From hip hotels a stone’s throw from city bars to plush addresses ideal for business or leisure, Melbourne has it all when it comes to world-class lodgings. Game, set, check in.
Dec 28, 2022 3:27am
Looking for a hotel to rest your head in Melbourne? Take your pick from this mix of old and new, edgy and stately.
Crown Metropol is a far cry from clichés of casino hotels. Instead of plush pile and complimentary chips it’s all clean lines, Danish-influenced design and casual, even quirky touches that create a seam of character in one of the country’s largest hotels. A stay here is not complete with a visit to one of the nation’s best hotel pools – an infinity-edge affair with ocean views.
A relative newcomer, the W has been delighting lodgers since it defiantly flung open its doors in early 2021; offering the breath of fresh air the city needed. Located in the iconic Flinders Lane, the hotel takes its design cues from the streets; with bold colours and a playful tongue-in-cheek ethos around every corner. The 294 rooms and suites are a fusion of the signature style of the W chain coupled with the grittiness of the city’s culture – a modern take on Art Deco. The hotel isn’t short on amenities either; an Instagram-worthy pool, fully fitted out gym, two bars and three restaurants including Adam D’Sylva’s Lollo. Just bring your packed bags and move in.
“Think big” is the motto at the jewel in the Crown complex. The curved tower on the banks of the Yarra looms over the casino and its sister hotels, and inside the scale is similarly king-size. The luxurious rooms have views of the bay or city from full-length windows that verge on vertiginous. Settle at The Waiting Room with a glass from the largely local wine list or just beyond the lobby are restaurants by marquee players – Neil Perry and Nobu Matsuhisa among them.
There’s a foosball table in the foyer; Ned Kelly and his gang lurk on level four. Any hotel named in honour of the late “avant-grit” artist Adam Cullen is duty-bound to do things differently and The Cullen lives up to its hype, its walls a retrospective of the Archibald winner’s spirit. It wears its off-Chapel Street location well, leaning on ground-floor tenant HuTong Dumpling Bar as its dining option.
Hilton Hotel Melbourne
Old-world charm meets modern convenience at this centrally located landmark, tucked away on little-known laneway Queen Street. Housed in the 1930s Equity Chambers building, the 244-room hotel has been thoughtfully restored by design firm Bates Smart to maintain its sense of grandeur. When it comes to the rooms, choose from light, bright and contemporary in the tower wing, or transport to a bygone era with a wood-panelled suite in the heritage wing. Onsite restaurant Luci – set in the old grand hall, a Gatsby-esque space – serves up locally sourced plates of Italian fare while the Douglas Bar is accommodating of both pre-drinks and nightcaps. With direct access to Bourke Street and a tram stop on the doorstop, the Hilton is a stylish sanctuary right in the heart of the culture capital.
It’s not just the Grand Hyatt’s award-winning buffet breakfast that drives a brisk repeat business; the brass-and-awe lobby impresses without snobbery, as do the discreet and friendly staff. A step in any direction is a choose-your-own adventure, to the gym (a full-blown 24-hour fitness centre), the rooftop tennis court or Ru-Co, the hotel’s destination cocktail bar.
One of Melbourne’s favourite boutique hotels strikes a comforting balance between old and new. And while some of the more modern elements are charmingly out of date, the circa 1900 tea store and billiards hall, once run by the aunt of champion cue-man Walter Lindrum, is ageing gracefully.
Compared with other hotels in QT’s flamboyant stable, the Melbourne outpost is positively minimalist. You may not discern this from the staircase flanked by an installation of stacked paperbacks, which leads to the velvet and leather-clad Pascale Bar & Grill with party soundtrack. But the mood calms noticeably on the way to the guestrooms, which feature high, raw-concrete ceilings, oak floors, large windows and city glimpses.
