice 100th
Gwen Luscombe (nee O’Toole), editor 2007-2012


The beginning of a new era

Editor Gwen took the mag in a new direction, officially re-branding it to Spice Magazine in June 2009.


First issue!

Our first issue burst onto the scene in September 2007 and was called Main Event.

10 Spice covers we love

We took a walk down memory lane and dived into the archives to pull up some of our favourite Spice covers, milestones and memories.

2011 Leaders Forum Launches

“Launching Leaders Forum was a first for the industry. The annual feature continues to this day as the 'Hot Seat', shining a light on key voices from venues to destinations and associations."

- Charlotte Marshall, national sales & marketing manager.

2012 Spice News is born

“Launching the Spice News website and the now hugely popular Spice Hottest 100 will always be proud moments for me.”


New tech had us talking

“Supporting technologies were on the rise. Things like check-in kiosks, conference apps, virtual meetings and live streaming were all coming to the fore.”

– Emma Castle.

12 Spice Autumn 2023 Spice 100th


Finger on the pulse

“Spice has interviewed some major players over the years including former White House event director Laura Schwartz and Sydney PR guru Roxy Jacenko.”



Unique events and famils

“An event program that absolutely blew my mind was the 2015 Dreamtime in Adelaide - from the Welcome to Country to a private tasting of Penfold’s Grange at Magill Estatethe whole thing was next level”


‘Pivoting’ to digital during pandemic “‘Pivot’ became the new buzzword as the industry found a way to survive in a new environment. Even Spice had to pivot to an all-digital issue for our Winter 2020 edition, which became one of my favourite magazines during my time as editor.”


Where I'd rather be “One of my favourite covers I've designed is this one featuring Daydream Island. I've always wanted to go there and this pic makes me want to dive right in!”


Keeping COVID-safe

“This was my first issue and I was so excited when it finally came out! Sydney was under lockdown and I remember how resilient and determined the industry was and how supportive everyone was as I learned the ropes working from home, like many of us at the time.”

spicenews.com.au 13 Spice 100th

Business events have returned with a vengeance, kicking the year off with a strong pipeline of bookings and exciting new developments across the industry. Our annual Hot Seat feature brings you the latest updates from respected industry leaders on what to expect for the year ahead.

Spirit of Migloo, Journey Beyond.
14 Spice Autumn 2023
Hot Seat


The future looks bright

2023 spicenews.com.au 15 Hot Seat

Let’s get together! Why networking is vital to business success

Connection. Collaboration. Community. These words are synonymous with event planning. As the industry gears up to celebrate 30 years of building connections at AIME, AIME event director Silke Calder reflects on her transition into the APAC events community and why taking time out to connect with industry is more important than ever.

You joined the APAC community in 2020. How did you find the transition from life in Europe to Australia?

I landed in Melbourne just before lock-down so the transition definitely had its bumps! Australians have a genuine warmth though and I instantly felt welcomed into the events fold. For the first two years of life in Australia I built connections with the industry, working from my lounge room. With my husband and kids in the background and my dog Freya making her screen debut - video calls allowed me to welcome (new) industry friends into my home. This built a fast and familiar connection with my peers.

As AIME event director, what is one way you have consciously engaged in community-building?

In the lead-up to AIME 2020, we introduced the AIMEbassador program; an opportunity to connect like-minded professionals from the different industry sectors. Over the past two years, we’ve continued to refine the program.

For 2023, our nine AIMEbassadors have been invaluable to bounce ideas off and find ways to amplify the value of AIME and the (business) events industry. It’s been particularly fun this year hearing our AIMEbassador’s reflections on their connection with AIME over the past 30 years.

What is your advice for anyone wanting to enter the business events industry?

Make the time to attend industry events. Both professionally and socially, these opportunities to invest in your own growth and your community are invaluable.

We are so fortunate that the MICE industry calendar is packed with developmental

opportunities. For someone wanting to build a career in events, it is imperative that they embrace stepping away from the day-to-day to create space for connection and learning.

AIME celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2023. In your opinion, what enables an event to stand the test of time?

While AIME may not be the largest business events tradeshow in the world, it is the longest running. From humble beginnings in 1993, the Melbourne Convention Bureau has continued to invest in AIME and support the growth and evolution of the global business events industry. I think a big part of AIME’s longevity and success has been its ability to lead the industry through change and provide a space for everyone to come together - to invest in their learning, to share, to connect. The APAC region is a powerhouse for driving business and AIME unites all the key players under one roof. AIME is about connection and collaboration, not competition.

What are your predictions for 2023 and beyond?

The industry is moving at a rapid rate and there is no indication of that slowing down anytime soon. As the world continues to reopen, we know that AIME 2024 will have an even bigger footprint. We very much look forward to welcoming back all of our international friends, including our much-loved Chinese event planners. And as we heard at AIME last year, we must continue to invest in the wellbeing of ourselves and our industry. I think we’re going to see a lot more focus on wellness as part of the delegate experience at events going forward. n

16 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
“I think a big part of AIME’s longevity and success has been its ability to lead the industry through change and provide a space for everyone to come together.”
Largest LED screen in NSW with option to partition. hiltonsydney.com.au | Ph: +61 (0)2 9266 2000 | sydney@hilton.com New this February


with MCG Events

MCG Events director of sales and marketing, Troy Stasinowsky, on why the world class stadium, and Melbourne’s own colosseum of sport and entertainment, was awarded Best Business Events Venue in Victoria.

Over the past 12 months, a focus on renewed business events and commitment to tourism visibility, has seen the MCG emerge as a destination of choice for local corporate, national association, and international incentive events. Drawing on the heritage, culture and art of the stadium, MCG Events has elevated the event experience.

Access all areas

Previously off-limit spaces are now available to all. You can utilise the change rooms for creative workshops, hold pre-dinner drinks on the boundary line, or finish the night with whisky and dessert bars in the MCC Library.

Chef partners

Popular Melbourne chef, Guy Grossi, brings his Italian cuisine to the ’G, with a menu curated for events, as well as a daytime restaurant operating in the Committee Room. Steeped in tradition, Grossi’s offering brings true authentic Italian elegance to the MCG. In 2023, MCG Events are set to add more chef partners that will bring their own ‘Melbourne flavour’ to the ’G.

Small can be epic

Curated, incentive-driven experiences that activate small spaces to create big impressions. A focus on the boutique and intimate events that

deliver a personal touch. The MCG can create a true sensory experience around sport, heritage, art, and culture.

Re-imagined tourism

With the international business event tourist returning, creating a point of difference within the market has become essential. At MCG Events, curated tours and experiences have been created, and the ability to deliver traditional Indian cuisine is at the forefront of our tourism offering.

Digital connectivity

The MCG is the first stadium in Australia to provide a complete 3D model virtual walkthrough with integrated imagery and video. This ‘digital twin’ features as part of a new online platform dedicated to non-match day events.

A World Class Precinct

The MCG is often selected for its accessibility and its connection to the wider Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct, taking in Yarra Park and Melbourne Olympic Park. MCG Events has developed a fantastic strategic partnership with neighbours, Centrepiece and Pullman Melbourne on the Park, to ensure that all are working together to promote the precinct on the world stage. n

“With the international business event tourist returning, creating a point of difference within the market has become essential.”
18 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Chef partner Guy Grossi is one of many to bring their own ‘Melbourne flavour’ to the ’G.

After years of uncertainty and disruption, pent-up demand is going to keep us all busy in 2023. Across Australia, events enquiries are hitting record numbers, and Queensland is certainly part of that trend, with the state government actively encouraging a return to in-person events with a new offer of business event funding.

In terms of the content of events, attendees are going to favour unique experiences and finding the right venue is critical to providing that experience.

Here are five key trends that we expect to play out this year.

1 Being flexible is critical

Because event spaces are in such high demand, there is every chance that you won’t be able to secure the first date you had in mind. Preparing early and having the flexibility to host the event on three or four dates should the first be unavailable, is critical. It will be better to shift the date of the event than to try and shift the venue, since the A-class experience is still key to the event’s success.

2 Disruption will ease and event planning will be more reliable

The past two years have seen a conservative approach to bookings. Event planners would book low, anticipating concern over travel and large groups, only to need to add significant capacity just before the event. In one example, we needed to add 800 seats for an evening function, two weeks out from the event. We anticipate attendance numbers will start to become easier to accurately plan for as

widespread confidence returns, and this will result in more smoothly managed events.

3 Outdoor is in vogue

While hesitation over in-person events is normalising, there is a sustained focus on well-being and wellness, and for this reason, event organisers are looking to incorporate outdoor areas into their programs. Lawns and terraces make for excellent locations for meals – with the added benefit of the aesthetic appeal – and people will prefer to mingle in open air during pre-event drinks. Event spaces with scenic environments will be more in-demand thanks to this trend.

4 Wellness foods will dominate menus

The awareness around wellness has never been sharper and with each venue competing to differentiate itself around its food and beverage offering, a health-orientated menu is an opportunity for events to stand out. Having fresh food, procured locally, will be a key part of the health messaging that will resonate.

