3000 Travel Guide
Last we talked about Ovolo Hotels it was all about the first Hong Kong expat property in Melbourne. Out from behind the curtain of obscurity, the hotel decided to branch out internationally and pick the cultural capital of Australia as their first outpost.
At first glance, the nondescript building in the middle of the city could have been any other office building, but little did we know what little treasures we would find inside. For a small hotel, Ovolo Melbourne sure packs a punch...in a good way.
The small lobby proved to be a tight fit with anymore than 2 different guests checking in, but a welcome espresso made the experience a bit more bearable. With a limited, but super cool design, our imagination went into overdrive for what we would experience in the room. After an efficient check-in, we were in the elevator to our one-bed room suite.
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Housed in a former billiard house and named after the champion Aussie player, William Lindrum, the hotel keeps its heritage with a back bar and pool room outfitted with an original table from the Lindrum days. The entire property has been restored to its former glory when the movers and shakers of Melbourne visited the building to relax and unwind with a game of snooker.
Hong Kong-based boutique hotel chain, Ovolo, has opened up its first international property in Melbourne. Located on Little Bourke Street in the heart of the CBD (aka the Central Business District), hotel guests will be in a convenient area, just steps away from boutique shopping, Parliament House, and the cultural center's hip restaurants and coffee bars.
Ovolo has used the city's famous laneways as it's primary design focus. These laneways are hidden gems filled with restaurants and boutiques typically speckled with brightly colored graffiti art. So, to that end, each room is a mix of dark-tone sleek with pops of color to liven up the space.
Each room is a tech-wonder with Apple TV, iPads on request, free WiFi, and complimentary self-laundry. And the perks don't end there.....
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
Wow. Talk about disappointing. A HotelChatter Flickr member dropped in this shot of the view from their room at the Westin Melbourne saying:
Crappy view of wall. The statues were something to look at at least.
Hmmm...we're having a hard time focusing on the statues because there's just so much wall in this shot.
We actually passed up staying at this hotel a while back because the hotel charged for WiFi in the guestrooms. Guess we'll have to stay away because of the view as well. But they do have a pretty website if that counts for anything!
[Photo: Vissi87/HotelChatter Flickr Pool]
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
There is something about sitting up really high with a drink in our hands whether it be a cocktail or a coffee that sort of makes you feel like a king or queen, no? Just us? Okay.
Whether or not you get a royal vibe from chillin' in front of a window with a killer view, you can probably agree that this particular seat (snapped by vissi87 and dropped into the HotelChatter Flickr Pool) from the Grand Club Lounge at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne makes you feel good inside. Unless you're scared of heights. Or scared of Melbourne.
Rates here start at A$232 (around $165 USD) and booking a Club room will grant you access to this lounge (the lowest rate we found for a Club King was A$312, or $222 USD) which you may think is worth it to be able to sit here and sip your coffee. Also, this hotel was just renovated (to the tune of $30 million USD), so the place has a stylish new lobby, a new restaurant and bar, and totally updated amenities.
What was once the Rialto Hotel on Collins in Melbourne is now the Intercontinental Melbourne the Rialto and judging from some early guest reviews and a very warm Age review, the change has really done the place good.
Being on Collins Street in central Melbourne gives this Intercontinental the advantage of a good location to start with, and since Melbourne's a place where a lot of stuff happens right there in the city center, location is an especially important factor.
Need a tip for a last-minute New Year's Eve booking in Australia's new favorite city of Melbourne? Looks like the Grand Hyatt Melbourne has got some rooms left starting at A$410 (US$290).
Last time we were in the area, the entrance to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne was practically boarded up while they got through some renovations but these are now almost completely finished. It all cost A$45 million (over $30 million) so we aren't surprised the results are pretty impressive, with a stylish new lobby and as well as a new restaurant and bar. Of course, the room still have that predictable Hyatt look.
This place is in a great location in Melbourne with all the restaurants and shopping wherever you look, and it's even got great views. Melbourne nightlife will provide plenty of places to hang out on New Year's Eve and it'll be a short walk back to the Hyatt from wherever you are. On a heavy-going New Year's Eve, that's important.
Scheduled to open in 2010, the third hotel within the Crown complex will be the largest in Australia, so there should be plenty of guests for Ramsay’s eatery. Although it’s the first step for Ramsay’s eating kingdom Down Under, there are already hints that he’ll be looking to expand across the country.
Australians should be flattered to hear that Ramsay reckons there are enough good chefs in the country to find the right one to run his new restaurant: apparently he said “I’d be stupid not to employ a local Aussie”. Actually, we’re guessing that’s the censored version, but we get the drift.
[Photo: Lee Stranahan]
The Windsor Hotel first opened up in 1883 but to celebrate its 125th birthday it's offering something better than $18.83 rates. Their neato marketing plan is to offer rooms for the equivalent of the prices they went for in 1883, which works out at 50 Australian cents (US$0.34). A single room is half that and breakfast is included, too!
As you'd expect, of course, the Windsor is not giving out thousands of rooms at that price. It's going for the first 25 people only who book online on the hotel's birthday, December 18, starting from 9.00am Melbourne time. Yeah, you'd have to be very lucky to get one, but it's worth a try.
Now we're sure you're not going to complain about a 50 cent room, but just for the record the Windsor has some big renovation plans in the works. However, since it's a heritage-listed building the local heritage council knocked back some of its plans--they're appealing against that and hope to start a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2009.
We got curious when fashionable Aussie blogger Karen Cheng said that the Accor Hotels people were sending her to stay at the "brand new" Grand Hotel by Sofitel on Spencer Street in Melbourne--we didn't think it was new. But a quick investigation soon found that in some ways, it is a bit new: it's just joined the exclusive MGallery hotel collection.
As far as we can figure out, the whole MGallery thing is meant to be a fancy version of the Mercure brand, hence the "M". To kick off the collection Accor have chosen eight hotels from their Sofitel and Grand Hotel Mercure chains to become MGallery hotels, and the Grand in Melbourne is one of them. Get it? So it's new, but not new.
You may well ask (as we did), why does the Marriott in Melbourne even use paper towels at all--but apparently they have them in public areas and staff areas, but thankfully not in guest rooms. Anyways, they don't have paper towels anywhere anymore, because now they've got the (drumroll ...) Envirocane hand towel.
AmandaK has left her perch in Perth, Australia and spent some time in Melbourne. This week she'll be giving us the lowdown on the hotels there. If you have a question or suggestion, send it our way and we'll get right on it.
We just heard from HotelChatter reader Jamie that he's heading to Melbourne in November and has already booked into the Rendezvous Hotel there but was wondering if he made the right decision?
Saw your posting on the hotel scene in Melbourne. I'm heading there in November and staying at the Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne. Any thoughts? Tips? Reviews? Thanks so much!
Thanks for asking, Jamie. Of course we have some thoughts! We answer his concerns after the jump.