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The Departure Lounge

Marriott Docklands: Move over mundane

Marriott Meldl Bar

Melbourne’s growth as a premier destination for events and tourism is once again highlighted with the recent development of Marriott Docklands, part of the mixed-use Docklands project; District Docklands, a recent showcase of new waterside restaurants, bars and shopping.

Totem Group recently had the pleasure of scouring the luxury landmark courtesy of Marriott Docklands in an exclusive all-access pass, ushered through two petal shaped interlinked towers to a light infused foyer formed with graceful curves. The bold property is another lustrous design by DKO architecture, reflecting the tastes of the next generation of travellers.

Taking its design cues in a blend of inspiration from Australia’s fashion capital and the yachts moored on the docks, the first five star property to hit Docklands offers a reprieve from the visual noise of daily life. An innovative and sophisticated space awaits, detailed with the functionality of a modern traveller in mind, providing 189 contemporary fitted rooms with 24-hour room service and dedicated ‘M Club’ floors, a space away from the world, curated to unwind, refocus or work privately.

Sophistication throughout the property further expands to its meeting and event spaces, with the ‘promenade’, featuring floor to ceiling windows and cutting-edge technology, equipped with vertical sound absorbing partitioning system allowing 3 separate flexible spaces. Accommodating 200 people in theatre style and 96 in cabaret, with two adjoining rooms for up to five break-out spaces, making an ideal setting for small-mid sized groups.

More intimate and unique displays of fine features are enhanced in the meetings and events space with fairy lights installed in the ceiling and access to the outdoor terraces.

The real showstopper however can be found on level 15, wrapped around the curved building, the 20m wet edge resort-style infinity pool with adjoining bar and sky high views for group size of up to 80 guests, has you feeling a little less edgy Melbourne and a lot more Singaporean sleek. “It has an unparalleled feel to the property. For a moment it was almost as if I wasn’t in Australia” – Melissa Byron, Totem Group.

Inside Virgin Australia’s Lounge of the future

Recently, Virgin Australia opened its Adelaide Lounge to Frequent Flyers. Designed by Brisbane’s WMK Architecture, the 283-seat Adelaide Lounge completes Virgin Australia’s network of seven domestic lounges across major airports around Australia. All future Lounge refurbishments around the domestic network will be done in line with this new and fresh design thinking.

The Lounge is true to the Virgin Australia brand, creating a warm, authentic, and inviting environment for frequent flyers.

The contemporary design includes a breeze block feature wall upon entry, with canopy ceilings, before ceramic tiling leads guests into a large light-filled space, with the centre walkway leading guests to numerous dining and seating areas. Ambient lighting, bright greenery and Australian sustainable furniture completes the Lounge, making it a relaxed, inviting, and uncomplicated place, to refresh and recharge in a delightfully Virgin way.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the new lounge was the first of many new and exciting products for customers following the airline’s re-launch.

“We are continuing to write a new chapter at Virgin Australia and we’re incredibly focussed on creating great experiences for our guests,” said Ms Hrdlicka.

“We know our capital city lounges are highly-valued by our frequent flyers and we’re reimagining the experience in a very Virgin way. Not only is the new Adelaide Lounge the best airline lounge at Adelaide Airport, but it is fun, relaxed, and a place that everyone will feel welcome and comfortable.

 

Adelaide Lounge features

The Coffee Bar: An eye-catching central café seating area, transforming from a place to unwind over a coffee during the day, turning into a wine bar at night.

The Cellar Door Hub: With some of Australia’s most awarded wineries on the doorstep of Adelaide Airport, Virgin Australia has created a feature space for South Australian wineries to bring their cellar door to the Lounge for seasonal wine tasting.

Distinct dining areas: Separate dining areas with diverse functionality have been built adjacent to servery areas to cater to all guest’s eating preferences, including large social tables, and banquette seating for more private dining.

