Where to stay in Melbourne when it comes to the best city centre hotels depends on the kind of stay you’re planning to have in the Victoria capital and the type of hotel you like to check into for big city break. The sleek Crown Metropol on South Bank has city views and restaurants and bars on its doorstep while The Hotel Windsor oozes history and has a wonderful location.
While we’re big fans of Melbourne’s excellent serviced apartments for stays longer than a few days, and for shorter periods we’ll opt for one of the many chic Melbourne boutique hotels, we do appreciate the advantages of staying in a big hotel in the heart of the city, and that’s exactly what we did on our last trip to Melbourne.
A major advantage of staying in one of Melbourne’s big city centre hotels is the central location (most boutique hotels can’t afford high CBD rents), along with the extensive facilities, from restaurants and bars to spas and swimming pools. These are our suggestions as to where to stay in Melbourne in the city centre, based on our stays over the years.
Updated 6 April 2022
Where to Stay in Melbourne – Best Melbourne City Centre Hotels from Mid-Range to Luxury
Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne
The beautifully refurbished 4.5 star Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne is located in a grand Victorian-era heritage-listed building dating to 1913 and it oozes history – from its lofty marble columns and ornate decorative features to its wood-panelled walls and stained-glass windows.
The plush rooms are endearing old-fashioned with an understated elegance indicative of the period, with velvet bedheads, silk drapes and marble bathrooms. The pick of the room categories is the light-filled Edwardian King with seven-metre high ceilings and city views.
The location on Flinders Street is handy, opposite the Flinders Street Railway Station, a short stroll to Southbank, museums and galleries, and gardens, and plenty of restaurants and bars.
Don’t miss the hotel’s own Travellers Bar for craft cocktails as much as the history of the bar. High tea – which is really afternoon tea – is recommended with tiered trays of scones and sandwiches and pastries.
At the time of updating this post, our friends at Luxury Escapes have a fantastic offer of A$399/room from 2 nights including daily breakfast for two, a welcome bottle of white or red wine, a Rendezvous gift pack on arrival, guaranteed 1pm late checkout, and the option to upgrade to the Edwardian Room or Fuller Suite King, with free daily parking, a premium bottle of wine and gourmet cheese platter.
Book the Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne with our booking partner Booking.com.
Mövenpick Hotel Melbourne On Spencer
Situated opposite Southern Cross Station, the Mövenpick Hotel Melbourne On Spencer is an excellent choice if you’re arriving on train from or heading onto Adelaide or Sydney or you’re planning to do day-trips down to Geelong or up to Bendigo, Echuca and other country Victoria destinations. There’s also a coach station for buses to Ballarat, Heathcote, Healesville etc.
While the Mövenpick is located on the western perimeter of the city, it’s situated between Bourke Street and Little Bourke Street and close to Little Collins, with good tram routes on the hotel doorstep and it’s just a short stroll to the excellent Immigration Museum, Yarra River, and from there a pleasant stroll to Southbank.
The entry level rooms are on the snug side at 25m², however, they’re very comfortable with teal velvet sofas, tangerine and burgundy silk cushions, and brass-trimmed coffee tables. If size and space matters, then you’ll want to book a big 41m² Superior room with a separate living area with big sofa and a spacious bathroom with bathtub.
If squeezing a swim into your stay is important, this is an excellent choice with a stunning 25-metre swimming pool that’s heated in winter.
When it comes to drinking and dining, there are a few gems in the area. The all-day diner Higher Ground is a couple of blocks away and is a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner, while Spanish institution MoVida Aqui is a few block’s stroll away.
Book the Mövenpick Hotel Melbourne with our booking partner Booking.com.
Once upon a time, I would have put a W hotel in our boutique hotel guide, but while the W brand still has something of the cool factor lacking in most big 4-star and 5-star luxury hotels, with 294 guest rooms W Melbourne is far from boutique size.
The W Melbourne is an excellent choice, however, especially if you’re a fan of the glam-ish brand, which was innovative back in the day. Oddly enough, considering its Melbourne location, this W is a bit more conservative than most. The Brisbane W actually has more of the hip factor and pop art-style that fans of the brand love.
Rooms still boast bold coloured features, such as cuddly cushions and big cozy crocheted blankets on the beds. The picks of the rooms are the top-category studios and suites – the 60sqm Spectacular studio, and the 65sqm Fantastic suite, and if money is no object, the whopping 105-127sqm WOW suite and 175sqm Extreme Wow penthouse suite, which are essentially luxury apartments. If you’re lucky enough to check into one, will be very hard to leave.
