One of our favourite things to do in winter is save our pennies and book a nice hotel in Melbourne through Wotif. This year we decided to start our long weekend in style at the Hilton South Wharf. It's been on my list for awhile (I'm a bit of a hotel junkie!) but I was waiting for a trip where it didn't matter if we were on the edge (or slightly beyond) the CBD grid.
You know how some hotels are a base where you pretty much sleep but spend the rest of your time having fun in the city? And then there are hotels which are a nicer base from which you start your adventures, but if your feet are killing you and you need some downtime before heading out again you'd be perfectly happy sneaking back for a quick nap or just chill with some mags or Austar? Then there are the hotels where, despite Melbourne being at your doorstep, you really are a little reluctant to leave & could quite happily ditch the sights & sounds of the city and just wrap yourself up in a bathrobe and hibernate. This is one of those hotels.
You can cross the nearby footbridge and then catch the City Circle tram around the edges of the CBD. If you want more tram choices you can walk to the corner of Spencer and Flinders and catch a wider selection of trams from there. Alternatively walk back past the Convention Centre & Crown and you'll find yourself on Southbank..then Southgate...then the footbridge from there under Flinders St station will take you to the corner of Elizabeth & Flinders...aka right in the thick of it. DFO South Wharf is right there if that's your thing...and the carpark outside of that is one of the parking options. $20 for 24 hours if you don't come and go & if you do validate with the hotel which is what we did. On to the good stuff...
Firstly, everything is pretty new and gorgeous, and as such it doesn't feel tired and lived in yet. You'll have a floor to ceiling view of either the Yarra heading towards Crown, or maybe part of the Yarra and what the hotel calls "panoramic views heading to Port Phillip Bay", either of which is stunning at night. I also love that the hotel isn't rubbing shoulders with just another city highrise...you can leave the blinds open and not be eyeballing some office worker across the way...it feels refreshingly spacious as a result. The blinds by the way are 100% block-out and electronic, which means you can wake up late and it still feels as though it's the middle of the night.
The bathroom is huge with a separate bath, walk in shower & lovely water pressure. You'll also find real deal fluffy hotel towels here which just add to the feeling of pampering yourself. The bed is like a movie hotel bed...high off the ground, deliciously puffy doona cover, king size pillows & very cocoon like. There is probably a pillow menu, it definitely feels like one of those hotels, but I've never bothered to investigate what that actually means because I like my own pillow far too much :)
Movie selection is the best I've seen in a hotel in awhile. After Luke took off to the footy at Etihad Stadium (also within walking distance) it took me awhile to choose. $15 isn't too bad when you consider what the cost of a movie ticket is these days, and if you're going to hibernate for a night you want to do it right. I watched Like Crazy and actually really liked it.
We were also going to do breakfast in the suburbs...Brunswick or Fitzroy. I have an ongoing list on Evernote of places I read about that I want to go and try. But thanks to the block-out blinds we woke up later than expected, and had heard good things about the buffet breakfast so we went that route instead. Best. Buffet. Breakfast. Ever. Tripadvisor has raves, and rightly so. Fresh coffee/juices made to order in addition to the normal juice bar. You can order actual meals like french toast if you want but you can't really go past the buffet. They keep it well stocked despite the amount of people moving through (obviously word has spread!)...and they have the all important omelette station as well. Everything from super healthy to super extravagant, you will not leave wanting lunch. Icing on the cake? You can also order a freshly made coffee to go. Never ceases to amaze me how much coffee Luke can ingest and be completely unaffected where I would be buzzing.
The rest of the trip was just making the most of Melbourne in winter. Rain slicked streets, the dodging of umbrellas, cobble stoned laneways, the Myer Stocktake Sale. Always sad to leave, already looking forward to next time.