Christmas in Australia is all seafood, sunshine and sandy toes. It’s balmy long afternoons of eating and drinking that melt into evenings spent with friends and family. Preferably, all of these things are done right by the waterside, and this is where Sydney’s beautiful Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel comes in.
Perched right on the waterfront at Watsons Bay, the chic hotel and function venue is serving sunny vibes and fun experiences to get the Christmas spirit flowing this festive season.
We caught up with Event Coordinator Rebecca Fanning to get a behind the scenes insight into the venue’s unique approach to festive functions and events.
If you were planning an end of year function at Watsons Bay, perhaps a workshop followed by a Christmas celebration, what would you recommend?
Our Harbour View Conference Room is a beautiful, bright conference space with large windows that frame the harbour. Host an afternoon workshop here then finish with a bespoke Espresso Martini cart, a well earned treat after an afternoon or work!
To really get the party going, I’d follow the workshop with Sunset canapes and cocktails on our lovely open aired terrace, Mid Deck. Continue the party here or head up to dine in our semi-alfresco beach-chic space, Top Deck. This space can even be personalised with your own private DJ!
Do you have a favourite space at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel?
Different spaces suit different occasions, but with the upcoming summer season in mind, I’d definitely say the Top Deck is my favourite for a Christmas party. This is a newly refurbished semi-al fresco area that takes in the magic of Sydney Harbour. Complete with a private bar and state-of-the-art PA system, it also has a retractable roof to suit whatever the weather throws our way. Located at the top of our venue, overlooking the beach, it is the perfect space for a canapé soiree or seated dinner at sunset.
What’s the most unique event you’ve ever hosted at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel?
Last year we hosted a huge Havana themed event for 700 McDonald’s employees! They hired the entire beach club and partied across three levels.
The space was transformed into a Havana themed oasis, with each space dressed meticulously to match the theme. Guests arrived by ferry and were greeted by dancers at the wharf before being lead through the venue to experience the magic of the space. Body contortionists perched on podiums as guests danced to DJ Havana Brown.
Gourmet food stations added an extra element of fun, inviting guests to feast on fresh seafood, smoky paella and vibrant tropical fruits.
Do you have any overall event planning tips for first-timers? Perhaps for the new EA that’s been heaped with the task of a Christmas party?
1. Timing is everything.
Everyone wants waterfront views in the summertime! To make sure you lock in the exact date you want. My top tip would be to enquire as early as January.
Would you prefer a lazy long lunch in the sunshine, or a more sophisticated dinner event? Most venues will have pre-determined lunch and dinner seatings, so it’s important to decide which one suits your brief and budget best.
2. Don’t forget the fun
Entertainment and decorations are key to ensuring a spectacular event that your guests will remember. Can the venue arrange entertainment for you? Or, can you bring your own? Are there noise restrictions for late evening events? And, what decorations are allowed?
At Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, we have a number of activities and experiences that you can add to make your event is truly memorable. From wine tasting and cocktail masterclasses, to whale watching or a pre-party on a boat.
3. Feast well
Menus are generally seasonal, so ask your coordinator to send the most up to date version when planning your event. The best way to approach an event menu is to sit down with your coordinator and go through all the options. Most venues, including Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, can create a bespoke package, so always ask if there’s a special dish you’re after that’s not on the standard menu.
With a warm summertime in mind, we have created an extensive feasting menu that includes traditional classics with a summery Australian twist. Think glazed Berkshire Christmas ham and peach chutney followed by Ora king salmon with spiced tomato compote, sorrel and lemon aioli.
You’ll likely want to have a mixture of lighter and substantial options to keep all of your guests satisfied. Remember to find out dietary requirements from your guests to ensure everyone is catered for. Venues can usually cater for them separately so don’t worry about choosing a menu to suit everyone.
Any last words of wisdom?
However you decide to celebrate, make it spectacular! Put on your dancing shoes and lean into the inevitable sense of summertime fun.
Looking for a space that’s perfectly prepped for the uniquely Australian festive season? Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel are taking last minute Christmas party bookings via Venuemob >>>