5Sustainability is not optional

Pressure on venues and events to champion sustainability will make it a critical concern in 2023. Event spaces will improve their communication and options for zero waste and green event management and work closely with clients to deliver to their delegate’s expectations. Gaining accreditation with sustainability groups will also be important for venues as clients add sustainability to the criteria for preferred suppliers. n

“Attendees are going to favour unique experiences and finding the right venue is critical to providing that experience.”
Five trends that will drive how events are planned in 2023
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) director of sales, Sally Hein says the venue sees and does it all and anticipates 2023 to be a big year for the industry.
20 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Kaya, explore the untrodden as you journey through Western Australia

Business Events Perth chief executive officer, Gareth Martin, takes you on a journey through the vast and varied lands of this incredible region.

Whether you’re here for a few days or a few weeks, the mind-blowingly large region of Western Australia offers so many opportunities for business delegates to take the path less travelled.

The coastline of Western Australia stretches over 12,500 kilometres and boasts incredible regional diversity. Take a journey with me through these ancient lands and discover our rich cultural heritage, local characters, turquoise waters and outback oases – my recommended journey through the regions of this majestic place, I call home.

Australia’s Southwest

Australia’s Southwest is a great place to start your journey through Western Australia. Easily accessed with direct flights from Perth and Melbourne, or a two-hour drive from the city, you’ll see why it’s a favourite for locals.

Here, your delegates can journey through more than 150 wine producers and 90 cellar doors, where the forest meets the ocean and where friendly, passionate locals welcome you in.

Australia’s Golden Outback

From here, head to Australia’s Golden Outback, which stretches far and covers just over half of WA.

Explore from the rugged red north to the jewel of the pristine southern coast, Esperance, and from the historic outback goldfields of the east to charming farm stays and spectacular wildflowers.

Share Australia’s whitest beach, Lucky Bay, with us and some friendly kangaroos. Lake Hillier’s striking pink water presents an otherworldly spectacle and eco-touring, swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking are some of the locals’ favourite things to do.

Destination Perth

For those staying in the cosmopolitan city of Perth, the lively metropolis boasts 19 pristine beaches, Indian Ocean sunsets and one of the world’s largest inner-city parks, Kings Park.

Journey through Elizabeth Quay, a vibrant waterfront playground, to enjoy the city’s active lifestyle and alfresco bars and restaurants on the beautiful Swan River. Let passionate local guides reveal the city to you on a walking, rickshaw or Segway tour.

Australia’s Coral Coast

Venture north from the city to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef – a dreamlike destination for nature and wildlife lovers and home to the ‘Big 3’; whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays. It is one of the planet’s most biologically diverse marine environments and one of our top destinations for incentive programs.

Ningaloo offers activities like snorkelling with loggerhead turtles, whale watching and the magic of swimming with whale sharks. Alternatively, take to the sky in a scenic flight over Port Gregory’s bubble gum Pink Lake or view the uninterrupted night sky with an evening under the stars in eco lodging.

Australia’s Northwest

In the northwest of Australia, delegates will experience one of Earth’s last true wilderness areas.

Australia’s Northwest grounds you and its red sands never leave you. Its coastal and outback towns offer vastly different experiences.

Quiet but powerful, the Kimberley region is a fantastic destination for delegates to immerse themselves in something soulful and magical.

Extending 660 kilometres from Derby to Kununurra across the Kimberley region, the Gibb River Road cuts through some of Earth’s most extraordinary country. Your delegates will take in spectacular outback gorges, secluded swimming holes, vast national parks, ancient rock art, thundering waterfalls, and endless wildlife encounters.

In this place where reality and the otherworldly combine, all you need to do is pick a direction and whatever incentive journey you seek, Western Australia will provide. n

Bart Pigram Narlijia Experience Broome, WA.
22 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Photo credit: Taryn Yeates.


We’re elevating your next experience

Gold Winner, 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards Best Business Events Venue

Embracing opportunity in Brisbane

Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) general manager of tourism, business and major events, Lorelle Chittick, shares how Brisbane is thriving and what that means for business events.

As one of Australia’s fastestgrowing capital cities, we’re seeing incredible opportunity for business events to be part of this momentum.

Constantly evolving

Brisbane has really transformed over the past decade and as a business events destination, we’re seeing our offering of venues, accommodation and delegate experiences also evolve with new and exciting developments.

With major infrastructure projects nearing completion, a host of exciting events and conferences secured, and several new precincts with new hotels and hospitality openings, the city has never looked better for business events.

New developments

There’s a $14 billion infrastructure pipeline transforming Brisbane and strengthening the region’s business events capabilities. These include Queen’s Wharf and the Victoria Park redevelopment, not to mention Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway enhancing air access.

The $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf integrated resort development will contribute new and diverse product for business events when it opens next year. It will offer more than 1,000 premium hotel rooms, a 2,000-squaremetre ballroom catering for up to 1,900 (cocktail), over 50 new dining experiences and 7.5 hectares of public space.

This city-shaping infrastructure will be a major drawcard for securing national and international business events.

Forging a path towards 2032

Our selection as Host City for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games

also recognises Brisbane’s trajectory, while acknowledging our capacity to deliver the world’s largest sporting event in a way that is both sustainable and leaves a lasting positive legacy.

We expect to see business events in our key industry sectors accelerate in the leadup to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as an increasing global spotlight shines on Brisbane.

Brisbane’s MedTech sector has gained a global reputation for world-changing innovation with a growing number of companies achieving excellence in their field, and we expect to see this sector continue to flourish over coming years. Recognition as the Host City certainly contributes to our international profile and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attract more business events to Brisbane than ever before, particularly in advanced manufacturing, education, business services, logistics, tourism, property, and construction.

Dynamic convention precinct

Set amongst 17 hectares of riverfront parklands with tranquil rainforest walks and swimming lagoons, delegates visiting Brisbane's convention precinct can enjoy an energetic dining scene, with both new and well-established bars, cafés and restaurants. We continue to hear just how much delegates love this inner-city oasis, which is home to Australia’s most awarded convention centre – Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre – Australia’s largest Gallery of Modern Art, and the city’s performing arts centre and museums.

Sustainability leads

As a destination, we’re committed to proactively encouraging sustainable business events. In the 2022 Global

Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI), we’re proud to have achieved an 8.4 percent increase since entering the index in 2019, with BEDA achieving significant improvement in the destination management organisation category.

Brisbane was also recently awarded a silver certification in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Cities Program, which lists 17 aims for the world’s cities to strive for, including providing affordable and clean energy, and ensuring responsible consumption and production. Brisbane is now one of seven cities in the world to be accredited by the United Nations, and the first in Australia. We’re one of Australia’s top three clean air cities, with more Green Star-rated buildings than any other Australian city, and our council is the largest carbon neutral government organisation in Australia, demonstrating just how committed we are to sustainable business practices.

The future looks bright for Brisbane

We’re looking forward to harnessing the opportunities this growth trajectory brings to our city and we’re optimistic for the future. Pent up demand is driving solid pipeline activity and the welcome return of delegates since last year.

At BEDA, we’re securing major international and national business events for future years and in partnership with the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, have already secured many significant events to reinforce our position as a global event city. These include the IAS Conference on HIV Science 2023, IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium 2025, and the International Population Conference 2025. n

24 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Brisbane, Queensland.

Top five venue considerations when booking your next event

Hayden has been with Hilton Sydney since December 2020, navigating the hotel’s return from lockdown, as well as the events landscape in the new normal of short-lead bookings and competitive events market in Sydney. Here, he shares some of the elements he and his team believe are important to consider when booking a venue for your next conference or meeting.

1 Natural daylight

Studies have shown that having exposure to natural daylight helps delegates feel more alert and focused, resulting in a positive effect on mood and increased productivity. This is a real consideration with event bookers, even more so post-COVID. Fortunately, at Hilton Sydney, our largest event spaces – the Grand Ballroom, Exhibition Space and Stateroom (junior ballroom) - all offer plenty of natural daylight.


Easily-accessible location

You want your event to be as convenient as possible for delegates to access, which in turn helps to deliver a seamless arrival and departure experience and higher event attendance. Hilton Sydney’s prime CBD location between George and Pitt Streets is a strong drawcard, with access via almost all forms of public transport including bus, light rail and train, or via car, with convenient drop-off and pick-up area as well as onsite valet parking.

3 Multifunctional spaces

Do you consider the different spaces you require when planning an event? Have you thought about break-out spaces or the need to alter a space whilst your event is in action? Could things change last minute or during your event, and do you need the venue’s team to make

these changes happen? These are all important factors to consider in the venue you choose and the service you sign up for.

Between levels one to four at Hilton Sydney, there are several spaces that offer multifunctional use where areas can be made smaller or larger, and transformed from day to night. We’re proud to offer this variety and flexibility of spaces, as well as a flexible team to deliver the best event possible.

4 In-house AV

If your event requires audio visual technology, considerations must be made depending on how heavily reliant your event is going to be on it, and what scale of AV you require.

Hilton Sydney works closely with Encore as its in-house AV partner. Encore most recently worked with us to bring the largest hanging LED screens offered in NSW, with the option to partition. These screens offer an all-in-one direct view LED display which supports wireless presentations and interactive applications. Encore has also introduced other new AV technologies at Hilton Sydney, including LED pixel totems, wireless conferencing solution ‘Clickshare’, and LED cubes.

