BY JAMES WILKINSON IN MAIN BEACH, QLD
Palazzo Versace has been an iconic property since its doors first opened over a decade ago – not just for its prominent fashion designer name, but the attention to detail and importantly, a focus on luxury.
Like many 5-star hotels, Palazzo Versace felt the full brunt of the global financial crisis, but things are now looking up, according to General Manager Russell Durnell.
“The property is showing steady visitation,” he told HM. “We anticipate solid growth in occupancy over the next 12-18 months because of the global economy stabilisation in tandem with our own new initiates and offerings delivered by an exciting new sales team.
“The FIT weekend market will always be our strongest however we anticipate signification improvements as that market sector seeks to engage with a luxury brand experience for their ongoing incentives and business meetings,” Durnell said.
He also said the MICE market was showing positive signs going forward.
“We are expecting steady growth in this market over the next 12 months,” Durnell said.
What’s on offer for that market segment, he said, was continuing to drive the growth for the multi-HM Award winning property.
“In addition to our comprehensive suite of meeting rooms we can also provide flexibility in other beautiful areas of the hotel including the stunning Fountain Terrace and Vie Bar and Restaurant situated overlooking over the Gold Coast Broadwater. Of course we have renowned chef Steve Szabo who has the ability to create incredible banquets,” Durnell said. “And finally our experienced banquets and MICE team who understands the needs of the MICE market and can provide professional service.
While the outlook is primarily positive, there are still a few challenges for the property and the Gold Coast in general according to Durnell – and that’s from the quality on offer from airlines flying into the region.
“While we value the product that Jetstar and Virgin are offering, we know that one of our main challenges is the lack of premium and first class aviation seats coming into Coolangatta,” he said.
What’s on offer at the hotel is certainly well suited for the first class market. While Palazzo Versace is a property that prides itself on aesthetic appearance, service is also a major focus and a key element of that is ensuring the staff look the part – thanks again to that famous fashion label that is entrenched in the name.
The hotel has been working with leading uniform house Dallen, a company that has outfitted the staff of several leading properties in the region, including Crown Metropol (as seen in the April issue of HM), InterContinental Sydney, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto and Crowne Plaza Adelaide.
“We are proud that the uniforms are made in Australia by Dallen,” Durnell said. “The quality of Dallen’s manufacturing was a suitable fit.”
Dallen’s Paul Fitzpatrick said the company was “extremely pleased to have been chosen once again as the manufacturer of uniforms for Palazzo Versace”.
“This is the first uniform update since the opening more than 10 years ago and it is a complete overhaul from top to bottom,” he said. “The hotel supplies us with the original designs direct from Versace in Italy and we reinterpret these in fabrics suitable for the Queensland climate that still maintain the luxury appearance associated with Versace.
“It is especially rewarding to work with a client whose focus is on attention to detail. All throughout the process, there was a high level of involvement from the management team, right down to shape of the shirt collars, the width of the ties, and even the length of the skirts.
“The client wanted the best uniform in Australia and we think it looks pretty amazing,” he said.
94 Seaworld Drive, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Owner/Operator: Sunland Group
General Manager: Russell Durnell
Rooms & suites: 200 rooms and suites, 72 condominiums
F&B outlets: 3 restaurants and lounge bar
Conferencing: 467sqm flexible conference and meeting space
Recreation facilities: Water Salon experience including spa treatments around the 65m heated outdoor lagoon pool with a pure white sand beach, and Palazzo Versace Spa and Fitness Centre