Although I have a fleeting relationship with Melbourne, the city hold’s my heart and I know it like the back of my hand.
Those in town visiting and local gentleman alike may be interested my recommendations for the best places to (discreetly) stay, eat, and play.
Private and boutique, the understated and elegant architectural masterpiece has just 12 all-suite rooms and is nestled in leafy South Yarra, adjacent to the Botantic Gardens and St Kilda Road business district. A coveted restaurant with a focus on local produce called Matilda is located within the hotel, in addition to Oscar’s, a dark and well stocked bar.
From $650 for a suite.
A quintessential Melbourne Icon, the Lindrum is a boutique hotel located within the dining and shopping quadrant, otherwise known as the “Paris End” of town. The Accor property offers discrete staircase access to all rooms, a decent restaurant, and an intimate bar and billiards room. It is conveniently located adjacent to the MCG as well as nearby Flinders Lane eateries and Collins Street shopping.
From $245 for a standard room, $365 for a junior suite.
A more modern, sleek, and design-orientated version of it’s predecessor: Crown Metropol is contemporary and elegant rather than in-your-face luxury that you might otherwise associate with casino hotels. The spacious rooms are dark and sexy with a eco-minimalist design, incredible mustard carpets, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking over the Southbank area. The hotel features the most beautiful gym and spa in Melbourne: a 25m infinity pool set in a stunning glass enclave with amazing views. There are various entry points to the hotel via walkways to the casino, mezzanine levels, and a discrete dark lift galley separate to reception.
From $240 for a standard room, $600 for a loft suite.
The Adelphi takes it’s design cues from the beloved warehouse-style apartments that are scattered throughout historical buildings within the CBD and inner-suburbs of Melbourne. The boutique hotel it set in a 1930’s warehouse and has lofty, industrialist rooms with custom Australian-made furniture and furnishings. The hotel has a dessert-themed restaurant on site and is located on the steps of the premier dining district of the city. The Adelphi is most famous for its rooftop pool: the pool literally juts out of the building and hangs nine-stories above Flinders lane. Entry to the pool is available year-around and costs $35 for non-guests.
From $275 for a standard room, $500 for a suite.
A grand ol’ dame, The Windsor is the Australia’s only 19th century Grand Victorian hotel and a place of great historical importance (the Australian Constitution was drafted there in 1898). The hotel has hosted many notable guests including Muhammad Ali, Lauren Bacall, The Beachboys, Gough Whitlam, Sir Richard Branson - even the likes of Metallica. It is set across from Parliament House on Spring Street and features a famous grand staircase (with access to all rooms), Cricketer’s sports bar, Gin and Wine bar, and a formal restaurant serving breakfast along with a popular high tea. The staff are friendly and non-guests are welcome to walk inside and photograph the lobby or staircase (or use a very fancy toilet; located in a galley to the right of the lobby or adjacent to the Cricketer’s bar glass doors, near the elevators).
From $220 for a standard room, $290 for a junior suite.
Syracuse is a popular restaurant for those that mean business and is favourited by bankers and lawyers working in the Collins Street area. Prices are reasonable for the high quality mediterranean dishes, and service is polished yet uninterrupted. Suitable for visitors or those working in non-corporate roles.
Mains from $34.
Kind of a wine bar, but with the offerings of a restaurant - Embla is all wood, dark lines, and rustic charm. The wine list is extensive and impressive. Those seeking somewhere quieter, a sister restaurant serving Modern Australian cuisine is located upstairs.
Share plates from $15 - $35.
Ran by renowned hospitality professionals with service to match, Carlton Wine Room is an effortlessly chic and unpretentious restaurant. There is a creative - somewhat limited - menu that focusses on seasonal local produce, with excellent wine to match.
Mains from $39.
Located doors down from one of Melbourne’s most famous bars, Neapoli is a creation of Con Christopoulos (the man responsible for French Saloon, Kirk’s Wine Bar, The European, The Supper Club, Siglo, CIty Wine Shop, Spring Street Grocer, Journal - essentially, half of the most quintessential and respected restaurants in Melbourne in the past few decades). Neapoli features a stunning curved solid-oak bar, a scenic mezzanine, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the terrace and laneway.
Share plates from $15 - $25.
A minimalist and austere space, Ishizuka is a very private 16-seat dining space with no street frontage. The restaurant only serves Kaiseki - Japanese “haute” degustation, featuring a seasonal menu.
Priced at $235 pp, or from $355 pp with matching wines.
A refined, sultry drinking (and eating) den hidden behind a doorbell above Spring Street, Hihou is all glass, concrete, and smooth wood - a seriously sleek space. The impressive bar menu features a range of Japanese sake, shochu, umeshu, whiskey, and inspired cocktails. Those without appropriate socks or looking for a casual glass of wine or snack should walk into the (open) doors of Denton’s Wine Bar located below.
The dark and intimate drinking den what every good bar should be: open late (5pm to 3am daily).
Indisputably one of the best bars in Melbourne, The Supper Club is moody late-night boozer hidden behind a nondescript door on Spring Street. The wine list is extensive and this leather and wood filled space is a serious drinking destination. Open until 4am weeknights and 6am weekends, it is housed above The European restaurant, next door to the City Wine Shop, and you can choose to venture upstairs to Siglo if cocktails or cigars on a rooftop take your fancy. Personally, if visiting Melbourne, this would always be my first drinking recommendation.