On my recent trip to Melbourne I spent time to research more Melbourne accommodation central city options. Looking at websites with loads of pictures, videos and maps is one way to do it. But believe me, actually visiting these places to experience them firsthand, is much better. You get a clearer understanding of location, layout, room sizes, and general items such as cleanliness. Of course the friendliness of management and staff play a very important part of the valuation. I have divided my findings into 3 main categories Mainstream, Boutique and High end:
This is a 3-star property just a stone’s throw from the Queen Victoria Market. The rooms are fine, as long as you intend to spend more time exploring the city than staying in-house. The hotel offers a good breakfast which is included in stay packages for the budget-minded traveller.
This 4-star hotel is located right in the hub of downtown Melbourne. Step outside the door and you can go straight to the famous Block Arcarde (which hosts the wonderful ‘Hopetoun Tea Room’). The hotel has all facilities you could ask for – gym, indoor swimming pool, restaurant.
Flinders Street is one of Melbourne main roads. So, with any accommodation along this main traffic artery, you’ll get a fair amount of road noise. This 4-star hotel is set in an heritage building, so the minute you set foot inside, you’ll get a real sense of history. I would call it a ‘classic’, old-world style hotel.
There are three Adina Apartment hotel in Melbourne. All a bit different to each other, therefore I went to all of them to check them out. The 4-star Queens Street Adina left the best impression. It’s central, well equipped, has a modern layout and with it’s 2- and 3-bedroom apartments it’s perfect for family travellers to Melbourne.
Beside the more main stream hotels the Melbourne central business district is lucky to have some more boutique styled accommodation options. Here are a few:
When I walked into the QT Hotel, I had one of those ‘wow’ moments. It reminded me of the QT Museum hotel back here in Wellington. It’s funky, vibrant and full of quirky corners. More like a huge community area with seatings, cafes and large restaurant with a glass walled wine cellar next to it. The guest rooms are spacious and modern in the 4-star property. I think I will be staying here the next time I’m in Melbourne!
Well, I had to explore a little bit to find this little germ! It’s right in the city, between La Trobe and Lonsdale Street. Actually, its not even marked at the official Melbourne Tourism map. My instincts told me to sniff it out and go there and what a great discovery! Fraser Place is a 4-star boutique hotel with two main towers. Everything is on a slightly smaller scale, but the roof top is spacious and a great place to hang out after a day’s explore. As with all Fraser properties I have looked through this one. Its very well looked after and maintained.
If you want to be right in the middle of Melbourne’s hustle and bustle, then this is the place to be. Right in Flinders amidst cafes, restaurants and other foodie places. Be warned, there will be ‘people’ noise’ at night. The rooms are spacious as they were converted from a former office building. The reception area is very small. The staff are very pro-active and attentive.
Hotel Lindrum is another ‘classic’ in Melbourne. This building is rich on history. It started off as a tea merchant store and really sings ‘old world charm’ from the minute you enter the small front entrance. Some of the rooms face Flinders Street and are noisy. But if this is an issue for you, don’t worry, take one of the other rooms facing aways from Flinders. All rooms are spacious and well maintained.
The ‘Southbank’ side of Melbourne is basically on the other side of the CBD area across the Yarra River. This area is far more modern and developed with a number or hotels, restaurants and bars. Actually its a real ‘lifestyle’ area. The 5-star Langham Hotel has a ‘grand feeling’. Massive marble stairs, antique glass chandeliers, indoor swimming pool, roof deck – it’s all here in a matter of a 10 minutes walk across the Yarra River to the CBD.
The 5-star Westin Hotel is in the heart of Melbourne. Get up in the morning and step into the city life of Melbourne. The interior design is classic-modern – very stylish actually and calming. So after a day out you kind of get the feeling of returning to your ‘nest’ to recharge for the next adventure.
I’ve visited the Sofitel Melbourne about 3-4 years ago and not much has changed. It’s still one of the leading Melbourne hotels located in the central city area. Giving the range of alternative options (as reviewed above) this 46-level building offers not only spacious rooms, but stunning views overlooking Melbourne. Unless you’re scared of heights, this might be an added bonus when selecting your hotel stay in central Melbourne next time around.
Last week I took 3 days visiting Melbourne Australia. I discovered there is much to do in Melbourne for a brief, 3-night visit. I did travel in their winter season of July, but believe me, you can visit Melbourne at any time of the year. Melbourne’s population of 4.8 million souls, is actually New Zealand’s entire population. And all these people fit into just 70 x 50 kms. So for someone like me, who actually lives in New Zealand, Melbourne is a 24/7 busy vibe. That’s why I also include a visit to public gardens before I start the explore.
A taxi from the airport to central Melbounre will cost A$60. The SkyBus coach service is a great way of getting to the SkyBus station in downtown Melbourne. It is a bit more involved than just the one taxi ride. But it only takes about 25 minutes and costs around A$20 per person. From the SkyBus station, its an easy taxi ride to the hotel. They are all fairly central in Melbourne
There really is a huge variety of hotels. From international chains, to boutique, arty places, there’ accommodation to suit everyone and most budgets. (I’ll be writing a separate travel blog on that subject.) Most hotels are very centrally located and for the sake of convenience, that’s ideal if you want to stay in Melbourne. It’s real easy to get around. You can either walk or use the free tram “Number 35” to explore the CBD area.
As you would imagine there is a huge range of tour options from Melbourne. Famous are the Phillip Island Blue Penguins, a Great Ocean Road day tour or a wine time into the Yarra Valley. On this blog I want to focus more on the Melbourne city tour and sightseeing options.
This is a good way to get to know the place and provide an overview with the help of a local driver-guide. I joined Robert from Oceania Tours and spent a few hours in some of the most famous gardens and the beautiful St. Patrick Church.
The nice part of these tours, is that you also meet new people from all parts of the world. Here’s me with Paolo, my new ‘mate’ from Brazil!
If you are into food then Melbourne is an absolute gourmet paradise! Here’s where Chef Ben Shewry, a good old New Zealand boy, made his mark. Ben’s restaurant, Attica is one of the top restaurants in Australia! Melbourne is also known for its iconic lanes, where the unusual quirky and downright delicious, can be found. We often have breakfast down these lanes. Its a great vibe with bustling commuters starting off their day. There is a huge ethic mix of people in Melbourne, so the variety and overall standard are world-class.
My personal favour is ‘The Block Arcade’, just a stone’s throw through from Flinders Lane. There are wonderful places to explore and unleash your taste-buds. A must-do, is the Hopetoun Tearooms, a bland name for cakes and desserts that will have you drooling. The Hopetoun Tearooms have queues of people lining up for much of the day. You will need to choose your times. But while you’re waiting, have a look in the front window and make a choice…
For most of us, dining on a tram is a novelty experience and and another must-do if you’re in Melbourne. The Melbourne Tram Restaurant have a lunch sitting, plus 2 dinner sittings. I chose the early dinner and was not disappointed. The 34 person carriages have been authentically restored and take you back in time. As you ‘rattle’ down towards St. Kilda, there’s plenty of local life to see through the large windows. (note: you won’t see as much in the winter months, as it gets darker quickly.) The staff are extremely professional and friendly. I chose the Barramundi fish as the my second course and it was delicious.
The bubbly also contributed to a very relaxing experience. Cheers!
These are just a few of the many wonderful experiences you can have in Melbourne. All of this will depend on the time you have available.