Destination update: Canberra

In our Winter issue, we check in to see what's new and noteworthy in the nation's capital.

The first half of 2021 has shown positive signs of recovery for Canberra, Ngunnawal country, with locals out and about and interstate travel returning. As the final autumn leaves fall and the colder months arrive, the city’s vibrancy remains, with a plethora of new and exciting opportunities for meetings and events.

New and noteworthy hotels

In February, TFE Hotels launched a new, upscale hotel brand, debuting with a luxury property in the ACT. A by Adina Canberra features 130 luxury apartments and is conveniently located within the $300 million Constitution Place precinct, just a short walk to the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC).

After opening its doors in 2019, Midnight Hotel, part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, has added some final touches to complement its 199 guest rooms and dedicated meeting spaces.

The hotel now boasts a sophisticated bar area that can be booked for events of up to 300 guests, while its signature restaurant, Braddon Merchant, has revamped its lunch and dinner offering with a focus on local produce, under new executive chef Bernd Brademann.

Premium experiences

One of Canberra’s most loved food and wine destinations for both locals and visitors alike, Pialligo Estate, has an array of unique group offerings alongside its stunning event spaces.

The team can tailor corporate experiences for all types of groups, from chef masterclasses and farm tours showcasing their house-smoked meats and other delicious produce, to team building activities within the expansive property.

The venue recently hosted 450 delegates for The Australian Hotels Association’s ACT Hospitality and Tourism Awards, utilising the vast outdoor areas for the seated dinner event.

Meanwhile for Shaw Wines, after a challenging 2020 which saw its vineyards wiped out by bushfire smoke taint right before the pandemic ensued, the winery is forging ahead with enticing experiences for groups.

Their most premium offering, Shaw Escapes, sees small VIP groups fly from Sydney to Canberra on board a private aircraft, before stepping onto a helicopter for a scenic flight and landing at the winery.

After a private tasting of Shaw’s Estate Range Wines, the group then makes its way down to the private cellar for a three-course lunch experience. It’s an impressive way to see the region, even for the most well-travelled delegates.

Flexible venues

The NCCC has been hosting large-scale events for many months now, which general manager Stephen Wood says is a “real show of confidence” for the business events sector.

Set over two floors with natural light streaming in, the centre offers large spaces such as the 2,000-square-metre exhibition hall and the 762-square-metre pillarless ballroom. NCCC have virtual and hybrid events covered too, with a dedicated production suite located on site.

Perhaps one of Canberra’s biggest draw cards is the vast opportunities for unique events in some of the most iconic venues. National landmarks such as the National Arboretum, the National Gallery and the Australian War Memorial can all be booked for corporate events, offering a memorable backdrop for meetings and conferences through to cocktail events and gala dinners.

This article originally appeared in the Winter issue of Spice Magazine.
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