Lounge seating areas:

The Library: A dedicated work area dubbed The Library, features workstations with PCs, printing facilities, power sockets, and desk lamps, offering a functional environment to work on the fly (work spaces continue to be available throughout COVID-19).

The Gallery Lounge: a chill-out zone adjacent to The Library, complete with lounge chairs and a large flat-screen television.

The Sunroom: With a mixture of cosy seating arrangements, it is the perfect space to sit with a loved one, friend or colleague in comfort.

The Long Stay: Closely located next to the servery, the Long Stay is tucked away from the main entrance and provides guests with an inviting space, with a wide variety of seating options.

Enhanced Lounge menu

Virgin Australia has also launched a new and fresh menu for guests, featuring a selection of sandwiches, salads, wraps and healthy snacks, prepared on site. An enhanced menu will be implemented at all Virgin Australia lounges in the coming weeks.

In an Australian airline first, Virgin Australia is also trialling a food ordering system, offering guests end-to-end table service. Initially available in Adelaide and Melbourne, guests will be able to order food and beverages directly to their seat or table by simply scanning a QR code and placing an order on their phone.

The advancement will not only provide a seamless table service for guests, but it will reduce movement and further enhance the COVID-safe environment.

The Virgin Australia lounges in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth are now open. Virgin Australia is expected to open its seventh, and final domestic Lounge, in Canberra, in March.

Aurora Australis beckons this winter

africa-safari-co-tasmania

While the Northern Lights must wait… good news is the Southern Lights are yours to witness, experience and cherish… grab the opportunity to live it up under the spectacular Aurora Australis. Celebrate Australia and the blessed best of nature in the magical Tasmania this winter.

Enjoy Tasmania while searching for the famous Southern Lights – the spectacular Aurora Australis. Enroute enjoy the beautiful city of Hobart and its many attractions, visit Hobart’s oldest vineyard at Moorilla, indulge in the fine tastes of the Huon Valley including treats from local providores, get in touch with nature at Bruny Island and discover the infamous Port Arthur and its historic site.

Twin share price per person from $3,950* | Extension package per person from $995*

The Search for the Southern Lights Tour includes:

  • Private touring with a local guide
  • Transport in a well-appointed vehicle
  • 6 nights’ accommodation
  • 6 x breakfast, 6 x lunch
  • Entry to MONA
  • Entry to Port Arthur
  • Entry to UnZoo Devil Sanctuary
  • Bruny Island Ferry
  • A range of tastings
  • 2-evenings guided night-time photography and National Parks Pass

*minimum 6 guests

Cradle Mountain Extension includes:

  • Private touring with a local guide
  • Transport in a well-appointed vehicle
  • 3 nights’ accommodation
  • 3 x breakfast, 3 x lunch
  • Entry to Devils@Cradle
  • Entry to Marakoopa Caves and National Parks

 

For detailed itinerary, click here

For reservations contact your Executive Edge Travel Designer on 1300 618 334 or email leisure@executiveedge.com.au to experience the edge on travel today.

Three more reasons to head to Tasmania

Tasmania wine fest

Just head to Tassie and stay there.. if you need any more reasons than you already have, here are three fabulous events lined up to ensure soaking up the island spirit!

Vibrance Festival 2021

Vibrance Festival celebrates Tasmanian street art and culture.

Vibrance Festival is Tasmania’s first and only street art festival, dedicated to the painting of large-scale murals and offers a program of music, local food and beverages, street art tours, film nights, skateboarding demonstrations, public spray wall, markets and more.

In its third iteration, Vibrance Festival 2021 will paint 20+ murals, dotted along the length of Elizabeth Street, Hobart. Expect one of the town’s busiest streets to come alive with Tasmania’s best mural and street artists painting as you wander along the festival trail. Who knows what else you might find as you explore? Expect music in alleyways, pop-up events, tiny bars tucked away, as well as family-friendly spots to sit and watch or join in with some painting.

Vibrance aims to educate people on street art as a legitimate artform and activate the many unused spaces in Hobart’s urban environment. Largely free, Vibrance aims to be an accessible and inclusive event with something for all age groups.

