Diamonds Are Forever – Venue Information

First appeared in January Hearts Talk.

Hearts Talk caught up with conference coordinator Fiona Gregory to talk about preparations for the conference.

Firstly, how are preparations for the conference going?

The Diamonds are Forever conference will be held between 16-19 August 2012 at the QT Gold Coast and our preparations are well underway. We’ve got Eloisa James (Keynote Speaker) and Alexandra Sokoloff (Friday Workshop) confirmed and are in final discussions with our remaining speakers. It’s going to be a fabulous line up.

Our recent call for workshops went really well and we’re in the process of reviewing submissions and working out the scheduling. Preparations are well underway for the Cocktail Party and Awards Dinner. Our cocktail party theme is  “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and as usual, we’d love our delegates to come in fancy dress. I, for one, can’t wait to see the costumes everyone comes up with.

Tell me a little bit about the hotel?

QT Gold Coast is on Staghorn Avenue, a block back from the beach, and within an easy 2-3 minute walk of the centre of Surfers Paradise.

The recent refurbishment is almost complete and the Architect Nic Graham describes the project as “Our vision for transforming QT is a mix of nostalgic surfer chic combined with Miami catwalk cool”. The photos on the website don’t do it justice. It has a mix of light woods, retro furniture and fittings and a light airy feel.

The Grand Ballroom and our breakout rooms will all be refurbished prior to the conference (it’s underway now) and I can’t wait to see it finished. On our last visit we saw some of the completed guest rooms and our team fell in love. My personal favourite in everything I’ve seen so far is a sunken lounge off the StringRay Lounge, complete with 1950’s deck chairs and artificial grass. A fabulous outdoor room, but indoors. It brought back memories of beach holidays at the coast from my early teens and I’m already imagining putting my feet up with a long cool drink after a hard day on the conference floor.

What about food options?

The hotel has a couple of different food options. In the foyer, Fixx Café is open till 3pm daily, serving breakfast, lunch and fabulous coffee. The conference team always starts our visit to the hotel with a visit to Fixx.

Upstairs one level,  Bazaar – Marketplace, is open for breakfast and dinner daily and Sunday Brunch. I haven’t tried it as yet (I’m still working my way through everything that looks great at Fixx), but the food presentation is spectacular. They’ve done a fabulous job recreating a fresh food marketplace.

And if you’re after some Asian Influence, there’s the Yamagen Restaurant, offering traditional Japanese cuisine, from fresh Sushi to sizzling Teppanyaki, open for dinner every night except Monday.

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea (with coffee, tea and soft drink) are included in the conference registration. Drinks and pre-dinner nibbles will be served at the cocktail party on Friday night (included in the conference registration), and  of course the fabulous Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday night – a three course meal. The option to purchase tickets to the Awards Dinner will be on the registration form, and we will be organising tables well in advance of the night as  we did in 2011.

Many of our sub-groups and e-lists will also be holding functions in and around the hotel throughout the conference. In Coogee in 2010, I saw someone who had made herself a schedule, like an old-fashioned dance card, and stuck it to her  lanyard so she had all of the details of her meetups on hand. I did think that was a fabulous idea as conference can be really full on.

What about people with food intolerances?

We’ll be asking people to specify any food intolerances on the registration form. I should make it clear, we need to know about food intolerances that may cause harm to our delegate’s health, not dislikes. An allergy to peanuts is very different to a dislike of the taste of peanuts, and the team will do their best to accommodate these medical intolerances, within the scope of the hotel’s available food options. We have members of our team who live with food intolerance, so we’re going to do our best to address these issues.

Anything else the delegates need to know about the conference venue?

Well, it’s not open yet, but on the level above the Grand Ballroom, the hotel is doing the final fit-out on Spa Q, their new spa facility featuring private treatment rooms, a range of therapies and premium products. When I heard they were  building a spa, I pencilled myself in for the Monday after conference. I can’t think of anything better than finishing my conference journey with a massage and a facial, can you?

Delegates will have the choice of an ocean room or a mountain room, and there will be a dedicated booking number provided with the registration form, which will be coming out with Hearts Talk in March. And if you’re extending your stay after the conference, don’t forget to bring your beach-wear. Patrolled beaches are within walking distance. Within the hotel complex, there’s a pool, tennis courts, a gymnasium and mid-August at the Gold Coast has mild days (average 11-21 degrees C). A light jacket is recommended for night.

Limited parking (fee-applicable) will be available for delegates and for those flying in from interstate/ overseas, there is a shuttle bus from Coolangatta Airport. Those flying in to Brisbane would be able to use the AirTrain to get to the Gold Coast.

It sounds like it’s going to be a great conference.

We’ve tried to incorporate the relaxed Queensland lifestyle into our planning for conference and our venue, with its laid-back beach-inspired renovation, reflects this perfectly. We’re really looking forward to August 2012.

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  1. You need to take part in a contest for one of the best blogs online. I most certainly will recommend this web site!

  2. Great informative blog thanks – Im going for lunch now


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