by James Ridenour
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Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival – An InterContinental Life

Each year Australia’s élite invite the world to come out and enjoy the sport of Kings during Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival.  The carnival is a six-week festival of sports and fashion combined with a social extravaganza like no other.  Party goers revel in the sport alongside some of the world’s most serious racing aficionados.  There are a number of races throughout the carnival however the three most popular days are Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day and Oaks Day.  Derby Day is the favourite for the serious horse racing set with the highest concentration of quality races in one day.  Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops the nation and for 3 minutes on the first Tuesday in November everyone in Australia is glued to their TV sets to see if they backed a winner.  Victorians get a public holiday to celebrate the occasion and incredibly Australia bets an astounding 250 million plus on the Melbourne Cup race alone.  Oaks Day is ladies day where the fashion becomes as important as the racing.  Heels, hats, fascinators, bags, hair, make-up and jewels all set the scene for a day that is not to be missed.

The social and fashion hub of the racing season are the marquees which are constructed each year in the area known as the birdcage.  The history of the birdcage goes back several years when Louis Vuitton first erected a marquee to host their most valuable clients at the races.  Louis Vuitton has long since left the birdcage but their trail blazing vision has endured and the birdcage is the most sought after ticket for the races.  Each year a number of corporations vie for the top location in the birdcage and then commence building themed luxury enclosures for their guests to enjoy Australia’s finest racing in comfort, style and luxury.  Tickets to the birdcage are invitation only and with many companies spending well over a million dollars just constructing their enclosures birdcage tickets are always the hottest in town.  Once the racing enclosures have been constructed the serious business of catering and entertainment take over with rivals out-glamming each other in a bid to become the enclosure of the season.  Champagne flows, bets are places and Melbourne is the winner.

Our Oaks Day started at the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto where guests of the hotel were hosted by our General Manager, Joerg Boeckeler.  The party started in the Rakis on Collins pop-up glamour lounge.  Rakis on Collins is widely regarded as Melbourne’s leading artistic hair salon.  Stavros, James and their team of experts brought their special extravagant flair to the hotel especially for our guests.  The pampering began early in the day and our lucky guests enjoyed hair and makeup styling in the glamour lounge.  Meanwhile our other guests enjoyed the transformation of the hotel lobby into a racing carnival extravaganza complete with astro turf ‘green VIP carpets’, racing decorations, a Mumm’s champagne lounge and a Nesspresso Aguila station.  Guests were glamoured, pampered, champered and caffinated for their race day adventure.  Everyone loved the carnival atmosphere and the event was a major success.

Upon departure our transportation to and from the races was provided by the InterContinental’s brand new Audi A8 hotel limousine, the utmost in InterContinental luxury.  Once at the races we enjoyed the hospitality of several enclosures in the birdcage.  The sun shone, the roses were in full glory (Flemington race track is Australia’s largest rose garden), the horses raced, there were winners and losers (yours truly got the trifecta on the Oaks race!) and a great time was had by all.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the event and I invite you to experience any of Melbourne’s special events at the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, where we do Melbourne luxury best.  As Chief Concierge and I am so very proud of my hotel and our team.  Our iconic and historic building is like no other in the world and our hotel is at its best during Melbourne’s great events.  The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is creating quite a buzz in Melbourne; just wait and see what’s in store for the Australian Open.  I invite you to come and experience an InterContinental life for yourself.  We are all very proud of what we do and we will be pleased to personalise your Melbourne adventure and create a little Melbourne magic for you.

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