Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel that Paris Hilton calls home when visiting …

  • The Palazzo Versace Hotel was the world’s first 5-star fashion-house-branded hotel when it opened in 2000
  • Celebrity guests have included Beyonce and Jay Z, Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson Jennifer Lopez and Rod Stewart
  • All the Versace fabrics lining the hotel are imported from Milan and embody the vision of the late Gianni Versace

By Jessica Satherley1

Published: 07:46 GMT, 8 September 2015 | Updated: 11:15 GMT, 8 September 2015

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My memories of Australia consist of lounging across golden beaches and photographing exotic wildlife. I don t associate the land Down Under with the opulent palaces found in Europe or its high fashion so as I sashayed through the grand doors of the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Australia s Gold Coast, I was taken aback by its grandeur. The antique chandelier that greeted me in the lobby once hung in the grand State Library of Milan, but now sits almost 9,000 miles away from its homeland.

Imported Roman marble columns run through the structure and every piece of purple, gold and yellow fabric lining the chairs, pillows, and bed linen is all Versace fabric shipped from Milan. Vaulted ceilings are hand-detailed in gold embodying the vision of the late Gianni Versace and his impeccable taste for luxury.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Luxury Down Under: The Palazzo Versace in Australia’s Gold Coast (pictured) was the world s first 5-star fashion-house-branded hotel when it opened in 2000, they are now celebrating their 15th anniversary

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Celebrity hotspot: Paris Hilton pictured driving up to the Palazzo Versace Hotel in the Gold Coast, Australia, in 2003

For a moment I felt as though I had been transported to Milan s Versace boutique. The brand s timeless beauty effortlessly runs through every tile in the hotel and I was only reminded that I was Down Under when an immaculately dressed hotel porter greeted me with her Australian accent. The Versace even has its very own signature scent pumped through the air conditioning and in oil burners throughout the hallways and lobby.

It’s not surprising that the hotel is a celebrity favorite for stars such as Beyonce and Jay Z, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez and Rod Stewart when they pass through the Gold Coast. It is also the designer accommodation each year for British reality stars appearing in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here as the perilous jungle is located just a couple of miles away. Luckily I wasn’t camping with Queensland’s snakes and venomous spiders though; I was staying at the Palazzo Versace for my best friend’s wedding.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Decadent lobby: The antique chandelier that sits in the Palazzo Versace’s lobby (pictured) once hung in the grand State Library of Milan, the vaulted ceilings have been hand-painted in gold and Roman marble columns run through the structure

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ... Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

High profile guests: Pamela Anderson pictured walking through the Palazzo Versace Hotel Down Under when she stayed in 2008

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

High fashion hotel: All the Versace fabrics lining the chairs, pillows and bed linen in the hotel are imported from Milan and embody the vision of the late Gianni Versace

This year marks the hotel s 15th anniversary. It was the world s first 5-star fashion-house-branded hotel when it opened in 2000 and they now pride themselves on being a luxury wedding venue too. The 200-room hotel boasts a ‘fairy tale’ wedding experience and their in-house wedding co-ordinator David made sure my best friend Genie s wedding lived up to its reputation without any glitches. I realized his military-like precision to detail at the wedding rehearsal.

The other bridesmaids and I were informed of our roles, as the bride practiced her walk up the aisle and vows with her soon-to-be husband Matt. The practice rounds took away any nerves ahead of the big day, as we were all prepped and ready to embark on Genie s magical ceremony. And a fairy-tale it was. David was with us every step of the way, even briefing Genie on updates as our hair and make-up was being perfected amid high tea in one of the Versace s luxury suites just hours before the ceremony kicked off.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Designer sleep: The luxury suites are lined in Versace fabrics and have balconies overlooking the pools outside

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Exotic backdrop: The hotel suits overlook the Versace pools, palm trees and the Gold Coast’s ocean

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ... Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Tribute to Gianni: The handmade Versace mosaic at the hotel (left) illustrates the logo of the famous Italian fashion company, founded by the Gianni Versace, and the designer fabrics are all imported from Italy (right)

Delectable cupcakes, scones with jam and cream, macaroons and champagne were delivered to our large two-room lagoon-view suite. The extra space allowed our group of nine people to get ready in enough space throughout our preparations. Versace provides this lagoon suite complimentary to the bride and groom for two nights. Genie had been planning her Versace wedding for six months with the hotel.

The Palazzo recommends that couples book the venue between six months to a year before their nuptials but they have taken last minute brides and grooms on occasion. One couple from China called the hotel two weeks before they wanted to wed and they managed to make it happen. When it was time for Genie s big moment, David ushered us down to the lobby, where that grand chandelier seemed to wink at us with a sparkle, as if to say it was time.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Here comes the bride: Bride Genie was walked into the ceremony room of the Versace by her father as the string quartet played its procession song, The Queen of Sheeba

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ... Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Fairy tale wedding: The bride, Genie, and her new husband Matt, posed for wedding photos by the Versace lagoon and mosaic waterfall feature

As the string quartet played its processional song, The Queen of Sheeba, we made our way over to the ceremony room. David signaled the tiny flower girls to make their way up the aisle first, followed by myself and three other bridesmaids and lastly Genie. The ceremony room, located in the ground floor of the four-storied sprawling hotel, holds up to 70 guests.