5 Pre-function and exhibition space

For larger groups, a pre-function space is ideal to host arrivals, coffee, morning and afternoon breaks, lunches and post-event drinks. This should be a separate area (but ideally next to or connected to your main space), so an exhibition space which is large enough and flexible enough is a great option for exhibitors.

Hilton Sydney currently holds the largest pre-function and exhibition space of any Sydney CBD hotel – a multifunctional space outside of the hotel’s ballroom that can be used for a myriad of purposes. n

Hilton Sydney general manager, Hayden Hughes, offers advice on some of the most important things to look out for when choosing the perfect venue for your next event.
Hilton Sydney.
26 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
“You want your event to be as convenient as possible for delegates to access, which in turn helps to deliver a seamless arrival and departure experience and higher event attendance.”
19-21 FEB 2024 MELBOURNE

Leading the way and making it easy – Accessibility and sustainability in Cairns and Great Barrier Reef

Tourism Tropical North Queensland general manager, partnership and events, Rosie Douglas, gives an update on the region’s latest developments which feature sustainability as a fundamental component for business events.

As gatekeepers to two World Heritagelisted icons – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest – Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) is acutely aware of its responsibility to the ongoing sustainability of our naturally beautiful region while ensuring every business events delegate can access it.

Carbon offsetting of events made easy

2023 brings the launch of our regionwide carbon offset offering in conjunction with Reforest – a ground-breaking new platform changing how events interact with the planet while ensuring their tree planting programs are localised to the host destination.

Our goal was to make the process as easy as possible for event planners and delegates to participate in carbon offsetting. Options include partial carbon offsetting of event emissions by companies, delegates and sponsors, through to full offset options – all of which have the opportunity for events to monitor the ongoing story of their locally planted trees.


Visitors with accessibility challenges account for approximately 15 to 20 percent of global tourism. With the announcement of 2023 the Year of Accessible Tourism, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef have prioritised making Business Events for everyone, including people of all abilities. Our Accessibility Hub brings together accommodation providers, tours and activities who are active in the accessibility space. At the same time, Cairns Regional

Council has implemented more braille and tactile street signage than any other regional city, wheelchair access to the beach and built an extensive network of shared off-road paths.

Committing to the broader sustainability story

Sustainability has evolved rapidly, with business events planners and delegates expecting destinations will have implemented basic practices such as water stations, the removal of single-use plastics, paperless tech, wooden access keys, waste reduction and energy efficiency.

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef recognises there are different layers of sustainability to be considered, and moving forward, we aim to ensure sustainability is viewed as a fundamental component of all business events.

Eco warriors

Our region is home to Australia’s highest concentration of eco-certified experiences, with more than 60 operators! The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, located 10 minutes north of Cairns CBD, is just one of 10 businesses to hold EarthCheck’s Master Certification, and Port Douglas was the first destination in the world awarded Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification. Our community’s commitment to our environment is illustrated through our local operators and business partnerships with supporting organisations, including the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Reef Restoration, Reforest, Great Barrier Reef Legacy and Rainforest Rescue. All these organisations

invite events to engage with them on varying levels.

Walk this way

Cairns is a walkable, modern city. Business event delegates can wander from their hotels to the Cairns Convention Centre, then onto local restaurants, bars, the new Cairns Esplanade dining precinct and the Reef Fleet Terminal at the Marina. The ability to walk between venues reduces the need for excessive coach transfers, offering both cost savings, natural social distancing, the health benefit of walking and reduced carbon emissions.

Engage with culture

Weaving together the stories of two of the world’s oldest living cultures, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, offers delegates an authentic connection to country and the knowledge their participation in the event has contributed to the preservation of culture. The inclusion of a Welcome to Country is long established. However, we also have some inspiring cultural activities that business events delegates can participate in, including self-discovery and meditation and whole of team artistic projects, which will liven up your corporate boardroom!

In Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, we encourage visitors to leave as custodians of our region and its stories. “However, we also have some inspiring cultural activities that business events delegates can participate in, including self-discovery and meditation and whole of team artistic projects designed to liven up your corporate boardroom!” n

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Cairns Convention Centre unveils

$176 million expansion in 2023

At Cairns Convention Centre, we are looking forward to a very exciting 2023. Our stunning new 10,500-square-metre expansion will begin welcoming guests in May and we can’t wait to show it off.

The new spaces in the expansion include a 410-seat plenary that can be divided into two, an exhibition space for 30 booths, three large meeting rooms that can be figured into multiple options, a ballroom that can host 500 people and an outdoor terrace with stunning views over the Trinity Outlet.

The new façade is inspired by the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the contemporary light interiors highlight the region’s beauty. The Centre has also been fitted with state-of-the-art technology throughout.

Adding to the recently refurbished 2,300-seat auditorium, 17 other meeting rooms and 5,000seat arena, the Centre feels like a brand new venue, creating a seamless connection between the expansion and existing spaces.

We have an exciting list of events coming to Cairns in 2023. With more than 35 conferences confirmed, the team is looking forward to delivering exceptional events and showcasing our world-class venue.

Our first event in the new expansion will be the Queensland Legislative Assembly, meeting for the sixth regional sitting of the Queensland Parliament, 9-11 May. Following on from this, many national and international conference delegates will get to experience our amazing new venue. n

Connection, inspired by nature

Business Events the Central Coast way

It’s no surprise business events on the Central Coast are naturally in harmony with the environment.

The NSW Central Coast is one of Australia’s first ECO Destinations, certified by Ecotourism Australia. This means when you conduct business on the Coast, you’re also supporting a sustainable destination with respect for nature at the heart of the experience.

Be inspired by our meeting planners eBook with 100+ venues across 7 unique towns and villages perfect for business events

As the Centre gears up to open its doors in May, Cairns Convention Centre general manager, Janet Hamilton, offers a sneak peek on what to expect.
“With more than 35 conferences confirmed, the team is looking forward to delivering exceptional events and showcasing our world-class venue.”
spicenews.com.au 29

Northern Territory: Major events enhance famils

At Northern Territory Business Events (NTBE), we’ve long recognised how invaluable it is to provide business events planners with a first-hand experience of the Northern Territory’s (NT) outstanding destinations and its truly unique offering, living up to its positioning of being ‘different in every sense for business events’.

Our famil programs aim to provide opportunities for genuine connections to our iconic land, our nature-based experiences and the world’s oldest living culture which dates back over 65,000 years.

Many famil attendees are first-time visitors to the Northern Territory, so we aim to provide a showcase of its distinctive and diverse destinations, attractions and meaningful experiences. We want them to depart the NT feeling enlightened and inspired.

We also demonstrate how these elements can be practically and effectively integrated into a business event in order to enhance its success.

NT – a world leader

Several of our famils coincide with some of the NT’s spectacular major events and festivalsthis not only adds a valuable cultural element to the program but also showcases the NT’s impressive capacity and capability to stage award-winning events of all types.

In fact, two of the many NT festivals managed by the NT Major Events Company (NTMEC) team won a number of accolades at the recent 2022 Australian Event Awards, which highlight outstanding achievements in Australia’s event industry.

The award wins related to Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, which will be a feature of our

Alice Springs Showcase famil in April 2023. NTMEC also won an award for the 2022 Darwin Festival, which will play a role in the NTBE’s Darwin Showcase in August 2023.

We’re extremely proud of NT Major Events as they also received global acknowledgment when making the top ten in last year’s International Eventex Index, which recognises excellence in the world’s top 100 organisations in the international events industry.

A busy year ahead in 2023

NTBE's 2023 famil program, to be conducted in association with a range of industry partners, commences in late February with a Longitude 131 famil to Uluru. In mid-April it will be Alice Springs Showcase, followed by the inaugural Kakadu Incentive Famil in early May.

We partner with Darwin Convention Centre on the Meet Darwin famil in mid-May and then it’s Uluru Showcase in early June, a partnership with our colleagues at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. In mid-August, the staging of the 10-day Darwin Festival provides us with the perfect opportunity to host the Darwin Showcase famil.

We’ll maximise this valuable time with planners to enlighten them about the significant support available via the Northern Territory Business Events Support Fund which provides a minimum AUD$100 per delegate to organisers of qualified meetings, conferences and incentives.

We genuinely believe that our extensive annual suite of famils, and our inclusion of NT major events and festivals, has been a major contributing factor to the NT’s ongoing success in the highly competitive business events marketplace and we look forward to doing so again in 2023. n

Northern Territory Business Events director, Rebecca McCaig, firmly believes in the power of giving planners a first-hand experience through an enriching famil program.
Aerial view of the Parrtjima lights in Alice Springs. Photo credit: Tourism NT, Daniel Tran.
30 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
“We genuinely believe that our extensive annual suite of famils, and our inclusion of NT major events and festivals, has been a major contributing factor to the NT’s ongoing success in the highly competitive business events marketplace.”



Western Sydney Conference Centre: One Destination, Endless Possibilities

For Pullman Sydney Penrith general manager Glen Erickson, the project is not just about enhancing Penrith’s reputation as a favourable destination for business and leisure travellers, but also about creating and exceeding new expectations in product and service delivery.

