The Star recognised for outstanding hospitality achievements

The Star is thrilled to be a winner in four categories at this year’s prestigious 2015 Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) NSW Awards for Excellence, held Wednesday evening, 29 July.

For the second year running The Star has won Chef of the Year, with Chase Kojima, Executive Chef at Sokyo taking out this honour and Housekeeping Manager, Mila Szumska winning Housekeeper of the Year. Director of Banquets, Scott Bayne won Food and Beverage Employee of the Year and BLACK Bar at The Star’s signature dining restaurant, BLACK by ezard took out the title of Bar of the Year.

Greg Hawkins, Managing Director of The Star said their commitment to ensuring the highest standards of hospitality across the property’s accommodation, dining and entertainment offering is demonstrated in these award wins.

“The Star is proud to deliver the highest standards in tourism; it is an honour for our team members and facilities to be recognised by Tourism Accommodation Australia in this way.

“We encourage leadership across all areas of the property and are delighted that three of our best talents have been recognised for their leadership qualities, dedication to their profession and inspiring personalities. They are a credit to the whole property,” said Mr Hawkins.

The Star was also recognised as a finalist in 11 other categories at the TAA NSW Awards, including;

  • Bar of the Year Metropolitan Hotels – Momofuku Seiobo and Sokyo
  • Best Environmental Practices Metropolitan Hotels – The Star
  • Chef of the Year – Gabriele Taddeucci, Balla
  • Function Venue of the Year – The Star Event Centre
  • Health Club & Facilities of the Year – The Darling Spa
  • Metropolitan Restaurant of the Year (Deluxe Hotels) -Balla, BLACK by ezard, Momofuku Seiobo and Sokyo
  • Sydney Deluxe Hotel of the Year – The Darling

The TAA NSW Awards for Excellence are awarded annually to recognise the achievements and high quality of the accommodation sector.

Event Case Study: The Star Brings Home Gold for Australian Olympic Committee

Australian Olympic Fundraising Dinner
Australian Olympic Fundraising Dinner

NAME: Australian Olympic Committee – One Year to Go Appeal

TYPE: Gala Dinner

CLIENT: Australian Olympic Committee Inc.
PAX: 700

On Wednesday 5 August 2015, the Hon. Mike Baird, Premier of New South Wales was joined by 70 Olympians at The Star Event Centre, to help raise funds to prepare and send the Australian Olympic Team to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The event was a banquet dinner with a number of high profile attendees.

Combining brilliant Brazilian entertainment led by Australian entertainer Todd McKenney and Olympic theming, the Event Centre was appropriately decked out in a wash of gold, silver and bronze décor to motivate the athletes and the fundraising. The Star events team worked closely with the Australian Olympic Committee representatives to seamlessly deliver a delectable three course Brazilian banquet for 700 guests.

The evening’s entertainment comprised of performances from a range of entertainers including a troupe of Brazilian dancers and the Australian Girls’ Choir. Well known media personality Samantha Armyytage was the MC and NSW Premier Mike Baird made an engaging speech. The auction conducted by David ‘Kochie’ Koch, included items signed by high-profile Olympians on the night.

The Star literally rolled out the red carpet for the black tie event. VIPs, Olympians and other high profile guests entered the Event Centre where performers from dance troupe ‘Rhythm Brazil’ welcomed attendees as three Brazilian drummers and a DJ spun rhythmic tunes from the elevated Event Centre staircase. Guests were further greeted with a selection of beverages, including NV Domain Chandon Brut and Phillip Shaw Pinot Gris, as well as a selection of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

In addition to the gold, silver and bronze décor and Brazilian themed entertainment, a unique Brazilian inspired menu was crafted by Chetan Agho, Chef De Cuisine at the Event Centre, with each dish complemented with a short description on the table menus. Guests dined on succulent spanner crab with a baby gem salad, mango lime salsa and cashew praline for the entrée, slow braised lamb shoulder accompanied by creamy polenta and kale for the main course, and topped off with a scrumptious dessert of The Star’s prized vanilla panna cotta with strawberry sorbet, honeycomb, meringue and fresh seasonal berries.

To accommodate the signing of auction items by Olympians, the Attic at the Event Centre became the perfect venue space, hosting an operable wall to section off the area throughout the duration of the function. Four clothed trestle tables were placed along the back wall and all of the auction items were brought to the area for signing, including three full size Australian flags framed and placed on easels.

Australian Olympic Team sponsor Swisse, were accommodated cleverly with their branded hand soaps placed in all bathrooms for use by guests.

The large delegation of attendees travelling from interstate presented an accommodation challenge which was easily met by The Star’s range of onsite hotels, The Darling and Astral Tower and Residences, ensuring all attendees had a comfortable, streamlined and convenient stay.
As a fundraising goal-orientated event, another challenge was to ensure the budget was strictly adhered to ensure maximum return on investment for the Australian Olympic Committee. The Star’s thorough planning and in person briefings, coupled with an extensive and easily digestible run sheet, ensured the delivery of every aspect of this event was perfectly within budget. The Star also provided in-house security escorts to ensure the safe collection and transportation of all funds raised on the evening.

