When it comes to Australian cities, there is no doubt Sydney has the highest international profile. Canberra may be the capital, but I think we can all agree Sydney has the culture, landmarks and hotel accommodation that make it the country’s preeminent international metropolis – and Australia’s main MICE destination.
Indeed, it’s one of all of APAC’s leading MICE destinations. So, as Travel Daily’s resident MICE guy, I’ve put together my choice of Sydney’s leading meetings and events hotels.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Overlooking Sydney Harbour, in the city’s Rocks district – just a stone’s throw away from the city’s entertainment and business centres – the Four Seasons has 531 rooms and suites, featuring all the essential amenities; high-speed Internet access, LCD TVs, multi-line telephones, a fully equipped gym and the city’s largest outdoor swimming pool; an ideal set up for jetsetting business travellers.
MICE-wise, this hotel knows its stuff. Following the 2017 renovation and relaunch of The Four Seasons Grand Ballroom it has only improved. The revamped pillarless ballroom is an Art Deco-themed adaptable space which now boasts a new 12 x 3.5 metre wide smart screen – one of the largest screens in the southern hemisphere.
In addition to the gargantuan screen of the Grand Ballroom on the lobby floor, Four Seasons also offers seven different function rooms, spread over three floors, all supported by the crack squad of event professionals and featuring videoconferencing, intelligent lighting and professional level audio-visuals.
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth
The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth is a heritage-listed and architectural behemoth found, like many MICE locations, in Sydney’s thriving central business and shopping district.
The five-star hotel is geared for business and is packed with everything that the 21st century event and conference-goer needs, including 11 function rooms made up of two combinable Hobart rooms, Sydney Room, Melbourne Room, Perth Room, Brisbane Room, Canberra Room, Adelaide Room, Executive Boardroom, Edwin Flack Room and the Wentworth Room.
The Wentworth Ballroom is a pillarless hall which can handle 1050 guests when set to ‘Theatre Style’ (which puts it in the top bracket of Sydney’s biggest ballrooms) and features the latest in audio-visual tech, set up by the hotel’s experienced AV team.
On top of all this the Wentworth backs up all events and conference attendees with access to its high-tech business centre – which comes with its own library and concierge service. There’s also a rooftop terrace, French restaurant health club and a groovy 60’s themed lounge for retro relaxation after a long day at the dais.
Pullman Magenta Shores Resort
My next entry is not actually located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD or even conveniently placed near an airport. However, the rather splendid Pullman Magenta Shores Resort — sandwiched between Tuggerah Lake and the Pacific, a leisurely 90 mins from Sydney — is well worth mentioning in any list of the city’s MICE venues.
The Magneta resort is a dedicated conference centre home to six versatile event spaces and function rooms, as well as an outstanding selection of accommodation and leisure facilities. Capable of housing up to 400 conference delegates the meeting rooms can be rearranged into boardroom, classroom, theatre and banquet layouts.
All the event spaces have a range of business and meeting equipment, including video conferencing, projection and video facilities and WiFi. A dedicated events coordinator is available round the clock to assist with organisation and planning, from set up to breakdown.
For me, the fact that Pullman Magenta Shores Resort has own golf course and country club on site makes it my personal preference. That’s not because I am some sort of putt-head but because there really is nothing to compare to ending, or starting, a day knocking round the course with colleagues unpacking new knowledge or picking the brains of a new contact. That this 18-holer looks directly over the Ocean, well that’s just perfect.
Mercure Sydney International Airport Hotel
The four-star Mercure Sydney International Airport Hotel may not sound like the most salubrious of locations but by combining the luxury hotel brand’s propensity for quality and service excellence, with the unbeatable convenience of an airport location, you pretty much hit the MICE jackpot.
The Mercure’s 11 meeting rooms, spread over two levels, include the 350 seat, pillarless Grand Ballroom (above) with truck access for large events to smaller presentation and training spaces and boardroom meetings, all equidistant from both domestic and international airports’ terminals.
The hotel also provides a wide range of facilities and services including airport transfers, on-site parking, an outdoor swimming pool, full equipped gymnasium and the obligatory high speed internet access.
Specifically aimed at short-stay travelling business people and the MICE market, the Mercure Sydney International Airport Hotel is perfect for jetting in, conferencing it up and jetting out again, a virtue that is becoming more necessary as the world gets smaller.