Opening in time for spring 2023, the Western Sydney Conference Centre (WSCC) is capturing the attention of MICE organisers throughout New South Wales and around the country for a myriad of reasons.

WSCC is set to be a major drawcard for the Western Sydney Region, introducing a new level of sophistication, technology and flexibility to the events industry. In addition to the bespoke conference centre, the project will introduce a new generation of five-star international hotel, specialty restaurants and bars along with a Community Centre to the precinct.

The Western Sydney Conference Centre

When WSCC opens in quarter three of this year, it will bring so much more than just a state-of-the-art conference and events facility – it will present the opportunity to create event legacies for local, national and international visitors, which will in turn leave a positive impact on Penrith’s tourism industry.

In addition to the dynamic 1,250 square metres of flexible floor space with the option of natural light, guests will experience dynamic wireless audio-visual equipment, a seamless flow to beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces and fully flexible catering. The state-of-the-art venue will be able to host seated functions for up to 1,000 people, with dedicated pre-function spaces, bars and amenities, perfect for everything from corporate events to trade shows, seminars, conferences, workshops, gala dinners, exhibitions and more. Most importantly, with its connection to the Pullman Sydney Penrith, WSCC will offer new levels of engagement, authenticity and professionalism in its delivery of service.

Pullman Sydney Penrith

Introducing Penrith’s first international five-star hotel –Pullman Sydney Penrith. Adjoining the WSCC, the hotel will offer business and leisure travellers an unforgettable experience, underpinned by approachable elegance and sophistication:

• 153 generous suites with state-of-the-art guest entertainment, premium amenities and bespoke sleep menu.

• Elite fitness centre with HIIT cardio, functional and strength equipment for all levels.

• Premium restaurants and bars with extensive wine and cocktail lists, showcasing the best of Australia’s local produce with both traditional and innovative techniques.

• Adjacent to popular adventure activities including iFly indoor skydiving, Aqua Golf and water skiing at Cables Wake Park.

The Pullman brand has become recognised around the world for authenticity, generosity and sophistication, and we are very excited to bring a new generation of this premium offering to Penrith in 2023.

Western Sydney Community Centre

The Western Sydney Community Centre will permanently occupy two outstanding local not-for-profit charities that actively meet the needs of our local community. Moving into the WSCC will allow these organisations to facilitate many significant social improvements for the future of Penrith. The second half of the Community Centre will feature flexible spaces which will include training rooms and meeting spaces available to be booked for other not-for-profit organisations operating within Western Sydney.

Why Penrith?

Penrith is uniquely located at the foot of the World Heritagelisted Blue Mountains, less than one hour from the Sydney CBD and within minutes of the soon-to-open Western Sydney International Airport.

Penrith is arguably the adventure capital of New South Wales! The area is packed with activities for delegates to participate in including indoor skydiving, wake boarding, white water rafting and jetpack adventures, to name a few. Furthermore, Penrith has become a food mecca in Western Sydney with an abundance of restaurants and bars attracting people from all over the region. Coupled with a brand-new stadium and $400 million indoor snow resort on the horizon, Penrith truly offers something for everybody. n

32 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat

Te Pae Christchurch: Creating a sustainable legacy

Over the past few years, there has been an increasing focus on sustainability and therefore on sustainable operations in the business events sector.

For our clients, sustainability is a key consideration when choosing a place to host an event – with things like a venue’s waste management policy, purchasing philosophy, packaging and management of electricity and water all being weighed up before a decision is made. They want to know that if a plastic free event, or a carbon neutral event is required, that the venue has the processes and tools in place to ensure this can happen.

As the first of New Zealand’s international standard convention centres, we feel a responsibility to set an example and lead the way in this area, ensuring that our venue, and by association New Zealand, is at the forefront of sustainable management.

We have taken the view that sustainability is like electricity – it just has to be there, which is why we have invested significant time and resources into this area since we began our operational journey in 2019.

As New Zealand’s first new generation convention centre, we have been given a solid starting point, including a 5 Green Star design and state-of-the-art features including an integrated building management system, eWater system and onsite dehydrator, among other initiatives.

But for us, sustainability and sustainable operations go beyond just measuring waste and offsetting carbon emissions. It’s about legacy –what we leave behind for future generations and how we instil values that will ensure we are not

only environmentally sensitive, but leading the way in this area for years to come. It’s why we proactively view decisions and our impact with an environmental lens, why we established a purchase local philosophy and why we have a complementary CSR focus.

That we are supported in these endeavours by our parent company ASM Global gives us the confidence to be ambitious in our goals.

We are fortunate to have a team which is passionate and committed to sustainability. They are always looking for ways to do better and to be better, keeping the business accountable and making sure that we aim high and walk the talk.

It’s with their hard mahi (work) over the past few years that we have achieved and kept Toitū enviromark gold accreditation and achieved a gold sustainable business award from Qualmark. It’s also why Toitū recognised us for exceptional achievement in environmental management at their annual Brighter Future Awards at the end of last year.

The passion and drive of our Te Pae whanau (family) to make a positive difference for our clients and community is why this is only the beginning for us. The award win has reinforced that we are on the right path – our challenge now is to take our lofty goals to the next level. We want to do right by our clients and have a demonstrable positive impact on our local environment and our community.

With sustainability continuing to be an important factor in the sector for the long term, we believe that by innovating, leading by example and encouraging others in our industry to do the same, we will all stand in good stead for the future. n

When it comes to operating a venue sustainability, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre general manager, Ross Steele, says it’s about leading by example and creating a legacy.
34 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
“We want to do right by our clients and have a demonstrable positive impact on our local environment and our community.”
One Destination. Endless Possibilities. World-class conference centre and 5-star Pullman hotel coming to Panthers Precinct in 2023. Now taking bookings. Call or email today on 02 4720 5511 or info@westernsydneyconferencecentre.com.au.

Shaping the future of events

While the landscape of meetings and events has undeniably shifted over the past three years, there is an overwhelming feeling industry-wide, that in-person connection is invaluable. Virtual meetings and events have paved the way for new tech to amp up how we meet, however, face to face meetings and events are still ranking high with organisers and attendees alike.

Where there is adversity, there is triumph

GS: Undoubtably an extremely tough time for everyone, the past few years has shown us that flexibility, transparency and kindness reign supreme across the meetings and events industry. Trust in your sales or events leader, booking processes, payment terms, flexible cancellation policies and innovative solutions for hybrid events are priority, industry wide. A truly human approach speaks volumes.

KB: The pandemic forced people to connect virtually through screens, isolate and look inwards. Now, we see a resurgence of event requests and attendance. People want to meet face to face and feel part of an experience. It’s our role to simply make that experience the best expression of enjoyment possible, through smart tech, personal service and unique event solutions. We must wow our guests and leave them with memories that last a lifetime.

Priorities that shape the future of events

GS: As a new luxury hotel, we see our booked events as an opportunity to showcase what’s possible. We are a blank canvas and partner

with our clients to create event success time and time again. We know that from a sales perspective, time is precious – the first shot is your best shot. Our clients seek swift turnaround of quotes, contracts and event solutions. We know cleanliness is, and always will be, a priority. We foster a belief that the genuine care and comfort for our clients and their guests is our highest mission – this is our priority.

KB: Technology and the ability to push the boundaries with typical event set up and delivery are high priorities from an event staging perspective. Hybrid events will be the norm, and unique interactive moments of engagement between speakers and their audience will also shape future events. Quality over quantity will also be key – here, we feel our service values shared through our heightened service ratios, inherently local food and beverage offerings, and commitment to the wellbeing of our team and our guests will allow us to achieve event success with our clients.

Emerging trends worth exploring

GS: There is a growing focus, and rightly so, on event sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Planners and clients want to know of property’s sustainability practices. Mindfulness and wellness are becoming essential components of any event or conference, too, which make events more than just business.

KB: Technology will continue to shape the future of events. While it was many, many years ago, I’ll never forget the time a client engaged an AV company to create a hologram of Keith Urban at their event – and we’ve come leaps and bounds from there! n

“…flexibility, transparency and kindness reign supreme across the meetings and events industry.”
Geeta Seneviratne
Kate Bull
Director of sales, Geeta Seneviratne and director of events, Kate Bull at Melbourne’s newest luxury hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne share their insights on what’s on the horizon for our industry.
The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne.
36 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat


Connect with colleagues in the natural place to meet and make genuine connections to nature and each other.


The art of creating a true event experience

Sydney based, industry leading styling and furniture hire companies, Divine Events and Decor of Distinction, have merged to become D PLUS D Events, consolidating their talent, infrastructure and relationships to create ‘Event Experiences’. Head of marketing, Nicole Alvares, shares how an event should immerse its guests in a rich and vibrant sensory experience.

Today, guests expect more from an event –much more! Gone are the days where one said “I’m having a Gatsby themed event,” and all that meant was guests chose between a fedora and a flapper dress and expected a 1920s playlist and table centrepieces. Events are no longer just filling a space with themed furniture either.

Event styling is a flair in which we take our clients’ vision and translate it into design.

Events have evolved to be immersive and must be ‘styled with purpose’. They are a story and we respect the details. Styling with purpose means not only ensuring that our clients stand out from the crowd, but that their most crucial messaging is clear, memorable, and authentic.

