High rollers and steak lovers line up for Gold Coast glamour.
Story: Derek Powell
Nineteen at The Star:
The Darling at The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach QLD
(07) 5592 8719 or www.star.com.au/goldcoast
Boasting “the perfect combination of boutique design and luxury”, the new Darling Hotel at the Gold Coast’s Star Casino features 56 suites that range from luxurious all the way to palatial with penthouses that can set you back as much as $6000 a night. When The Star Gold Coast looked to open a signature venue at the very top of the new Darling Hotel tower, they didn’t take a gamble on its success. Instead, Star invited proven industry winners, each at the peak of their game to make the most of what is literally the Gold Coast’s top location.
The sophisticated eatery encompasses a 110-seat restaurant matched by an ultra-stylish lounge bar which can accommodate 300-plus. Taking charge is an A-team combination of restaurateur Simon Gloftis and entertainment/PR doyens Billy and Jacki Cross. All three hit the ground running to ensure the first year of operation has been spectacular.
Simon Gloftis has followed up the runaway success of Hellenika and the two-hat awarded Fish House with a deft hand at Nineteen at The Star. Together with head chef, Kelvin Andrews, he has scoured the land (and the sea) for the absolute top quality produce. Kiwami Wagyu beef from Stockland’s Kerwee feedlot on the Darling Downs was only available in top restaurants in Asia and the US before Simon wangled an exclusive deal for his restaurant. Now the exquisite Wagyu, awarded as Australia’s finest beef, is only available in Australia at Nineteen, as a 400g sirloin for a beefy $240 a plate.
One-time Manpower star, Vegas operator, and local legend Billy Cross has previously owned nine nightclubs in Surfer’s Paradise. He knows a thing or two about creating an atmosphere and has worked to create the best rooftop bar in Australia. With the backdrop of the unmatched Gold Coast view, he’s targeting the over-25s with what he promises is an “edgy but classy feel”. His partner, PR queen and marketing guru Jacki Cross, has delivered an A-list celebrity clientele that has seen the venue become the place to be during every Gold Coast event from the Commonwealth Games to the TV Week Logies after-party.
Morale amongst the staff is riding high, as Nineteen at The Star duty manager Lee Donily explained during a recent visit by venue. “It’s a golden age to be here in the Casino,” he confided. “A massive amount of money has been spent in making The Star Australia’s leading integrated resort. Everyone’s enthusiastic; everyone’s on a high; everyone’s pushing each other to be better.”
For Lee, the crucial factor is service and that means creating the best possible team. “We hire on personality,” he explained. “I don’t care how experienced you are, if you’re not warm, friendly and willing to go above and beyond for your guests to create those experiences — in the casino we say ‘thrilling experiences’ — then you’re not the person for us. Creating that culture and that level of service makes people talk about the Gold Coast; talk about this Casino; talk about coming back — and actually coming back. We have many regulars at a high calibre internationally, locally and also domestically. So I think it’s working well.”
With the three pillars of offering, atmosphere and service a sure bet, there is one thing that remained a gamble nineteen floors up — the weather. The day venue visited, a brisk south-easterly and chilly squalls was keeping punters away from the outdoors at ground level. But not on the nineteenth floor. s inconspicuous as they were effective, a bevy of Bromic heaters kept the crowds on the lounge bar terrace glued to the spectacular views and happily imbibing the signature cocktails.
So how important is heating, even on the Gold Coast? “Extremely!” Lee laughed. “The outdoor offering makes up some 50 percent of our bar floorspace and the bar generates a large proportion of our revenue. So it’s very important. We’re a premier venue and we need premier products that look good and work well. That’s why Bromic has been chosen. It’s done its job for close to a year now. So if our customers are cold; we turn the heat on. Instant happiness!”
Bromic Heating: 1300 276 642 or www.bromic.com.au