Inhabitants of Wollongong, the mid-sized coastal city 80 kilometres south of Sydney, talk proudly about their town as New South Wales’s best-kept secret. I should know, I lived there for a year.
On my return to the city for the first time in a decade recently, I took a walk along the broad, clean stretch of sand in front of the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach Hotel, flanked on either side by pines and sparkling water, and was reminded that the folks who live there have a point.
There wasn’t much traffic on nearby roads and the city has a kind of airy, leafy spaciousness, with the flats near the foreshore – along what’s colloquially known as Wollongong’s “blue mile” – invariably low-rise and looking new. It was a warm autumn afternoon, but there were only a handful of strollers on the beach and swimmers in the water. A few lounged at a beachfront café, taking it easy.
Not surprisingly, the operators of the four-and-a-half-star Novotel Wollongong Northbeach, which has been in the Accor family for over 20 years, see their location as a great asset and make good use of it. Touted as the only beachfront hotel in the city, it arranges events and weddings in 14 multi-function rooms and sprawling exhibition space, many of which have views of the sea. All the 204 guestrooms either have direct or oblique ocean views. The hotel has begun a refurbishment of the rooms, which is being completed in stages.
Its main rooftop deck, looking northwards over the beach, has a retractable roof, so it can be used for dinners, networking functions and weddings and parties in any weather, while one of its main eateries, Pepe’s, for example, is a great spot for guests to dine, relax and enjoy splendid water views.
“The beach in front of the hotel is patrolled 365 days a year which is another bonus,” says Associate Director of Sales Rachael Lihou (pictured above). “It also lends itself well to team-building activities, which our events staff can support by recommending local companies to assist clients – like yoga or tai chi on the beach, paddle-boarding or other team sports.”
There’s much else to do in Wollongong and surrounds as well, Rachael points out, from adventure sports like sky-diving, winery tours and golf at beautiful courses nearby.
“One of the key points I make when organisers are considering Wollongong and our destination is that it’s all easily accessible from Sydney, just an hour’s drive from Sydney airport,” she says. “The team at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach are flexible and always willing to go the extra mile to make the experience memorable.”
The hotel can host a variety of events or conferences up to 600 delegates in its ballroom, and guests can take advantage of spacious pre-function areas and outdoor terraces. It has a designated conferencing level with meetings and events spaces located on one floor, making it easy for delegates to move between sessions and breakouts.
“The majority of our conference clients are from Sydney; however we do have conferences that attract international delegates,” says Rachael. “For example we’ve just finished hosting an event for the Australian Coal Preparation Society, with around 200 delegates. We’re aware that events held at the hotel don’t just assist our property, but other companies in the region and we work very closely with all local businesses.”
Complete meeting package from AUD 75
Novotel Wollongong Northbeach’s complete meeting packages start from $75 per person for a full day. “But we’re flexible,” says Rachael, “and packages can be tailored to meet clients’ requirements.”
To find out more, check out the property’s meetings site here.
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