City Guide: Melbourne

Sydney versus Melbourne is as old as rivalries get in Australia's short history, and while Sydney can claim bombshell good looks, Melbourne has undeniable sophistication. Renowned for performing and visual arts, it plays host to one of the largest comedy festivals in the world, has been officially recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and arguably makes the world's best coffee.

Melbournians love their café culture and they also love their sport in many varied forms - from football (Australian rules please) to tennis and the Formula One Grand Prix.

Exuding a very Australian sense of spaciousness while retaining its urbanity, Melbourne is characterised by an abundance of parks and gardens and an eclectic mixture of Victorian terraces and Federation townhouses. It is joyfully multicultural and this is reflected in an unabashed obsession with food. The city is filled with bars and eateries, together showing a general preference for contemporary, fusion cuisine in vibrant, outdoor settings. Substance and style? Yes please.

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The Olsen

Melbourne, Australia

A member of the Art Series Hotel group, this boutique hotel pays homage to Australian artist Dr John Olsen. Olsen’s contemporary landscapes take pride of place and create a gallery feel. The 299 suites have complete kitchenettes so are good for longer stays and the prime location on Chapel Street offers immediate access to some of Melbourne’s best shopping, dining and drinking spots. If it all gets too much, you can simply float above the crowd in the glass-bottomed pool.

Address

637-641 Chapel Street Melbourne

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The Langham Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Set on the banks of the Yarra River at Southbank, right near the CBD (central business district), this plush hotel continues to deliver classic luxury. The stylish rooms are enhanced by panoramic city views, justifying an upgrade to a balcony room. The breakfast at the Melba, the Langham’s signature restaurant, is excellent too.

Address

Southgate Avenue, Southbank Melbourne

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Adelphi Hotel

Melbourne, Australia

Located in the heart of the CBD, the Adelphi is bold, stylish and colourful, with bright prints and neon accents. The staff take great care to offer personalised service and there are lots of little treats like free mini bar snacks and movies on demand. The rooftop pool is the perfect vantage point to spy on the goings-on in bustling Flinders Lane and the Om Nom dessert bar is a delightful indulgence.

Address

187 Flinders Lane Melbourne

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Pensione Hotel Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

This 114-room hotel with a rooftop sundeck is centrally located in a refurbished turn of the century CBD building. The rooms range from the compact Matchbox to the spacious Rooftop Apartment, all of which are bright and tastefully appointed. With dry-cleaning services, gym passes and a very competent tourist desk, it ticks all the boxes without breaking the bank

Address

16 Spencer Street, CBD Melbourne

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QT Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

QT Melbourne, from Australia’s quirkiest hotel brand, adds a much-needed dose of fun to the city’s hospitality landscape. From the elevators that offer cheeky chat-up lines to the naughty wallpaper lining the walls of Pascale Bar & Grill, you can spend days being entertained in this lively bolthole. But with the city’s humming Chinatown just down the street, you’ll be hard-pressed to stay in- just make sure you come back for a nightcap at the lively rooftop bar.

Address

33 Russel Street VIC 3000

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The Larwill Studio

Melbourne, Australia

Sleek Scandinavian aesthetics meets Australian creativity at The Larwill Studio. Part of Australia’s Art Series Group, this outpost celebrates the life of expressionist painter, David Larwill with the artist’s signature bold, bright vision enlivening the 96-guestrooms and the public spaces. While the CBD is only a short stride away, it’s all about wellness here, where rooms feature sketchbooks and an in-house yoga channel. Meanwhile, bicycles are at hand for exploring the neighbouring Royal Parklands, which is also the setting for a daily running group led by the hotel manager

Address

48 Flemington Road Parkville VIC 3052

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The Prince Hotel

Melbourne, Australia

Housed in a 1936 landmark Art Deco building, the 38-room Prince Hotel has just emerged from a makeover that mixes fresh Nordic elements with a light maritime vibe. Located in the seaside suburb of St Kilda, about 20 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, the hotel has a ground floor bistro and wine bar with a modern Australian menu that uses produce sourced from local community gardens- the perfect accompaniment to the unfolding views of Port Phillip Bay.

Address

2 Acland Street Saint Kilda VIC 3182

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Microluxe

Melbourne, Australia

A chic urban retreat in the heart of Melbourne’s buzzy Fitzroy neighbourhood, Microluxe is a bijou apartment that has been outfitted with such lust-worthy details, like handcrafted ceramics, Beoplay speakers, and seductive bedding from Created By Boys, you’ll wish you could take it all home with you. In fact, you can, for everything – right down to the memory foam mattress – is for sale. Available for short-stay rentals this hybrid hotel, design showroom and store certainly satisfies our aspirational urge- just make sure you bring a big enough suitcase.

Address

201 Moor Street Fitzroy VIC 3065

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Crown Towers

Melbourne, Australia

Yes, this hotel is part of Crown Resorts, Australia’s largest gaming and entertainment group and yes, it happens to be located within a sprawling casino complex. But it is the largest casino in the southern hemisphere and is worth a stay, not just for living out any Vegas-like shenanigans, but for its location on the Southbank, which means you get a different perspective of the city with some lovely views from the 39-storey building. You’re also a short stroll away from sites like the National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Botanical Gardens and what’s more, there are no less than 11 restaurants at hand, including Nobu and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

Address

8 Whiteman Street Southbank VIC 3006

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Jackalope

Melbourne, Australia

Situated on the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne’s chichi weekend getaway destination, Jackalope is shaking things up, as far as traditional wineries go, with a surreal design concept that focuses on alchemy and the mythical north American animal the jackalope. Inside, no expense has been spared with high-fashion furnishings from the likes of Rick Owens and the Campana Brothers and artwork from Australian artists such as Emily Floyd. A day trip to sample Doot Doot Doot, the dine dining restaurant by chef Guy Stanaway is a must, but try stay for a night or two, to indulge in poolside cocktails while admiring the endless views of the green rolling vineyards.

Address

166 Balnarring Road, Merricks North, VIC, 3926

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United Places Botanic Gardens

Address

157 Domain Road South Yarra VIC 3141 Australia