Feeding all  700 guests seated around 63 themed banquet tables for the three course dinner was already a tall order, and one which was made nonetheless more complicated by the  50 unique dietary requirements from various guests. Effortlessly adapting to these requirements, the banquet team and wait staff were able to meet these culinary constraints and accommodate all special requests with aplomb, exceeding all expectations.

The huge contingent of entertainers – including a 24 person strong Brazilian dance troupe, 12 piece band and 50 Australian Girls’ Choir performers – presented a unique challenge in terms of finding the resources, space and facilities to accommodate absolutely everyone in comfort. In response, The Star developed a run sheet which was strictly adhered to and outlined to-the-minute arrivals, while ensuring all crew and performers had dedicated backstage/dressing room areas with food and refreshments provided during their stay.

In addition, to accommodate Olympians signing auction items, the Attic at The Star was converted quickly and seamlessly from a backstage area, into a dedicated signing area, and then back again within the space of half an hour.

The Star have been great to deal with. We worked well together to deliver this event – which doubled as an important fundraiser for our 2016 Australian Olympic Team. The venue worked very well, and The Star’s management on site was attentive and seamless. Our guests and Olympians enjoyed the Dinner – so we are happy – and we are pleased to have re-booked for our second major Sydney dinner in 2016.

Event Case Study: Emerald Ball ups the ante

Emerald Ball 2015 - The Star Event Centre 4
Emerald Ball 2015 – The Star Event Centre

NAME: Emerald Ball

TYPE: Charity gala dinner

CLIENT: Kids Rehab at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

PAX: 850 guests


For the third year in a row, the highly anticipated Emerald Ball was held at The Star Event Centre on Saturday 30 May 2015. The Star and Emerald Ball team worked hand-in-hand throughout the entire event production process sharing ideas, providing support and offering AV production expertise.

The sold out 2015 event hosted more than 850 guests in the Event Centre for an evening of an emerald themed room with superb entertainment which showcased the venue’s state of the art facilities – all lauded by the Emerald Ball team and attendees, as well as presenters and performers alike.

Guests enjoyed an array of fine cuisine including citrus cured Tasmanian salmon and braised beef short rib for entrée, slow roasted corn-fed chicken breast and beef tenderloin for main, followed by a sensational milk chocolate passion fruit delice for dessert.

Entertainment acts took to the stage seamlessly, thanks to The Star’s exemplary technical and AV offering. Performers included rock legend Jimmy Barnes, platinum award-winning artist Alex Lloyd and comedian Tom Gleeson, while the ever-funny Vince Sorrenti handled the MC duties.

Many of the international and interstate guests traveling to Sydney specifically for the event stayed at The Star’s onsite luxury accommodation, The Darling and Astral Towers & Residences.

The 2015 event was an overwhelming success, well exceeding the fundraising target set by the client and breaking the previous years’ record by achieving a net profit of $685,000.


The continued success and growth of the Emerald Ball forced event organisers in 2013 to source a new, bigger and better venue that could accommodate all their needs with flexibility, flair and efficiency. With few event spaces in Sydney able to accommodate this request and after extensive location scouting, it was decided that The Star Event Centre was ideal; offering a generously sized venue as well as onsite accommodation for guests travelling from interstate, an absolutely essential component to the successful execution of the Emerald Ball.

This year, the foyer of the Event Centre was used to host the silent auction and provide guests with refreshments prior to the evening kicking off. In addition guests were able to take in the Sydney skyline view from Sky Terrace that was reserved exclusively for Emerald Ball attendees.


Due to the charitable nature of the event, The Star event team and the Emerald Ball organising committee worked together to find a solution that would not only wow attendees but allow for the greatest fundraising opportunities possible. This meant that it was imperative to keep costs as low as possible while still creating a lively and enjoyable event for attendees, with flawless technical production, delicious food and beverage for 850 guests in a banquet setting, plus an array of spectacular entertainment.

The detailed communication and event briefs set up by The Star prior to the event worked flawlessly, giving the client peace of mind that all parties were aware of their roles and minimising risk.

The Star and Emerald Ball’s mutual dedication, commitment and investment in producing first class events is key to their continued relationship, with Emerald Ball already booked to take place again at The Star Event Centre for a fourth year in a row in 2016.


“We have a great partnership with The Star and are both equally dedicated in our commitment to producing first class events! This mutual respect and shared vision are the key ingredients to both our success. We would like to sincerely thank The Star for helping us host a spectacular night inclusive of superb cuisine, first class production and phenomenal service. I have no doubt the 2016 Emerald Ball on Saturday 21 May at The Star Event Centre, will be another blockbuster event!”

