As the Gold Coast counts down the months until the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the city is coming together to help attract even more business, in particular from the conference and events market. To showcase what the Gold Coast has to offer, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) recently hosted a group of PCOs on a famil that promised adventure, great food, and local experiences.
The famil kicked off with a stay at Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, where delegates were welcomed with an outdoor shared lunch, before boarding the light rail to the Q1. Here the group headed to level 77 for the SkyPoint Climb, to take in some of the best (albeit nerve-wracking) views the Gold Coast has to offer 270m above the ground. SkyPoint offers this experience to groups and also features a private event space on level 78 that can cater to up to 180 guests.
Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise director of sales and marketing Jenifer Dwyer Slee said the famil invited guests to experience another side to the Gold Coast.
“We wanted the guests to not only enjoy the hotel but to get a taste of some local experiences as well,” she said.
“We are looking to cement the destination as somewhere where visitors get to experience the local secret spots, such as where we dine with friends, where we get the best coffee, the best beach-walking tracks and what we do to experience what our great backyard has to offer.”
Late last year, Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise unveiled a series of refurbishments, which included a new-look ballroom. The 550-capacity Norfolk Ballroom was revamped with new décor, furnishings and a more than $50,000 upgrade in audio-visual technology.
The 374-room hotel also welcomed refurbishments to its lobby area and Relish Bar, as well as the addition of two new dining outlets: SIFU, serving authentic Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine with capacity for 130 people, and Balthazar Wine & Dining, a private dining venue for up to 18 people serving degustation and tapas menus.
The famil group took part in a cocktail and Asian cooking masterclass with SIFU head chef Kyle Bu before heading to Balthazar for a private dinner, where one of the hotel’s dedicated sommeliers talked through some of the 500 local and international wines that line the venue’s walls. Perhaps one of Gold Coast’s hidden gems, Balthazar served one outstanding dish after another, each designed by executive chef Jean-Marc Heussner. Sophisticated and stylish, Balthazar proves you don’t need to leave your hotel for a memorable dining experience on the Gold Coast.
Making the most of the Gold Coast’s iconic waterways and the sensational weather, the group travelled by boat with Crystal Blue Yacht Charters to InterContinental Sanctuary Cove, where a colourful shared feast was served on arrival. The food and beverage component is an integral part of the resort’s business event offering, according to general manager Matt Rippin.
“Our executive chef Matt Hart worked closely with local suppliers to create unique dining experiences throughout the weekend, including a five-course breakfast degustation in The Fireplace,” said Rippin.
“Our dedication on delivering food and beverage experiences was something we hope left a mark on the guests.”
Beyond the food and beverage offering, InterContinental Sanctuary Cove offers 14 distinct conference and event spaces, the most notable being The Woolshed. The two-level centre houses a 437sqm grand ballroom that can be divided into three rooms, as well as a boardroom, three meeting rooms, and indoor and outdoor function spaces.
Delegates took part in a number of activities on site, including a scavenger hunt-style challenge with team building company Be Challenged and morning yoga with Fire Shaper. On the final night, the group was treated to a private dinner by the lagoon, complete with a show-stopping jet pack and jetski performance by 1800 Jet Pack. Delegates were given a front row seat to an unforgettable live show, with lights, music and even fireworks, all within the resort’s one-acre lagoon pool. InterContinental Sanctuary Cove really pulled out all the stops to surprise delegates and demonstrate the kind of memorable experiences the destination can provide for business events.
Rippin said while the famil was a great opportunity to showcase the resort, it was an equally great opportunity to showcase the Gold Coast as a destination.
“It was also a great opportunity for us to highlight the collaboration we can offer with our sister properties, particularly Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, to shine the spotlight further on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“With the Commonwealth Games arriving on the Gold Coast in 2018, the opportunities, developments and experiences are growing even greater. The city is driving investment towards creating hero experiences to distinguish the Gold Coast apart from other business events destinations.”