I recently moved from Sydney, my hometown and Australia’s biggest city, to Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city. For most people who know very little about Australia you’ve probably only heard of Sydney and Melbourne – I won’t get into the battle over which is better but I will say if you are coming all this way you have to see both. I’ve lived in Melbourne previously but under very different circumstances. This move signified a fresh, new chapter in my life and I’m happy to say that it’s been a welcome change. However, even when you move somewhere you love there can still be a need to ‘escape’, especially if you have itchy travellers feet like I do.
The best thing you can do when you can’t get away is a staycation – a couple of nights in a hotel in your own city. I do this as often as I can because a goodnight’s sleep in a private hideaway is like pressing reboot for your system. It refreshes you, it energises you and you leave feeling better than when you entered. For my first Melbourne staycation I chose the brand new Sheraton Melbourne Hotel.
I feel like I need to coin my own term to describe this hotel – ‘grand boutique’. The 174 guest rooms, restaurant, terrace bar, business hub, pool, spa and 669sqm of event space is no small feat. It’s a lot of hotel but you don’t feel like you are just one of a few hundred people occupying it. The staff and the space design makes you feel like everything is there to service just you – although extravagant in some ways. It’s not something I feel often in a hotel this big, it’s something I’ve only previously experienced in boutique hotels with no more than a dozen or so rooms.
Service starts as soon as you pull up to the discreet hotel facade. Concierge is there to open your door, grab your bags and help you inside. The entry space is minimal, with just the concierge desk and a couple of arm chairs in sight. Reception is actually one level up so you can ascend the incredibly gorgeous staircase (a metal lace work banister surrounds a draping light feature that descends from the roof 3 stories above), or take the elevator.
Stepping on to the first floor you are greeted with high ceilings, lots of light and comfortable decor. The reception sits next to a lounge area, where you can meet for coffees or make use of their business facilities. It’s great if you are in town for work and you just want a little change of scenery from sitting in your room with your laptop (as I often do). On the other side of reception you have their main restaurant, Little Collins St Kitchen – but more on that one later.
Everything you need from a 5-star hotel is found at Sheraton Melbourne, but I definitely think they have gone above and beyond on some of the ‘usual’ inclusions. For example, they don’t just have a pool. Their pool is an indoor heated lap pool with an adjoined spa and super-comfy lounge beds on the side wall. Their bar isn’t just a place to drink – it’s a terrace bar sitting outside on the third floor, with stunning city views, open fires (roasted marshmallows, anyone?), countless heating lamps, a bar menu and comfy lounge seating. Of course they also have the standard essentials like a fitness centre (with lots of natural light!), a steam room, meeting rooms and function spaces.
Can you judge an entire hotel based on the rooms alone? Some would say no but I think the rooms at Sheraton Melbourne Hotel perfectly summarise what the hotel is all about. They are comfy and welcoming but still modern, and they have some unique features I haven’t found in hotel rooms previously.
I stayed in a King Traditional Room. This is the base room model which blows my mind because it had everything I would expect from a might higher grade of room, but that’s because every single room at this hotel has the same 5-star features. Marble bathrooms, a separate bathtub, a rainforest shower … they are standard at Sheraton Melbourne.
The list of things I loved about the room is pretty long, in fact I struggle to think of anything I disliked. If I were to sum it up I would say it was the ‘innovation’ – The bathroom has a large glass window that looks out into the bedroom (and an automated blind can be lowered for privacy) but this means you can watch TV through the window from the comfort of the bathtub; the hallway has a nightlight that can be switched on from your bed, lighting a path for you to get to the bathroom in the dead of night; and perhaps this final ‘innovation’ isn’t so spectacular to some but I loved the lack of door chain, instead it was this nifty right-angled piece of metal that you flipped to the right, placing a stopper in front of the door.
Oh and that bed … it was as awesome as it looks. The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds are actually trademarked because they are that spectacular. The plush pillows, warm doona and zillion-thread count sheets are just the cherry on top. Additionally the room has all the bells and whistles you would hope for – LED Smart Televisions, high-speed wifi, work station, amenities and my favourite, robes and slippers!
Little Collins St Kitchen is more than just a regular hotel restaurant, it’s a destination restaurant that you will want to visit whether you are staying at the hotel or not. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant uses locally sourced seasonal produce to create modern dishes with a French influence.
By day the bistro-style eatery is drenched with natural light, and by evening the mood lighting is subdued – equal parts casual and romantic. I can see myself having lots of business lunches and dinners here in the near future. The interior design of the space is just magnificent, done by local Melbourne based interior designers Hecker Guthrie. The neutral colour palette, the decor, the soft furnishings – I just wanted to wrap up it all up and take home.
I enjoyed a 4-course meal at the restaurant. At first I freaked a little bit because nothing on the menu was vegan, but then I saw a gem at the bottom of the menu. A simple sentence that read, “Allow us to fulfil your needs – Please let one of our waiters know if you have any special dietary requirements, food allergies or food intolerances”. You can bet I let them know I was vegan and the chef whipped me up FOUR delicious dishes – small tastings with a variety of flavours that added up to one very filling meal. He even came out to thank ME for giving him a challenge. That has never happened to me before. It made my year.
Sheraton Melbourne Hotel is located at 27 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.
The hotel is perfectly positioned for business travellers or leisure travellers looking for a central location to explore the many areas of Melbourne. Situated at the ‘Paris’ end (named that because of all the expensive retail stores in the area) of the CBD, it’s around the corner from Parliament railway station (one of the main CBD train stations) making transport very easy.
It takes roughly 30-minutes from Melbourne Airport to reach the hotel, depending on traffic of course. Within walking distance you have the banks of the Yarra River and the lovely park grounds nearby are ideal for taking photos. You will see a lot of wedding photos being taken in this area because of how picturesque it is.
Does Sheraton Melbourne Hotel sound appealing to your travel needs? What’s the coolest feature you’ve found in a hotel room? Let me know by commenting below!