Housed in former Rolls Royce showroom, the aptly named hotel is set to reopen its doors to guests following an extensive two-year renovation. Originally designed in 1928 by renowned Art Deco architect Harry Norris and the leading agent for prestige cars at the time, Kellow Falkiner, the new décor and design pay homage to this history; from the soft leather upholstery to the restored cornices. Comprising 94 rooms and suites, the hotel is located on the border of Melbourne city and leafy South Yarra, just a short walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Albert Park. The in-house dining experience will transport guests back to the hey day of hospitality, starting with breakfast in the Conservatory followed by classic British fare served up in the all-day dining space, Showroom Bar.
Location, location, location. Centrally positioned in the heart of the CBD and only a short walk from Her Majesty’s Theatre, Bourke Street Mall and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Marriott has been a city staple for 21 years, having hosted many a celebrity. The first of a multi-stage renovation was recently unveiled, the lobby upgrade complete with new M Bar, signalling a new era for the old dame. With all the on-site amenities you’d expect from a hotel of this calibre – swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre – as well as onsite restaurant The Essence serving modern Australian plates, it’s a check in that will always deliver the goods.
The Langham is proudly analogue in a digital age. The secret to its success is simple: know thy customer. Old-fashioned ritual and service prevail – just ask the dressed-to-impress crowd enjoying the daily high tea, the stay-cationers lazing near the riverfront pool, or the genteel throng at Melba Restaurant, where buffet dining is anything but abject.
This South Yarra member of the septet of Art Series Hotels is graced with lyrical original works and prints by John Olsen in public areas and guestrooms alike. Fancy a dip? The 25-metre glass-bottomed pool outside on the first-floor deck comes with views over Chapel Street, or simply kick back poolside, cocktail in hand, and flick through an art book from the range in your room.
The cavernous and opulent lobby at Melbourne’s Park Hyatt, a noughties monument in wood and marble, sets the tone for the whole hotel: sizable, proud, and a little dated. The scale and splendour are best expressed in the hotel’s large guestrooms – at 48 square metres, they’re claimed as the city’s biggest – each with a bath set in Italian marble and a walk-in wardrobe.
A marquee name in a top-end city location, the Sofitel prevails because of old-fashioned virtues: service par excellence delivered with Gallic charm. With two types of iced tea offered during check-in, massage chairs in the 36th-floor gym, and in-room tablets to order anything from a taxi to a dental kit, Sofitel leaves the impression that everything has been thoroughly considered.
Ovolo South Yarra
Just five kilometres south-east, via the Royal Botanic Gardens, you’ll find a taste of the Melburnian luxe life. Food, design, art and culture all intersect in the lively Chapel Street and Toorak Road – and there you’ll find the Ovolo. In the boutique chain’s true fashion, the hotel dials up the design to 11, with collaborators Luchetti Krelle calling on ’70s rock gods and Studio 54’s disco queens as their muses. In the lobby, this retrofuturistic mood centres around the neon fireplace. Then there’s the bar, which comes alive at “social hour” when guests drink free, and on-site vegan restaurant Lona Misa by local chefs Shannon Martinez from Smith & Daughters and Ian Curley from Kirk’s Wine bar. It’s edgy, it’s fun, it’s everything Melbourne is and then some.
Chic mid-century design, a rooftop pool terrace with sweeping views of the city and Parliament house, and a carefully sourced and crafted coffee collection served by a master barista – this is the quintessential Melbourne hotel. Located in the heart of the city’s theatre district, the 1950s building originally functioned as a hotel before morphing into a theatre, cinema, nightclub and live performance venue. It’s now come full circle with architecture firm Peddle Thorp reimagining the interiors of 12-storey space behind the historical Art Deco façade. The new hotel will offer 235 guest rooms and suites, a ground floor café, bar and restaurant and set to open the first quarter of 2023.
Perched high above the CBD skyline, this 80-story hotel is a feat in modern architecture. Offering breathtaking views from every one of its 257 rooms and suites (which will occupy no lower than level 65), guests will get their first taste of the impressive vistas by ascending the high-speed elevator to the 80th floor to check in at the ‘sky lobby’. It’s the level that will also be home to the inhouse restaurant, headed by executive chef Michael Greenlaw (ex Vue de Monde) and culinary advisor Mark Best (ex Marque). The hotel is slated for opening March 2023, and you can bet it won’t do so quietly.