To those who say that cheeky staycations aren't a good use of money – you're doing romance wrong. Booking a night in a luxe hotel is a rare and wonderful treat. Here are a few ideas on where to splash out for the night.
The most romantic hotels in Melbourne
The Grand Hyatt feels a bit Midas touched. The Hyatt name brings certain expectations – like that there will be complimentary, fluffy white robes (there are). But despite the little extravagances a night at the Grand Hyatt doesn’t cost as much as you’d think, and it is well worth the price if you’re looking to treat yourself (or someone else). The rooms themselves feel very private. The walls are thick and there are no awkward noises audible from your neighbours – or from you to them. The king-sized beds are soft but not the oversoft bedding black holes that some hotels are guilty of, and the thick curtains means your sleep will not be disturbed by the peeping sun. In the morning opt for the Hyatt’s buffet breakfast and you won't regret it.
Time Out tip: if you're celebrating a special event – be that a birthday, anniversary or (gasp) an engagement – the Grand Hyatt can happily arrange for amenities such as a bottle of wine, flowers or chocolates to placed in the room prior to your arrival.
Dripping in old-world charm and the glamour of a bygone era, this grand dame is really something special. The décor here is understated and refined, with tasteful furnishings, soaring ceilings and pretty leadlight accents rather than the cold and tacky flashiness of some 'luxury' hotels. The staff are warm and attentive, happy to help with everything from nearby bar recommendations to forgotten toothbrushes. If you really want to splash out, the 122-square-metre Victorian Suite is grand and elegant, with a dining room, separate lounge and second bedroom. Modern amenities like two LCD televisions, excellent water pressure and luxury bath products don't interfere with the 19th-century vibe, but they will make your stay extremely comfortable.
Time Out tip: Even if you don't want to stay at the Windsor, do make sure you drop in for afternoon tea, which is served every day of the week.
Located within a hulking 1938 building on the busy CBD hotspot that is Flinders Lane, the Adelphi Hotel is a nice landing spot for those who value edgy design, location and first-rate service. The hotel might not be as sophisticated as its neighbouring Westin Hotel, but that lack of stuffiness works to the Adelphi’s advantage, especially considering you’re sharing walls with some of the city’s hottest restaurants. The brightly hued rooms also come with 40-inch flat screens (with unlimited movies), spacious bathrooms with rainfall shower heads and minibars full of free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. The Adelphi also boasts a rooftop pool with a cantilevering glass-bottom that juts out over Flinders Lane.
Time Out tip: Do keep in mind that you are on a bustling CBD street and noise travels remarkably well up those cobblestone laneways. Bring your earplugs if you want a solid night's sleep.
The Langham is the definition of the classic luxury hotel experience. If you can shell out for the executive rooms, absolutely go for it. You’ll get a stunning bird’s eye view of Melbourne’s famous skyline, the bustling rail lines of Flinders Street Station, and the Yarra River. Riverside bars and restaurants are just a short walk away, as are tram and train lines around Melbourne, but if you prefer to embrace the luxury experience, guests to the executive rooms have access to Langham Club privileges which includes access to an exclusive lounge on the 24th floor where you can enjoy a continental breakfast, a classic afternoon tea and drinks before dinner. Stick around for a meal at the Melba, the Langham’s fine dining buffet restaurant, where you can feast on fresh seafood to start and finish with the impressive dessert range. Before you check out, take a dip in the indoor 15-metre pool inside the Langham’s blissful Chuan Spa.
Time Out tip: Tea sommeliers are most definitely a thing – and you’ll meet them at the Langham’s elegant high tea, where house-made pastries are served on Wedgewood teaware. Plus, guests with club privileges should make the most of the butler service – including complimentary shoe shining and garment pressing for when you need to look on point for date night.
The Blackman is one of Melbourne’s five Art Series hotels, which are each named after and inspired by the work of a significant Australian artist. The Blackman overlooks the winding Albert Park Lake and Port Phillip Bay on one side and the lush Botanical Gardens on the other, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a room without a killer view. Our first tip: don’t rush the check-in process. Stepping into the reception feels like entering the home of an art collector (if they were exclusively interested in Sydney-born painter Charles Blackman, most famous for his dreamlike Alice in Wonderland paintings). The rooms offer every ingredient for the perfect romantic getaway, including generously sized spa baths, top-notch toiletries, and a mini bar stocked with wine, beer and treats by Australian makers. There’s even a mini canvas and paint set if you’re in a creative mood.
Time Out tip: Need more art in your life? Hire one of the Blackman’s zippy Smart cars and head out of town to the Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Or venture outside the city for more romance
The 46-room Jackalope Hotel, which opened in April 2017 in the wine region of the Mornington Peninsula, has already earned a bunch of accolades, with many issuing it the kind of five-stars-plus-jazz-hands praise its regional cousin Brae has come to expect. Think a meticulously conceived boutique hotel with king-sized beds, rain showers, designer amenities and floor-to-ceiling windows so you can look out onto the gorgeous surrounding property. A 30-metre infinity pool awaits you outside among a dozen art commissions. As well as an on-property winery and cellar door, there’s also fine dining restaurant Doot Doot Doot, which does an eight-course degustation featuring fresh local produce.
Imagine waking up on a spritely morning in Yarra Glen and gazing out of the window at endless rows of green vineyard. This is a reality at the historic Balgownie Estate, one of Australia’s premium small vineyards and an undisputed gem of the region. Just steps from your accommodation is the cellar door (which is open for tastings seven days a week), and Yarra Glen’s town centre is five minutes away.
It's easy to imagine you're a 19th century aristocrat as you stroll through the meticulously manicured gardens of Werribee Park. Stretching before you is the magisterial Werribee Park Mansion, built in the 1870s by Scottish settlers. Today, the mansion is a luxury hotel, but if you're just here for the day, then be sure to visit the Mansion Spa for some restorative treatments.
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We all have different preferences when it comes to hotels – perhaps you're a fan of staying right in the middle of the action; maybe you're happy to chill out in a boutique hotel in a cute neighbourhood. Whatever kind of vacation (or staycation) you're after, we've got you covered.