The collaboration between our two companies has come at a time of rediscovered demand for human connection. The result is an extraordinary event that connects guests, people, and places in an emotionally charged experience.

Our unique, complimentary styling services and influences have permeated our brand and set us apart. Whether it be a corporate event, social gathering or wedding, we pride ourselves on our ability to create seamless experiences that become custom-tailored to your vision, coupled with an ever-evolving range of designer furniture hire to suit any theme, texture, trend, season, or colour palette you require. The industry certainly felt the void of an all-inclusive service provider and supplier and we have every intention to fill that gap.

The difference between a great event and a truly memorable one is the attention to detail and an experienced team behind it.

The conceptualisation of an event must be so much more than just a venue, furniture, flowers, and entertainment. The ability to operate on the cutting edge of creativity and yet remain true to your brand, while accounting for all the necessary standards, is key in producing a truly unique and engaging experience.

Earlier this year, a key client within the real-estate industry created a multi-sensory experience for its guests. A full-scale orchestral production of alternative dance and electronic anthems with an accompanying laser and light show with a dramatic drape drop reveal was the highlight. The diamond theme carried through on the immersive on-screen visuals; diamondshaped stage; tables set in a chevron shape with angled aisles; and LED tubes on kinetic motors on a chevron path in the airspace with over 800 staff who celebrated in a soiree like no other! We also work hand-in-hand with stylists and production companies for already conceptualised events for their clients to provide theming product, florals and furniture. We have worked in alliance with our suppliers and designed nightclub sets, festival atmospheres, arcade gaming sites, UV paint stations, ball pits, giant inflatables, and the list goes on. There is truly no limit to creativity in events especially when our clients trust us with full creative freedom to collaborate!

Event styling is no longer just about the pretty – it’s about the art of creating an experience. In 2023, event concepts will transcend all creative barriers and we cannot wait to be a part of it and be thought leaders within the industry we are so incredibly proud to be a part of! n

“The difference between a great event and a truly memorable one is the attention to detail and an experienced team behind it.”
38 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Photo credit: Creative Events Photography.



Centrally located only a short distance from Melbourne’s CBD, with onsite parking and convenient access to public transport, Victoria Pavilion is perfect for all types of events, from conferences and gala dinners through to award presentations and cocktail parties.


Architecturally-designed, featuring a spectacular purpose-built atrium with floor to ceiling windows and complete with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, Victoria Pavilion is an event organiser’s dream, offering an unprecedented flexible floorplan and a blank canvas –a timeless, neutral colour palette to bring your vision to life.

Let us help turn your ideas into a spectacular reality. Contact us at:

+61 3 9281 7444 | info@melbourneshowgrounds.com | melbourneshowgrounds.com

High flying events at two incredible venues

Journey Beyond operations manager Lara Leigh highlights two of the brand’s leading events spaces for stylish events brought to life in two iconic cities.

At Journey Beyond, we believe the best of life’s experiences are shared. We bring Australia’s unique and iconic experiences to life – from voyages across oceans to expeditions into our very centre. Our aim is to take our guests beyond, to ignite their imagination and transform amazing into breathtaking. An event with Journey Beyond is sure to be one your guests will not forget, for all the right reasons.

Corporate events on another level at Eureka 89

In a city that thrives on food, wine, culture and sport, where better to experience it all than Eureka 89 – the Southern Hemisphere’s highest event space, perched on the bank of Melbourne’s Yarra River.

Towering 300 metres above sea level, guests can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of magical Melbourne, from the MCG and Rod Laver Arena to Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, Port Phillip Bay and the Dandenong Ranges.

With its spectacular function spaces, Eureka 89 specialises in exceptional corporate events.

The Northern Point Room is the larger of the two event spaces, accommodating up to 250 guests for a cocktail-style event or 120 for seated events, with floor-to-ceiling windows that highlight the incredible views.

The Southern Point Room is more intimate, featuring a custom-designed showpiece bar and a stunning hand-cut glass chandelier. This room accommodates up to 110 guests standing or 40 seated.

Alternatively, both the Northern Point and Southern Point Rooms can be joined for larger

cocktail parties with space for up to 400 guests, providing an exclusive and unique event space. With high-quality, customisable food and beverage options and one-on-one assistance with planning and logistics from our expert event managers, whatever style of event you dream of hosting, it is sure to be memorable at Eureka 89.

Events on the world-famous harbour with Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney

Whether you are celebrating with family and friends or entertaining clients, cruising past Sydney’s iconic landmarks on our luxuriously appointed 78-foot luxury cruiser, Spirit of Migloo, will shape lasting memories. Spaciously designed, this stunning vessel features three expansive decks, two separate interior spaces, and an outdoor bow and rooftop sundeck from which to experience the spectacular harbour views Sydney is famous for. It’s not just about the harbour, either – we concentrate on the little things, and that’s what makes a big difference. Working with premium suppliers, our menus focus on local, seasonal New South Wales produce, and include wines from New South Wales’ most prestigious wine regions.

Our experienced events team works closely with clients to create bespoke cruises to impress the most discerning guests.

Spirit of Migloo is available for exclusive charter for up to 120 guests, or alternatively, you can hire the main deck or upper deck and join a scheduled cruise on your own exclusive, fully equipped deck.

An event onboard Spirit of Migloo is the most stylish way to experience one of the world’s most iconic destinations. n

“We concentrate on the little things, and that’s what makes a big difference.”
40 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Melbourne Skydeck Eureka Tower

Five ways to get the most out of your AV supplier

With more than 25 years’ experience in the audio-visual industry, AVisual Productions director Bradley Byrne reveals his expert tips on getting the best AV service possible.

Over the past 15 years, Avisual Productions has worked with a vast array of clients and discovered some key factors that have helped us provide the best service possible. Whilst the nature of events always throws us curveballs, these few preparations will better position your AV partner to exceed your expectations.

1 Contact us early

It may be that you are still finalising a concept, or even still pitching for an event, but contacting us as early as possible gives us a more holistic view of your event and desired outcomes whilst also being able to allocate the tech most specialised in your requirements. We’re happy to work our tails off to help you win the business –it’s a win-win for everyone!

2 Let us help you plan contingencies

The event must proceed with a certain speaker? Let us help you plan for a worst-case scenario. That way, if a presenter gets COVID, or is stranded interstate, we can make things happen as simply as “Activate plan B!”. You then know how this may impact your budget, your bump-in schedule and program as a whole. And fingers crossed, we never need it!

3 Have an expert in your corner

Most hotels and venues have an in-house AV provider these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone you trust double-check

things and ensure the appropriate spec is going to achieve your desired outcomes. You don’t need to know what every piece of equipment on the quote does, that’s what we are here for! We’ll work with the in-house suppliers and ensure together we are providing the best requirements both technically and efficiently, in line with your budgets. We partner with many clients that may use other suppliers for various reasons, but ask us to have their regular technical director, or just to consult on the design process. The consistency of the same technical director and account manager means they understand your business, they maintain your standards and can maximise the engagement at every step.


Leverage our networks

Event managers are the most connected people on the planet but let us ease some of your pressure. We travel around Australia seeing some weird and wonderful venues, working with obscure concepts and clients and if there is something niche you are looking for, we’re always happy to assist in making it happen.

5 Expand the lifespan of your event

Have a camera booked in for a live stream or even just IMAG? Utilise that footage to expand your event into the future. Ensure you are using an AV partner that can also provide you with a full video edit as this helps you increase the engagement of the event and reach a larger audience. n

“We’re happy to work our tails off to help you win the business –it’s a win-win for everyone!”
42 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat

Melbourne Showgrounds: A rich history and a bright future

As Melbourne’s largest and most versatile venue, the Showgrounds has seen a variation of industry events from trade shows, exhibitions, expos, festivals and much more. Some of the most notable include Oz Comic-Con Melbourne Xmas Edition, Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, National 4x4 Outdoors Show, MotorEx, Supanova, Meatstock, and of course, Melbourne Royal’s largest annual event – the much-loved Melbourne Royal Show – the organisation responsible for the overall management of Melbourne Showgrounds.

So, let’s rewind back to 1855. The Port Phillip Farmers Society was granted the first piece of land in Parkville, Victoria; this is where the Showgrounds was ultimately birthed. In 1871, the Showgrounds was moved to its new location on St Kilda Road, when in 1882 the State Government would eventually provide a 30-acre land parcel at the current site in Ascot Vale, where the Showgrounds has since remained.

Moving into present day, Melbourne Showgrounds has continued to host a number of historical events such as the Melbourne Royal Show, which was remarkably first held in 1848. It has proven to be one of the most ideal venues for MICE and is bound to impress company stakeholders – whatever the occasion is.

Although the Showgrounds has adapted and evolved over the years, it still manages to possess a timeless essence in whatever it does.

Victoria Pavilion

Over the years, the Showgrounds has hosted large-scale industry and community events, with

its most recent venue addition being Victoria Pavilion – a premium event space with the capability to host up to 2,000 guests.

Victoria Pavilion has been designed to provide companies with a blank canvas space and give organisers full reign in whatever event they dare to dream. It provides smaller-scale events the opportunity to host in one of Victoria’s most prestigious and historical venue locations, with access to state-of-the-art technology and outstanding service to bring their dream to life.

