Last weekend I had the ultimate pleasure of heading to Melbourne. Whilst I am a Sydneysider through and through, I felt it was only fair to provide an insight into the city that is Melbourne.
Having been to Melbourne when I first arrived in Australia, I have very fond memories – I stayed in St Kilda in a Hostel, the name escapes me, very cool roof top terrace! I did what any self respecting Brit does and headed to the Neighbours night and met my idol (Disclaimer: he isn’t actually my idol) Karl Kennedy and got told I looked hot by the cute dude that played Ned Parker – Result. I also remember being in awe of a little takeaway establishment called Cone Heads – Think hot chips and ANYTHING you like – I opted for cheese and gravy – yuuuummmm! Then off I headed on a Groovy Grape Tour of the Great Ocean Road en-route to Adelaide and kangaroo Island….
This trip however was to be very different, no better or worse, just catered to a slightly different demographic. For the young professionals that are looking to escape Sydney for the weekend, or the travelers that want a cultured weekend away, Melbourne is your gal!
I often have referred to Melbourne as the personality and Sydney as the beauty, which I still stand-by – but don’t be disheartened to think that Melbourne isn’t stunning in its own unique way! Instead of beaches and Sydney Harbour, there’s hidden little laneways, delicious eateries and enough museums and art galleries to shake a stick at!
I was treated by the lovely team at Vibe Hotels to a complimentary night at their Vibe Savoy Hotel – Perfect location, next to Southern Cross Station and walking distance to shops, the bars and South Bank.
In addition to the accommodation and breakfast, Vibe Hotels also treated me to trial Look Polished @ Vibe* accommodation package which features four limited edition travel sized nail polishes that will see women pampered across Vibe’s seven sensational locations.
From just $199*, the Look Polished @ Vibe package includes:
- Overnight accommodation for two adults in a vibe-rant guest room
- One set of four mini Vibe nail polishes in this season’s hottest colors – I particularly like the Refresh-Mint colour – bang on trend for pastels this SS 2012, 2013.
- A delicious full buffet breakfast for two at curve cafe – (Which is YUM, I actually has four plates!)
- Late check-out at noon to catch up on beauty sleep
So we had the accommodation sorted which was the first step and helped us out greatly. Next stop – itinerary!
There is honestly so much to do in Melbourne, so-much-so that I would recommend asking family and friends and researching (on blogs such as this – check!) where the popular venues are and the hidden gems are located off the beaten track! Now I know everyone has their own tastes and interests, so I’ve just provided a number of venues/ activities that I really think will suit most tastes – If you like good atmosphere, reasonable prices and yummy food and beverages – you can’t really go wrong!
SIGLO – Located at Rooftop, 162 Spring Street, Melbourne
First stop after we freshened up at the Vibe Savoy, we headed to Siglo to meet our friends (we were there to surprise our mate for his 30th!). It’s located on the roof top of the Supper Club, which is another venue you simply must frequent – opulent leather interior with deep mahogany furnishings, it’s the perfect venue for pre dinner aperitifs or to head to after a large meal for a quiet digestive (of the drink variety, not the biscuit!). Siglo is a Cigar Lounge and Cocktail Bar, which looks over Parliament House.
I’d head to Siglos if you want deep conversation with friends along with tasty cocktails and a great atmosphere! (Note: If you don’t like cigars or smoke, it is probably not the place for you, or get in early to sit inside!)
We stayed at Siglo until the wee early hours, about 2am and then decided it would be a great idea to head to China Town for midnight dumplings (as you do).
China Town is located just around the corner from Spring Street and connects all the various hubs of the city, there’s Karaoke and restaurants on every corner and it’s surprisingly lively at 2am on a Friday night.
Little Bourke St is where most of the restaurants are but it’s worth exploring the laneways that run off it for some interesting alternatives that are less well known.
