Monday, October 21, 2013

Being pampered at the Palazzo Versace

Three days spent at the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia) certainly perks a jaded editor up. Being there for a conference and gala dinner awards night, gave me an overall view of all the glitzy hotel had to offer.

I had not visited previously and had the impression that I would be blinded by decor bling on arrival. Not so.
I, rather unglamorously arrived in a shuttle bus that had pictures of vampires painted over the doors - so my ungainly arrival was a bit trashy.
Entering the spacious and elegant foyer, I immediately shut down all my expectations - well, I've been known to get it wrong before.

The beautiful room looks out to the vast pool and beyond and a gleaming chandelier beckons me to lift my eyes. The reception staff took me in hand and I was on my most decorous behaviour while envying their stylish black suits - I do like uniforms!
My room overlooks the pool and it smacks of Versace cool and fabric fashion. Have to spread out and grab the best bed - which one? I have a friend coming to share - perhaps she'll cancel? Time to rest.
The second day at PV was filled with meetings with staff popping into the meeting room regularly to make sure we had everything we need.
The second meeting was taken outside to loll around on the platform mattress in several cabanas - with eating the fruit from the platter, sipping bubbly, diving in the pool - the meeting lacked substance - but we enjoyed the idea of it.

The highlight for me was dinner at Vie, a lovely space and food that rocked the palate.
Vie Bar + Restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine, Craig Wright, brings to Palazzo Versace over 13 years’ experience in the dining and entertaining industry, both in Australia and overseas. Craig has worked in a number of fine dining restaurants and returned to Australia in 2012 from working in New York. On home soil, he has also shared kitchens with a number of prominent Sydney chefs including Sean Moran from Sean’s Panaroma and Ben Fitton of Coast. Wright’s fresh, locally sourced and rustic culinary vision is the perfect combination alongside Vie’s stunning views over the Gold Coast Broadwater.
We were served amazing scallops on slices of pork; lamb cut and served on a wooden board, fish and chicken (and as an affirmed non eating chicken person - I admit I ate this chicken . . . ) Most of the food is sourced from ethical suppliers locally.
The Piece de resistance was a giant pav - Craig took a picture to send to his mum as she is 'the pavlova expert in the family). Nice sentiment.

The next day we had our conference and the awards gala dinner was a cracker. No rubber chicken here on a plate - three courses of excellent food, innovative and scrumptious.
And yet again, great service. The staff at Palazzo Versace is a solid line-up of professionals and I hear there is very little staff turnover  . . .now that's a recommendation.
And - the spa. I had time for a pedicure and I admit I did question the price -'what do I get for that amount of $$$s? New shoes too': says the stingy editor.
But as I slipped my feet to soak in warm water and had headphones put over my ears - I disappeared into a form of consciousness that can only be described as 'gaga''. I woke myself with a little snore and looked at my Russian Blue painted toe nails - magic had been performed while I was áway' - worth every damn dollar!
For a special weekend away check out the Palazzo Versace  Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast - mad if you don't. Afternoon tea is a treat and there are some wonderful functions coming up over the festive season.
In fact, keep it quite, but I'm still here - I stocked up on goodies and locked the door - they are too polite to knock the door down. 

The distinctive vision of Gianni Versace, his audacious commitment to luxury and beauty, influenced his designs and translated into the décor of his homes.
In a spectacular waterfront setting, every aspect of architecture, ambience, furnishings and ornamentation reflects a level of opulence once confined to the grand hotels of Europe. Richly decorated spaces proclaim the transcendence of Italian design. Singular touches include peerless marbles and mosaics, vaulted ceilings hand-detailed in gold, an antique chandelier that once shed its lustre on the grand State Library of Milan.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Get Up & Go: The most dismal town in Scotland

Get Up & Go: The most dismal town in Scotland:   Get Up & Go contributor David Ellis says the former mining community of New Cumnock has been named Scotland’s Most Dismal Town&...

The most dismal town in Scotland

Get Up & Go contributor David Ellis says the former mining community of New Cumnock has been named Scotland’s Most Dismal Town'' for 2013.
New Cumnock’s first mines opened in the 1700s, and the town had five mines in operation up until 1950 – employing 1500 people, or almost as many as it’s now-total population of just 1800.
But all had closed by 1969, and although some open-cut still takes place it employs only a handful compared with the pit mines.
Scottish architectural magazine Urban Realm which awards the annual Carbuncle for Scotland’s most dreary communities and architecture, said it had named New Cumnock its 2013 recipient because of the haemorrhaging of High Street shops and a general absence of maintenance on derelict properties... raising a very real risk of irreversible decline if action isn’t taken now''.
And it noted that even the opening of a new school had been overshadowed by the threatened closure of the Town Hall, and sell-off of a local church.
Local historian, Geoff Crolley who accepted the Carbuncle Award on behalf of his community, said that towns like New Cumnock had given so much to businesses, but these had walked away as wind-farms had replaced coal mining for electricity generation.
Urban Realm said its Carbuncle judges had warmed to the plight of the townsfolk of New Cumnock whose energy is as strong as ever… more than an escape valve for pent-up frustrations, they should see the Award as a springboard to tangible improvements''.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Animal prints a scary fashion item

There's a wildlife park in England employing Animal Print Bouncers to make guests cover-up after noticing its animals becoming baffled by guests wearing animal-print coats and pants, or carrying snakeskin print handbags.
The Chessington World of Adventures south-west of London is using the 'Fashion Police in a new 10ha attraction called Zufari in which guests take off-road rides into an area replicating the Serengeti Plains and complete with a host of wildlife.
A spokeswoman said visitors wearing animal print clothing had been noticed to be causing some animals to become antagonistic, excited, afraid or confused', and the Park was acting to protect visitors and exhibits alike.
To stop the tigers and lions salivating at the thought of potential meals on wheels, or smaller animals scurrying away in fear, visitors who arrive in animal-print clothing are asked to cover-up with grey boiler suits provided by the Animal Print Bouncers, or be evicted from the Park.
(Uncovered by David Ellis.)


Animal look-alikes getting English wildlife park inmates “antagonistic, excited or
   afraid.” (Image: Chessington World of Adventures)