Connected to the 10,000-square-metre Exhibition Pavilion by an internal walkway, Victoria Pavilion is the ideal space for conferences or entertaining in conjunction with large scale trade shows and exhibitions. With the option to use other nearby buildings for breakout spaces, flexibility is never a concern.

“Melbourne Showgrounds is synonymous with happy memories and experiences. At Melbourne Royal, we dub ourselves the ‘cultivators of happiness’ and this is at the heart of everything we do,” Melbourne Royal executive general manager, event experience and commercial, Hannah von Bibra says.

“We’re here to cultivate events that honour the rich history of the Melbourne Royal, celebrating our agricultural roots through the Melbourne Royal Show, championing the Melbourne food and wine industry with our prestigious Food and Beverage Awards Program, and strengthening communities.

“We want to be globally recognised and highly valued for presenting premier events, activating and delivering vibrant event spaces, all whilst showcasing incredible Victorian food and beverage, produce and producers.” n

Over the last 140 years, Ascot Vale’s Melbourne Showgrounds has been the home to some of the most iconic events in Victorian history, and nothing’s stopping its momentum in 2023.
“Although the Showgrounds has adapted and evolved over the years, it still manages to possess a timeless essence in whatever it does.”
44 Spice Autumn 2023 Hot Seat
Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds.


Cruises • Private Charters • Events

Cruise beautiful Sydney Harbour on an exclusive, 78ft luxury cruiser with an all-inclusive, locally sourced menu and regional wines. Enjoy uninterrupted 360-degree harbour views aboard Cruise Sydney, a stylish way to experience one of the world’s most iconic destinations.

Sensational spas

There’s nothing better than the opportunity to unwind and reset, and a day at the spa is an incentive no one would want to pass up.

46 Spice Autumn 2023 Spas
Alba Thermal Springs and Spa.

Alba Thermal Springs and Spa

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne city, the recently opened Alba Thermal Springs and Spa on the Mornington Peninsula is the ultimate day spa destination. Nestled withing a beautifully landscaped 15-hectare property, the geothermal pools are the main highlight here, offering a range of contemporary indoor, open-air and outdoor bathing experiences. Alongside these pools of varying sizes and temperatures, there are 22 single and double treatment studios where you can enjoy everything from half-day rituals to luxurious full-day self-care packages and a range of other treatments and facilities including hydro-thermal therapies, hammam and Vichy shower. Complimenting the experience is Thyme, the spa’s 120-seat restaurant helmed by renowned chef and author Karen Martini and showcasing the best locally-sourced, seasonal produce. Alba welcomes corporate groups of 10 to 200 guests with half-day and full-day packages available, with a range of wellness experiences that help boost the immune system and promote a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing.

Chuan Spa


For a deeply relaxing experience in the heart of the city, Chuan Spa at The Langham, Melbourne provides the perfect respite for busy lives with its award-winning traditional Chinese medicine approach. Based on the holistic Five Elements theory – which works to make you feel connected and rejuvenated through the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water – the highlight of the experience is the tri-bathing ritual which involves a zero-edge jacuzzi, dry sauna, colour therapy snail shower and steam room. There are eight treatment rooms with three spa lounges and relaxation areas for in-between sessions. The space comfortably accommodates up to 13 guests at once and larger groups can take advantage of the treatments available over several sessions. The spa can also work with you to arrange additional luxuries such as sparkling beverages, desserts, platters and take-home gifts.

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Vibrant and stylish just like the hotel in which it resides, W Brisbane’s AWAY Spa boasts world-class facilities, premium products and an extensive list of treatments that will leave you glowing from the inside out. Signature services include crystal and oil therapies using renowned Sodashi products with a range of deep and therapeutic massages, including a traditional lymphatic massage as well as a novel “Rub and Roll” massage technique that utilises a combination of hands and bamboo sticks to improve joint flexibility while relaxing the body. Full-day packages, including lunch, are available, as well as shorter, more targeted packages, including one designed specifically for men. Start your AWAY Spa journey in one of the his and hers steam and sauna rooms followed by a soothing soak in the mineral-rich vitality pools to prep your skin for getting the full benefits of the treatment. Afterwards, float on down to the relaxation pods and bliss out with a curated music playlist and beverage while soaking up the views of Brisbane River.

Heavenly Spa by Westin

The Westin Brisbane offers a tranquil haven for weary guests to completely unplug and unwind in its aptly named Heavenly Spa. Here, the spa experience is centred around engaging the five physical senses as well as the psychological senses of emotion and meaning, with the goal to leave you feeling replenished in body, mind and soul. The full-day package treats delegates to a top-to-toe sensory journey that starts with a hydrotherapy bath and ocean salt peeling scrub, includes a light lunch hand-picked from a chef-designed Eat Well Menu, and concludes with a massage, facial and pedicure. For an incredibly luxurious treatment, opt for the spa’s renowned Precious Collections Facial which features an infusion of three precious metals; rose gold, gold and platinum and naturally rich oils which are massaged into the skin, leaving it re-energised and radiant. With five treatment rooms, including two couples’ rooms, this is an ideal opportunity to treat hard-working corporates to something truly special.

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WE’LL TAKE CARE OF YOUR WELL-BEING WHILE YOU TAKE CARE OF WORK CONFERENCES • EVENTS • RETREATS Boutique accommodation & meeting venue on Victoria’s beautiful Surf Coast Scan QR code to explore our venue or visit www.greatoceanroadresort.com.au


Sofitel Spa

Adding a luxury day spa to its five-star amenities was on the agenda for Sofitel Sydney Darling for quite some time and it has been worth the wait. Spanning two floors with floor-to-ceiling windows taking in spectacular harbour views, Sofitel Spa is decked out in soft blonde timbers with sandstone and marble finishes throughout for an inviting and calm space. Featuring seven spacious treatment rooms, including two suites, the spa offers a multi-layered wellness experience through specialised treatments that align with the seasons. The suite of services includes massages, facials body wraps, exfoliations, cosmetic treatments by luxury French beauty brand, Biologique Recherche, and aromatherapy rituals from Australian brand Waterlily. Guests can also enjoy the infrared sauna, relaxation deck and meditation zone, with full or half-day wellness journeys and corporate buy-outs also available.

Crown Spa Perth

Delivering an uber-luxe spa experience in opulent surrounds, Crown Spa Perth takes its inspiration from the crystal-clear beauty and cleansing power of water. Taking a holistic approach to wellness, treatments range from one to three hours and include everything from meditation and marma massage to facials using luxury Swiss La Prairie products and full body exfoliation and detoxifying wraps. The Aqua Retreat area offers separate male and female wet areas including an aroma steam room, Roman hot tub, sauna, vitality pool, rain shower and secluded relaxation area. Guests can select their own enhancements to create bespoke experiences that best suit their needs and will be in good hands with the highly skilled team of therapists who combine their expertise in marma and chakra balancing techniques to leave you feeling brand new.

Photo credit: Anna Kucera.
50 Spice Autumn 2023

Book Now to Meet in Luxury this Winter

1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank, VIC 3006 Aust ralia T (61) 3 8696 8888 F (61) 3 9690 5889 langhamhotels.com/melbourne
Host your event at The Langham, Melbourne and receive 5% credit towards your next event and three additional privileges to choose from.
contact tlmel.takethelead@langhamhotels.com for further information and bookings. #LovingLangham #CelebrateTheEveryday

Find your balance in Brisbane

With a robust year of events and incentives well and truly upon us, wellness, comfort, indulgence and style top the agenda when it comes to delegate experience. Well thought out events that prioritise delegate wellbeing whilst delivering the wow factor are the ones that will stand out for all the right reasons. Striking the right balance starts with where your groups are hosted, and Marriott’s four Brisbane properties – W Brisbane, The Westin Brisbane, Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane, and Brisbane Marriott Hotel – have got it down to a fine art.

Business meets pleasure

As the first brand-new 5-star hotel to open in Brisbane in the past 20 years, W Brisbane has become a firm trendsetter, setting the bar high as a prime destination for modern and chic events.

Known for its vibrant and fun-loving style, the hotel knows how to mix business with pleasure and lives by its modus operandi of “Whatever, Whenever”, allowing guests to have whatever they want, whenever they want it – within reason, of course! From organising fireworks on the Brisbane River to curating company themed cocktails, imagination and a little creativity go a long way

at W, especially when there’s collaboration with cool friends involved. W Brisbane’s passion for art, culture and cocktails have led to some impressive partnerships, including with number one bar in the world Paradiso in Barcelona, which now features its famous award-winning cocktails at W’s Living Room Bar, a lively space made for mixing and mingling.

Living Room Bar is also home to the ‘Eat Your Art Out’ high tea, born from W’s partnership with QAGOMA, which includes tasty art-themed morsels like paint your own panna cottas, an experience that is sure to sweeten up your delegates and get their creative juices flowing.