Versace s weddings mainly cater for between 40 and 70 guests keeping the affair intimate and luxurious for each person. But there are several venues that can cater to the perfect wedding La Finestra for 20 to 48 guests, Vie Bar and Restaurant for a minimum of 100 guests, Vanitas restaurant for 40 to 70 guests and La Medusa Ballroom for 100 to 270 guests. Each venue has its own signature style and offers something unique.

After the vows, the guests enjoyed post-ceremony canap s and drinks served in Le Jardin bar, overlooking the Versace pools and palm trees as a scenic backdrop, as the bridal party was photographed by the lagoon and mosaic waterfall feature.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Fine dining: The wedding reception was held in Vanitas restaurant inside the Palazzo Versace Hotel, which overlooks the lagoon

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Waterfront wedding: The Versace sits on a marina in the Gold Coast, which the new bride and groom strolled around after their wedding

Canap s are followed by fine dining at Vanitas Restaurant, also alongside the lagoon reviewed as the best restaurant in Australia s Gold Coast and awarded the most fashionable restaurant around the world by Harper s Bazaar. The dining room features a 13-meter canvas painting presenting the life of Gianni Versace showing the loves of his life, inspired by his book Do Not Disturb. It is hard not to be distracted from the decor though once the first of four courses, pinot noir and Veuve Clicquot start to arrive upon Versace China of course.

Bite-sized hors d oeuvres of Amuse Bouche first tantalized our taste buds, followed by heirloom tomato, goats curd, Thai basil and nasturtium as a starter. Next was a choice of wagu, smoked potato, black garlic, red onion and ox tongue or the grouper with cashew, green papaya, bok choi and affilia. Desert had to be my favourite meal though a valrhona creation of dulcey, Caribe, sweet corn and salted caramel. That was my pick but other guests could also choose from a strawberry, matcha tea and white chocolate desert or fine cheeses.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Idyllic location: The Palazzo Versace hotel is located on Australia’s gorgeous coastline in the Gold Coast

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Coastal retreat: The Palazzo Versace lies between a marina (on the left) and the beach (to its right) and is surrounded by its own pools too

It s unusual for wedding guests to be able to choose their own menus, and at the Versace it will increase the bill by an extra $10 per head – on top of the $330 per person cost. The Versace is not for brides and grooms on a budget. But there are ways to keep the prices down. Although the hotel provides its own florist and has a preferred supplier for hair, makeup artists, band and photographers brides and grooms can also source their own external experts and negotiate their prices.

Genie s wedding was definitely one of the most decadent ceremonies I have been to and for couples wanting a venue that differs from a church or vineyard and creates the possibility of an adventurous honeymoon in Australia, the Versace is perfect. The glamour of Italy s finest architecture amidst a backdrop of Australian sunshine and wildlife creates the perfect mix for an exotic I DO Down Under.

SURVIVING THE LONG HAUL FLIGHT: THE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

High life: Jessica’s experience on board a Qantas 747 was the business

It s one thing to plan a trip to Australia from the UK or U.S but it s another thing sit, or try and sleep on a plane for over 21 hours. I have survived that flight in economy many times but when you need to appear as a bridesmaid post-flight at your best friend s wedding, just surviving won t do.

That s where business class can transform a journey from hell into a time to catch up on your sleep and arrive Down Under looking fresh faced and ready to go. My Qantas Business Experience2 started in their lounge at JFK, where I could escape the chaotic airport atmosphere and relax with a cup of tea and snack before the flight. Once boarding the Qantas Boeing 747, I was routinely greeted with a glass of champagne and a menu to pre-order my meals for dinner and breakfast.

I was also personally welcomed by the steward, who presented me with a Kate Spade bag of toiletries and my Qantas cotton pajamas to slip into my slumber. After watching a few films from New York to Los Angeles, I was able to recline my seat back to a full 180 degrees. The steward quickly fitted a custom mattress to the ‘bed’ and I slept almost the entire journey from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Being able to recline completely flat is the main difference between Premium Economy and Business, but that in itself is the only thing on a long haul flight that will ensure the best possible sleep without taking sleeping pills. However, considering the price difference, Premium Economy is still a great option to have a comfortable long haul flight and the individual service and extra space still tops Economy for an affordable price. When I woke up in Business I was able to enjoy my banana bread, yogurt and coffee quickly for breakfast before landing and feeling ready to walk down the aisle without a jet-lagged daze in my eyes.

Inside The Palazzo Versace Hotel That Paris Hilton Calls Home When Visiting ...

Flying in style: Jessica said that after travelling business class a ‘jet-lagged daze’ was happily absent

TRAVEL FACTS

Qantas Business Class return seats from New York s JFK to Sydney start from $11,987.

Premium Economy return from New York s JFK to Sydney start from $3,687.

The Gold Coast, home of the Palazzo Versace Hotel, is a one hour flight north of Sydney on local airlines. Rooms at the Palazzo Versace Hotel3 start from $357 ( 234) per night. Wedding package prices vary.

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References

  1. ^ Jessica Satherley (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ Qantas Business Experience (www.qantas.com.au)
  3. ^ Palazzo Versace Hotel (www.palazzoversace.com.au)

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