Tess Assaad, Event Manger, Emerald Ball

Photo credit: Pat Brunet / Event Photos Australia

Meet the Team: John Autelitano, General Manager of Hotels

John Autelitano, General Manager of Hotels (2)
John Autelitano, General Manager of Hotels

A highly experienced hotel executive, John Autelitano, General Manager of Hotels, oversees the management of The Darling Hotel and Spa, and Astral Tower and Residences at Sydney’s premier events and entertainment destination, The Star.

John leads the experienced and passionate team, bringing with him an in-depth knowledge of luxury-tier hospitality and a career portfolio spanning more than 18 years. John has worked with global brands The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott International across Asia Pacific, the Caribbean and the United States.

John is a proven professional in strategic planning, hotel operational design, and concept development. His dedication to excellence in service and demonstrated track record of achieving superior hotel ratings and delivering outstanding results makes him a major asset to the team and The Star.

Connect with John on LinkedIn 

The Star Sydney shares tips for the perfect conference

The Star Event Centre - Conference
The Star Event Centre – Conference

Having hosted over 400 events since The Star Event Centre opened in January 2013, The Star Sydney’s team of diversely experienced event professionals delved into their collaborative brains trust to extract their top 5 tips and tricks to engage attendees and host a successful mid-sized conference.

The Star’s team used their knowledge from hosting some of the most successful conferences in Sydney over the past 12 months, including the World Business Forum for 2,047 pax, the Hair Expo for 5,400 pax and the Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium attracting over 1,200 local and intrastate delegates to The Star.


As Paula Capasso, Business Development Manager MICE believes, content is king and it’s vital that the content selected for the conference is relevant for the delegates.

“It’s imperative that the content is thought provoking – no one likes a hard sell! Conferences provide a unique opportunity to share knowledge, strengthen networks and inspire people so use the time you have with your audience wisely.

“Technology can assist in communicating your content, especially when it’s used creatively with interactive elements,” said Ms Capasso.


Are your guests getting bored? Have they attended the same conference at the same venue for the past few years?

Jayson Heron, Director of Sales knows what it takes to wow an audience and selecting a venue that will support you on your mission to invigorate your audience is the first step.

“It’s true what they say, variety is the spice of life! At The Star we are privileged to operate The Star Event Centre, as well as a number of breakout spaces across Sydney’s only integrated resort. For a unique networking lunch, try a Fork and Walk style of event and lead your attendees on a culinary journey,” said Mr Heron.


Shake up the schedule. Wendy Byrne, ‎Business Development Manager MICE suggests having two (or more) concurrent sessions tailored to your audience’s needs.

“Consider having managers in one space listening to a speaker relevant to them, whilst staff are in a different space engaging in an interactive workshop. The best conferences offer diversity of content. You’ll know it’s worked if both teams then come together and share what they’ve learnt with the others!” said Ms Byrne.

  1. IT’S THE ‘B’ WORD

Yes, the budget. If the budget is limited, focus on one key speaker who can ensure the conference is memorable.

Amanda Lovett, Assistant Director of Sales at The Star believes one highlight speaker is more engaging than multiple average speakers.

“If budget is limited, spend wisely on one key speaker who will produce a topical, even controversial conversation rather than multiple general speakers. Remember that in-house staff and managers can run sessions and provide excellent discussion for your conference,” said Ms Lovett.


Food is at the heart of great experiences and fantastic food and beverage options are key to ensuring your conference delegates are happy.

Andy North, General Manager of Food and Beverage believes event cuisine is critical to the overall event experience which is reflected in his inspiring selection of menus available.

“An amazing culinary selection will do more than just draw your guests out of the office and into the conference venue. It will inspire conversations, encourage networking and most importantly leave a lasting impression.

“We love to see food and beverage smartly merged into the theme and ambiance of the conference, bringing attendees closer to the action and leading them on a sensory journey with the Chef,” said Mr North.

What’s On At The Star

Matilda The Musical – Don’t miss the inspiring story live on stage at Sydney Lyric.

Thomas Kelly Foundation TAKE Kare Gala Ball – This event will raise funds to prevent further alcohol fueled violence.

Luxperience – This business forum connects the world’s most exclusive travel providers dealing in luxury and experiential travel. Make sure you stop by our stand 1703. In addition, The Star Event Centre will welcome over 500 guests to celebrate the first ever Luxperience Awards in September.

Good Food Month – Sydney’s premier entertainment destination, The Star Sydney, has cooked up a month of culinary events and great offers to celebrate Good Food Month. So prepare to treat yourself to something special.

Melbourne Cup at The Star – Whether you love the glamour, the fine food, the fashion or the pulse-quickening excitement of thoroughbred racing, you won’t miss a moment of the action at The Star. We have a range of fabulous Melbourne Cup functions to celebrate the race that stops a nation.

Christmas Parties and Christmas Day Packages at The Star – Celebrate Christmas and the end of 2016 with work colleagues, family or friends at The Star.

Matilda The Musical
Matilda The Musical