Style Melbourne

A Very Grand Christmas

Living Grand at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Grand Hyatt just threw a trio of festively seasonal parties around the globe in Melbourne, New York and Berlin. Simply because they could! I always say life’s too short not to take advantage of any excuse to celebrate (thus I’m hosting a Christmas eve eve supper next week). Our version at Grand Hyatt Melbourne’s The Residence – the best of the three intimate soirees, naturally – had an Australian flavour in addition to snowy circus acts, masked operatic singers and surprising cuisine by genius chef Jason Oven. While you or I may not have a cast of thousands, a personal chef or, frankly, the budget to host a party on such a grand scale, the hotel has certainly inspired me nonetheless. Here’s a few ideas on how to start #livinggrand as often as possible!

– Offering a cocktail before dinner breaks the ice. Keep flavours – and alcohol content – on the lighter side especially during summer. One can be enough here.

– Objects grouped en masse make an impact. Be it a row of Christmas stockings, multiple bunches of flowers or lots of candles gathered together.

– Everything looks more sophisticated when served in a martini glass. A hassle free dessert can be a few flavoured vodkas splashed over a few different ice-cream flavours or meringues. Let guests choose their own combinations. This also doubles as after dinner drinks. Bonus!

Nitrogen ice cream station matched with belvedere vodkas - Living Grand at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

– Another magical dessert idea is to buy clear glass or plastic ornaments, or even mini DIY terrariums, with an opening in bulk (hello, eBay). Serve non-perishable desserts inside them and display them by hanging them on your Christmas tree. When the time comes provide your guests with a pretty pair of scissors to cut down their own treat. If that’s all-too-Martha-Stewart for your taste, just buy the desserts ready made (I won’t tell); good quality macarons, chocolate truffles (if it’s not too hot a day) or lamingtons and fresh berries are perfect for adorning a tannenbaum.

– Forget Poinsettias. Don’t discount Australian blooms for Christmas or throughout the year – they can seem just as exotic and expensive-looking as imported flowers. Plus they add that irreplaceable scent of “home” which is what the season is all about. Best of all you might be able to find enough in your own backyard.

– Inspired by Grand Hyatt’s place settings, the foliage of native plants – think eucalyptus or sunny acacia – can take your gift wrapping to the next level. Just pop a sprig underneath as you tie the present’s bow.

Furniture by Dann Event Hire - Living Grand at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

– Tea just seems welcoming to me, and is important in many cultures. Grand Hyatt’s version of “billy tea” was a high end savoury amuse-bouche; think of the prettiest tomato consommé you can imagine. But you can get a similar effect by designing your own personalised tea ceremony. Perhaps you want something special for after dinner before guests head home to rest their weary heads? Or you might want to welcome an international visitor who’s staying with you in a simple yet impressive fashion? Simply gather different fragrant herbs in bundles and offer these with a selection of different tea bags to your guests so they can make their own combinations to taste.

– Embrace the occasion. Grand Hyatt achieved this by serving dishes gift-wrapped and showering us with 40 kilos of paper snow. Not that I suggest you go this far. Perhaps collect fancy chocolate boxes (once they’re empty) and serve condiments and flavourings in them, only to be unwrapped once guests are seated. Or throw a few white sequins around your dining table. It’s fun and who cares if it’s a little kitschy: who has time for people who lack a sense of humour about such things?

– Anything that’s interactive or nostalgic is sure to entice and engage guests. If all else fails just serve more chocolate (or vodka…or both).

Billy Tea: Heirloom tomato tea clouds, herb bouquet garni - Living Grand at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

– Make a pinnacle “moment”: perhaps it’s as simple as turning some opera music up loud as you bring in dessert, or keeping dishes under a cloche until they are served, or having a whole different space decked out for after dinner time. Even if the rest of your event is simple, choose one element and go all the way.

– It’s all about the mood lighting. It’s a classic tip; but candlelight makes everyone looks more beautiful.

Merry Christmas. Remember it’s not possessions but experiences and sharing them with people that make for a rich, grand life. Visit the fine folk at Grand Hyatt Melbourne for some cheer at 123 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Let it snow! - Living Grand at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

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