The swimming pool is stunning, even if it’s more suited to lounging than laps, and the W’s signature restaurant, Lollo, is well worth a meal. Helmed by chef Adam D’Sylva, owner of Tonka and Coda restaurants, the menu features dishes such as tataki of yellow fin tuna with fresh horseradish, pomegranate, coriander and ponzu, and a duck lasagne baked to order.
Book the W Melbourne with our booking partner Booking.com.
Chic and sleek, this is one of Melbourne’s most glamorous hotels, with a dramatic light-filled lobby, the city’s most spectacular swimming pool (pictured above), and some of the most stylish and comfortable rooms around. We tried a couple of different types, including the City Luxe and a one-bedroom Loft.
At almost twice the price of the City Luxe, the Loft rooms are for travellers looking for a special weekend away — whether a romantic getaway or a city escape with friends, because with a dining table for four and comfy modular lounge you can actually do some entertaining here.
The City Luxe room would suit most travellers and would be the best option if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time in the hotel. There’s the usual iPod docking station, wireless internet, beautiful toiletries, and well-stocked mini bar you expect at this level, but I loved little touches like food and travel magazines scattered about, and jaw-dropping views of the city skyline.
If you don’t find Melbourne all that attractive, you will change your mind after gazing at these stunning city vistas for a couple of days. Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar is downstairs and — being located on South Bank, there are a handful of superb restaurants just minutes away, including Rockpool Bar & Grill, Spice Temple, The Atlantic, and Bistro Guillaume.
Book Crown Metropol Melbourne online with our booking partner Booking.com.
The Hotel Windsor
Oozing history, this majestic old hotel easily has the most atmosphere of any Melbourne accommodation. Opening in 1883, it actually pre-dates the world’s finest grand hotels, including Raffles in Singapore (dating to 1887), The Savoy London (1889), New York’s Waldorf Astoria (1894), and The Ritz Paris (1898).
Aptly, in a city obsessed with its coffee, it was once known as the Grand Coffee Palace. Now, it’s famous for offering the city’s oldest, continually running, afternoon tea — a Melbourne tradition and must-do experience (read about The Hotel Windsow afternoon tea here).
We had an appropriately grand room too, plush, spacious and furnished with antiques and fresh flowers, with views of Parliament House, splendidly illuminated at night. The location on Spring Street opposite Parliament House is also terrific.
The free City Circle tram stop is on the corner, making moving around the CBD a breeze, while Fitzroy and Richmond are close by, and a short stroll away are some of the city’s best restaurants and bars, including The European, Chin Chin, Flower Drum, Ginger Boy, and the City Wine Shop (a buzzy bar, as well as a great bottle shop.)
Book The Hotel Windsor online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
Situated on Collins Street, the Sofitel is another big luxury five star brand that we weren’t fans of in the past and only stayed here as a lot of people had recommended the Melbourne’s Sofitel to us. The hotel has a monumental lobby — in fact it’s a colossal building, with one of the highest atriums that I’ve ever seen.
The rooms are spacious and plush, with one of the most comfortable beds we’d had on the trip, along with all the usual amenities you expect in a hotel in this price category.
We had interesting views over the cricket ground and stadium, the Yarra River and the sprawling Melbourne suburbs, although I prefer the city vistas, from the other side of the hotel, and would highly recommend asking for one of those rooms.
Like the Grand Hyatt and Hotel Windsor, which are in the same neighbourhood, the hotel is an easy stroll to some of the city’s best restaurants (see above).
Book Sofitel Melbourne On Collins online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
With a colossal lobby of the kind you expect in a Grand Hyatt and expansive, comfortable rooms, the Grand Hyatt Melbourne is a good choice for fans of the brand. It’s another hotel that’s handily located for eating out in Melbourne — with Chin Chin in the street behind and Izakaya Den on the corner, and a long list of great restaurants within walking distance.
Disappointingly though, the hotel doesn’t have the array of superb dining and drinking opportunities we usually expect of Hyatts. In Dubai, for instance, we ate at the Grand Hyatt almost every week for many years — it boasted the city’s best Vietnamese, along with a brilliant Singaporean seafood restaurant, Dubai’s best New York-style steakhouse, and a fantastic Lebanese restaurant, while the Park Hyatt was home to one of my favourite bars and a buzzy Thai hawker-inspired eatery.