To balance out the sweets and cocktails, W Brisbane participates in Marriott Bonvoy’s CONVERGE program. Created in partnership with renowned psychologist and author Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, the program is based on the principles of positive psychology and Marriott’s eight pillars of mindfulness, such as sleep, nutrition, kindness and gratitude. W Brisbane has incorporated the program into a suite of experiences for MICE guests that range from specially designed team-building activities and outdoor breakouts to healthy menus and gratitude cards to promote mental and physical wellbeing during busy conferences and events.

As conferences, events and incentives continue to ramp up, Marriott’s four Brisbane properties are elevating the city’s MICE offering to new heights, writes Lana Bogunovich
52 Spice Autumn 2023 Destinations
Above: WET Deck at W Brisbane.

W Brisbane has a dedicated conference and events floor offering more than 1,100 square metres of dynamic event space, including eight meeting rooms and world-class AV facilities. All spaces on this floor have access to the outdoor wraparound terrace overlooking Brisbane River. Its largest space is The Great Room (400 pax) which features state-ofthe-art tech, including a huge LED screen, and can be split into three separate spaces.

The WET Deck with pool and rooftop bar makes for a highly versatile space, ideal for hosting cocktail functions for up to 200. It leads out to the SUN Deck which offers a huge amount of outdoor space for everything from barbecues and festivals to launches and activations, hosting up to 600 depending on the style of event.

A great hotel for incentives and buyouts, W Brisbane offers a resort experience right in the CBD, with 312 guestrooms and suites overlooking the Brisbane River alongside a host of excellent facilities including the popular rooftop oasis, FIT Gym, AWAY Spa and renowned Blue Ducks restaurant.

Laidback luxury

Conveniently located right in the heart of the city, The Westin Brisbane and Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane complex spoils for choice with an array of out-of-the-ordinary event spaces, such as The Westin’s resort-style pool deck, Nautilus. It boasts the only swim-up bar in the city and gives event planners the opportunity to create their event around the hotel’s various themed pop-up concepts that bring international destinations to Brisbane, providing a distinct event experience. The Westin offers 930 square metres of flexible event space, complete with natural light and the latest technology. The largest indoor event space is the Westin Ballroom which can host up to 450 seated or 500 standing or be divided into two separate spaces. It also features a spacious pre-function area and easy street access with its own dedicated elevator.

For smaller meetings and events, the Chairman’s Lounge is an intimate speakeasy bar style venue offering a private space for 30 seated or 40 standing and comes complete with a fully stocked bar and views overlooking the city and pool deck. ›

Marriott Brisbane. Living Room Bar at W Brisbane. Level 30 rooftop venue at Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane.
spicenews.com.au 53
“A great hotel for incentives and buyouts, W Brisbane offers a resort experience right in the CBD”

At Four Points, the rooftop venue on Level 30 offers a flexible space that allows event planners to create an exclusive event for up to 150 guests, complete with city and river views, while leveraging The Westin’s luxury facilities and food and beverage offering. Planners can also have one seamless chargeback across the two hotels, no matter what hotel they are staying in or meeting at, which makes the complex an easy and appealing choice for MICE groups that want to conference in one hotel and play in the other.

After reopening in 2022 following a refurbishment and brief hiatus during the pandemic, The Westin Brisbane has wasted no time in re-establishing itself as a premier MICE destination. Laid back and sophisticated in style, the five-star hotel offers groups an urban oasis with a big focus on incorporating wellness into business events, ensuring delegates are well rested and well-nourished to tackle whatever the day may throw at them.

Designed to get attendees moving and focused, meetings and event programs can include a range of wellness offerings such as an Eat Well Menu of focus-enhancing foods and activities like pre-event runs, boot camps, stretch exercises, poolside yoga and a pamper session at Heavenly Spa – a major highlight of the hotel.

Guests will also love the newly opened Settimo by Guy Grossi Italian restaurant and the generously appointed Highlight Renewal Suites with balconies, separate sleeping and lounge areas, spacious bathrooms and Club Lounge access.

Classic conferencing

It’s difficult to look past Brisbane Marriott Hotel for classic comfort and style, both for incentive groups and conference buyouts. With its ornate marble tiles, gold-framed elevator and cascading chandelier greeting guests in the lobby, the hotel truly sets the tone for a grand experience.

Perched alongside the Brisbane River, Brisbane Marriott is one of the best-located hotels in the city and easily enables event organisers to plan a fully

tailored experience for any group. There are two entry points, with Howard Street providing ample space for coach bus drop-offs and easy access to the vibrant Howard Smith Wharves precinct, just a short stroll along the riverfront.

The hotel’s sophisticated and versatile spaces include nine meetings and event spaces and eight breakout spaces, with the Grand Ballroom accommodating up to 250 people in a stunning space filled with natural light and views out to the river. There are also VIP-style conference rooms to facilitate roundtable and executive meetings, and all spaces feature a full suite of AV capabilities, including LCD panels and videoconferencing equipment. This is all backed by a full catering service, provided by the hotel’s stand-out food and beverage options.

Accommodation options include 263 wellappointed guestrooms and four suites, all featuring marble bathrooms and sprawling views of Brisbane River and Story Bridge or the city skyline. On-site you’ll also find an undercover outdoor pool and terrace, fitness centre, Executive Lounge on Level 26 and Motion Dining restaurant and M Bar on the ground floor. n

Top left: Westin Ballroom. Top right: Club Westin Renewal Suite Lounge Room.
54 Spice Autumn 2023
Below: Nautilus Pool at The Westin Brisbane.
BUSINESS EVENTS BRISBANE choosebrisbane.com.au

Breakaway into the Blue Mountains

Ditch the big city smoke and take your delegates to the fresh air of the Blue Mountains. From the warmest hospitality to a variety of extraordinary venues and accommodations amidst breathtaking surrounds, this World-Heritage listed destination has loads to offer, and all within an easy 90-minute drive from Sydney.


Palais Royale

Katoomba’s historic Palais Royale oozes old world charm at every turn, evoking a sense of sweet nostalgia with welcoming hospitality and cosy interiors. This heritage-listed boutique hotel offers 40 guestrooms, homely lounge areas, sauna, café, and the newly reopened Gazelles Restaurant. The spacious 140-seat dining room has retained much of its original character and serves up FrenchEuropean cuisine that heroes the fresh produce of the region. With its ornate ceilings and chandeliers, the Grand Ballroom makes for a show-stopping venue and can be configured to your requirements, hosting up to 80 banquet and 150 cocktail with a dedicated conference coordinator to help with everything from tailored menus to team building.

Hotel Mountain Heritage

Set amongst manicured gardens with spectacular views across Jamison Valley, Hotel Mountain Heritage provides a peaceful retreat just minutes from Katoomba and Leura town centres. Ideal for small- to medium-sized events of up to 200, the property has five well-appointed spaces for meetings and conferences. Part of the original property, which is believed to date back to 1908, the turret-shaped Tower Room (30 pax) is one of the hotel’s most historic meeting spaces, while the pillarless Main Conference Room (210 pax) has its own bar, cloakroom, bathrooms, plenty of natural light and windows that open to fresh mountain air. Full buyout is also available, with 41 rooms, suites and villas (several with fireplaces and balconies), outdoor pool, restaurant and bar, day spa, on-site parking with electric car charging stations, and a nearby outdoor training centre for team building activities.


Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens

Host an event in the highest botanic garden in the southern hemisphere - the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah. As well as its impressive showcase of cool climate plants and alpine rainforest, the Garden is great for corporate day trips and team activities. Ideally suited to small conferences, workshops and training days, the Waratah Room can accommodate up to 35 and has a kitchenette, private bathroom, screen and projector, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gardens. With onsite barbecue and picnic facilities, you can treat the team to a barbecue lunch or host a cocktail soiree in one of the many beautiful open spaces.

Scenic Spaces at Scenic World

While it’s best known for its thrilling rides, Scenic World also boasts a number of aptly named Scenic Spaces for memorable events set against the backdrop of Blue Mountains National Park. Offering uninterrupted views of the famous Three Sisters, The

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains. Photo credit: Destination NSW. Palais Royale.
56 Spice Autumn 2023 Destination
Stunning in every season, the destination has it all for business events that are as refreshing as the air itself, Lana Bogunovich finds out.

Restaurant, with its own private balcony, is perfect for gala dinners for up to 200 guests, or for more informal events, there’s indoor/ outdoor space, The Terrace. Give your guests a thrill by having them arrive via the Cableway or Railway to the Rainforest Room – a unique undercover outdoor space nestled within the rainforest – or, treat them to a happy hour they’ll never forget with sunset cocktails onboard the Scenic Skyway, 270 metres above ground.


Kyah Hotel

What was once a 1970s motel, Kyah Hotel has been carefully refurbished to strike the perfect balance of old school nostalgia and modern sophistication. Located in Blackheath, Kyah offers 46 well-appointed rooms, including one- and two-bedroom suites, and can be booked out exclusively. Delegates will love the onsite tennis court, woodfired hot tub, sauna, e-bikes, and Blaq restaurant which can host private dining (160 pax) and cocktail events (250 pax).

Flexible meeting spaces include The Brightlands room and The Evans room, which are separated by a moveable wall partition so the two can be combined to host 120 seated or 140 standing. Natural light, brand new AV capabilities, kitchen facilities, breakout zones and tailored menus make events here a breeze.