Top (cheap) eateries include:
- Hutong Dumpling Bar – 14-16 Market Ln, Melbourne
- Shanghai Dumplings – Gnd & Flr1, 23 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne
- Supper Inn – Level 1, 15-17 Celestial Ave, Melbourne
- The Flower Drum – 17 Market La., Melbourne (Is a bit more exy but def worth it!)
After China Town we headed home for some much needed sleep!
On Saturday we had a busy itinerary planned as we didn’t want to miss out on ANYTHING! So after our delicious breakfast we headed to meet the rest of the group.
Curtain Bar’s Rooftop Bar – Located at Level 7, Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne
In addition to being a roof top bar, it’s also a cinema – V cool! As we headed up to the 7th floor we were greeted by astro-turfed floor and bright colour furniture and… sangria! Ole! My favourite!
The bar has amazing views of Melbourne and definitely has a great atmosphere that isn’t at all pretentious!
MADAME BRUSSELS – Level 3, 59-63 Bourke St, Melbourne
Ahhh the lovely and quaint Madame Brussels, if you’re looking for cute cupcakes, tasty cocktails, little snacks (think sausage rolls) this is the place for you!
The whole place I feel channels Alice in Wonderland with the bright colours and fairytale feel!
It is a must-see when in Melbourne!
CHILL ON – Southgate Complex/Building Mid Level MR6, 3 Southgate Ave Southbank 3006
I was approached by the PR company to experience Chill On, Melbourne’s very own bar made of ice! You can enjoy a cocktail (included in the $30 cost for 30 mins, along with the warm clothing) in minus 15 degrees C temperatures and surrounded by ice sculptures. It is a cool (pardon the pun) experience that you wouldn’t expect from Melbourne!
Following a day of bar hopping and more than a few drinks, we had a reservation at 9pm, so we headed back to the Vibe Savoy to get ready for an evening of amazing food, wine and company!
HELL OF THE NORTH – Located at 135 Greeves Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Ahhh where to begin, just stunning, food is amazing, service is even better and the decor is perfect!
You can’t miss the gigantic yellow door as you approach the venue! A you enter you’re welcomed into an inviting bar, its comfortable seating and the intoxicating smell of the food greets you!
We had the private dining room booked for our friend’s 30th, there were 12 of us in total! It was the perfect size! We all had the set menu which was $75 each, which consisted of about seven courses!
Whilst it may sound expensive, for what you get and the quality of the food, it is second to none! The French inspired menu will have you salivating before you’ve even popped your napkin on your lap. A few examples of the food are:
- Cured meats with bread, pate and pickles
- Cheese platter
- Beef tartan
- Braised Beef
- Grilled fish
- Crepe Suzette
To name a few! I can’t recommend Hell of the North highly enough! (Also we had 12 bottles of wine between 12 of us and the bill ended up $115 each – a complete bargain!).
We stayed until about 1am drinking wine and putting the world to right!
After a night of well rested sleep we headed out for breakfast, to the place the ultimate place in Melbourne for hidden gems – Degraves Street! An endless laneway of cute little cafes and eateries that serve pastries, coffee, breakfast lunch, wraps, pasta – the list is endless. It gets quite busy there so it’s more a case of looking for a cafe that has a seat rather than going on recommendation, as they’re all fab!
Suffice to say, my weekend in Melbourne was all I expected and more! If you’re looking to get out of
Sydney or you’re pulling together an itinerary for your time in Australia – I urge you to head to
Melbourne – You will not be disappointed!
The Look Polished @ Vibe Package is available at all Vibe Hotels, located across Sydney (Sydney,
Rushcutters Bay and North Sydney), Melbourne (Melbourne and Carlton), the Gold Coast and Darwin.
To book (best online rates guaranteed) visit vibehotels.com.au or call 13 VIBE (8423).
* Package starts from $199. Rates may vary between hotels. Subject to availability. Package includes overnight accommodation for two adults in a guest room. One mini Vibe nail polish sets per booking only. Bookings from 13/3/2012 – 30/9/2012 for stays from 1/4/2012 – 30/9/2012.