3141 Travel Guide
We've can only imagine how all of Melbourne is a buzz with the Australian Open in town. Heck, we even witnessed Venus and Serena practicing their craft in the lobby of The Olsen. As we near the end of one of the tennis grand slam tournaments, it looks like some players are letting their hair down.
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki and France's Benoit Paire were spotted breathing a sigh of relief at The Como Melbourne, after being knocked-out from the tourney. The pair were guests of a cocktail party hosted in the hotel's ultra hip, lobby bar, Sobar. Now, we're not one to gossip (ha!), but we should note that the two were staying in separate rooms, and only seen together for the party in the lobby.
No word on if either of the tennis players were lucky enough to score one of those sweet suites we spoke about a few weeks ago. Since The Como really can't disappoint, we can only assume they were pretty comfy during their stay.
[Photo: The Como Melbourne Facebook]
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In the lead up the one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world, both Venus and Serena Williams have headed down under to limber up and get acclimatized before they play in next week's Australian Open in Melbourne.
The fashionista sisters gathered quite the crowd when they practiced their serves and warmed-up their backhand. We're not talking on the court--they did this all in the lobby of the hotel at which they were staying, The Olsen. No, they weren't slamming furry tennis balls around, instead they silenced a crowd with their ping-pong skills.
The sisters are resting up before they head into round one of the Open and this hotel is the best place to do it. We recently told you about the extended check-out at the Art Series Hotels and it seems like Serena is banking on some free nights after she tweeted, "Love this #overstaycheckout idea @ArtSeriesHotels - If no one checks into my room, I don't have to check out - ever!"
Let's hope they get some luck in free rooms and on the court.
[Photo: Art Series Hotels Facebook]
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We get it, celebrities love to show off and get the cream of the crop when they travel by booking the suites of the world's best hotels. Melbourne's The Como is no different when it comes to attracting the glamour of stars from the silver screen to the soccer field to the stage.
The Como, in one of Melbourne's most prestigious areas, South Yarra, has made a name for itself for the past 22 years by consistently offering high-end accommodations and impeccable service. Now they've revamped three super luxurious suites, that's seen the likes of David Beckham, Kylie Minogue and Paris Hilton.
The recently rebranded M Gallery Hotel offers plenty of artist designed rooms with all the bells and whistles, but these suites are truly where it's at.
Sure, most hotels have art—and some even make a big show of displaying it gallery-style. But the people behind the Art Series hotels in Melbourne take that concept to the extreme, with their hotels named after renowned Australian artists. First came The Cullen, where the rooms are modern and the art animal-centric. Now we have The Olsen, which recently opened in South Yarra. This time the artist is in his eighties, and the vibe, like his art, is more serene and outdoorsy. Quite pretty, in fact.
John Olsen is known for his landscapes, so the large prints in the hallways and suites are heavy on green, while the large mural in the lobby is of Melbourne's Yarra River, which Olsen likens to the Seine. Talking to ABC Radio, Olsen said he wanted his work for the hotel to be "full of optimism" and that his mural had to have "the wow factor."
And the prize for the silliest hotel package this week goes to ... the Como Hotel in Melbourne for naming an otherwise perfectly normal hotel deal "Duckaway". Because you get a rubber duck.
At first glance it might not be at all clear why the Como would offer a "Duckaway", but there is in fact a reasonable kind of excuse behind it. The Como is especially proud of their "Bath Time Menu"--guests can choose all kinds of treats to enjoy at bath time with different kinds of bubble bath, some served with herbal tea or a glass of whisky!
So if you're craving a very good bath and a cute rubber duck, then the "Duckaway" deal goes for A$299 (US$210) and includes a night in a studio suite, gourmet breakfast for two, valet parking and, of course, a smiling Como rubber duck. Dare we say, duck in soon for this deal? Nah, it's too corny.
Truth be told, Australia isn't always warm. Staying in Melbourne could mean some cold weekends so you'll want a hotel that can handle the ranges of temperatures and a wide range of potential requests. Apparently that hotel is the Como Melbourne. Up to several tests, the Como has passed with flying colors. For those who found themselves surprised by the occasional and rare spells of chillier weather, the hotel warmed them with its luxurious bed and spa bath which some guests claim can fit two people while others thought even four.
Got upgraded to a spa suite which was huge with a beautiful spa bath in the bathroom - def big enough for two!! Staff were exceptionally friendly and the hotel was amazingly warm (temperature wise) during a very very cold Melbourne weekend and the king size bed the most comfortable I have slept in!!!
With 107 rooms the Como prides itself on maintaining the charm of a small hotel with highly personalized service. One past guest raved how the discovery of his forgotten cufflinks was no problem as the hotel staff personally delivered a new pair within 10 minutes of his call for help. The high quality service has gotten them national attention as well, they've won "Best Deluxe Accommodation in Australia" and "Best Luxury Hotel in Victoria" for several years plus, the guest reviews are top.
The only problem people seem to find here is the remnant smell of smoke as the non-smoking trend hasn't yet hit down under. But our guess is, let the staff know it's bothersome and chances are they'll get you an air purifier within 10 minutes.
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· Como Melbourne Reviews [TripAdvisor]
We're done with Sydney so we're checking out what's in Melbourne, Australia.
The Hatton Hotel is the #1 rate hotel in Trip Advisor in terms of popularity but this isn't exactly a top-notch luxury resort. Recent guests prefer to describe it as a posh B&B in a historic building with a great location just outside the city but still near dining and shops. Also the Royal Botanic Gardens are just steps away.
In true B&B fashion, there are no elevators so if you get a room on the top floor you will have to climb three flights of stairs. You can also hear people "stomping around" a bit sometimes and there's no 24 hour room service or housekeeping. So what do people love about this place? One guest writes
Not a chain. It's more of a posh B&B with a very homey atmosphere.
The rooftop balcony is outstanding with gorgeous city views. Recommend sitting on top to watch the sunset and enjoy wine or one of the hotel's reasonably priced cheese and fruit plates or dips. This was an absolutely liberating and relaxing experience up on the roof that I will not soon forget.
Another guest cited the free continental breakfast and the great room rate of about $150 a night. However, not all rooms are created equal so if you want to splurge on a suite it may make your stay a bit more spectacular.
· Hatton Hotel reviews [TripAdvisor]
South Yarra is not only the location of the upside down river, but also one of the hippest sections of Melbourne. Oh, and there is a cool hotel there.
The Lyall is a stylish, almost secret boutique with service guests crow about. The hotel employees claim to have "secret South Yarra info"--whatever that is. Owners Rowina and Peter Thomas are locals, so our guess is they have info on the neighborhood that travel guides could never get.
A recent guest chimes in on Lyall:
My husband and I stayed at the Lyall and were shocked when we got there. For a surprisingly low price, the Lyall was beautiful and luxurious, with the best service we found in all of Australia.
· Lyall Hotel Reviews [TripAdvisor]