As my husband is from Melbourne we make the journey there often, flying in for all the fun stuff like weddings and 30th birthdays. Each time we try to stay somewhere different and use the downtime in-between events to see various sides of this highly lauded city. (Melbourne has been named the most liveable city by The Economist for 6 years in a row!) I smugly thought I had seen it all though; the laneways, arcades, malls, markets, street art, coffee, cronuts – I’ve explored and blogged them all extensively.
And then this weekend we checked into the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park.
In all my visits to Melbourne I’d not once visited Albert Park and had no idea such an extensive area of green belt was just outside the city.
Fans of Formula 1 may know the park as part of the Grand Prix circuit; a local reader informed me it’s somewhere she associates with rowing lessons as a kid. For me, it was a whole new side of Melbourne to get acquainted with, and we couldn’t have been better positioned to appreciate it than at the Pullman.
Our room, an expansive corner suite on the 9th floor, had wraparound views of Albert Park and the CBD. With floor to ceiling windows, Albert Park felt like an extension of the room, especially from the stylish armchair that was strategically positioned so guests can sit back and soak up the scenery.
The wide windows looked over not just the park but its lake, Port Philip Bay, the city, and the roads that will become Melbourne’s Grand Prix circuit once again in March 2017. As I sat back to watch the headlamps of cars weave their way around the circuit I could just picture how incredible it would to watch a F1 race from this position.
It’s not just the view that we loved about this room though. The giant, featherbed was deliciously cosy and the choice of artwork (a satellite image of Australia) was admired so much by this travel blogger and her husband that we discussed getting one for our own living room. (We often steal ideas from hotel rooms to decorate our home with – if only we could take the furnishings home with us!) We also loved the modern monochrome colour scheme with flashes of red and the lighting in the room was particularly thoughtful – the reading lamps came in handy during the afternoon’s rain showers.
Our room also had a well stocked mini bar and coffee machine, a desk area, sofa and shiny lamps and a generous sized bathroom with double sinks. The old-school Bigelow Apothecaries toiletries were accompanied by a box of essentials including cotton buds and a comb. You can also see from the photo below that there was a good-sized full length mirror, which is very helpful when you’re getting yourself event ready! I’m always surprised by the number of hotels rooms without a decent mirror, thankfully this wasn’t one of them.
On Friday evening we dined at the hotel’s Windows Restaurant, a space (as the name suggests) with floor to ceiling windows that look over the park and during our meal offered a view of sunset reflected in Albert Lake. With a little advice from the courteous staff we chose a Kale, Caramelised Onion and Feta Quiche (for me) and Goulburn Valley Pork Belly (for him) to start, followed by the Tasmanian Wild Clover Lamb Rump and Tasmanian Wilderness Beef Steak for mains. My steak with a grilled corn and cherry tomato salsa was particularly divine, my only regret was that I didn’t order the sweet potato fries I saw on the table next to us to go with it!
Other dining options at the hotel include the Tapastry menu designed by Justin North, which features a creative range of locally sourced share plates paired with the perfect wine or ale. We also road-tested the coffee from the Espresso Bar as soon as we checked in and it passed with flying colours!
I believe it’s the little touches (like good coffee) that can make or break a stay in a 5 star hotel such as this. Welcome treats in the room and a DIY gin tray sent up before dinner certainly made this guest feel extra special!
Every member of staff we encountered were super helpful, especially the front desk team who had a prepaid Myki on hand for us to purchase when we wanted to take the tram into the city. The fact that they also handed us a card with all the tram numbers we could catch back to the hotel was also extremely helpful. (It’s city tram numbers 3, 5, 6, 16, 64 or 67 for the record.)
Catching public transport into the city or in the opposite direction to St Kilda is super easy from the hotel – trams heading in both directions are just behind the hotel on St Kilda Road. If you’d rather not take the tram there’s always a line of taxis patiently waiting outside the lobby and the drive takes about 10 minutes into the heart of the city.
If you’re in town for a wedding, business, sporting event or just want a couples retreat, the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park is perfectly positioned to offer you all the fun of the city within arm’s reach but with an outlook that’s full of greenery.
Thanks to Accor Hotels for kindly hosting our stay. All opinions are my own. Find out more about Pullman Melbourne Albert Park.