Like a tapered candle rising 88 storeys above the harbour, the Crown Sydney skyscraper is the city’s newest landmark. In every way, it’s an events location that towers above the ordinary.
Completed in four years and opened last December, the Crown Resorts-owned, black-glass-clad building houses 349 hotel rooms and suites and 82 private residences – each of which has a view of the water – and a variety of outstanding events venues.
Each interior space, including the bedrooms, has a unique floorplate because architects Wilkinson Eyre have forgone traditional symmetry for an unconventional building shape that resembles intertwined glass petals.
The interiors exemplify smart design and the latest in six-star hotel gee-whizzery. Rooms and meetings spaces alike are an amalgam of layered textures: custom fabrics, marble, pristine bedding; and carpets, fittings and metallic detailing whose greys and sea-blues reflect the sparkling crushed-diamond surface of the harbour below. In the bedrooms, curtains and blinds can be swept open and shut at the touch of an icon on a bedside control panel.
When a guest approaches the lavatory and bidet arrangement, the lid opens automatically – as if by legerdemain – in a whimsical welcome.
Naturally, because they’re so new, the various event spaces feature the most advanced meetings technology like wireless internet connections, data tech, webcasting and video-conferencing facilities, according to Food and Beverage Manager Events, Jodie Ringma (pictured below). “Organisers love the attributes of our venues,” says Jodie.
Not surprisingly, Jodie adds, despite the Covid-19 pandemic local PCOs are showing significant interest in Crown Sydney as they slowly regain confidence, especially for smaller events.
“For planners seeking a venue that has ‘more’, this is ideal,” explains Jodie, an events specialist whose experience includes several years at the Sydney Opera House.
“Crown Sydney is home to eleven restaurants and bars, a luxury Crown Towers hotel and one of the best spas in the city. That means you can create a multi-faceted event without guests ever having to leave the property.”
Many events here at present comprise weddings and, until international borders reopen, mostly Sydney corporate business, usually a combination of high-end company gatherings and product launches, says Jodie.
Because of the pandemic corporate planners are tending to book with shorter lead times and hosting smaller functions. And Jodie and her colleagues expect changes to restrictions and capacities at very short notice are likely to be an ongoing impact on their business.
“Due to the pandemic PCOs are typically saying you know what? We’ll just do something for forty and see what kind of response they have with that. They’re being mindful that they’re going to ease back into the market place. There’s also a lot of last-minute booking.”
The Crown Sydney events team has adapted to these circumstances by being extra-flexible in booking terms and conditions, offering quick turnaround times. “We’ve recently hosted a number of events for luxury brands across fashion, automobiles and electronics and private dinners for A-listers,” says Jodie.
The prime Crown Sydney meeting place is the high-ceilinged and column-free Pearl Ballroom (left). With pillowed and patterned walls, this space accommodates up to 390 guests cocktail-style or 340 seated, with an expansive pre-function area that helps create a seamless space for galas, receptions, award ceremonies and conferences.
And it can be divided into three areas for more intimate events.
A broad variety of spaces are available for smaller functions. The Opal Suite, for example, can accommodate 20 people seated or 50 cocktail-style and has been much in demand for business presentations and special events, says Jodie.
It features a private bathroom, powder alcove (popular with bridal parties), hanging closets and a private kitchen and like all the hotel’s facilities it has spectacular views over Darling Harbour.
Likewise the Pavilion can accommodate 50 in ceremony seating or cocktail-style, and is in regular use for romantic ceremonies and cocktail receptions.
Sky Deck, another private event space, is set to open soon. Located on level 66, it will take up to 25, cocktail-style, and features an external viewing platform.
From AUD112 per person
The question PCOs ask first: how much will it cost me? A daily meeting package here starts at AUD112 per person, says Jodie Ringma, which, given the quality of the property and its jaw-dropping location is arguably highly competitive.
While it’s obviously at the higher end of the pricing scale, with hotel room rack rates at around AUD869, it still represents great value considering what you get for your dollar, Jodie insists. “From the venue, views, menus, execution, service and experience point of view it’s outstanding.”
Moreover she and her team seek to ensure they offer the broadest variety of options possible; rather than stipulate a price, they consider what clients want, then design an event specifically for them. So the offer includes bespoke menus, flexibility, and a swag of options – for instance three styles of charger plates, three colours of napkins and tablecloths, silver napkin rings and coloured water glasses. “It’s those small details that our team never overlooks,” she says.
The menus can draw on the Crown Sydney restaurants including Nobu (the Japanese fusion eatery named after acclaimed Chef Nobu Matsuhisa) and Silks (Cantonese fine dining) which can really set the event experience apart, Jodie says. “I also think our central location, in the heart of Barangaroo, adds to its appeal.”
Indeed it’s this newness and location that are driving most interest. “Crown Sydney is Australia’s most exciting new event space and there’s a desire to be one of the first to hold an event here,” Jodie adds. “The venues have facilities designed not just to frame the views of Sydney Harbour’s icons, but to stand alongside them as a defining landmark of the city.”
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