As a racing fan and long time VRC member the Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of my favourite times of the year and it all kicks off with Derby Day. I was lucky enough this year to be able to pop in to the Emirates marquee for part of the day. In a prime position overlooking the track the Emirates marquee is one of the most exclusive places to watch the races from but it’s not just about the horses.
This year the marquee was inspired by Emirates first and business class with a replica of the onboard bar which operates at the pointy end of the plane along with a dining area decorated with cloud like clusters of lights and sky blue walls. The whole structure is elevated to give you the best view of the track and ascending the stairs to the marquee is really a pinch me moment.
It wouldn’t be the races without champagne and there’s plenty of Mumm on offer along with a selection of cocktails to really get the party started. I was quite a fan of the fresh and zesty Yuzu Twist. The addition of a barista making coffee was very welcome later on in the day.
The food is very cleverly organised. There’s a raw fish and oyster bar with freshly shucked oysters from around Australia as the main centre piece.
Substantial finger food offerings include bowls of spicy prawns and rice, slow cooked duck, grilled lamb cutlets and at the end of the day paper cones of fish and chips know in catering circles as “the soak” to help mop up the effect of all that champagne.
There’s a pamper lounge for make up and hair touch ups (Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop was getting her hat adjusted when I was there). Plus Emirates is the only marquee to have fully plumbed toilets and avoiding the portaloo queue on race day is a luxury that cannot be overstated.
It was a real thrill to experience such amazing hospitality and gives a little peek into the charmed life of people who turn left when they get on the plane.
Big thanks to Emirates for having me as a guest.
Details: Emirates Melbourne Cup Marquee, Flemington. The carnival runs until Saturday 11 November.
Damage: Priceless. Money cannot buy this experience – it was amazing.