Having said that, aside from entertainment complexes like the Crown, Australians don’t seem to do much eating in big hotels, leaving them to the tourists, so we won’t hold this against the Hyatt.
Our only complaint was with the Internet, which didn’t work and we subsequently wasted an hour on the phone talking to an off-site call-centre IT guy who wasn’t very helpful. The only thing that helped us maintain a sense of calm was the stunning city vistas; ask for a room on a high floor.
Book Grand Hyatt Melbourne online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Park Hyatt Melbourne
Located on Parliament Square, overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Fitzroy Gardens, the elegant 5-star Park Hyatt Melbourne boasts some of Melbourne’s most luxury accommodation in the city.
The Park Hyatt claims to have Melbourne’s largest guest rooms and suites in the city. Of the 245 rooms, the picks of the room categories are the 55m² King View Deluxe rooms overlooking the cathedral and gardens or the city skyline and the 65m² Terrace Suites with a spacious living area and study, a big en-suite bathroom with double vanity, deep bath-tubs and rain showers, and a lovely terrace offering uninterrupted views of the cathedral and cityscape.
Pack your cozzies! There’s a 25-metre indoor heated pool – which you’ll appreciate if you’re in Melbourne in winter – and a day spa offering signature Hyatt massages, body treatments, and facials etc, along with spa cuisine.
The Park Hyatt also offers another of Melbourne’s best ‘High Teas’ – once again, it’s not, it’s afternoon tea; I’m not sure why but, the Hotel Windsor excluded, most Melbourne hotels don’t seem to know the difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea.
The Park Hyatt hotels pride themselves on their exceptional personalised service and staff who go above and beyond the call of duty, and one member of the team you must meet is Mr Walker, the hotel’s canine ambassador! The affectionate blonde Labrador was trained by Guide Dogs Victoria and greets guests at the lobby. He also has his own Instagram account! #BarkHyattMelbourne
Book the Park Hyatt Melbourne with our booking partner Booking.com.
Pullman Melbourne on Swanston
Hotels don’t get more central in Melbourne than the Pullman Melbourne on Swanston, slap-bang in the heart of the city. This is the hotel to check into if you’re in Melbourne for shopping, eating, sipping, and shows – the Regent Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre and Comedy Theatre are all close by.
Step out of the hotel and you’re literally seconds from shopping destinations such as Bourke Street Mall, Myer department store and Galleria Mall, while Collins Street and Little Collins Street with its more interesting boutiques, along with restaurants and bars are minutes away.
Chinatown Melbourne is on the Pullman’s doorstep, while a long list of excellent bakeries, eateries, restaurants and bars are within a few blocks including Lune Croissanterie, Belles Hot Chicken, Supernormal, Tipo 00, and ARU.
Rooms are comfy with bold coloured features and furnishings, such as pink bed throws and golden-yellow sofas. If you’re in the city for pleasure, the 40m² Deluxe room with a cosy sitting area and city views will suit you just fine, while the 48m² Premium is best for business travellers with more room to spread out.
Book the Pullman Melbourne on Swanston with our booking partner Booking.com.
The Marriott isn’t a hotel brand we’d ever taken much notice of before our stay here, to be honest, although we’ve checked into a few over the years when they’ve been convenient and the prices have been right, generally in the Middle East.
They seem to be renovating a lot of their older style hotels, and if, like us, you overlooked them in the past, it might be time to take another peek.
The décor at the Melbourne Marriott is more modern in style, with the clean lines, neutral tones accented by bold colours, and the occasional funky piece of furniture, like the cream leather chair and stools in the rooms.
There’s a casual-chic eatery and cafe on site, and the location is handy for exploring the CBD, as well as nearby Carlton, Fitzroy and Richmond.
But what really struck us from the moment we arrived were the friendly and efficient staff, from the porter who whisked our bags off to our room (not that we had much) to the front desk staff who offered us (and other guests who arrived) glasses of bubbly from a bottle of sparkling in an ice-bucket on the counter. How civilised.
Book Melbourne Marriott Hotel online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Feature image by Terence Carter; hotel images used with permission of Luxury Escapes and the hotels.
We hope you find our guide to Where to Stay in Melbourne for the Best Melbourne City Centre Hotels from Mid-Range to Luxury useful. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve stayed in any of these properties and have feedback, positive or negative, or have tips to hotels we should try next time we’re in the city.