Katoomba Christian Convention

The vast amount of outdoor space and variety of venue and accommodation options at Katoomba Christian Convention (KCC) make it ideal for large scale events and conferences. It boasts the largest event space in the region, with an auditorium and outdoor plaza that ›


First point of contact

Blue Mountains Tourism, visitbluemountains.com.au


Rob Spitz at Blue Mountains

Limousines, bmlimo.com.au


Fantastic Aussie Tours, fantastic-aussie-tours.com.au

Event planner

Agnes Zalan at Blue Mountains

Events & Conferences, bmconferences.com.au

Katoomba Christian Convention.
spicenews.com.au 57

can host up to 2,000 people. There’s also a huge oval for easy car and coach bus parking and 25 acres of bushland for outdoor team activities like camping and archery. Accommodations include private cabins, dorm-style rooms, and self-contained lodges with kitchen and bathroom facilities, shared lounge and dining areas, and meeting spaces. Catering can also be provided, or you can provide your own with commercial kitchens on-site. KCC is highly flexible in hosting just about any type of event, however, there are alcohol policies in place, so run this by their events team first.

MODERN AND UPSCALE Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains

The multi award-winning Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, an MGallery by Sofitel property, has all the state-of-the-art capabilities to make your event exceptional. Whether you’re hosting a glitzy gala dinner, intimate cocktail event, or company-wide conference, there’s a space for it. There are 23 flexible spaces, including 12 naturally lit meeting rooms overlooking the bushland, a 128-tiered-seating auditorium, pillarless Grand Ballroom for up to 850 cocktail, and sprawling outdoor areas for alfresco events and marquee dinners. An excellent option for full resort buyouts, the property offers upscale accommodations, a luxurious day spa, a variety of dining options including multi-course fine dining, excellent leisure facilities including a new ice-skating rink, speakeasy bar and much more, offering endless opportunities for teams to connect.


Renowned for its stunning collection of distinguished properties, Escarpment Group has four properties in the Blue Mountains, each one unique in its own right.

Steeped in history, the iconic Hydro Majestic brings the glamour to any event. There are six versatile meeting room spaces, all with excellent facilities, natural light and sprawling views, while the function venues can host anything from cocktails in The Casino Lobby to galas in The Majestic Ballroom, a magnificent domed ballroom with open fireplace and courtyard garden.

Ideal for corporate retreats, Lillianfels Resort and Spa is an awardwinning 5-star luxury resort with four function spaces for up to 120 guests and additional outdoor spaces for special events. With a luxury day spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and exquisite dining, it’s the ultimate incentive destination.

Just next door, Echoes Hotel and Restaurant offers an additional 14 rooms and suites and fine dining restaurant with sweeping views.

In Blackheath, Parklands’ spacious Garden Suites and Loft Rooms are the epitome of comfortable luxury with fireplaces, plush furnishings and generously sized bathrooms, providing a tranquil retreat. n

Blue Mountains Stargazing

Embark on a captivating 90-min guided stargazing experience and learn about the wonders of night sky. This rewarding and aweinspiring team bonding experience is led by an astrophysicist and can host groups of up to 10. Add a wine tasting to make it extra special.

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Located in Katoomba, the Centre encompasses the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery, Katoomba Library and Into the Blue – a fascinating interactive exhibition that explores the history and natural landscape of the region. You can also host an event here and take in the panorama from the viewing platform.

Megalong Creek Estate

Whisk away the team for an afternoon of wine tasting in the spectacular surrounds of Megalong Valley. Overlooking sprawling valley views this boutique vineyard specialises in ‘single vineyard’ wines including viognier, pinot grigio, pinot and shiraz.

Garden suite at Parklands.
58 Spice Autumn 2023 Destination
Photo credit: Scott Chapman.


Just 90 minutes from the CBD, Hotel Mountain Heritage is a quality conference and function centre offering convenience and personalised service.

Well-appointed function rooms are just the beginning, with the ability to cater for up to 200 guests for events and 400 for conferencing. Our onsite accommodation and exceptional food and beverage packages inspire your team to get down to business.

Combining breathtaking views and award-winning facilities in the heart of the Blue Mountains, we pride ourselves on being distinctively different.

Whether it’s conferencing, training, team building, product launch or strategy retreat, let us take care of the details so you can focus on achieving your goals.

Set off for Singapore

So much more than just a stopover, Singapore is brimming with activities, experiences and venues that reimagine the possibilities for MICE groups.

60 Spice Autumn 2023 Destinations
Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

Go for a spin with Singapore Sidecars

Experience the sights and sounds of Singapore as you zoom through bustling streets and down colourful alleyways in a hand-restored vintage Vespa sidecar. There’s a range of customisable tours to suit various interests, from art and nightlife to heritage and highlights, taking in some of Singapore’s most charming neighbourhoods, like Kampong Glam. With up to 40 participants per session, this exciting MICE activity can be arranged as a vintage convoy to transport your delegates to their next event.

Take flight with SkyHelix Sentosa

Strap yourself in and get ready for the ride of your life in the SkyHelix Sentosa - Singapore's highest open-air panoramic ride. The helix-shaped gondola gently rotates as it ascends 35 metres above ground, affording spectacular 360-degree views across Sentosa to the Keppel Bay area and beyond. Accommodating 16 pax per ride, plus guide, it makes for a fun group activity with a bar in the middle offering drinks. Make sure your phone is fully charged for plenty of selfie and photo ops but be careful not to drop it!

Dine at Michelin-starred Candlenut

With its melting pot of cultures, Singapore spoils for choice with a smorgasbord of flavours and cuisines. A must-try is Peranakan food, a fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian ingredients and cooking methods, and one of the best places to try it is Candlenut.

Helmed by renowned Singapore chef Malcolm Lee, Candlenut is the first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, famous for its refined take on the traditional cuisine. Expect vibrant, flavoursome dishes that are led by seasonal ingredients and served family-style, ideal for sharing among groups with both a-lacarte and set menus available. Private dining can be arranged for up to eight, or larger groups can be accommodated in the main restaurant.

Check in and check out at Capella

Located in the heart of Sentosa Island, Capella Singapore offers an ideal corporate retreat with 112 luxuriously appointed rooms, suites and villas set amongst 30 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Onsite facilities include Auriga Spa which has nine treatment rooms alongside separate male and female spa areas with vitality pool, herbal steam room and ice fountain, and a range of dining options, including the exquisite Italian restaurant, Fiamma. Meetings and events are well accommodated with state-of-the-art capabilities and elegant spaces such as the Grand Ballroom – a stunning circular space boasting Singapore’s largest curved LED wall at 81 square metres and a glass dome that allows natural light to shine through a hanging glass sculpture.

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Play Tour spicenews.com.au 61 Destinations

Enchant your delegates at Gardens by the Bay Alongside its spectacular themed floral gardens, cascading waterfalls and towering Supertrees, Singapore’s world-famous Gardens by the Bay makes for a truly enchanting event setting with a selection of indoor and outdoor spaces. Set within the Flower Dome, Flower Field Hall is a 1,200-square-metre space for up to 1,100, which features a ceiling of specially programmed coloured LED lights that create a magical atmosphere. You can also elevate your event experience in every sense of the word by hosting a champagne reception atop OCBC Skyway – an aerial walkway arching 22 metres above ground and across Supertree Grove which comes to life in an exclusive light-and-sound show.

Stay in style Shangri-La Singapore

With its convenient city location, lush resort-style gardens and three distinct wings offering a variety of accommodation, wining and dining, and event venue options, Shangri-La Singapore ticks all the boxes for MICE. The five-star hotel’s premium conference facilities can cater to just about any size and style of event with a huge variety of indoor and outdoor spaces, whether it’s a meeting for 10 within a charming colonial-style meeting room, an alfresco cocktail function for 50 or a banquet for 1,000 in the pillarless Island Ballroom. The Tower Wing’s contemporary guestrooms and suites will make delegates feel right at home with king-sized beds, spacious marble bathrooms and full-sized writing desks.

Indulge in the Museum of Ice Cream

Embrace your inner child as you explore and play in this pink wonderland dedicated to all things ice cream! Featuring 14 multi-sensory installations, including a sprinkles pool, Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) takes on you on a sweet journey where you can sample a variety of ice cream styles and flavours while learning about the dessert’s history and other quirky facts. If you’re looking for a playful, out-of-theordinary event space or team bonding experience, MOIC offers full venue buyouts and event programs that can be customised with catering, live performances and activities that are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Wow your delegates at The St. Regis Singapore

Oozing luxury at every turn, The St. Regis Singapore features 299 elegant rooms and suites, premium facilities and opulent interiors where every original piece of art and designer décor has been precisely selected. The MICE offerings are just as luxe, boasting exquisite spaces with opulent touches like hand-cut crystal chandeliers and lush fittings. There are seven flexible rooms and spaces for up to 600 guests, with a dedicated business centre and ‘St. Regis event butlers’ to facilitate a seamless experience. One of the most exclusive spaces is Caroline’s Mansion (pictured), which is inspired by the founding matriarch of the St. Regis brand.

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Play Event 62 Spice Autumn 2023
Photo credit: Martin Haughey.
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098297 | +65 6377 8888 | www.capellahotels.com/singapore

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