Some of Rotorua's most glamorous residents have dressed in big hats, heels and happy smiles to get into the spirit of the Melbourne Cup.

At the Novotel, one of several venues around Rotorua showing the big race, silence fell until the final stretch of the race when the crowd erupted to cheer Almandin to victory.

Novotel Rotorua general manager Edward Judd said he was happy with the crowd at its event.

The place was decked out with big screens, and flowing champagne and live music kept the crowd entertained as they awaited the big race.

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"It's good that the rain stayed away. I think it's what Rotorua wants, a bit of glamour. It's a chance to dress up and the girls love it - and secretly the guys love it as well," Mr Judd said.

Ike Unsworth from Bayleys Rotorua said his office had taken the afternoon off to get dressed up and watch the races.

"We do something every year. It's good to get involved in the community. It's a good day to come out and it's good for work morale," he said.

Rotorua fashion designer Kharl WiRepa was there too - he said he was glad to see everyone dressed up.

"It's very pleasing to see everyone looking beautiful," he said.

Fiona Hamilton dressed up for the event for a bit of fun.

"It's a fun day out and something different, it's always nice to get dressed up."