For more details: https://www.vibrancefestival.com/

 

Tasmanian Wine Festival 2021

The second edition of the Tasmanian Wine Festival returns to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens February 26 – 28, 2021!

Explore the beauty of the gardens, whilst discovering and tasting the finest wines Tasmania has to offer. Follow the trail to find Tasmania’s best winemakers, waiting to give you rare insights into their wine and the winemaking process.

Some of the vineyards include Frogmore Creek, Observatory Hill Vineyard, Derwent Estate, Clover Hill Wines, Pooley Wines, Domaine Dawnelle, Wobbly Boot Vineyard and many more!

But what’s a great wine without great food, music and company?

Perhaps an oyster to enjoy with your sparkling, a burger or pizza with your red or some seafood with your white? Tasmania also welcomes some of the state’s best food producers and vendors.

The main stage will welcome local musicians, including Jay Jarome, Uncle Gus and The Rimshots and more yet to be announced. Dance the afternoon away or make yourself comfortable on the grass.

For more details: https://taswinefest.com.au/

Ten Days on the Island

Ten Days on the Island is Tasmania’s statewide international arts festival. Since 2001, Ten Days on the Island has celebrated Tasmania’s island culture, offering a platform on which to profile and promote Tasmania’s innovative, creative, and resourceful character and unique cultural identity. Every part of Australia is, always was and always will be, Aboriginal land. As a community gathering-place, a festival of arts, cultural exchange and celebration and as a site for the sharing of ideas and stories, Ten Days on the Island pays respect to the palawa – original owners and cultural custodians – of all the lands and waters across lutruwita (Tasmania) upon which our Festival takes place.

In 2021, they celebrate 21 years of Ten Days on the Island’s 20th anniversary. The new Festival model, curated by internationally renowned Artistic Director Lindy Hume, will deliver an epic 10-day adventure over three weekends in the three regional heartlands of Tasmania. Local projects and artists will intersect with a dynamic national and international program, designed to complement and amplify bold Tasmanian creativity.

The organisers’ commitment to regional Tasmania is strong and proud, bringing artists and communities together to share arts experiences in familiar and surprising environments right across their extraordinary island.

For more details: https://www.tendays.org.au/

A by Adina opens in Canberra

A by Adina Canberra

Toga Far East (TFE) Hotels has opened its very first A by Adina in Canberra, marking the global debut of the Adina Apartment Hotels premium brand.

The soft opening was marked with a ribbon cutting, ahead of the official brand and hotel launch scheduled for February. The hotel’s general manager, Jelena Bojanic, was in attendance along with dignitaries including Canberra Airport CEO, Stephen Byron, and TFE Hotel’s own ACT/NSW regional general manager, Emma Hynes.

Operating across four levels, the Bates Smart-designed apartment hotel will play a key role in the strategy to enliven Canberra’s CBD. Featuring 130 apartments, a gymnasium and a 24/7 service concierge, guests can “stay their way” at A by Adina, as the hotel promises a one-of-a-kind experience.

Ms Bojanic said all guests have their stay tailored to them the moment they step into the hotel.

A by Adina is located in Canberra’s city centre, 400 metres from the National Convention Centre Canberra and 500 metres from Canberra Centre. The hotel is also near some of Canberra’s best dining and retail options along with new retail tenants, including Arc Café by Redbrick opening in February, Mu Omakase & Cicada Bar opening in April, and Meat and Wine Co opening in May. The precinct also features its own Melburnian-style laneway, connecting to Canberra Theatre Centre.

With chocolates and a bottle of wine on arrival and a 1pm check out, along with the flexibility to change booking one day before arrival, TFE Hotel CEO, Antony Ritch, said A by Adina sets a new precedent.

TFE Hotels has officially launched their premium A by Adina hotel brand today, and with it the concept of ‘hotel living’, both of which are set to elevate TFE Hotels’ beloved Adina Hotels brand into a class of its own. A by Adina Canberra open and A by Adina Sydney opening April 2021.

