It may be a little younger and a little smaller than Sydney, but Melbourne has long prided itself on being the cultural capital of Australia. That claim, along with its reputation for being one of the most liveable cities in the world, has led to the visitors piling in. Seven million Aussies, and nearly two million overseas visitors, come here each year.
As a result, Melbourne is well furbished with accommodation to serve the needs of all manner of visitors: sightseers, arts tourists and business travellers alike. But, as with most cities of this size (this capital of Victoria state is home to 4 million people), not all parts of the city are equal when it comes to hotels and accommodation. So let’s run through Melbourne’s best hotel districts, and maybe you’ll be better able to plan your trip to what locals can’t help but call ‘Marvellous Melbourne’.
Melbourne lies at the head of the sweeping waters of Port Phillip Bay, split in two by the Yarra River, running from east to west. And it’s just before the Yarra hits the Bay that you’ll find the City Centre, or CBD, of Melbourne. This was once the heart of the old city, but now much is new here, including many of its fabulous modern hotels. Five-star luxury abounds, including the city’s last ‘grand hotel’. But there is also a good mix of quality four-star hotels, and a fair few catering for anyone on a budget.
Just south of the CBD are the Southbank and South Melbourne districts, the latter of which is home to a phalanx of newly-built hotels. Not only are these mid-price to top-class hotels within easy reach of the city centre, but they are also right next to Melbourne’s main cultural hub. Southbank hosts a number of arts venues, including the Hamer Hall, the Arts Centre (both showcasing opera and theatre), and the National Gallery of Victoria. For those who are conferencing, some of South Melbourne’s hotels are clustered close to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
If it’s sports, rather than arts that have brought you to Melbourne, then you’ll probably want to check out the hotels and serviced apartments in North Melbourne. As well as holiday apartments, there is a scattering of boutique hotels here, catering to visitors coming to see the cricket (Melbourne Cricket Ground) or enjoy the races (Flemington Racecourse).
A little further out, and to the south of the centre, is the wonderful sea-side suburb of St. Kilda. With its famous beach and amusement park, this spot has long catered for holiday-makers. So you’ll find plenty of guest houses and backpacker stay-overs here – and also a good number of four-star hotels.
Finally, if you want a stay-over with a touch of class, but a little less bustle, it might be worth looking at hotels in the Stonnington area. The South Yarra district, in particular, is known for its luxury dining and high-end retail. This upmarket area counts several five-star hotels among its large number of well-presented and chic hotels.