Exsus’s Australia expert Annette explains why she loves Melbourne so much, and shares her top tips on where to stay, what to eat and where to go...
During a recent visit to Australia, I had a cheeky weekend in Victoria to get over the flight and catch up with some old friends. First stop was Melbourne – probably my favourite city in Australia.
Melbourne has won numerous awards and accolades, including most liveable city in the world, while it is also on the international radar for cuisine, sports and the arts. The city has been recognised in a diverse range of categories, from coffee to street art.
My first choice for anyone visiting for the first time is to stay in a hotel on the Southbank. Transfer time from the airport is around 30 minutes, and the location is perfect- it is within walking distance of the centre of town and its shops, and there are good transport links.
I stayed at the Crown Towers, part of the Crown Casino complex and one of their three hotels on the Southbank. This 5-star hotel has all the glamour of a luxury Las Vegas casino resort without the brashness- in fact you could be blissfully unaware there is a casino onsite.
Beautiful understated accommodation ranges from the Deluxe King rooms right up to the spectacular Crystal Club suites, and you can wake up to sweeping views of the city skyline and the Yarra river. Of course, there are all the amenities on site that you’d expect - spa, pool, gym and some top notch restaurants.
If you stay on the Southbank, you’re surrounded by some of Melbourne’s finest restaurants... and believe me, Melbourne is a foodie paradise where you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to great restaurants, the best coffee and amazing, cool little bars. At the Crown Towers, go to Rockpool Bar & Grill for a steak- you won’t regret it (unless you’re a veggie of course!). Heston Blumenthal will be bringing his acclaimed Fat Duck restaurant to Crown Towers in February 2015 for six months. The restaurant will then become Dinner by Heston Blumenthal as a permanent fixture when the Fat Duck team return to the UK. Nearby sister properties the Crown Promenade and the Crown Metropol also have a range of restaurants and bars – all chargeable back to your Crown Towers room account.
Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about, or wasted time trying to find that cool local café you were told about- and ended up missing the really good stuff?
Melbourne’s arcades and laneways hide many of these treasures, and a walking tour is the ideal way to discover and learn about the best of Melbourne. I can arrange a private tour of Melbourne’s signature lanes and arcades, where local designers and specialty retailers that often are only found in the city are unveiled. You’ll discover some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, iconic street art and stunning architecture, with historical tales of Melbourne along the way – it’s the perfect introduction to this wonderful city.
If this insider guide to Melbourne has inspired you, Exsus can tailor-make virtually any kind of trip to Melbourne and around Australia. Call +44 207 337 9010 or enquire now