It’s hard to surpass the classic beats of good old fashioned hospitality. While Melbourne Marriott Hotel may play it extremely safe in a city that’s dotted with interesting boutiques and creative accommodations, there’s enough charm throughout this 10 floor property to sit nicely beside the luxury amenities often expected from one of the hotel group’s most reputable brands.
Though it’s dwarfed by much taller building nearby, Marriott fits into it’s very central location. This is a fine spot of Melbourne CBD, a street away from delicious Chinatown and just a stone’s throw from late-night hot spots like rock ‘n’ roll bar Heartbreaker, essential eats like Mr Crackles and Grand Trailer Park Taverna, and sights like the Old Melbourne Goal. Shoppers, foodies, sightseers, and business travellers will all appreciate the real estate.
Most importantly, this is a comfortable home to anticipate after a long night dipping into the city’s lively scene. And for those who are so inclined, the hotel’s cosy lobby level Elements Bar is perfect for a quiet nightcap to wind down from any night out. Actually, the hotel’s food and drink is a major reason why Marriott works.
Essence on Exhibition may look plain, but they’re plating some seriously delicious dinner, with a focus on local produce and hearty dining. It seems like a popular stop-off for pre-theatre dining given the institutions nearby, like the Comedy Theatre directly across the road. My Gippsland Beef Cheek is addictive right down to the very last melty mouthful, benefitting from being braised in dark chocolate and shiraz for a really thick palate. A Yarra Valley Dark Chocolate Budino furthers my instant love of this menu, offering a lot of flavour thanks to the native wattle seed ice cream and hazelnut praline.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the kitchen has made the very wise choice to showcase high quality native and local produce, mostly cooked into simple dishes done well. It pays off, and with a fantastic wine list you’ve got a pretty good reason not to even step outside for dinner. Come morning, the breakfast buffet is closer to standard but does maintain a good quality, with a few a la carte options for those who know better than to dive into the scrambled eggs.
The hotel even has its own coffee shop that’s often packed with locals during the day. Country Bred does up some quick breakfast and lunch options and a good cup of barista made coffee, Marriott obviously realising that they need to either compete with the city’s excellent scene or not even make an attempt.
Black and white photography tracking Melbourne’s history attempt to give the hotel a narrative throughline, stylishly placed in varying sized across the common areas and guest rooms. The rooms themselves are plain but comfortable, though when a standard room is a generous 36sqm, any lack of character can be forgiven. While there may be very little in terms of views, and the garish bright red carpet overpowers any other design details, the sense of space and comfort is faultless.
A weary business traveller would be overjoyed to walk into a room as welcoming as this one, with an exceedingly comfortable double bed and all the connectivity one would need. A large working desk sits by the window, and although there isn’t much natural light coming through, there is just enough to make the space glow. A closet and space to rest your luggage is found towards the moderate bathroom, away from the sleeping area so guests can maintain that sense of space without the clutter. With guest room size reaching all the way up to 56sqm, it’s clear size is a big selling point for the hotel.
A modest gym overlooking a leafy courtyard and a heated indoor pool round out the expected amenities, though neither are very inspiring to look at. The focus is on function here, which is obvious given how much dedicated space goes to conferences and events (there’s 6 spaces, the biggest of which can fit 220 people). If that’s all you’re looking for, then Marriott is well worth the price.
The average nightly rate for a room at Marriott Hotel Melbourne is AUD $270.
THREE AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FIVE
Address: Corner Exhibition &, Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9662 3900
The writer stayed as a guest of Marriott International.