In a class of its own – W Melbourne

W Melbourne

Melbourne’s first luxury lifestyle hotel with its rebellious Flinders Lane address, W Melbourne opened in February 2021 and takes its design cues from the streets of Australia’s cultural capital.

Holding the back-lane entrance keys to what’s New/Next in the city and revealing a playground where the early risers to the late-night revellers can turn up the tracks in this truly 24/7 city.

Extending the laneway culture inside, 294 chic rooms and suites peel back the layers and revel in the city’s creative history. 828 square metres of ultra-modern event space will set the stage for spectacular events.

Vibrant restaurants and bars will amp up the experience; with WARABI set to shake up Japanese dining, Lollo to take you from day, night to beyond with modern Melbourne menu, Curious will be the bar to see and be seen in and Culprit a café come wine bar will serve up your double shot latte, to that afternoon spritz. Detox in the state-of-the-art FIT gym then detox with a dip and a sip in the WET® pool, all whilst soaking up the city skyline views.

Here is a sneak peek into W – Melbourne’s first luxury lifestyle hotel.

  • Location: 408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
  • Rooms & Suites: 294 (including 29 suites)
  • Events: Great Room @ 320 banquet style and 4 breakout spaces from 20 – 90 persons
  • Dining: 5 x unique dining and bar spaces
  • WET & FIT: 24 / 7 health club & pool

When you book W through Executive Edge Travel, you will have access to the MI-Lux Luminous benefits:

  • Complimentary a la carte breakfast for two in Lollo (Collins Ground Level)
  • Welcome amenity
  • Complimentary hotel Wi-Fi
  • Early Check-in/late Check-out, based on availability.
  • VIP status provided
  • Priority for complimentary room upgrade (based on availability upon arrival).

Contact Executive Edge Travel (https://www.executiveedge.com.au/contact-us/) to book your stay.

Tourism Australia launches $5 million week-long campaign

Tourism Australia

A week-long tourism advertising blitz will kick off across the country, aimed at getting Australians to book their next domestic holiday and boost visitation to those regions that need it the most.

The $5 million marketing push is the first major activation of Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year campaign for 2021 and aims to inspire people to take a well-deserved break and provide much-needed support to tourism operators and communities around the country.

Tourism minister Dan Tehan says the campaign was part of the Morrison Government’s ongoing support for the tourism industry.

“We want Australians to get excited about holidaying in Australia,” Tehan says.

The campaign, which runs from January 31 to February 6 has been developed with Tourism Australia’s creative agency M&C Saatchi and media agency UM.

It is the latest burst of activity as part of Tourism Australia’s ongoing domestic marketing initiative Holiday Here This Year, which aims to stimulate demand throughout the sector by getting Australians travelling safely across the country and booking holiday experiences.

It will feature Australian destinations, tourism products and experiences, including areas impacted by last summer’s bushfires.

Tourism Australia chief marketing officer Susan Coghill says the campaign taps into strong consumer sentiment to travel domestically.

NGV Triennial brings AI & Machine Learning to Art

NGV Triennial 2020 Installation of Refik Anandol

Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has officially launched the “NGV Triennial” exhibition, showcasing artworks by more than 100 artists around the world.

To bring together more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries, featuring 86 projects, in the era of COVID, was always going to be a tall ask. It has happened and it has a huge “wow” factor with a mixture of major household names as well as completely unexpected, quirky discoveries.

The Triennial 2020 is built around four broad themes with porous borders: Illumination, Reflection, Conservation and Speculation. Even after wading through the voluminous catalogue — more like a piece of bulky furniture than a read-in-bed book — the themes are more like general conceptual props than clear categories.

The concern is with the ability for art to challenge assumptions about the status quo, alert us to impending disasters, suggest alternatives, dazzle us with unexpected inventions and inspire us with wondrous creations of undreamt-of beauty.

Based in LA, Turkish digital artist Refik Anadol brings his signature style of AI and media-enriched works to explore the relationship between technology and art. His futuristic piece Quantum Memories draws upon a dataset of more than two hundred million nature-related images from the internet processed with quantum computing software, followed by machine learning algorithms.

The natural landscape is converted to a digitalized collective memory in an audio-visual form, where it presents an alternate dimension between generative algorithm and the natural world – exploiting the possibilities of art with AI soon by the transformation of rigid data into a flexible art piece with emotions.

Visit the NGV website to learn more. The “NGV Triennial” exhibition is on display until April 18, 2021.

Crown Towers Sydney – Redefining luxury

Crown Towers

Redefining bespoke luxury in the heart of the harbour, Crown Sydney has officially opened its doors. Crown Towers rises majestically above the vibrant Barangaroo precinct offering globally renowned service in an unparalleled harbour side location.

Take in the mesmerising panorama of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the outdoor pool, bask in pure escapism at Crown Spa, and explore the many acclaimed restaurants, bars and luxury retail stores located within the unrivalled urban resort.

Australia’s most luxurious hotel, the 349-rooms (and 22-villa) Crown Sydney, lives up to all its six stars with glamour and aplomb.

As expected from a Crown property, fine food with exemplary aesthetics and theatrics, is at the forefront of the new Sydney branch.

The glittering, twirling facade looming high above the Barangaroo fold is so high it is officially Sydney’s tallest hotel. The Crown Towers Sydney is also the city’s first-ever six-star stay.

While the Crown Tower’s Villas and Level 26 venues are still experiencing final touches, the hotel is very much open for business, and creating vibes at that.

The wow-factor of the towers is apparent as soon as step inside — starting with a breath taking custom-made, six-storey chandelier in the lobby, featuring a coiling display of 396 crystals that put on a light show every night.

Already nine of 14 dining venues have launched — Californian export Nobu, of the wildly popular Japanese-fusion chain, is already booked up until April.

The hotel boasts 349 rooms, including 20 yet-to-open villas that come with a private butler.

Crown Towers Sydney villas and venues open by April, but there is no doubt the newest Crown offering has met the six-star brief. It is already the city’s hottest dining precincts and in a food scene like Sydney’s, that is hitting the brief out of the park.

Bring your car for free on the Spirit of Tasmania

Spirit of Tasmania

If a trip to Tasmania on board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry is in the pipeline, you will now be able to take your car for free.

The Federal Government has temporarily increased the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme making it possible for you to set sail into your dream road trip and bring your car for free.

“COVID-19 has significantly affected tourism in Tasmania and the number of passenger vehicles travelling across Bass Strait which is why we are moving to increase the rebate,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

“This is a critical and targeted boost for tourism, as visitors who travel to Tasmania by sea are among the most valuable to the industry, they spend more, stay longer and travel further into our regional areas,” he said.

This offer is available for new bookings for travel between 1 March and 30 June 2021, unless sold out prior. Availability is limited – book now so you do not miss out.

For your peace of mind, you can amend your booking online without incurring any amendment fees, and if border restrictions prevent you from travelling, cancellation fees will also be waived, giving you the confidence to book now.

 

*Conditions apply. Offer available for new bookings made between 14 January 2021 – 30 June 2021, or until the allocation of $6 million worth of tickets has been sold. Offer applies to eligible passenger vehicles for travel between 1 March 2021 – 30 June 2021. Vehicle discount only applicable when booked with a standard Spirit or Flexi passenger fare. Vehicle must be booked prior to travel. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount offer. Free vehicle fare based on a standard car, campervan/motorhome less than 2m wide and up to 6m in length, motorbike or pushbike. Vehicle greater than 2m wide and 6m in length (i.e. caravan) will receive a discount equivalent to that of a standard car. $10 booking fee applies per person each way when booking via the Customer Contact Centre and Reservations Counter. Card payment fees may apply.

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